No. 17 – The Academic Part Of My Life During The Next Three Years

In addition to the grind of my work in the office, and at clients’ premises, during the years from August 1968 to August 1971, I also attended night school at the Glasgow headquarters of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland for two hours every Friday evening, and for three hours every Saturday Morning from September to the following May.

One year was an exception to this, when, during the second year after leaving school, I attended Glasgow University full time for one academic year and did not have to attend the office or go to audit clients, although I continued to get paid, although it wasn’t very much. As it happened, I was in the first year that the Institute reconfigured its training program from the university year being the third year of tuition to the second year of tuition. This meant that Anna and I went to the University at the same time as three other boys who had started work one year before us, and for the next few years, these guys became my best mates.

I can’t honestly remember what subjects we studied over the three different years, but they included bookkeeping, accounting standards, auditing, taxation, and economics. Most subjects were divided into two or three different stages and were therefore spread over two or three consecutive years.

There were three subjects, or stages of subjects each year and to progress to the next year you had to pass all three subjects at once. These exams were held in May. If you failed even one of the three exams you could re-sit all three, including the ones you had passed in May, the following August. They were, of course, different papers. If you failed one then, even if it was an exam you had passed in May, and even if you passed the exam you had failed in May you had to repeat the whole year and wait until the following May until you could try again.

It was a hectic lifestyle, with plenty of study being necessary after getting home from work on Mondays through Thursdays. The hectic week was broken up on Friday evenings, when a crowd of us from the office would go out together after classes first to a pub for a few pints of beer, followed by a visit to an Indian restaurant, before trying our luck at one of the two casinos in Glasgow for an hour or two. I often didn’t get home until after midnight on a Friday, then go straight to bed, only to have to wake up at 7:00 am to go back to Glasgow for classes on Saturday morning.

Despite the hectic lifestyle, I passed all 3 first-year exams in May of my first year.

The university year was a bit more difficult, but the highlight of that year was there was a preliminary exam for economics in, I believe, February. Everyone who scored 70% or more in that exam, got an exemption from the final exam in May. I wasn’t very good at economics, but in the February exam, they introduced the now common multiple-choice questions. We were given four possible answers to each of 20 questions and were awarded 2 marks for each correct answer. I knew without a doubt the answer to about 5 of the questions but with the other 15, I could usually rule out 2 answers, but it was a toss-up in my mind about the other 2 answers. I decided that if one of the possibilities was the same number (ie 1,2,3 or 4) as my answer to the previous question, I would select the other possible answer, but if neither of the possible answers was the same number as my previous answer, and my previous answer was an even number, I’d go for an odd number, and vice versa.

Using that tactic, I scored 38 out of the possible 40 marks that were attributed to the multiple-choice questions, which meant that I only needed to get 32 out of 60 in the written part of the exam to get to the 70% needed to be exempt from the final economics exam. From memory I got 33 out of 60, which was barely a pass in the written questions, and nowhere near the 70% I would have needed if the whole exam had been comprised of written questions. Interestingly, in future economics exams, which I didn’t need to sit they reduced the worth of each multiple-choice question to only one mark each, so I was extremely lucky. Although deep down, I felt I had cheated a little bit, I was delighted as the final economics exam in May was 2 weeks after the other two exams I had to sit, and as I was not due to return to the office until after the date of the final exam, my ingenuity answering the multi-choice questions, meant that I could spend two weeks on the golf course instead of slaving away over books.

I passed the other two subjects at the end of the second year, and, a year later, at the May sitting, I passed the three subjects back at the Institute’s Glasgow headquarters after returning to the office grind. Happy as I was then, I was unprepared for what lay in wait for me at the end of my fourth year of tuition. I’ll tell you about that in my next blog post.

For all you budding Internet Marketers reading this series of blog posts, please take my story of hard work and endurance as an example of why you must NEVER give up. Even if you ignore my primary school days, up to this point I had studied and worked for 8 years. If you compare my educational journey to my journey as an Internet Marketer, and my personal Internet Marketing goal was to make $10,000 a month then perhaps, after 8 years it was the equivalent of making $5,000 a month. In the early 1970s I was, of course, making nowhere near that amount but I’m just trying to illustrate that, after 8 years I was only halfway to my goal. So, if you are currently disappointed, by your seemingly slow rate of progress, please don’t give up. You will succeed in the end.

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