Cyril’s Story

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I have dedicated my life to serving God and have seen Him bless me every step of the way. Matthew 6:33: “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and all other things shall be added unto you.”

God has favoured me, particularly regarding my education. Last year, I took the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAG) professional exams. The final stage of the exam was the professional stage, which comprised of four papers. This was one of the most important exams in my academic life.

I had been attending preparatory classes for the exam at a special institution. I received a full scholarship at this institution because of my bachelor’s degree first class distinction. However, I did not grasp majority of the material taught in these classes. On one occasion, I left the class during the lecture because I did not understand anything. When I returned for the next session, the lecturer had nicknamed me for leaving his class early. I quoted Zechariah 4:6, ‘not by my power, or by my might…’ to him. After this occurrence, I determined to pass the exam no matter what.

The pass mark for each of the four papers is 50% and, typically, it is 10% of the candidates who pass. I couldn’t fail more than 2 papers else I would lose the scholarship. Two weeks to the exam, still unprepared and unmotivated, my mother encouraged me to go ahead and sit for the exam.

The night before the first paper, which was taught by the lecturer who nicknamed me, I finally sat down to study. I had a prompting (now, I know it was from Holy Spirit) to read certain pages of my textbook. After a while, I got tired and fell asleep. When I got to the exam centre the next day, I didn’t fret. I wasn’t anxious at all even when I saw my colleagues doing last minute revisions. I plugged my earphones in and soaked up gospel music. When people gathered to discuss the paper after we finished, I didn’t hang around.

I was also unprepared for the second paper. Thankfully, I knew what it comprised because it tallied somewhat with my line of work. That exam day went like the first.

I was not going to study for the third paper at all. I had no clue what the subject matter was. While watching a movie the night before, I received a phone call which triggered me to go read my textbook. Before I began studying, I prayed for 5 things: knowledge, wisdom, understanding, retentive memory and success. I also prayed that God’s name would be glorified through it all. I reviewed some past questions that I had earmarked. It got late, so I decided to go to bed and continue the following morning.

It was almost time to get seated when I arrived at the exam hall, so I barely glanced at the remaining past questions. I soon discovered that all the exam questions were like the past questions I had solved. Even the last question I answered was the same one I had glanced at just before entering the exam hall. I could only answer it in part because I had not fully revised.

For the final paper, I was led by a friend who told me he knew the lecturer who had taught that course. He came up with many possible questions that were likely to be present in the exam. I was so excited that I reviewed those questions all night. I had absolute faith in my success because of that.

I passed 3 out of the 4 papers I sat for and I was relieved. Many people fail the ICAG yearly and must keep re-sitting. As I analysed my results, I realized that I scored 51% on the third paper, which I studied for using the past questions. The last question I glanced at right before the exam gave me that one percent boost. I failed the last paper, for which I depended on someone else and not God.

Throughout the exam period, I relied on the scripture in Zechariah 4:6, “not by power or by might, but My Spirit says the Lord…”. A lot of people prepare relentlessly for this examination and fail countless times. I did not pass this exam through my own wisdom or preparation. Glory belongs to God.

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