Interview with ACCA F6 Genius Hunt winner Deborah from the UK

Can you tell us more about yourself?

My name is Deborah I am from Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK I work full time as in a local firm of Chartered Accountants as an Accounts Assistant. I also do part time hours in a local farm shop.

If you work, Many students are working just like you, how do you balance between studying, job and private life?

Working full time getting the balance between work, studying and private life can be difficult, especially working two jobs. I have to be very strict with myself, set my self study targets in the run up to exams. My friends and family are very supportive and understand sometimes I cannot make social commitments if I have studies to catch up on. I also only take one Acca unit at each exam session, this is key to the work, study, private life balance.

Do you get support from your firm? Like time off work or do they pay for your tuition etc?

I pay for my own tuition, exam fees, text books, my firm gives me the exam day off as paid study leave. It is a small firm they are very supportive of my studies in non financial ways, like trying to match my work load to the current study topic. For example I will be studying F8 next so will be more involved with current audit jobs at work.

Which Study Texts and/or Revision Kits and other resources did you use, or found the most useful in your studies for this exam?

For F6 in June 2012 I had enough money to attend weekend tuition with Kaplan. I used their study text, then switched to OT for my revision. Watched all the OT lectures, answered every OT question in the course notes, before practicing with past papers from the Acca website. I always find the OT lectures most useful to my studies. It really helps to have a video explanations of certain subjects that you can go back over time and time again.

You have scored such high marks, many students must wonder what is your study technique?

When studying I draw up a time table and stick to it, if I feel I am struggling with my studies then I cut back on social activities. I make sure I read every inch of the text book and OT notes, and watch as many video lectures I physically can, but make sure I leave at least 2-3 weeks just to practice exam style questions. I study roughly 2-3hours a night.  Working full time being organised is the key to successful studies.

What do you think was the most important factor in your success in your ACCA exams?

I have to put a huge portion of my high mark this time to having practical experience in taxation. I have been completing VAT returns and personal tax returns under the UK self assessment system for almost 10 years, and corporation tax and partnership tax for approx 5 years. That said the F6 syllabus in massive and my exprience didn’t cover it all, the rest was down to practice practice practice. First with the questions in the OT notes and next with past papers. I did roughly 2 exam standard questions every night for the last two weeks before the exam and a past paper under mock exam conditions the weekend before to make sure I can complete the questions in the allotted time. I have struggled in the past with my timings in the exams.

How did you find out about OpenTuition and which  OpenTuition resources helped you towards your success.

I found OT, about 2 years ago when looking for free Acca F5 lectures on i-tunes. At the time I had been made redundant so couldn’t afford tuition. I bought used study texts of of ebay and watched all the OT lectures. I got my highest pass mark to date studying that way. Since then OT has been a permanent fixture in my study plan. The free video lectures, combined with the study notes are what I find most useful about OT. The ability to pause and rewind lectures and take things at your own speed is the best.

Thanks for your time and congratulations!


  1. avatar says

    That was really helpful. I struggle with time to study, work and look after my two little boys. I have learnt a few tips from this article. I am always very organised and structured. My husband sometimes thinks I am like a Robot but I am glad to know someone does it too.
    I have no social life whatsoever but I convince myself everything will be ok once I finish.

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