Interview with Global Prize Winner Lauren Lockwood

Congratulations Lauren, we are sure many students are wondering how you achieved such a high score in Paper F6 exam! [Lauren scored 98 marks!]

You have been an OpenTuition member for over a year now.

You have also had extraordinary results in the past exams! 99 Marks in paper F4, 85% in Paper F9 in June 2009 exams.

We are eager to find out more about you and your secrets!

Can you tell us more about yourself and your work?

I work for a company called Anglo Beef Processors, I have been here for 2.5 years. I started as a Sales Ledger Administrator but I have recently been promoted to Accounts Assistant.

I started my working life in Retail when I was 16, but after 7 years I decided I wanted a big change and that I would like to re enter education. I went to see a careers adviser and they recommended training to be an accountant.

I wasn’t employed in accounting but I found out that I could study for ACCA even if I remained in retail while I searched for a job in accounting.

At first it was really difficult and no recruitment agents would take me on as I had no previous experience. Fortunately a company called Sewell Moorhouse took me on and they found me a job as a Purchase Ledger Junior covering a maternity leave.

After 6 months the recruitment agency found me a permanent job as a Sales Ledger Administrator.

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

It is very hard, but it is getting easier. I now plan my study really carefully particularly the revision. My family are all very supportive of my study and help however they can. My life goes on hold for a month before each exam sitting.

Any particular method – as a working student – works for you?

Plan it all at the start. I have already planned all my study for my next 2 papers including revision. I like to have at least 50 hours for each exam paper.

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

My work are very supportive. They pay for all my tuition and I get study leave for each exam paper.

With such high marks, have you ever considered applying for any of the big 4 companies?

Initially I was really keen to get to get in to an accountancy firm and I mail dropped every one locally however no-one could offer me an opportunity as I lacked any suitable experience.

Now I have been in industry for 3 years I can’t imagine what it would be like to work in practice and I still feel I may lack the necessary experience .

You have been a member of OpenTuition for a very long time now, how did you first time find out about this site?

I used to study at Sheffield Hallam University for my ACCA and one of the lecturers told me about the site.

What resources are the most valuable to you on opentuition and/or helped you most on OpenTuition?

The course notes are really comprehensive and I find they often include things that are not in other text books. However I am a big fan of the forums. I tend to find that any queries I have with a paper are the same as other students and there is always someone who knows the answer.

What do you think could be improved OpenTuition even more?

If OpenTuition could offer more opportunities to practise questions, even if they were not to exam standard.

Are you studying only as a distance learner?

I attend tuition at Kaplan on weekends.

Why did you choose Kaplan?

Other members of my work place had gone there and were very happy with the tutors and course programmes.

Which Study Texts and/or Revision Kits did you use?

BPP Text Book, Kaplan Text Book, Revision Kit and Pocket Notes (they come free with tuition)

Can I ask why did you choose 2 textbooks? Is it your secret to get 98 marks? :) Do you think that 1 book is not enough to prepare and would you advise others to do the same ?

I have found that somethings are only in either the Kaplan or the BPP text books. Further more the books are written in such a different way to each other that I may understand a point in one of them that I can not grasp in the other.
My currnet exam approach is to read the BPP text book prior to tuition and to follow it up during tuition with the Kaplan text book.

What do you think was the most important factor in your success and winning the prize?

I dedicated alot of time to revision and exam practice. I was comfortable with every area of the syllabus and didn’t miss anything out.

How much do you think OpenTuition resources helped towards your success

They have been extremely helpful, the course notes are very useful but also the knowledge that there are so many other students out there going through the same as me just a click away is very reassuring.

What is your ambition after you qualify?

It still feels a long way in the future, I just hope to be making a contribution to a successful company

Thank you Lauren for your time and we hope you will be as successfull in June 2010 Exams!

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