Interview with ACCA P5 Genius Hunt winner Vincent from Malaysia

Can you tell us more about yourself?

My name is Vincent Chow and I’m frequently known by my pseudonym ‘angryhamtaro’ over at P5 OpenTuition forum. I am from Malaysia and I’ve been studying as a financial accounting student in Tunku Abdul Rahman College for four years.

How do you balance between studying, job and private life?

My college lectures and tutorial classes usually started early on 8am and ended as late around 6pm. Fortunately, there were a few hours break in between to which I spent time revising my course materials in the college library.

My study life and time management were pretty hectic. Every weekday, I took nearly two hours riding two interconnecting trains and a bus to college, and the same two hours back home. Most of the time, I took catnaps in the train, and when I arrived home on 8pm, I had my repeated pattern of home-cooked dinner, a refreshing bath and a hot cup of coffee, before spending one, two hours studying and finally ‘fainted’ on bed, literally.

However, I must always spare time with my family on Sundays.

My only work experience comprised of two internships – financial audit at PwC, and taxation in KPMG.

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

I used BPP for everything ACCA, and had myself a copy of all Past Year Exam Papers dating back from Dec 2002 for Paper P5 alongside with the Technical Articles. As I received exemptions for all Fundamental level papers from Paper F1 to F9, I realized there was a gap of knowledge between what was thought in college and in the actual syllabus, especially in Paper F5 like transfer pricing. I filled this gap by learning from OpenTuition’s lecture videos.

As I attempt each question in the Revision Kit, I always go beyond the question and ask myself, ‘How can I use this particular model in a different industrial context? How can I expand the application of this model? How can I further add value for the fictional company in the question?’ Out of curiosity, I’d checked out the library for management books like Balanced Scorecard, Six Sigma, etc, or Google for research papers and Harvard Business Review articles.

On Saturdays, I would look forward to the special 40-page Business pullout from my local newspaper. This helps me keep abreast of the latest current issues.

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

I did not really have a complicated studying schedule so long as I have the discipline to spare a few hours at night studying, but I made sure I have enough sleep because I could not study effectively if I have a tired mind and a worn-out body.

I would like to thank my P5 college lecturer for setting a very challenging internal exam as she wanted to train our state of mind to prepare for the worst in the coming ACCA exam. Nearly two months prior to the ACCA exam, I read and re-read every page in the Study Kit and attempted each PYQ three times – firstly as a learning process, second as to understand the question requirement, and third as writing under time pressure. Most importantly, I am careful not to get into the habit of memorizing and regurgitating the answer, but to really understand thoroughly my study material.

I also registered for supplementary part-time tuition and exam workshops a few months before the actual ACCA exam. As a revision technique, I learned that I must always read the Examiner’s Report and make sense of why previous students made mistakes when answering the questions, and it helped me not to repeat the same mistakes like they did. When I sat for my P5 exam on June 2012, I was not nervous. I felt very relaxed and peaceful. It’s because I know – what the examiner wanted from me.

Nevertheless, I still think that the most effective study technique I have done – was to teach my friends on what I learned. I somehow felt that teaching helps me absorb what I studied even better.

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

In my humble opinion, it’s all about making studying fun. I used mind maps to make what seems drab and boring, to something that is imaginative and easy to memorize.

In Malaysia, my favourite drink is ‘Teh Tarik’ – ‘pulling tea’ by pouring from one cup to another at a height. If I’m afraid that I might spill the hot tea on my hand, without realizing it, I WILL spill it on my hand! When we think of something negative, we create a negative reality for ourselves. If we think of a subject that is hard, it’s because we never dare to challenge ourselves. Saying ‘That’s interesting!’ will be an enlightening change in our study perceptions.

Fear makes us perfectly human, it cannot be eliminated but it can controlled, only by small baby steps. Similar with my revision approach, I start practicing at a slow and easy pace, before getting into the tough and rigorous exam mood.

Lastly, it’s not all about passing a paper with a minimum 50 mark, it’s all about doing better than your previous best. Aim for the World Prize award, and even if you can’t get it, you still can easily pass. My quote is always “Reach for the moon, if you can’t, you already touched the sky”.

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

I stumbled upon OpenTuition through my friend’s recommendation on Facebook. As above, I find the video lecture series very helpful. I’m actively contributing in the P5 OpenTuition forum now.

Thank you for your time and congratulations!

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