Please introduce yourself.
My name is Aminat Kamaru and I hail from the giant of Africa – Nigeria. I work as a consultant with one of the Big 4 consulting firms. The Big Four are the four biggest professional services networks in the world, offering audit, assurance services, taxation, management consulting, advisory, actuarial, corporate finance and legal services. They handle the vast majority of audits for public companies as well as many private companies.
How much time each week did you spend studying, on average?
As a consultant, you work with deadlines and a heavy workload. Due to the nature of my work, I only have the weekends to read and prepare for exams. Each student need to understand what works for them – either to be a self-study student or attend lectures. Number of hours to prepare also depends on the students. The slow readers would require more time to cover the syllabus while the speedy readers would use lesser hours. Hence, the average number of hours for preparation depends on your assimilation level and capacity.
In meeting the required hours to study, I ensure I get to work as early as possible and study for a minimum of 1 hour 30 minutes before working hours. I also get few days off work as provided by my employer to support me in preparing for my exams. These hours were used extensively to read as though I am at work.
Which study resources did you use?
I used approved providers resources including the text and practice kits. Personally, I am addicted to BPP Learning Media because I am a self-study student. With BPP, there exist real life stories about past situations which makes the course more understanding.
I also printed and read open tuition lecture notes. Adequate support (from Ken Gareth) when I was down after practicing ACCA specimen papers also boosted my confidence. See link: https://opentuition.com/topic/pls-help-3/
What was your approach to your studying?
First, I carried out adequate research on the new syllabus and the approach. Why is ACCA introducing a new syllabus? This provided the background on which to base my preparation as I have an idea of the skill I need to develop. I am a vast reader, reading comes to me naturally and I tend to read all sort of information in the media – I read business cases, I understand how a business makes money, why a business cease to operate amongst others. During preparation, for each model I learn, I try to relate it to real life scenarios and any organization in my country that could fit into the model. With this, I was able to familiarize myself with a range of information sources used by modern businesses. Contacts were also established with the September diet students who also assisted me with exam tips.
What would you say was the most important factor that helped you to achieve such a high mark?
While studying for the exam, apart from using the approved providers resources and open tuition, I also used the ACCA Global webpage to read up on technical articles. The ACCA exam hub page send short email reminders on the preparation level for students. Most of the mails have short videos with key points that could help while writing your answers in the exams. Webinars to support ACCA students were attended to the letter and all key points from the discussions duly noted and applied. The ACCA specimen exams were all attempted under exam conditions with the examiners reports and exam progress reports studied to understand the likely shortfalls for students. Attempting the three specimen papers made me realize that technical knowledge is irrelevant unless it’s applied to the requirements. SBL article (Effective communication) provided an insight into the communication tools that the examiners could select to present relevant organizational/ industry relevant information. The communication formats highlighted within the article are the ones most likely to be required of the candidates in presenting their own answers to the questions asked.
How did you find out about Open Tuition, and which of our resources did you use?
Sometime in 2015 when I concluded to write the ACCA professional exams, I researched about it and a Facebook friend referred me to Open tuition. As a self-study student, Open tuition provided the common ground for me. I am able to relate with the tutors and also watch videos on key areas where I need further clarifications while studying. Watching Mr. John Moffat videos on F2 (Management Accounting) was the clincher. His ability to explain the key concepts in granular form made open tuition part of my daily diary. Worthy of mention that I also used the F6 (taxation) videos at some point to aid my preparation in June 2017.
Fast forward to June 2018 when I registered and wrote four ACCA papers, F9 videos – also by Mr. John Moffat – was the ace in the hole for me while preparing for the Financial Management exam. It provided a convincing proof for me that I only read few pages from my approved provider kits.
Another olive branch was provided by the SBR videos. I wrote three ACCA professional level papers in December 2018 and aware of the fact that efficient time management is key for me to pass the three (3) papers. Hence, I checked open tuition and made the SBR (Strategic Business Reporting) videos by Mr. Mike Little my daily guide. SBL lecture notes were also downloaded and read in conjunction with my approved providers’ kit.
Overall, it has been a long and rewarding journey. Key tips are:
- Make notes/jotting while reading or attending lectures. This will serve as a reference point for revision subsequently;
- Always remember the recipients for each exam requirements and the role you are playing in the scenario;
- Ensure you note the key points when you are reading the case study so you can always refer back to it when writing your answers;
- Always plan before you start writing your answers – this enables you to have a well thought out response and saves you the time to cancel and write again most times thereby leaving you confused and less confident to pass;
- Avoid unnecessary and long paragraphs. Adopt the 5W approach while writing your answers (Why, Who, When, What and Where);
- Use the figures where provided and
- Lastly, head paragraphs clearly.
Link to Facebook Session
Link to ACCA Post on the success story