Please tell us which country you live, and what work do you do.
I am a current resident of Kenya but I was studying in the UK (from 2011-2014) when I started my ACCA journey. P3 was my first exam in Kenya. Professionally, I work as an Actuarial Analyst in a Life Assurance firm(Pan Africa Assurance Limited).
How much time each week did you spend studying, on average?
For the last three days before the exam, I would usually spend about 8-10 hours a day or even more. But before that, due to work commitments I would usually study for an hour a day during the weekdays and about 3-4 hours on weekends.
Which study resources did you use?
OpenTuition is my holy grail when it comes to study resources. For all my ACCA papers I have used nothing else other than OpenTuition. The lectures are amazing and the notes are precise and inclusive of all the aspects of the syllabus. I have never had to use any textbooks or any other study resource. Past exam papers from the ACCA website were also a fundamental learning tool.
Did you get support from your firm?
The firm paid for the paper and the yearly subscription fee. I was also allowed one day study leave before the examination day and of course a day off on the day of the exam. Aside from that, I have had to make the most of the weekends and public holidays.
What was your approach to your studying?
At first, I usually like going through all the lectures together with the lecture notes which are available on OpenTuition. Then I concentrate on the past exam question and answers. I usually go through at least 5 past papers and answers before the exam. It cannot be stressed enough how crucial these past papers are. Specially for theoretical papers like P3. No one in his or her right mind can expect to pass without going through the past exam papers. Some students prefer to answer the questions themselves before looking at the answers. But that doesn’t work for me. I prefer going through the questions together with the answers. The idea is to get a grip on what the examiner is looking for and how he awards marks. If you have gone through the lecture notes, you usually have adequate knowledge but the problem is exam technique. And this may be the reason you fail. Going through the past papers and looking at the answers improves your exam technique. You learn how to structure your answer, know what to write and even more importantly how much to write!
Remember you are also being tested on time and for papers like P3 there are minimal calculations and a lot of writing. Students should also remember, what works for one student doesn’t work for another student. One has to identify how best they can study. Studying is not an exact science. Some like to start early and study for a few hours a day while others like to go for it in the last month or so. Personally I can’t start early, I need motivation to start and the nearer the exam day the more the motivation. But when I start, which is normally one month before the exam, I make sure I give it my all. No distractions and certainly no smart phones while studying. One should also try and find out when and where their brain works best. I prefer to study at home, alone and usually during the night when there is almost pin drop silence.
What would you say was the most important factor that helped you to achieve such a high mark?
I have to say dedication and time management. Once I decide on a study timetable, I have the discipline to stick to it. Having a timetable with frequent short breaks really helps. I decide on whatever I need to do before the exam day and then makes sure I do everything. There is no shortcut to passing. You have to work both hard and smart. I believe everybody has the ability to do well but the difference between success and failure is in the effort they put in. Some people require more time to understand certain concepts. But if that is the case with me, I put the extra effort and make sure I understand the concept. P3 has a lot of topics that deal with Information Technology which wasn’t my bread and butter. But I spent more time on that and made sure I understood them.
How did you find out about OpenTuition, and which of our resources did you use?
I was introduced to it by a friend who was pursuing ACCA before I had began my qualification. I spoke to him about my desire to pursue ACCA and asked him whether it was possible for me to do it without attending any classes. At that time I was focusing on my undergraduate studies in actuarial science and a full time course for ACCA was just not feasible. He asked me to have a look at OpenTuition and since then that is all I have ever needed for my ACCA exams. I will forever be grateful to him and OpenTuition.
The resources I used were the lecture notes and lectures.