Interview with Samir, Genius Hunt winner in Paper F2, who scored 96 marks in June 2014 exam.
Please tell us in which country you live, and what work you do.
I live in Azerbaijan, a small country on the west shore of the Caspian Sea. I work as an audit assistant in the local member firm of Nexia International.
How do you balance your time between studying, working, and having a private life?
To be frank, I am not a very social type, even before starting ACCA I did not have a rich social life 🙂
Although I try to allow some time for social activities, I generally prefer to spend my free time studying and improving myself, even if what I am learning is not related to my ACCA studies. As I am working full time, I mostly study after work in the evenings and on weekends, especially in the last 1 or 2 months before the exams.
Nevertheless, I try to fit in some kind of social or personal activities, as well some exercise into my schedule, because studying without rest is not a way to achieve success. When I study after work, I try to do some kind of exercise right after reaching home, because it stimulates blood circulation and helps the brain to work better, as well as allowing to leave behind the stress of the working day.
I believe that it is much better to use planned and organized approach to studies for ACCA, but unfortunately my work is sometimes unpredictable, i.e. it is not certain that I will be able to return home at a certain time, so planning ahead doesn’t work for me.
Do you get support from your firm?
The only support I get from my employer for my studies is permission to study at work if there is no urgent job to be finished by me, I was just lucky that there was a 2-3 week period before my F2 exam when there wasn’t much to do at work and therefore I was able to study for a few hours each day at work. I should say that in this case it helped a lot, because it is much easier for me to study until lunchtime rather than in the evening.
Which study resources did you use?
The main study resources I used for F2 exam were BPP books, both study text and practice kit. I also used some lecture videos from LSBF. I believe that in this kind of exams where I can evaluate myself easily through practice questions there is no need for a tuition course. Although sometimes you may have a hard time understanding a concept or a technique, if you can sort it out yourself you are more likely to remember it for a long time.
Having scored such high marks, many students are asking – what approach did you use to your studying?
- My main approach to any kind of studies is that if you can understand some idea or concept your learning is around 80% 🙂 complete. Passing exams through rote learning specific techniques is possible, but for most people it is a recipe for failure. If you have understood a theory and the logic behind it, then learning fast exam techniques is good for exam speed, otherwise they will not be of much help to you.
- Another approach I used was that after studying each chapter I did all the relevant practice questions for that chapter from the kit. And just answering what you can and looking at answers in the end is not enough. I always try to go through the questions once again, looking whether my approach to calculation questions differs from the one used in the book, if it does, I compare those and try to decide which one is better, more understandable and easier to apply. I do not just look at the questions that I made a mistake on, I also review answers to questions I got right. I tend to believe it helps to learn more deeply and makes it easier to revise afterwards.
- After I finished all the chapters I did all chapter-specific questions from the kit once again and then I went on to do mixed banks of exam questions. In the meantime I also revised some of the more theoretical parts of the text which I was more likely to forget. I did the mock exams only a week or so before the exam so that I can see what my level of knowledge is, what my weaknesses are and whether I am ready to take the exam.
- One final thing I used for exam preparation was ACCA examiner’s reports. I read and tried to do the questions given there myself before reading examiner’s comments, and I saw that there are some concepts and matters that I have forgotten, so I revised those sections from the book.
How much time each week did you spend studying?
Actually, I am not sure of how much time I spent each week on preparation, but it was probably not less than 6-8 hours in the final 2 months before the exam (I have no idea if that sounds too little or too much 🙂 ), and even more in the last 2 or 3 weeks.
How important do you regard the practicing of past exam questions?
Even though ACCA does not publish past exam questions for F2 and other knowledge module exams, I believe the questions in the exam kits mostly come from past exams, and as I have already outlined above practice is a very important part of exam preparation.
How did you find out about OpenTuition, and which OpenResources helped you towards your success?
I have been using Opentuition probably for more than 4-5 years (if I remember correctly), and when I first started using it I was not even an ACCA student. I had just started to learn about ACCA and it was very helpful for me to get answers to questions that interested me. I cannot really recall how I found about it, I guess an acquaintance who was already studying ACCA must have told me about it.
The main resource I used on OpenTuition were forums, and although I do not remember whether I have posted any questions or answers, I tried to read what others asked about and try to figure them out myself and then I would read through replies to see whether my approach is correct, are there any better ways to answer the question, etc.
I also used the flashcards, it was a good practice for memorizing some useful ideas.
And finally, what would you say was the most important factor in achieving your success?
Understand, practice, revise, practice again and never give up…