Can you tell us more about yourself ?
Hi, my name is Beth, I am from Nottingham (England) and work full time in the tax department for Specsavers.
I took my first ACCA exams in December 2011 without any exemptions and have now completed F1-F9, all by distance learning.
Many students are working just like you, how do you balance between studying, job and private life?
I’m unfortunately not someone with a photographic memory so I do have to put in a lot of effort. As I was sitting both F7 and F9 in June, I ordered all my study materials at the end of January so I would have a solid 4 months to study. Studying by distance learning means I can fit in the studying around everything else, particularly handy since I work full-time and tend to work extra hours every week as well as travel regularly to the Channel Islands for meetings, and at home I spent a lot of time running around after my son who has just turned 6. I’m very lucky to have a very supportive boyfriend, especially since I signed up for ACCA just after we moved in together!
Starting off a few months early is the key to fitting it all in and still having some kind of life… earlier this year I also had to fit in buying and moving into a house, and before the December exams I ran a half marathon.
Do you get support from your firm?
Yes the company pays for all the tuition and exam fees, and gives time off to sit the exams plus a study day per exam.
They are also willing to pay for weekend classes, however I prefer to study by distance learning so I can spend more time at the weekends with my little boy. I also use annual leave for extra studying time.
Which study materials did you use, or found the most useful in your studies for this exam?
I have used Kaplan distance learning for all the ACCA exams and have been very happy with the materials they provide – text book, exam kit, pocket notes and online materials including a few videos and debriefs for some of the past exam questions. I also read the technical articles from the ACCA website, and read the OpenTuition forums.
You have scored such high marks, many students must wonder what is your study technique?
My approach is to study pretty much every spare minute I get. Before work, after work, weekends… I start studying 3-4 months before the exam and put in study time almost every day. I tend to stay an extra 2-3 hours at work twice a week to study, as well as sometimes going in early, and I also study at home most evenings. At the weekends I tend to get up early and study for a few hours then spend some time with my family then study again in the evening.
I go through the text books very thoroughly at least 2 or 3 times before I get to the revision stage so I understand the material pretty well. In the run up to the exam I spend 2-3 days going through the book again, then devote a full day 1-2 days before the exam to getting through as many practice questions as I can. In the remaining time before the exam I try to rote learn as much of the material as I can for the written elements of the exam.
What do you think was the most important factor in your success in your ACCA exams?
Question practice! Also learning the stuff for the written elements… I think some people focus too much on the calculation parts and not enough on the written parts especially for exams like F9 where the written parts are just as important.
I also pick the exams strategically… after sitting F4 and F5 which were a week apart, I then realised that if I carried on sitting them in order then the exams would be back-to-back… so I took F6 with F8, then F7 with F9 so I would have 1 full day after the first exam to concentrate on the second exam.
How did you find out about OpenTuition and which OpenTuition resources helped you towards your success.
A friend from work mentioned the site so I signed up and have always found the forums great for getting hints and tips from other people.