Congratulations on your ACCA Gold Medal award and highest total average marks worldwide at Strategic Professional level. Could you identify the biggest factor that lead to this achievement?
I think there were a myriad of factors. These processes supported my ability to learn throughout my ACCA studies:
Attempting a vast array of past questions (some questions multiple times!).
I attempted all questions in full, under timed conditions from the outset.
Then I’d give myself unrestricted time during the self-assessment phase to re-attempt segments and create notes.
Dialogue with incredible tutors – FI’s tutors are outstanding.
I found that the tutors at FI could answer questions incisively. They also helped prevent me from becoming preoccupied with marginal points.
The office team were also exceptional and that’s critical when you’re busy balancing work and studies – they’re responsive and professional.
Read widely and revise content, but try to stay engaged.
In my experience, reading texts and ACCA articles helped to provide the stimulus I needed to refine my understanding of ACCA’s syllabus. I would often pause every five or ten minutes and consider whether I had understood the content.
Many times, I would attempt to paraphrase the subject, re-writing the passage in my own words or verbally articulating the content.
I would also attempt to create mnemonics for technical elements of the syllabus.
Planning and studying as early as possible.
Cramming studying into intensive short timescales can be effective (and sometimes necessary), but I preferred to begin studying as early as possible. In fact, at the Strategic Professional level, I began reading the course content prior to the course starting.
Honest and constructive reflection.
I would routinely reflect on the syllabus content I had covered. This could be an unsettling and painstaking process, especially with topics which were difficult to master.
- Support of family and friends.
I was lucky enough to have the incredible and unwavering support of my family and friends, and the expert support of my tutors at FI. Quite simply, these two forces were inextricably linked to the marks I achieved
What made you choose a career in accountancy? Was there anything that triggered your decision?
I was interested in financial and commercial management and the ways that this could propel competitive business performance. I saw the ACCA as an opportunity to progress into a strategic managerial role.
Over the course of your ACCA qualification, you have studied in the classroom as well as using FI online courses. What was your preferred approach to studying and do you have any study tips for students who are still studying ACCA?
I preferred the online courses. In my experience, they expanded the number of hours I could spend preparing for the course sessions and so this enhanced the time available for studying.
How do you feel First Intuition has responded to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic?
FI were great – their response to the pandemic, in my opinion, was exemplary:
- On my particular course, Strategic Business Leader, FI created a bridging programme because the June 2020 session was cancelled by ACCA. This consisted of additional assignments based on a specimen paper and this was provided at no extra charge. The bridging course helped to keep up the momentum and facilitated a continued dialogue with our tutors.
- The tutors (and the office team) were very supportive – they’ve got that winning cocktail of intelligence, empathy and a positive disposition.
In what way/s has the pandemic affected your ACCA studies?
Just like most people I knew, I was anxious about the pandemic, the closure of offices and the impact of working remotely.
This was challenging because it injected a shot of adrenaline into all of the usual anxieties surrounding taking ACCA exams. However, FI’s almost seamless transition into virtual tutoring, meant that the accessibility of support felt as forthcoming as it always had been. So rather than compounding the challenges, FI dialled them down (from a studying perspective, at least).
Which qualities would you suggest a new learner looks for in a tuition provider to get the best experience from their ACCA studies?
- Excellent pass rates.
- Experienced tutors, both in terms of their technical knowledge and their ability to relay their expertise.
- The quality of course materials is important.
- Responsive tutors – my FI tutors responded to emails with precision and substance.
- My personal preference is for the pre-recorded lectures to be recorded by a different tutor to the Online Live course. Some of the ways in which tutors convey technical content can help revise your interpretation of certain aspects of the module. This leads to a more robust command of the study material.
Do you have any goals/plans in mind now that you are ACCA qualified?
The imminent goal is to become an ACCA member. Then my longer-term goal is to work towards a senior managerial role, making a contribution towards the leadership of a dynamic and competitive company.
Ali’s achievement is proof that with careful planning, hard work and commitment great results can be achieved. Ali studied via a combination of tuition, revision and Question Based Days. Ali joined both online and in the classroom courses to achieve these fantastic results.
Learn more about our course options, how to plan your qualification and book your next ACCA course below:
ACCA Unlimited: Unlimited access to any and every online course for your paper/level