How to become an ACCA Gold Medal prize-winner?

We are very proud to announce that First Intuition ACCA student, Rachel Ilott has won the ACCA Gold Medal prize for her performance in her Strategic Professional level exams in 2019.

Award Winning Year For First Intuition

How to become an ACCA Gold Medal prize-winner?

We are very proud to announce that First Intuition ACCA student, Rachel Ilott has won the ACCA Gold Medal prize for her performance in her Strategic Professional level exams in 2019.

Rachel achieved the highest marks worldwide in 2019 and also in 2018 for her Strategic Business Reporting exam after switching from her previous tuition provider to First Intuition. We asked Rachel to share with us her approach to studying and what led to this fantastic achievement.

 1. Dedication    

Congratulations on your ACCA Gold Medal award and highest total average marks worldwide. What do you think was the biggest factor that led to your achievement?

I think the biggest factor that led to my achievement was hard work! Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a way around it. Passing these exams takes a lot of perseverance and dedication. I also think it was key to keep myself motivated, as the ACCA qualification can seem overwhelming at times. I would always ensure that I had something to look forward to after each exam to keep myself motivated.

What made you choose a career in accountancy? Was there anything that triggered your decision?

My career in accountancy began almost by accident! After finishing a history degree at York University, I took a temporary summer job at De Soutter Medical Ltd. This was initially to get some work experience but a vacancy opened up in the Finance department and the rest is history.

2. A course provider with flexible study options 

Why did you switch to FI as your tuition provider? What has been different about FI’s approach?

FI’s approach to the ACCA qualification has suited me for several reasons. Firstly, I have benefited from the flexible study options. While I received excellent tuition during the classroom courses, the online/self-study options were great. Having this flexibility was especially helpful at times when my personal life and other commitments prevented me from attending taught courses. Secondly, the quality of FI’s course materials has helped me to succeed. I have found that other tuition providers overload you with information, which can make the task ahead seem incredibly daunting. The FI course notes always set out the key points in a clear format. They provide enough detail to allow you to gain the necessary marks without being overwhelming.

3. Question practice-TIMED!

For your last few papers, you tried our FI Online courses. How did you find this study method? What was your approach to studying for this module and are there any study tips you recommend to other online students?

FI Online has been a great alternative at times when I was unable to attend classroom sessions. I always received fast responses to any queries I had and found the recorded lectures extremely useful. I have a relatively long commute so would listen to the audio from the online lectures in the car; so it didn’t feel like wasted time.

My general approach has been the same for all papers. I would start by attending classes or watching the recorded lectures, while simultaneously reading through the course materials. Then, I would write out notes in my own words, which would help me to absorb the information, and then practice all of the questions in the question bank, making sure to revisit any areas that I struggled with. Question practice is key to passing these exams and think it is essential to do at least one mock exam under timed conditions.

4. Supportive and responsive tutors 

Which qualities would you suggest a new learner looks for in a tuition provider to get the best experience from their studies?

I would suggest new learners look for a flexible tuition provider; so that they can find the study method that works best for them. I think it is also key to find a tuition provider that responds quickly to any queries. There is nothing more frustrating than getting stuck on a section of the syllabus. Fortunately, my tutors at FI always replied very quickly to any questions I had.

5. Do what you enjoy

Do you have any goals/plans in mind for once your ACCA studies are finished?

I still need to finish my PER and hope to get this all written up this year when I have a bit more time available. In terms of work, I plan to continue working in a management accountant role. This is the area of accountancy that I most enjoy. I also got engaged in the same week that I received my final exam results; so I will be kept busy planning our upcoming wedding!


A massive congratulations to Rachel from Team FI, both for her fantastic achievements while studying ACCA and on her engagement!

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