ACCA Study Tips: F2’s, F3’s and Fry-Ups

Brought to you by Thomson Reuters

‘Tis the season to be studying! We ask Mark Purdue, product manager for tax products, about his recent experience of ACCA exams. Mark is studying alongside his full-time job here at Thomson Reuters.

How did you fit studying around your work-life balance?
Studying for something like ACCA is certainly a huge commitment, over a long period of time. A usual day for me involves attending a lot of meetings, so my calendar fills up quickly. I therefore ‘book out’ my lunch break to ensure I take it. I always make sure I spend part of my lunchbreak either reviewing previous topics, attempting some questions or watching new webinars. Where possible, I get away from my desk to an available meeting room.

Fortunately, Thomson Reuters have been very supportive in my studies, and so I now work from home twice a week. My normal commute to work equates to just under two hours a day.  On my work from home days, I use this commute time as study time.

Together these two approaches give me about 6-7 hours a week of study time. In addition, particularly as exams are approaching, I also put aside more hours at weekends.

Any top tips for studying specifically for ACCA? 
Make sure you’re committed to it! One technique I’d never used before, and which I have found useful is mind mapping. Particularly for the ‘non-numeric’ papers (e.g. F1 Accountant in Business and F4 Law), I’ve found it a useful tool to help learn and remember key points.

Did you devise a revision plan and stick to it?
With the F1 to F4 papers, there’s a lot of flexibility on exam dates. When I start my studies towards a paper, I plan out how long the course should take me (using an Excel spreadsheet, of course!), consider the time I can commit to, and then book my exam. The training provider that Thomson Reuters uses has a huge amount of revision and question bank resources to help with revision. From F5 onwards, exams are held on fixed quarterly dates, so it’s vitally important to stick to a plan.

Did you see any videos and podcasts which helped you?
Most of the study tools from the training provider are online videos, which are very useful. I was also surprised at how many resources are easily available online. ACCA have previous papers and study tips, and an organisation called Open Tuition has really good content, covering study notes, webinars and question banks which I use to supplement my existing materials. Additionally, there are various mobile apps which incorporate question banks, so you can get some question practice in when away from your laptop.

Go on, what was your favourite study snack?
I don’t have a favourite study snack, but near where I take the exams in Bristol, there’s an amazing breakfast place. If I pass the exam, I treat myself to a well-deserved fry-up.

Mark answers more questions about studying for ACCA exams in the full blog over on our website.

About Mark Purdue
Mark is our Making Tax Digital (MTD) expert, and was named AccountingWEB’s 2017 Software Excellence Pioneer for his outstanding contribution to educating the accounting community about the HMRC initiative. Take a look at his blogs on the topic, specifically for accountants in practice:

What does the Making Tax Digital deferral mean for accountants?
Making Tax Digital: everything you need to know
Making Tax Digital – Get your facts straight