Why study with a learning provider?

Four of our recent exam prizewinners studied with an ACCA Platinum Approved Learning Partner. They tell us about the benefits of studying this way, how to find the ideal provider, and how to make the most of the resources they can offer

Ali Ahmet – Audit and Assurance exam prizewinner, June 2018

  • Location: London, UK
  • Learning provider: First Intuition

Have you always used a learning provider to prepare for ACCA exams?

Yes I have, but I’ve changed provider as I’ve progressed. For my last exam I studied with First Intuition – I choose providers based on student recommendations and on the tutor’s reputation, and sometimes use another provider for revision, just to get a different perspective.

What, for you, are the key advantages of studying with a learning provider?

First Intuition’s emphasis on time management was very helpful. When you practise questions early on in your studies, you need extra time to express your newly gained knowledge and so any constraints can actually be unhelpful. However, our tutors increasingly underlined the importance of time limits as we approached the exam, and developed our ability to write quickly within the parameters of the question.

Learning providers usually supply a range of additional study support services – what did you find most useful?

First Intuition’s Live Online lecture programme, coupled with pre-recorded materials, provided me with clear explanations of core syllabus topics. My tutors also encouraged the use of mnemonics, which I had been reluctant to try in the past given the breadth of knowledge I had to acquire. But I found them invaluable and spent a lot of time creating my own – the quirkier they were, the more they resonated and resulted in speedier knowledge recall, which is vital given the time pressure of ACCA exams.

Any tips on how to find the ideal learning provider?

Ask for recommendations from colleagues or other students, and look for balanced and meaningful feedback. Consider both the reputation of tutors and the quality of the resources available, including student support. ACCA Approved Learning Partner (ALP) status is also an important factor.

Once they have enrolled with a learning provider, how can students make the most of their experience?

Ask lots of questions, but ‘triangulate’ first – look at all the available resources so your tutor knows that you’ve done your research and then they can give you the best answer. It’s also worth remembering that a learning provider has to be selective when choosing past questions, so expand your experience by using ACCA resources as well.


Odelyn Barreto – Advanced Audit and Assurance exam prizewinner, June 2018

  • Location: Dubai, UAE
  • Current role: Audit associate at a Big Four firm
  • Role when studying: Accountant, Rethink ME Ptd
  • Learning provider: Phoenix Financial Training (Dubai)

Have you always used a learning provider to prepare for ACCA exams?

I’ve used the same learning provider – Phoenix Financial Training (PFT) – for all my exams. I’m familiar with PFT’s teaching methodology and happy with the structure of its courses.

What, for you, are the key advantages of studying with a learning provider?

PFT pushes me to devote a specific number of hours every week to exam preparation, which is important as I also work and could easily prioritise work over study. ACCA exams also take a more professional and application-focused approach – this needs practice and learning providers have the experience required to guide students in the right direction.

Learning providers usually supply a range of additional study support services – what did you find most useful?

PFT provides study materials from an Approved Content Provider, including the most recent exam kit and pocket notes. They have full-time tutors running 12 week courses, with supporting videos and webinars on key topics, and we also take a test half way through the course to assess our performance. Nearer the exam, PFT offers intensive revision courses covering past questions, exam tactics and time management tips. Tutors are always approachable and generous with their time when helping students with questions or marking practice answers.

Any tips on how to find the ideal learning provider?

Do your research, talk to other students and try to make an objective decision based on your own circumstances, considering issues such as class size, course structure, accreditation level, location or cost. PFT, for example, ran a class timetable that fitted in with my work schedule, and was at a convenient location. ACCA ALP status is also important – it shows that the quality of the learning provider has been measured against the ACCA benchmark; courses will be aligned with ACCA, and tutors will be qualified to teach these courses – all of which helps students pass their ACCA exams as quickly as possible.

Once they have enrolled with a learning provider, how can students make the most of their experience?

Go to every session – missing a single topic could mean a loss in continuity, which could affect the next session, and tutors can also provide real-life scenarios that are helpful. Also, remember that a learning provider can only point you in the right direction – ultimately, it’s your responsibility to put in the time required to pass.


Seb Johnson – Advanced Financial Management exam prizewinner and Bronze medallist, June 2018

  • Location: London, UK
  • Current role: Senior associate, Duff & Phelps
  • Learning provider: Kaplan Financial

Have you always used a learning provider to prepare for ACCA exams?

I’ve been with Kaplan throughout my exams – Kaplan is used by my employer Duff & Phelps for all students, but I’ve become very familiar with the format and structure of Kaplan courses and have never felt the desire to change.

What, for you, are the key advantages of studying with a learning provider?

Kaplan has some fantastic tutors who are very knowledgeable, approachable and – most importantly – willing to help, actively urging students to contact them rather than struggle alone. For example, ahead of my last exam my tutor didn’t have time to cover a topic I’d asked for. So he did a full question that evening and gave me a mock answer the next day, sitting down with me during the breaks between sessions to ensure I understood the subject. It's this personal touch that I value most and I think played a huge role in my exam performance.

Learning providers usually supply a range of additional study support services – what did you find most useful?

Kaplan provides a wide range of materials that follow the evolution of your studies, including study texts, class notes, an exam kit of past questions, and 'pocket notes' (to read on your way to work, for example). You can also live chat with tutors via the student support webpage if you become stuck on a specific question. A Kaplan course also includes a revision phase focusing on past questions and exam technique, and a ‘Question Based Day’. This is essentially a mock exam taken roughly a week before the real thing and marked on the day, so you can fine-tune your performance.

Any tips on how to find the ideal learning provider?

Go with the learning provider that ticks the most boxes, such as classroom-based learning, or a convenient location, but also one that you’ve heard good things about. Exams are stressful, so if students are giving positive feedback, then the learning provider must be doing something right.

Once they have enrolled with a learning provider, how can students make the most of their experience?

Use all of the resources your learning provider can offer – testing your knowledge in different ways stops study becoming repetitive. Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions, as the more you ask, the greater the benefit you’ll reap in the future. Finally, remember that learning providers will not do the work for you. Self-study, background reading and self-testing are all key, and will help you get so much more out of your course than just sitting and waiting to be given the answers.


Ahmad Fauzee Bin Mohd Hassan – Financial Reporting exam prizewinner, June 2018

  • Location: Selangor, Malaysia
  • Current role: Full-time student
  • Learning provider: IPAC Education

Have you always used a learning provider to prepare for ACCA exams?

I’ve studied with IPAC Education from the very beginning. IPAC Education has great lecturers who have encouraged my interest in particular subjects.

What, for you, are the key advantages of studying with a learning provider?

A key advantage is the experience of the lecturers – they have the skills needed to explain difficult topics, and as many of them have also worked in industry they can give real-life examples that are interesting and motivating. My tutors are also keen to interact with students rather than just get through the syllabus – they provide good exam technique tips and also encourage us to understand topic concepts rather than memorising information, which also makes recall easier in the exam. IPAC Education courses are also delivered in a classroom rather than a lecture hall, which allows the lecturer to focus more on the students.

Learning providers usually supply a range of additional study support services – what did you find most useful?

IPAC Education provides comprehensive lecture notes summarising key points in the textbook, making it easier to read and to revise. We have four internal assessments per subject that are also very helpful. Lecturers can check my progress more frequently and then focus on my weaknesses, and I can measure improvements between assessments. As the exam approaches, IPAC Education organises an intensive revision course, which is a good way to refresh the memory on key points, and we also answer past paper questions with more focus on exam technique.

Any tips on how to find the ideal learning provider?

Find an ACCA Approved Learning Partner. This means you will learn the strategies you need for exam success, which was certainly the case for me with IPAC Education.

Once they have enrolled with a learning provider, how can students make the most of their experience?

Engage in your classes and ask questions – make the most of the opportunity of having a tutor who can explain key topics. Tutors are also very good at explaining the different techniques required for each exam, which can be difficult to master when you study without a learning provider.

Find an Approved Learning Partner near you