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ACCA prize winner, through online study

Portrait image of ACCA prize winner Jinder Toor

We found out how adapting to Live Online resulted in Jinder Toor becoming a global prizewinner for his ACCA Strategic Business Leader exam.

Tell us about your initial journey with Kaplan

I booked onto a Live Online course because my role involves a lot of travel, so I needed the flexibility. Even between audit trips, I often found myself travelling for other commitments. It wasn’t feasible to study in the classroom due to the amount of travelling involved with my role.

This was my first post-graduate Accountancy exam - so it’s hard to say why I did so well. But I’m currently studying Strategic Business Reporting (SBR), and I plan on continuing my studies with the same level of motivation.

How have you found studying online compared with the classroom?

At first, I thought it would take some time adapting to this new way of learning. But once you begin, you realise it is not too dissimilar to studying in a classroom.

You still need to create time and space for yourself to study, and you still have to read up on the course and work to understand topics yourself. If there was something I didn’t understand, I would read up about it until I did. It’s the same approach I used when I was at uni, when I was studying in a classroom.

Once you get accustomed to working online, I found it easier.

It’s really important to create a routine and structure, so that you progress through the course and still understand all of the material. It’s not a good approach to cram at the end, as you then may not understand the full syllabus. So, early on I baked study time into my overall schedule to make sure I stayed on track with my course.

What really works for you with Live Online?

Once you get accustomed to working online and submitting work that way, I found it easier. It offers visual aids so you understand where you’re up to on the course, and the format of the mock exams is brilliant for understanding exactly where you can improve.

As you progress through the course and get feedback, you understand what you need to improve and this gives you more confidence.

The Kaplan schedule is really well paced. It makes sure you get to your exam well prepared, without having to cram anything at the end. So use the online tools to your advantage and spend time completing your work each week.

It feels just like studying in a classroom

Did you miss out on connecting with other students?

It’s been fine actually. During the lectures there’s an online chat panel, which is really useful. At first, I was sceptical about it as I thought it might be a distraction having it there through the class. But as soon as the tutor mentioned it, people started asking questions in the chat. There’s a really good Q&A flow from the start.

So it feels just like studying in a classroom - take advantage of this if you study online!

How have you found the tutor support?

The tutors were great throughout the course, I always felt supported. I didn’t notice any difference in this regard between online and studying in a classroom.

As well as the live chat function, my tutors were great at providing personal feedback. This was especially important during mock exams. They always gave timely, constructive feedback that gave me confidence ahead of the exam.

It was important to get this level of feedback for SBL. As it’s mostly a written exam, it was vital to understand where and how my answers could be improved.

Finally, many of our students are struggling with motivation. How did you find that?

It takes commitment to balance full-time work with your studies, so it is important to stay motivated by keeping the end goal in mind. Another key point for motivation is to continue hobbies you enjoy, as these can be used as breaks or rewards between studying,

Time management - When you’re studying online (especially alongside work) it’s really important to set a routine and structure your studies. It’s a sacrifice as you’re often giving up evenings and weekends, but you’ve got to keep the end goal in mind. You need to be self-reliant if you’re going to study online.

Bite-sized learning - Break your studies down into chunks. Reach out to the great tutors if you need support. I know it’s easier said than done but stay motivated and keep working hard!

Jinder Toor was a global prizewinner for March 2020’s SBL ACCA exam, he used the Live Online study method.