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Completing the full CIMA course through Distance Learning - Daniel’s story

Daniel Salas

CIMA student, Daniel Salas, completed all of the CIMA Professional papers after studying via the Distance Learning method.

Praising the support provided by the Academic Support team at Kaplan, Daniel’s determination paid off in October after he completed his full CIMA qualification.

Daniel is currently a Senior Finance Analyst after starting his CIMA studies with Kaplan back in 2018. After initially beginning his studies through printed material only, he found that the online Distance Learning study method would be better for him when sitting exams. Since transferring over to this method, he was overwhelmed by the support that was on offer for such an independent method.

Have you always had an interest in finance?

I’ve always had a good interest in accounting, finance, and everything about financial advice and management. I was actually hesitant between studying ACCA or CIMA, but I think for my background CIMA was the best choice.

Studying via Distance Learning with Kaplan

I chose to study CIMA as you need to be qualified to advance your career in finance. What prompted me to go with Kaplan is that they offer the official books for CIMA. I actually just went with the books at first, without any classes or online courses, and then I failed the CIMA F1 exam due to the lack of time. Not because of the material but because I didn’t know how to approach it.

Did you know?

Qualified CIMA members earned more than twice the national average in 2016, average earnings among qualified members reached £64,011 in 2016, £36,411 more than the current average UK wage.

There were a few things, like the speed of the exam, that made me decide to go with Distance Learning. Initially, it was a good price for me as I couldn’t do a classroom course, so I went for it and started asking questions, but was very surprised about the speed and quality of the feedback from all of the different tutors. The support that they gave me was very good and very fast, and it helped me a lot to keep going.

If I had any questions, I just sent the tutors an email. They would come back to me so quickly, which is what made me keep using Kaplan throughout all of my studies. I never thought about using another provider, because the tutors are so good at what they do. I think the main reason why I stuck to my studies is because of that relationship. It’s not something that you’ll find with other suppliers. The tutors were so supportive that I didn’t feel like I was missing anything from the classroom.


Speech marks

“It’s not something that you’ll find with other suppliers.”


At some point, you might feel like if you don't go to a classroom then you’re missing something. But the tutors advised me to just study online and ask as much as I needed, and that for sure would be fine, and they were right. That’s what surprised me, I actually passed all of my exams without a single class. There were a couple of them that I failed because the exam was difficult and I was short of time, but that wouldn’t have made any difference if I went to a classroom or not.

Staying motivated while studying via Distance Learning

It’s difficult sometimes because you have to be very persistent and motivated. Sometimes we want to give up or start later, but you have to be very disciplined. My way to study was to do it for an hour and a half every night. I thought that if I did a little bit every day then it would build my knowledge and it wouldn’t demotivate me. When you learn new things, it’s very nice. You start feeling good and knowledgeable from studying and reading. On the other hand, if you keep leaving it until the end of the week when you’re tired on a weekend, you just won’t do it.

If you can put in an hour every day, it’ll help to keep the ball rolling and will give you that motivation to keep going. But always use the support from the tutors because they’re happy to help you out all of the time, which is also very motivating.

Did you face any challenges?

Yes, I failed one exam three times which was the CIMA P3. After failing I thought I couldn’t do it anymore because there was nothing more that I could do. I got to the point where I had studied everything, I’d worked through all of the material and I didn’t know what else I could do.

I spoke to the tutors online and they told me to keep going and to try to do it again, like every month or so, and see how it goes. I actually think it helped because the more times I’d see the exam then the more familiar I was with the questions and notice that it was similar to what I did before, so it gave me more time to think. That was the key because when you go into the P3 exam in particular then you know that the case studies are going to be long and you need to read fast. It can be really difficult to do the exam in the time given.

So, I just needed to keep doing it and invest a little bit more time and money sitting the exam until I was able to read each question once and answer it straight away. That was the turning point, I didn’t want to keep doing this exam more than two or three times, and sometimes you need someone to just tell you to keep going, which is why the tutors really helped.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m going to try and see if I can get some type of role in terms of more managing, like a Finance Manager role, which will help me to achieve the things that I want. Perhaps I’ll do my MBA next year, but that’s something that I still need to think about. At the moment, I’m going to try to work hard where I am, learn and see how it goes, and if I have the time I’ll start my MBA.

Do you have any advice for people looking to pursue a career in accounting?

I think that my advice would be to do it. Dedicate one hour a day at least and use the tutor support because it’s really good. If I’m honest, I think that if you start studying then there will be a point where you will want to give up when the exams get harder, and you might fail an exam but you just need to keep going and keep trying because it’ll pay off in the end when you’ve got that membership. It’s so rewarding. So, never give up!


Speech marks

"You don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, but once you get there you can say “I did it!”


If I did it, anyone can do it with dedication. I don’t know how, but it is doable. Just keep going, keep trying, and you will get there.

Is there anything that you’d like to add?

I’d just like to acknowledge and pass my thanks on to the Academic Support team. I’m very thankful for all of the things that they did for me and sometimes I actually miss the email conversations with them!

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