The ACCA can feel like a long road, and success can seem almost out of reach. We’ve all been there. So sometimes it’s helpful to remember: the ACCA is difficult, but it’s doable. It’s perfectly possible not just to pass, but to pass with flying colours.

Which brings us back to LearnSignal student Kelly Crawford, who’s our most recent reminder of those facts. You probably read our interview with Kelly, a couple of months back when she was awarded Joint 1st in Ireland and 11th worldwide for her F8 paper.

[Read more: An Interview with Kelly Crawford]

Well, we’re thrilled to say she’s making waves again – this time, with her recent nomination for the 2018 PQ Awards Distance Learning Student of the Year.

The PQ Awards are an industry-wide event sponsored by major accountancy bodies, with independent judges from the likes of the AAT, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, ICAEW and the ACCA.

The awards have a firm place in the calendar for accounting students and anyone involved in accounting education worldwide, as a chance to recognise excellence and celebrate our successes.

This year was the 15th year for the PQ awards, and the first year for LearnSignal – the first of many, and we were thrilled to be there.

Unfortunately this wasn’t Kelly’s year to win, but we’re all massively proud of her achievements and her nomination alone is an incredible achievement.

She just goes to prove, you can balance work and family commitments and still do well.

As Kelly says,

“There’s no huge secret to my success. I definitely passed F8 thanks to exam technique. I’m really structured about how I study, which LearnSignal has really helped with. I have two young kids and work for myself, so I never get huge chunks of time to study.

I get a couple of hours in the morning before the kids wake up, and a couple of hours in the evening once they’re in bed. LearnSignal is really good for that, because they’re really short videos. It’s perfect if you don’t have huge chunks of time.”

Kind words there from Kelly, but it’s her hard work and commitment that earned her these results. LearnSignal gives you a smarter, more flexible, more structured way to learn – but ultimately, passing the ACCA is your responsibility.

So…  if you haven’t read our full interview with Kelly then please do.

It’s packed with awesome titbits to help ordinary students study smarter, apply themselves better and learn what you need to do to excel (and not just for F8; this stuff will help across all the papers).

And here’s a quick summary of her main points, to whet your appetite.

  • Create structure – Kelly had a busy life with work and kids but used the flexibility of LearnSignal to work around this. Make a plan and then stick to it.
  • Start early enough – Kelly started studying and planning for her F8 exams nearly 3 months out. Listen to her; she knows what she’s talking about.
  • Make progress as you go – studying is hard, we all know that. Kelly used the MCQ’s after each video to validate her progress. A good step to attempting the larger questions was to make sure you understood the video content.
  • Tutor questions are invaluable – our videos where the tutor takes you through the question step-by-step were super important. Not just the knowledge but the exam technique.
  • Practice exam technique  – we all know the syllabuses are large but exam technique is vital too. Knowing how to manage your time and answering questions with the examiner in mind is a great approach.

So there you have it. Top tips from Kelly who is currently moving on to her next set of exams. There’s nothing here that’s a huge surprise, but the low pass rates prove even these simple steps aren’t followed.

Don’t let that be you. Be like Kelly instead, and maybe next year you’ll be stepping up to the PQ Awards too!

LearnSignal gives you the best chance of passing your ACCA first time. Check out our ACCA courses now, with your free 7-day trial.