Do you want to take your ACCA or CIMA exams, but have no clue where to start. There are so many learning providers out there. How do you make sure to pick the right one?
Don’t worry - most aspiring accountants have walked in your shoes. Choosing the perfect learning provider that suits you is the key to passing. So, instead of looking back and wishing you had done it differently, we’re going to give you all the best information upfront.
That way, you can get started on your career path and take one big step closer to your dream job. That’s what passing your ACCA or CIMA exams is about - landing a job that brings you happiness and gives your career purpose.
Here are 8 factors that you need to consider when you’re looking for a learning provider and why they’re so important.
1. Learning Style
Your learning style is the most important factor to consider when you’re choosing the best learning provider. When comparing your options, you can choose a learning provider that is:
- Classroom-based - meeting only in person
- Blended - allowing students to choose online or in-person learning
- Online - providing full access to learning materials 24/7
This is especially important because it quickly narrows down your choices. Here’s what that looks like.
With classroom-based learning, you’ll have to commit to showing up according to the class schedule. That may be easy if you’re only focusing on education or you live near the class-site.
However, if you have a full-time job, especially one with an unpredictable schedule or requires you to stay late, classroom-based learning can be tough to juggle.
Also, choosing in-person learning limits you to options within a comfortable distance of your home. Being able to ask questions in the moments that you have them, however, does have its benefits.
Blended learning can offer the best of both worlds. You can choose to attend in-person if it works for you. Or, you can access the lecture remotely and attend on your own schedule. This can be a great option if you’re planning on attending every class, but worry that your work schedule may force you to miss a lecture occasionally.
The drawback of blended education is that the courses are generally set up to be in-person. The online portion isn’t quite as robust because it’s difficult to duplicate the in-person class on an online platform. Therefore, the online portion takes a back seat and those that are solely choosing to attend online may struggle.
Online-only learning providers set up their platforms to provide every student with the same learning experience. Generally, online learning providers allow you to work at your own pace, while still providing guidance on how to study effectively.
The course materials are easy to access from wherever you are, and you can spend as much time reviewing any topic you’d like.
The best online learning providers give students multiple ways to learn, like reading materials, audio learning, video lessons, and different ways to test your understanding of each topic.
This is another way to narrow down your options quickly.
Look at the price tag of the learning providers that you’re considering. Then, evaluate what’s included with the cost. Some providers require you to purchase different segments in large lump sums, rather than provide you with all the materials upfront for a transparent price.
Also, make sure to read the fine print. Are there any hidden fees or costs that you’ll have to pay down the road? Factor those into your final price before you decide what’s best for your budget.
3. Quality of Course Materials
When you take your ACCA or CIMA exams, you’ll need to be well-prepared. Most of that responsibility falls on you because your study habits help get you ready for your exams. However, the materials that you’re studying need to be up to standard. Otherwise, you’ll be taking in outdated or poor information!
Check the quality of your learning provider before committing. Look at their social media presence and check any reviews and ratings that you can find. Read through the comments that users are making and try to understand what kind of experience you can expect.
You can also learn a lot about the lecturers for your CIMA or ACCA materials. Look at their background and experience and learn the type of people that will be teaching you.
Most importantly, make sure the training materials are up to date. If you’re going to purchase any textbooks or other reading materials for the class, check that the course is using the most up-to-date editions that are available.
Everyone knows how quickly things can change in the accounting industry. You want to know the most up-to-date processes in place - it will certainly be on the exam!
4. Practice Exam Experience
The best way to test your knowledge while you’re studying for the ACCA or CIMA exams is to… test your knowledge! Using practice exams, you can gauge how well you’re understanding the course materials and address any gaps in knowledge.
In addition, the exam questions should be up-to-date with the most current exam questions as possible.
If you’re looking to take the CIMA or ACCA exams, you’ll want to access your study materials at your own convenience. You’ll be logging a lot of hours studying and it helps to have the flexibility to start and stop studying anytime, anywhere.
When you start looking for a learning provider, find one that allows you to work on your own schedule. Consider what your work schedule is and when you’re likely to have time to study during the week.
Does the learning provider give you access to all the resources you need all the time and instantly? Are you able to view lectures easily online, at your own pace?
This is a quick factor to check with each learning provider you evaluate:
Is the learning provider approved by CIMA or ACCA?
If they aren’t, it’s best to pass on that provider. The ACCA and CIMA exams are already difficult and time-consuming enough. You don’t want to waste hours studying materials that aren’t approved or certified by the ACCA or CIMA.
It could mean the difference between passing your exams and having to retake them.
7. Help & Support
Check out the support that’s offered by each learning provider. If you’re using a blended or online learning platform, you may be relying on technology quite a bit while you study for the exams.
It’s helpful to have options for 24/7 support when you need it. That way, if something isn’t working right or you’re not sure how to find what you need, you can quickly and easily reach out for support.
8. Bonus Materials
Every learning provider may offer similar materials to study for your ACCA or CIMA exams. However, everyone learns a little differently.
You may not spend much time on certain topics while you may struggle to understand other topics. It’s nice to have a variety of other ways to learn, aside from the regular course materials.
Check out the bonuses that each learning provider offers students. You might find webinars or podcasts that can help you absorb more information. Some providers have forums for students to ask questions, too. That way, you can get some human support when you need extra help.
The task of finding your perfect learning provider to get you through the CIMA or ACCA exams doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. In fact, keeping these simple things in mind can help you narrow down your options quickly.
Make sure you find a provider that’s going to provide you with everything you need to get you through test day. Keep the points above in mind and sort through your options.
Once you choose your learning provider, you’re one step closer to completing the exams!