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Choosing your Professional Options papers

by ACCA student blogger Naresh John 

Hey everyone. Exams are over now and the time has come again for us to be deciding which modules we will pursue for the upcoming sitting. Having completed the compulsory papers in the Professional Level (P1, P2 & P3), I am now faced with the dilemma of choosing my two options papers. As many of you may know, this is not an easy task and is a decision that requires a lot of thought and analysis as it can determine your career path.

Therefore, I took several factors into consideration whilst making this decision:

1. Pass rates of papers – As students we are often interested in trends of examination results over the years since we use pass rates as a measure of how difficult an examination can be. Whilst this may hold some merit, it should not be a critical factor; due to the fact that the pass rates listed are based on the worldwide results rather than country and therefore may vary from country to country. Also, an examiner may be changed and as such the examination may differ to the norm so the pass rate for that given paper may be different.

2. Previous performance in related fundamental papers – This should act as a gauge as to how you would do in the advanced, Professional papers. Additionally, both the knowledge and examination techniques that are being brought forward would give you a head start.

3. The combination of options – After researching the individual options papers, I have come to the conclusion that P4 and P6 are technical papers, while P5 and P7 are papers that rely greatly on application of topics. As such, depending on the time an individual has to devote to their studies and depending on whether or not you would attempt both papers in the same sitting; it would be advisable to pursue a mix of these papers so it would not be too stressful on you.

4. Career path – Most importantly, these options should be chosen carefully as they will influence your career direction. Consequently, choose the papers related to the area of accounting and finance that you would like to get into.

After taking all of these factors into consideration, I have eventually decided to pursue papers P7 and P4 which I will do over two exam sittings in order to try to maximize my efforts at them.

I hope this brief analysis helps anyone who is currently facing this situation as well as future students.Till my next blog post…take care everyone.   

Blog Editor’s comment: Do you need more help in picking your Professional Level option papers? Find out more about making the best options choices.  

Greetings from a sunny Cyprus. My name is Pan Fouli. I am 38-year-old Greek/Cypriot married to a fantastic lady and am blessed with 2 beautiful girls (9 & 3) which keep me busy.

I have always enjoyed numbers, but I guess it was the positive influence of my first accountancy teacher back in school that managed to jolt my enthusiasm. She would explain the material and weave it into every day practical examples – one that even a teenager would find intriguing, and that would fascinate me.

After graduating from the American Academy here in Larnaca Cyprus and completing my 2 years of compulsory military service, I knew ACCA would be the perfect route for me. Entry requirements of A levels and O levels (which are now GCSEs) were perfect for me and I could choose to structure my studies how I saw fit; 1 paper at a time, 4 papers at a time, studying full-time, studying part-time, working while I studied etc.

As an ambitious 19-year-old I commenced my studies. That was back in 1994, ladies and gentlemen, and here is where it gets interesting. If you do the math, why am I still a student and still on the register? Apart from all the benefits I mentioned above, ACCA requires you complete your ACCA Qualification exams within 10 years of registering to study. I was fortunate for that, for if that was not the case I would not be here with you today.

I managed to complete 9 ACCA papers till 2001 and then I stopped.  I quit. Quitting means for me, maybe attempting an exam every few years without having done your homework. Quitting means for me, paying for your exams year in year out and not turning up. That all changed last summer, fast forward to my Dec 2012 sitting – I passed my final Fundamentals exam paper F7 with a mark of 63. And I now have 4 Professional level exams to go.

Now, what happened leading up to last summer till my first pass in 11 years, I will share with you in a future blog post. And that, my friends, is my ambition going forward, to become a qualified accountant and if en route, if I am able to uplift current or potential students with my writing, even better.

Thanks for tuning in. Till next time.

I am not a presumptuous character, but I earned the name ‘I am legend’ for my diligence at the firm where I did my financial training. Gaining this name involved solving a complex deferred tax calculation (don’t we all love that?). I did my 3 years’ financial training at a chartered accounting firm called Nolands Johannesburg Inc in South Africa.

I chose accountancy because of a career guidance day where the accountants showed us how lucrative and prestigious the profession was (that is the part I heard, at least). At that point in my life I had never even opened an accounting text book, but decided I wanted to badly. My first encounter with accounts was therefore at university level.

Another turning point after completing my degree was I realised that I actually enjoyed the technical aspects; the auditing of Annual Financial Statements (AFS) was thrilling. I felt it gave me the ability to “undress” an entire corporation by looking at 100 pages of financial information – you can only imagine the ecstasy derived from actually drafting the AFS.

ACCA, from my research, can only serve to grow me into a “global leader”. It gives me the ability to “plug and play” in most economies; hence it was a natural choice to want to join this global accounting icon. I hope to be a CFO one day and certainly the ACCA Qualification will help me achieve that goal when I complete the Professional level at the end of 2013.