urgent help needed to choose options P4 or P5 and more?

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urgent help needed to choose options P4 or P5 and more?

Postby busybe » Sun Aug 23, 2009 3:54 pm

Hi,
I have the first class starting tomorrow that is if I take P4. let's give you some background. I failed P2 in June 09 sitting so I will have to do it again in December and I don't think tuition would be necessary. I made mistakes in choosing the questions and some other circumstances made revision tougher.

My main issue is that I have a 13 months old boy and am after finding out am pregnant again and due in April. I have P2 , and the 2 options left. I passed papers F6 to P3 on my 1st go. I'm not a fan of P2. Being due in April means I won't be able to do any exams in June 2010 sitting. and I found it hard enough with one so when I'll have the 2nd one I doubt I can get some free time so I was wondering if it's possible to pass 2 options and re-sit P2 in Dec 09.

My other main issue is that I got exempted for F4 Performance Management and I'm not sure what it is about exactly. I mean considering the option of P4, do you think it's feasible without going back and studying basics of F4? I love computation but I'm not sure how much is involved in P4? I checked the syllabus and it mentioned that knowledge from P3 was required and P3 was heavy lot's to learn so I don't want theory again. So what would you suggest P4 or P5. I passed F9 with 66 marks back in Dec 07. I have to say I thought I did better but how bad is P5 compared to F9?

Really sorry for the long rant, I'm stressing about making a decision in such a short period of time.

Thanks for your replies
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Re: urgent help needed to choose options P4 or P5 and more?

Postby Mature-Student » Sun Aug 23, 2009 6:54 pm

As far as I know, P4 follows on mainly from F9. You seem to have done well in that, so P4 seems the obvious choice. However, the paper seems a little odd, going by the last lot of comments from the Exam Review Board.

As for P5, I thought this was the one that overlapped a lot with P3, but I could be mistaken. I don't know much else about P5 I'm afraid.

What other option were you considering doing? What mark did you get in P2? Also, what's your background - are you working, and if so industry, practice, public finance or ... ? And how much study time do you get? What's your plans for the future, work wise? Sorry for all the questions, I'd just like to help as much as I can.

Try to keep calm, especially in your current condition! And don't be rushed into a decision, if you miss one class, it's not the end of the world if it means you make the right choice.
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Re: urgent help needed to choose options P4 or P5 and more?

Postby busybe » Sun Aug 23, 2009 9:49 pm

Hi thanks for your help, I don't mind questions if that can help to help.

I got 45 and I'd rather have that than a 49! I try to move on and not live with remorse because I made some bad choices and misread some of the questions, but that's what learning from mistakes is about!

I'm working in the Fund investment industry and honestly I don't want to stay in that industry forever. I prepare sets of accounts for clients and it gets boring quickly and for some reason it's the first time, and I worked in many different industries, that i don't understand fully the industry and how it works and because of the recession I didn't get any induction training or training at all.

The other option I'm taking is taxation, I got 66 in F6 and I like that subject. My future is not set. I would love to work in tax environment but I'm not confident I can start from scratch. I'm not sure there are that many positions available and with no experience it might be difficult. Having a small family, i don't want to be working long hours and want to enjoy a good work life balance. i love computation and hopefully I will find the right position for me.

Regarding my study plan, the way I work is, I go to classes and for computations papers I would do questions and review the previous course before going to the next class. I enjoy it. I would prepare my flash cards and aim to have them ready for when the course is over or after a week. then I would go through my flash cards and usually the week before the exams I would do questions after questions, as many as I can.

I found it difficult to do it for P2 as to do a Consolidation most of questions involved knowledge of most of the syllabus. so I did questions just week or 2 before the exam. For F6 and F9 lecturers were great and would give us the list of questions that we could do to practice what we've learned. So we knew exactly where to go.

I could see from your profile that you work in tax, so any advice on work opportunities?

Many thanks for your help.
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Re: urgent help needed to choose options P4 or P5 and more?

Postby Mature-Student » Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:26 pm

I'll start with P2. 45 is still really close, so not much more to do. Lots of question practice to time, identify weaker areas, brush up on these, and make sure you can answer the written parts as well as you can the computational parts. Computations alone will not get you a pass. Have you read Clare Finch's articles on here about P2 as well as ACCA's technical articles? And how are you on your standards? If you're finding these a problem, Clare's book (A students guide to IFRS) will help immensely if you're doing P2 INT. It's about £23 inc P&P from Amazon (Nov 08 edition is the one you'll need).

P6 I loved, but then I really enjoy tax (more about that later). If you study for this in the way you've described, you should be ok. Although I have always started the revision phase 4 weeks before the exam for all my ACCA papers, studying 2-3 hours a day for 3 or so weeks (up to 8 at weekends), then 8 to 10 hours a day for the last half a week to a week, depending on study leave and holidays available. I've also found the question based practice days invaluable and well worth the cost for the P papers.

I did P2 and P6 as my last two, and managed that with being a mum and wife plus working full time. But then my daughter's quite a bit older than your son, and a lot more self sufficient. A 13 month old can be very demanding time-wise (as I'm sure you know). So only you know if you can manage two in December or 3. Personally, I would go for P2 plus P6 this December, then do P4 or P5 next December. Maybe even start it in January, keep going until nearer your due date (so you should finish the tuition stage), then pick it up again in July/August when you've got the three of you in a settled routine. This will mean less hours needed per week once baby's here, a month or two to go over the study text & your notes, then a couple of months for revision.

As for working in tax, is there a tax department in your company? Depending on the extent of the in-house admin, there is tax involved in the unit pricing and there may even be separate teams dealing with the corporation tax (CT) and CGT (investments can suffer both if equities - shares - or CT and bond tax if bonds/loan relationships or similar).

I work for a UK subsidiary of a global life assurance company in their in-house tax department. I deal with life assurance tax (a variation of CT and a very black art, not well understood by many in the tax profession, me included some of the time!), normal company tax, CGT and a few other ad hoc bits and pieces. I was lucky to have had financial services experience, including some tax experience, when I applied for my current job. But I think I was also a bit of a bargain as I wasn't being paid anywhere near what I should have been by my old employer (my starting salary was almost = a 20% pay rise!). So all in all I count myself very lucky.

I have a really good work-life balance, apart from two to five days each quarter end when I can be wroking up to 12 hours a day, but this is now the exception rather than the norm due to process improvements I and others have brought in. Apart from HMRC, all my customer's are internal. I know people who do tax in Practice whose work-life balance is nowhere near as good as mine, especially around return time, which can last up to almost the whole of December & January. But apparently it can vary greatly between firms.

It may be worthwhile to speak to a few agencies after the baby's here and you've decided what hours you want to work in the future. They should, if they're any good, be able to give you an idea of the local market and what your chances would be.

Good luck, and if you think I can help further, please ask away.
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Re: urgent help needed to choose options P4 or P5 and more?

Postby busybe » Mon Aug 24, 2009 3:35 pm

thanks a mil for your good advices. I feel full of energy again and ready to take on the challenge. I'm back to work after 2 weeks off and been talking to my colleague. She did P5 and said it was "easy" I called another person who told me she just did P5 last sitting and was easy enough, so I decided to do P5. My colleague tried to discourage me to take P6 but I like the subject so I'm taking P6 too. That means I'm going to sit 3 papers in December. The lecturer gives assignments for P6 every week so the objective is to do them every week.

As for P5 I've been told it's bit boring so I hope I'll manage to stay awake. I feel a bit sad not taking P4 but apparently the paper got really hard and I don't want to chance a fail.


My son is quite good but bedtime routine isn't the best so all I hope is that he'll go down quick enough and doesn't need my presence constantly so I can study in the evenings. Once I manage that I should be ok. I'm working full time and usually I take a week off before the exams for my revisions. Most of my holidays are used for the ACCA so better finish it as soon as possible. It won't be easy but it's feasible. I hope I'm not just over optimistic.

I'm doing the Irish variant so the book wouldn't be of much help. I'm not good at FRS/IFRS, I found it annoying to learn. That's probably because I'm not into it. I understand principles but I'm not good at giving the references of the FRS/IFRS.

I was thinking about trying to move within the company because it's a nice company to work for with lots of benefits and good work-life balance. I want to finish ACCA first and then I'll see how it goes with the growing family.

Thanks again
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Re: urgent help needed to choose options P4 or P5 and more?

Postby Mature-Student » Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:20 pm

No problem, just remember your partner/hubby can always do the bath, bed and story routine!
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Re: urgent help needed to choose options P4 or P5 and more?

Postby busybe » Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:58 am

Wow, the enthusiasm went down as quick as it went up! Went to Adv Tax class yesterday and as I was told there is a lot to learn and it's going to be tough but I didn't think it'd be that tough.

The lecturer is after telling us that we need to study at least 10hrs a week on top of the class if we want to pass. 10hrs is a lot. I mean certainly most of people are taking another paper so I don't see how you can manage this. Do you think that's how much you would need? I know I review the class and did questions for F6 every week but don't remember it taking me half of what is suggested for P6!

I'm now thinking about switching to P4! But then I think I should only take P6 and leaave the other paper for whenever. I was exhausted last night when I came back and little one kept waking up. I know the first trimestre of pregnancy has me really tired and it would be wise to take "only". I don't feel physically able to cope with all the duties.

What a mess in my head!
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Re: urgent help needed to choose options P4 or P5 and more?

Postby Mature-Student » Wed Aug 26, 2009 8:57 am

Hi busybe

It's more difficult to think straight when you're tired, never mind when you've got hormones flying all over the place on top of that.

For P2 and P6, I think I had four days tuition for each during the study phase, and on top of that I did between 16 and 18 hours study a week. So not much less than 10 hours at home for each subject. How many days have you got at college?

It may sound a lot of study, but try and break it up. I used to do 2 hours a day of either subject, either early morning (5am to 7am), lunchtime, or evening, and varied this e.g one day I'd do early morning, go for a walk at lunch-time and do the bath/bed routine. The next I'd have a lie in (!) til 7am, study at lunch-time, and do bath/bed. Then another lie in, walk or go shopping at lunchtime (can't bear being stuck indoors all day every day!) and study while hubby does bath/bed. Or I'd squeeze in a few extra half hours here and there and treat myself to a day with no studying and on a day hubby did bath/bed, bliss!

So Monday to Friday, that's 10 hours study. Plus 6 or so at the weekend, often split up over the two days, and again at varying times. I've even been known to have an almost two hour bath on a Sunday (going from very hot - lovely - to getting cool) while reading the pocket notes! That's multi-tasking LoL!

Only you know what you can manage. As I've said to others on this thread, I'm no tax expert, but I'm happy to help out with any P6 questions you have. As I'm sure are any other members who have done, or are doing, P6. Remember, you're not alone now you have AS!
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Re: urgent help needed to choose options P4 or P5 and more?

Postby Bluewednesday » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:26 am

I didn't do P6 but did the old 3.2 - however it was still the same examiner and the syllabus hasn't changed.

Due to the syllabus change I had a choice of doing either 3.2 on it's own or 3.2, 3.5, 3.6 and 3.7! Needless to say I chose 3.2 on its own!!!

I had the luxury of working part time and managed it by doing 2 hours a day 4 days a week and 6 hours over the weekend. My tuition was 4 x 6 hour lessons but I also took the revision course in this paper as it was such hard work.

I think 10 hours is a slight exaggeration but this paper does have a very large complicated syllabus and is not just a small step up from F6. I don't wish to put you off as I did quite enjoy this paper (especially compared with audit) but it was definitely hard work. In fact the amount of work I put in on this paper was second only to P2. I scored quite well at 2.3 (F6 equivalent) and work with tax of small business and sole traders so some of it was still familiar. You really do need to go through and retain the knowledge of F6 as it is all still applicable for this paper.

I'm sure you will feel better once you are further through the syllabus. Good luck with it all.
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Re: urgent help needed to choose options P4 or P5 and more?

Postby busybe » Thu Aug 27, 2009 8:39 am

Mature student, sorry but are you a study freak? don't know if that expression is correct but "hat up" or "chapeau" in French! I admire your dedication, waking up at 4am is not something that is going to happen to me.I think unless you're passionate by it, which I think you are but too modest to say it, you can't be doing that.
I went to the college last night and wanted to talk to the lecturer for P4 who has a great reputation but he wasn't there. I talked to an admin person and said to go to the class and see how I feel and switch if I wanted to from P6 to P4. So I went and I actually enjoyed the subject more than the Adv Tax. I could feel that I could have few second of mind away and still follow the class while the P6 one was really tense and I knew that after the class I would have to study more to really understand it deeply. Although the lecturer was a new one, against my expectations! I was disappointed not to see the "great lecturer". I wasn't impressed by his teaching methods, lack of structure and got really worried that it might compromise my understanding of the paper. So I went to talk to him at the end of the class to ask if he'll have a map of whatever he'll be going through during each class and if possible, to give us the related questions references so we can practice at home. And he said yes! so I feel better now.

Well, I'm really tired. 2 evenings of college in a row and back home at 10.30pm (doesn't sound late but believe me my body needs rest), not seeing my son for 2 days, not seeing him walking, hearing him talking shows the precious time I'm not with my family and I wouldn't take P6 because of the work involved which would mean less family time. I used to be able to study until 1am but since I went back to work from maternity leave, I physically can't do it anymore and I am or was I should say someone who used to say that sleeping was a waste of time! Now I would go to bed at 10pm!

Ok won't bore you more. I really really appreciate all your help. bluewednesday, you didn't put me off, it's better to put the real picture of things rather than give the wrong expectations to someone, that's why I was looking for help from people who did it! I'm glad I found this AS.
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