Having start my acca a couple of years back I am now getting to the end of the course and although I have done most of my modules at home, after an OK experience at Kaplan, I figured it was time to go for classes, to get that extra boost I needed.
With Acca and most other accoutancy course, there are two main schools that come recommend by the ACCA themselves, these schools are BPP, that I am reviewing, and Kaplan that I went to last year for a couple of modules. Usually peoples opinions are split down the middle in which school to choose, as prices are similar, as the options available and length and availability of classes, and the number of schools available. There are other colleges you can go to for ACCA classes, but these arent anywhere near as popular, however they are usually cheaper, which is why they are still in business.
In terms of the sign up process BPP was very easy, simply do it online, or if in my case, where the company is sponsoring, you just fill out a form, get your employer to sign agreeing to 30 day payment terms, email or fax it over to the offices at BPP, and 24 hours later you are all booked in for your classes. Nothing easier in life than that, well I guess it could be a bit easier, if it was all instant, but hey life isnt perfect.
In terms of the classes, there is not much to say, a class is just a classrom with other students, and the teacher has an electronic board to teach the class with. I have only ever gone for evening classes, and this was simila to Kaplans, although starting 15 mins later, and finishing 5mins earlier, so a little shorter, but with both classes you get a break in the middle. For example with BPP you start at 6:15, then a break at 7:30 for 10 min, and then the classea finishes around 8:35-8:45.
I can't really recommend on the teaching, as it varies depending on who is lecturing. For example having also used LSBF before I can see that each module varies in quality. I won't mention any names, but it put me of using LSBF off again, as I never knew what quality of service I would get. So far with BPP I found that both lecturers are decent, but one is definetily better than the other. I guess not much can be done, apart from hearing from other people about which lecturer to go to. In a way it becomes a case of choosing the lecturer, and not the college.
The price was around £600 for the module, and at 2.5 hours per class, and 8 classes in total, that comes to £30 an hour, which is a normal price. Of course its not cheap, but the benefits in the long term will practically double the salary you are getting before you completed ACCA. I am currently on 20k which is below market rate for the stage I am at of ACCA, but with the current state and the job crisis I will never ask for a payrise, on the completion of ACCA hopefully this December then I can go and search for a job offering closer to 40k.
The one main issue I have with BPP compared to Kaplan, is that they do not give an exam kit, it is meant to be a tuition course, however they are clearly trying to make you spend more money and go to the revision course, where they probabaly chuck in the practise and revision kit. At least with Kaplan they provided all the material. My company is not funding me to go for the revision classes, so I had to fork out my own money to buy the kits of Amazon, for all the modules I am taking.
Other positives of BPP over Kaplan is that they provide a free drinks machine, so I guess you can make up the cost of the revision kit if you get like 40 hot drinks!
I feel that the online learning at BPP could be made more interactive, and Kaplan has an advantage here with the online practise tests, although BPP does provide a useful hardcopy companion kit, so I guess in that sense you can take it on the move, so this events out, plus there are audio lectures for BPP online, although to be fair I have not had a chance to use them, but once I do, then I will come back to update this review.
Overall I do recommend BPP, but can not categorically tell you to go there for your ACCA classes, what I suggest is that first you find out the teacher that is teaching your class, and see if you can get an opinion online or from someone else, and then take it from there in deciding what college to go to.
After careful research and investigations - and countless conversations with different course providers, I chose to study at BPP - they offer block teaching courses, and allow you to study as quickly (or slowly as you wish).
Having said that they are not the cheapest company to work with - however, as I was not paying, and the primary focus was placed on getting qualified as soon as possible - I went with them. It cost £1000 (this is two years ago) for Intermediate Level AAT and this included all study time, all exam fees, all learning materials, AAT annual membership and simulation fees.
Just in case anyone is wondering - the costs for all of these are as follows:
Registration (one off fee) £32
Annual Fee £71
and then depending on the level of the course at which you begin, there are examination fees. I began at the middle tier (Intermediate) so the cost for this (this year) £44 per exam (there are two)
Simulation exams are included free but retakes cost £11 or thereabouts (five need to be completed using the NVQ route to AAT).
As there isn't a BPP near me, I would have to travel to either Reading or Birmingham, and unfortunately, due to work commitments, I had to take a break, but I did pass the exams I sat - which just goes to show that this method of intense learning and taking the exam a week later can work. You do have to do some of the work yourself, but in all honestly, everything is so fresh in your mind so you almost refer back to what you had learned only the week before.
The classrooms were not too busy, and there is a canteen area with PC's available and open for anyone to use if they need to (at no extra charge). I am aware of other people who have been crammed into rooms though, so it is advisable to get there early until you know what the class numbers are going to be like - just in case. They deliver the course very quickly, so it is a case of 'blink and miss it'!
They sometimes off free tuition in case you do fail - it depends on the BPP centre and who you speak to, but on the whole - it is great as they deliver, their textbooks are well informed and they also supply little study notes which condense the information and aid revision.
I have since decided to complete this course at a college more locally and the difference in structure, organisation and delivery is amazing... perhaps it is unfair to compare the two as it is the first time they are delivering the course, and it is over three hours one evening a week - so a very different structure, but if there were a BPP closer by, I would choose to go back with them.
BPP - CIMA
I have been studying with BPP for the past couple of years, having switched from FTC Kaplan (so many mistakes in their texts!), and have found them to be professional, helpful and they've managed to get me through my exams to date! I would highly recommend them for any accountancy qualification.
You can easily book courses by email/fax/on-line and its possible to mix & match course location and type. Their customer advisers are very helpful and will phone you if there are any problems with your booking and to chat about how they can help you.
They have centres in most major cities and you can take exams in even more places. BPP has outstanding results and all the tutors I have come across have always been eager to help after class or on the phone or even on email if easier. Its generally quite relaxed and can be quite an informal environment for tuition.
One thing I would mention is that they don't do any sort of finance plan for paying for courses over a period of time which I find a little odd. It would be very helpful if you could! However, they do do a pass assurance scheme which means if you fail any exam and you attended all the course days relating to it and achieved a mark of 30% or more in the mock exams you can retake the course free of charge.
In some locations they will even arrange a few social evening drinks on occasion - so tutors can meet current students and for students to get to know one another. It usually turns out to be a great relaxed sociable evening!
I'm currently using BPP study materials and attending their day release classes for the ACCA F8 paper so this will be a review of my experience with them so far.
Classes generally start on time (9am) with several 10-15 minute breaks in between and a one hour lunch break. Although classes end at around 4pm you can stay behind after with questions for the tutor who would be more than willing to answer. One thing which I particularly dislike is the disruption caused by late comers and the classes do get pretty crowded sometimes.
As with all BPP study centres, there are usually classrooms that are vacant which you can use (ask at the reception) to study in.
People will have varied opinions on how well the classes are taught, depending on the lecturer. Fortunately for me, I haven't experienced any bad lecturers yet!
The material provided consists of a course companion, course notes, study text, practice & revision kit and passcards (summarised course notes in a little booklet). There are also 2 course exams which you sit in your own time under exam conditions which are sent off to be marked by a BPP tutor. The feedback from these exams are usually helpful in terms of spotting areas of improvement.
Overall, I would recommend BPP for students. But beware that the learning experience will vary depending on which centre you go to, lecturer you have, and even day/evening/weekend classes you attend. (I've heard some negative feedback from colleagues and friends about BPP, main one which I've mentioned earlier is the size of classes).
I used BPP to buy a Home Study pack for several of my Certified Accounting Technician exams. The cost of each pack was just over £100 for a textbook, a set of pocket notes, a book of practice questions (and answers!) and exam style questions on CD. You also got two practice exam papers, which you undertook as if it were a real exam and then sent your answers to BPP and they returned them, marked, with the score you got and the answers sheet. The home study packs are around the same price they are with FTC Kaplan, the other company I have used to purchase study material.
I found BPP to be helpful with ordering, my employer was paying for my books and wanted to pay by cheque rather than online, so the customer service assistant directed me to the section of the website where I could download the order form I needed in order to pay via cheque. They sent the books out very quickly, by next day courier. If any books were out of stock, they put a note in stating when they were likely to be back in stock. One thing I did like is that if any of the material was due to be revised or updated before you took the exam, they would send you the current one that was being circulated at the time of ordering, then they would send you the new updated one as soon as it became available, at no extra cost.
I found you could always get through when calling them, and if I was promised a call back by someone I always got it within a few hours. Once I had to ring up a tutor for support, and they were very helpful at explaining and solving my problem over the phone. You can also contact tutors via email, but I thought it would be easier to explain my difficulties over the phone person to person rather than over email.
My one gripe with their study packs is that sometimes there are big errors in the textbooks, for example the wording is unclear and one paragraph contradicts the one after it! This left me feeling a bit confused. Also there are frequent spelling mistakes. I bought my most recent books through FTC Kaplan, and their study materials seemed to be of a better quality.
I'm nearing the end of my AAT studies (just unit 10 to do, yippee!), and have always gone via the BPP home study route.
BPP were recommended by my employers, because of the high quality of the home study packs. However, I have not always had reason to agree with this statement, as I found the textbooks to be sloppily written (typographical errors were common), and often there were mistakes in the questions and answers. Having said that, the textbooks do cover everything that will be examined and more, so I do not feel these small errors had a significant impact on my education. I would be interested to compare AAT textbooks from other companies to BPP's.
The revision courses, ran at most BPP centres (I use BPP Maidstone, which is in a great convenient location, and has good facilities for students), a few weeks before the exams are absolutely brilliant, and I cannot recommend them enough. I think they are particularly important for students going down the home study route, as having support from a tutor helps to iron out any problems the student maybe happening. They are very exam focused, and use past exam papers for a "practice makes perfect" approach, to ensure students know how to tackle every question. The tutors know their subjects inside out, and were all very patient with my silly questions!
Overall, learning via BPP has been a rewarding experience, and I would definitely recommend them if you are planning to study AAT.
Having worked in the accountancy field for the last 5 years, I decided that the only way I could further my career was to proceed with getting qualified.
Obviously there are lot of things to be considered when choosing a training provider and when I decided to study for the AAT I was presented with a number of different training providers. I requested some literature from all of them and took a great deal of time in considering which one was right for my needs.
Due to BPP's competitive prices and the flexibility of their programmes I decided that they were the ones for me.
BPP provide training for many types of professional certifications including AAT, CIMA, ACCA, ICAS and MBA, even certain BSc courses. Thousands of people have already completed their learning and are looking forward to a brighter future.
I think the thing that drew me most to BPP was the option of their home study package. Working full time and living a fair distance out of London (meaning a long commute) meant that I would have found it difficult to juggle work commitments around a classroom based course. Although BPP do also offer full time and part time classroom courses as well.
So after discussion with my manager we both decided that completing my studies through BPP seemed the best option. I found that the quality of information regarding my course before I enrolled was very good and this gave me a full understanding of what the course involved before I registered.
I was impressed with the cost, £495 for all the books, study materials and exam support in order to complete the first year's study.
Registering was easy, a quick and simple form to fill in and return with payment was all that is required and BPP allow your employer to pay part, or all of the cost of your course as well, which they did. I had started the long road to qualification!
The books arrived within a week and a half and again I was impressed with the quality of their texts and the accompanying course companions and revision guides. As I was taking this along the home study route it was important that I would be able to learn from the books without the help from a tutor, (although tutors are available by phone or email). The books are easy to read and soon I found myself whizzing through the first few chapters before coming across some more challenging material.
I think the only downside is that there have been a few minor mistakes in the texts (or the answers to questions) in nearly all the units I have taken, although these were only very small and only affected about 1 question in each book.
On the run up to the exams you are offered support from BPP in the way of revision guides and tutor email/telephone support and the exam information that I was sent enabled me to get a full grip of what was and wasnt allowed in the exam room.
I am pleased to say that thanks to BPP I have completed both the foundation and intermediate levels of the AAT and am now looking forward to getting stuck into the technician level. Once this is complete I will be qualified!
Hopefully once I have completed this I will continue to study ACCA with BPP and I very much hope that the quality of my experience will remain consistent.
If anybody is thinking of studying with BPP I would certainly recommend it and I wish you all the best of luck.
*BPP Professional Education*
BPP Professional Education is a company that provides training and resource materials to students; in order to aid them earning the required qualifications they need in order to progress through the business environment.
BPP offer courses and materials for several areas of business, including Accountancy, Tax and Law. In fact, according to their website they train and assist in more qualifications than any other in the world.
In 2002 I finished studying for my A.A.T. (Association of Accounting Technicians), and throughout the three-year course, I chose to use BPP as my primary source of course materials, and they didnt fail me. I successfully passed all units of this course and am now a qualified Accounting Technician.
Since then I have debated as to whether to continue my education with either CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) or ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), and eventually chose ACCA. My studies begin in September 04, and based on my previous experience with BPP chose to again use their courses and material.
*BPP Accountancy Course*
BPP offer courses for a number of accountancy qualifications including AAT, CIMA, AAT, ATT (Association of Taxation Technicians) and CTA (Chartered Tax Advisor), along with more regional based qualifications.
In order to access the information from BPP of the availability of courses, you can opt to choose for a brochure to be delivered to your home address, or you can browse their excellent Internet site.
With respect to these qualifications, there are a number of courses you can opt to choose from. These include, but are not limited to;
1. Classroom Courses
2. Booster Days
3. Computer Based Exams
4. Distance Learning
5. Full-time Courses
6. Home Study
I am choose to study my first year of ACCA via the home study route, with the addition of a couple of revision courses offered by BPP.
*Home Study Course*
The Home Study Course is as intensive as a classroom based course, but you need to be highly motivated to ensure you stay on top of the syllabus work. Thankfully BPP have on hand, support from over 60 experts that are available for contact during the course.
The Home Study course also includes the following
1. Study Programme This is the guide to the course, and is split into several manageable sections, designed specifically to help you through your studies. Each section is given a high, medium, or low priority in order to help you maximise your study time.
2. Study Text Textbooks are also provided on the course, and throughout the text include references to exam tips and quick quizzes.
3. Multiple Choice Question Cards for the first two papers in ACCA, you are provided with a bank of cards, which are an excellent revision tool.
4. Unique i-Pass CD-ROMS This is a new unique addition to the home study course, and they are designed to test your knowledge and help perfect your exam technique, as they are quite literally crammed full practise tests.
5. Practice and Revision Kit - A helpful textbook, offering you a more manual approach to exam questions and answers.
As you can see, you are provided with a large amount of course material and revision guides all included in the price of a course.
In order to choose the best-taught course for your schedule, the classroom courses are offered in a variety of timescales:
1. Day Release Course
2. Afternoon Course
3. Evening Course
4. Saturday Course
5. Friday/Saturday Course
6. Block Release Course
And with these courses you will receive the following; Professional teaching, printed course notes, tutor support and assessment, Interactive text, Course Notes and for those interested free tea and coffee!
BPP also recommend that for students following the taught courses, that they conclude their course with a revision course.
ACCA home Study courses are currently being offered for around GBP100 per paper, a price consistent throughout the many papers required to pass.
In comparison the Classroom course is between GBP250.00 and GBP350.00. Although this may appear to be a considerably saving, its is of course dependant on how you choose to study and what option works best for you. For example, my AAT was earned via attending a local college, however during the last year I found that whilst working from home, I was producing considerably better results and I felt happier in my working environment.
All recent course prices can be found on BPP Professional Educations website, at www.bpp.com, and when choosing a classroom course you are required to pick the study centre of your choice.
For ACCA students there are over 20 centres to choose from in the UK and Ireland, and a further 5 in Europe. For alternative qualifications this does vary, for example for AAT BPP offer a choice of 18 locations in the UK.
Study centres are located throughout the UK and Ireland, for example in Dublin, Glasgow, Reading and Manchester, to name but a few, so should be easily accessible for the majority of students.
*Why Choose BPP?*
According to the BPP website, Pass rates for BPP students are consistently higher than those achieved by other UK students, and their course material used by more colleges in the UK than any other.
They offer a wide variety of courses, as detailed above, and there is flexibility to courses for example it is acceptable to choose between a mixture of self-taught courses and classroom based courses throughout your studying.
Personally I find the BPP course material extremely easy to use, and a refreshing change from other companies. I used their books all through my AAT, and will continue to do so through my ACCA. They offer consistent good advice, including exam tips, and several exam papers and revision guides to practise from.
Overall I found that using BPP for the first year of my ACCA course has helped me to achieve an overall 2:1 grade in my exams to date, and I was extremely pleased with these results. However these results were purely obtained using the home study text guides. During my second year I am still studying via the home study route but am finding I need to use more of BPP products, such as the CD-Rom practise guides, and even searching for additional help on the ACCA website. I'm not sure whether this is a reflection of the quality of BPP's course material, but it is becoming a slight worry as I progress through the ACCA syllabus.
In summary, BPP is an excellent company for studying Accountancy & Tax exams, although I am being led toward the conclusion that they are more preferable for the lower level exams.