First question is on ACCA placement.
First and foremost, during my time in 2009, the requirement for MARA scholarship is to sit for IELTS. Of course, even though at that time, Kaplan Financial did not request for IELTS, but in 2011, if I am not mistaken, there is a much stricter requirement when undertaking any courses in UK, that you have to take IELTS as part of the visa requirement.
For ACCA application, I choose Kaplan Financial because this is the college where students go to further their professional accounting courses. I did ask my aunt, who studied in London before, that her friends furthered their study in Emile Woofe college or Dublin Business School (which both has been acquired by Kaplan Financial).
I applied through a private agency in Pertama Complex, but I would advise to submit your application through Taylor's College because the staff will do the visa application for you (you just have to submit your details and certain certificates).It was kind of hard for me since the private agency do not have much knowledge on the updated UK Visa requirement, and has not advised us accordingly.
Anyhow, the service is free from Taylor's College or any other private agencies since if the student secured a placement, the college / university will pay the agent.
I would advise to secure for the placement first, since this will be the plus point when 'selling' yourself during the scholarship interview.
Now, on the next matter on why I choose to further ACCA in England:
- ACCA body is based in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom. So it will be an advantage to know the UK requirements.
- Most of the text books on ACCA refers to UK cases - Barclays Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, ABN Amro (except for certain major US cases *cough cough* like Enron & Arthur Andersen), and examples of the brands are mostly UK brands, for example: Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, BMI, Ryan Air (you get what I mean), so of course, it will be much easier to understand what the tutors are saying when you know the examples.
- The tutors at Kaplan Financial are the markers for ACCA papers, which means, they mark you ACCA answer sheet (but that does not mean that they will know who are their students). So when the tutors teach you how to answer the exam questions, learn from them, since they are the ACCA markers.
- And all of my tutors know who is the examiner (the one who formulate the ACCA examination paper) and they always had feedback sessions all the time with the examiner. Even one of the examiner is just a 'shout away' from my college (a professor based in University of Manchester) and another is a tutor in Kaplan Financial, Glasgow.
- The tutors keep us up to date with current accounting issues (which is really important when you are answering the ACCA exam papers). They even forced us to read the ACCA student magazine.
So of course, all of the above are the plus points!
Second question is on short term course.
Kaplan Financial Manchester offer short term course, which started in March - June and another in September - December. The reason being is, the ACCA exam session is in June and December. The results will be out only in August (for June's exams) and February (for December's exams).
For me, I would not mind much about the short term course, since I was a full time student, and I studied on daily basis.
But for those who prefer a much longer course, it is offered in Kaplan Financial, London. You will start your course much earlier, and the courses in London is much cheaper (but there is a catch: the living cost in London escalates all the time!).
Anyway, as I previously wrote, Manchester was my preferred choice since I have a family, and my friends (who are self sponsored ACCA students) choose it because of the lower living cost. I was the only one who was on scholarship that choose Manchester, while others were based in London.