An ACCA ATX student was taking a walk to clear his head after doing 6 exam questions when he noticed one of his elderly neighbours on his hands and knees looking for his keys under the streetlight.

Being a courteous young man, he offered to help. Just then, another tax student who was jogging past (she remembered me saying ‘If you do not use it, you lose it like your muscles’) saw them and immediately agreed to join in the search.

After 10 minutes, their efforts were fruitless and the young lady asked the elderly man, ‘Are you SURE you lost your keys here?’

No, I lost them in the park’, he responded. ‘So why are looking for them here, next to your house? asked the young lady impatiently, as she sprinted off.

Because that’s where the light is’ replied the elderly neighbour.

This parable reminds us that to find the truth, we need to look in the right place, not where we feel most comfortable. When preparing for exams, we must be brave enough to assess our knowledge accurately. I see so many students focusing on just the easy bits, instead of investing some time in learning some of the challenging areas of the syllabus.

By practising difficult questions, you are hardening yourself to the rigour of the exam and will not be intimidated by difficult questions on the day.  The Advanced Tax exam examines a wide area of the syllabus and you need to have a good coverage of the core principles.

To help students learn the tax technical knowledge, I am writing my book which will contain all the required tax knowledge in colourful memory joggers set in a condensed format making it easy to learn.

In the context of the parable, I am providing a searchlight into the darkness making it easy to grasp the parts of the syllabus that people normally ignore. This is where they will find the key to unlocking a pass in the Advanced Tax exam. As Suzy Kassem said, ‘We awaken by seeking answers in corners that are not popular. And we awaken by turning on the light inside when everything outside feels dark’.

This book will be available on my website,, for the June 2021 exam which is based on FA 2020.