Nitin Rabheru is an experienced senior tutor and lecturer in Tax, Law and Financial Accounting at BPP Professional Education in London. A qualified solicitor and previously a Tax Consultant at one of the Big 4, Nitin has over 19 years of experience teaching tax and law, and at CTA level he teaches advanced corporation tax, individuals advisory and the owner managed business application and interaction papers. He is passionate about the papers he teaches and his key objective is to assist students in achieving their academic inspirations.
You have an interesting career in that you were previously a Tax Consultant as well as a qualified solicitor. Why did you decide to move into teaching?
I have a real passion for tax that I want to pass onto students. There’s no credit for those students who pass and also no blame for those who don’t pass the first time, but either way I like to be positive, smiling and here to help anyone who needs it. It’s a great feeling when students inform me of their exam passes and other successes, and I also get involved in ongoing improvements to student experiences which I feel is incredibly important.
What are the benefits of BPP?
As well as face to face classes I believe that online teaching can also be an effective way of delivering both taught and revision sessions, and the online courses offered by BPP allow flexibility for students. You have the ability to study from home, log in remotely and pause live - all the positives of virtual learning. Of course, online learning isn’t for everyone, but BPP gives you all the support you need for your studies with the ability to work at your own pace and in your own time.
Why was the pass rate so low on OMB Advisory?
From my experience, when the pass rate for a particular paper is low, there is a general perception that paper must have been too difficult. With the OMB exam this is definitely not the case. The OMB paper has always tested core areas of the syllabus, however, being an advisory paper, many students spend too much time using the study manuals without minimal question practice, whilst others tend not to cover all areas of the syllabus.
It is very common for students to feel overwhelmed and or suffer from anxiety when it comes to exams. The way to overcome this is to take small steps early on in your studies to condition yourself to cope under exam conditions. The method that I recommend for CTA is a scenario based approach - dealing with the exam rather than just simply learning a set of tax rules from a manual.
In my opinion, the key to success in any tax exam is being able to identify the key issues, scenarios and tax problems within a question. Not knowing where to begin or how to start a question is often a very common barrier to passing.
What advice do you give to your students at the final stages in the weeks before their exams?
Once you have reached the final stages, there should no more attempting of questions in the last few days before the real exam.
Instead, you should review every single question you have reviewed or attempted in full to ensure you train the brain to spot key issues and scenarios in the exam.
Review the list of watch-outs i.e. a note of all the errors you have made until now so you do not repeat them in the exam.
For numerical questions revise your computational proformas (at this stage you should have a bank of proformas ready).
Revise your model answer plans and 60 second checklists to ensure technical coverage.
Review the areas of legislation you have highlighted.
What tips or advice would you give to students during their exams?
The most important piece of advice I can offer, it to remember that you only need 50% to pass! You have 3 ¼ hours to pass half of the exam so keep that in mind. My advice would be to work backwards and start with the written questions which are usually last as they carry the most marks.
Lately we have seen a huge push on school leaver programmes vs. graduate schemes. What are your views on joining one of these programmes and working for a firm like one of the Big 4 or Top 10?
I think that the joint pathway has been a superb idea. Getting the balance right between the volume of study time, workload and home life and health is so important, and this pathway for young professionals is allowing for a positive work-life balance. One piece of advice I would give is not to take too many exams during these programmes. Ideally stick to one exam per sitting, and remember to go at your own pace - it’s not a race! These programmes also give students so many options for once they qualify, helping to set up their futures.
Finally, in your opinion, how has the tax world changed in the past 20 years, and why?
Over the past 6 years we have seen a rise in anti-avoidance measures across the board, which in my opinion has been one of the most significant changes in the tax world. I would also say that there have been more changes in the last 3 years alone than the last 20, with the tax world rapidly changing with technological developments.