Honing your real-world skills

It is important that at this level you are able to not only pass examinations, but also demonstrate communication skills that are expected of an accountant in a real working environment. As part of an AAT accountant’s day-to-day role (financial accounting or management accounting) these skills need to be developed to ensure that you are able to communicate your findings to your clients, managers etc and this is why the written tasks are very important at Level 4.

MABU can be a student’s worst nightmare because it contains two huge written tasks. Students can run out of time or just scrape a pass. Using the following approach to the exam could secure you a clear pass.

Time is extremely tight for this exam so a

tactical approach is essential. Practice with the

online AAT practice assessments. Time how long

it takes to complete all the calculation tasks first. Ideally, you need to complete these tasks in just over an hour. Divide the remaining time over the two written tasks and use this time as a guide for your real exam. This should leave 30–45 minutes for each written task.

All students are more comfortable with the calculation tasks, so by completing these first, you can gain maximum marks in your stronger areas. If you waste time on the written tasks and run out of time for the calculations, you could be losing out on easy marks and disaster could strike.

If you are struggling with where to start in the written tasks, then think about the following:

• Salutation and introduction to the email (where necessary).

• Doing the calculation first will help get you started.

• Extract the information from the question and put it into your answer.

• State the obvious – say what you see. Ask yourself, why?

• Assume the examiner knows nothing.

• Does your answer leave any questions for the reader?

• Space out your answer with a space after each paragraph, do not write in big blocks, this is unclear and somewhat boring for the person marking it.

• AAT always say that the students with low marks do not include enough detail.

The exam is very similar to the AAT practice assessments online; however, remember to revise seasonal variations, which are not in the AAT online assessments but could pop up in your exam.

Practice getting the calculations done fairly quickly – but accurately – to allow you plenty of time for the written parts. Think tactically and keep your eye on the clock. Time can easily run away with you in the exam. For the written tasks, look at how many marks are available for each part and use that as a guide to how much you should write. Easy marks can be lost by not reading the question carefully and not following instructions on rounding.

• Jennifer Nyland is an AAT Level 4 tutor at Training Link