The magnificent seven

June 2020

Mike Kirkham explains how you can best prepare for and pass your AAT Level 3 Synoptic Assessment.

One of the best things about being an AAT trainer is you get to see first-hand where people are struggling and can provide help, tips and solutions instantly, in a virtual or classroom setting. I love helping students understand concepts they were previously finding difficult.

Something I’ve noticed, time and time again, is that students struggle with preparing for, and passing, their AAT Level 3 Synoptic Assessment.

To help you understand what’s required to pass first time (and prepare you to take, and pass your Synoptic Assessment), I have outlined seven tips to help you get through this section of the course:

Tip No. 1 – Ensure you have gone through the course materials in full and understand the principles, topics and techniques.

Tip No. 2 – Practise as many mock exams as you can. This will help familiarise you with layout and exam question style, which is especially helpful when reporting OAR and inventory calculations.

Tip No. 3 – Make sure you understand, and are comfortable with Goal Seek, VLOOKUP, Absolute Reference and can use pivot charts and tables. You will also need to familiarise yourself with the steps required to make an Appropriation Account.

Tip No. 4 – You need to ensure you’re confident with calculations for margin of safety and break-even. For the Synoptic Assessment you’re likely to receive this data in the form of charts, or even just part of the information. If you have prepared and understand the formulas, you’ll be fine with this section.

Tip No. 5 – Make sure you can comfortably write about limited companies (such as the definition, pros and cons, and the good points and bad points about them).

Tip No. 6 – Ensure you’re aware of the format of the AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting Synoptic Assessment (AVSY). This assessment is split into two parts:

• Part 1: the time allowance is 75 minutes, during which you’re required to complete three equally marked tasks of 15 marks each. Each task should take approximately 25 minutes.

• Part 2: the time allowance is 90 minutes, in which you should complete two tasks worth 55 marks. Task 2.1 is worth 25 marks in this section, suggesting that you should allow approximately 40 minutes for your answer. Task 2.2 is worth 30 marks, which gives you around 49 minutes to complete.

Tip No. 7 – Finally, take the time to understand what you will be asked in each section, in order to be better prepared to answer questions on any of the concepts you may face in the assessment.

As an example, for Task 1.1 the recommended reading is:

a. Fundamental principles, safeguards and threats

b. Principles versus threats in professional ethics

c. Conflict of interest

If you have completed the recommended reading, you will be prepared to answer the questions surrounding that topic.

I wish everyone preparing to take their AAT Exams and Assessments good luck. If you have put in the time and effort, you will have success.

If you have not yet started your qualification for AAT Level 3 or 4, or you would like to embark on the CIMA route, e-Careers offers a range of courses for both AAT and CIMA qualifications. Explore our full accounting course range today.

• Mike Kirkham is an AAT trainer at e-Careers.