Feeling despondent about AAT

Have been doing AAT Diploma since March 2008 via homestudy. Firstly my problem is finding a good homestudy provider. First I was with BPP. Their study material was OK but the support was virtually non existent. I switched to Premier Training, and although I have a great tutor, the books (Osborne) they use do not always cover the AAT topics in sufficient detail so I always feel under prepared for the skills tests taken. So I want to switch again, but I don't hear great things about Kaplan either.
I also get the impression that Premier Training assessors stick very rigidly to AAT suggested answers and don't allow you to use your own judgement in the assessments. I have discussed my answers with qualified accountants and we come to the conclusion that there seems to be a difference between the text book answers expected and what happens in real life. This is frustrating me.
As for transferring to level 4 of new qualification, I am a little apprehensive because I keep hearing about people having problems with the programs, even during assessments.
I've got this far (nearly completed level 3). Is it worth doing level 4?

:(

Comments

  • RinskeRinske Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 2,453Registered
    Have been doing AAT Diploma since March 2008 via homestudy. Firstly my problem is finding a good homestudy provider. First I was with BPP. Their study material was OK but the support was virtually non existent. I switched to Premier Training, and although I have a great tutor, the books (Osborne) they use do not always cover the AAT topics in sufficient detail so I always feel under prepared for the skills tests taken.

    I have not heard that complain about the Osborne books before, but that might just be me. Are your books up to date and recent?

    You can always just buy yourself the Premier course and buy the BPP or Kaplan books on the side, in which case you have some more reference material.
    So I want to switch again, but I don't hear great things about Kaplan either.

    No provider is perfect, as a lot will depend on what you want from them and with homestudy it is very important that you contact them with questions, rather than waiting for them to come to you with feedback.

    There are other providers out there. Have a look at Eagle education and Eastleigh college for example.

    Base your choice on some of the reviews, but please please remember that there will always be people happy or unhappy, so don't base your opinion on one single review, but check the overall level of complaints and read a few positives and negatives. Did they sound like they knew what they were doing or was it more because the person who made the complaint didn't follow normal ways or didn't understand procedures.

    I also get the impression that Premier Training assessors stick very rigidly to AAT suggested answers and don't allow you to use your own judgement in the assessments. I have discussed my answers with qualified accountants and we come to the conclusion that there seems to be a difference between the text book answers expected and what happens in real life. This is frustrating me.

    Text book answers are often different from real life situations, however this is what you are learning. Premier training did seem rigid to me as well, but I wouldn't necessarily call that a bad thing.

    As for transferring to level 4 of new qualification, I am a little apprehensive because I keep hearing about people having problems with the programs, even during assessments.

    Well, yes, new system start ups are bound to have problems, but that shouldn't be your motivator to continue or not. It should be based on what you want and what you want to achieve, rather than based on that you might run into problems during an assessment, as that is just speculation, rather than fact.

    You only hear the negative sides, usually if someone had a perfectly fine assessment, they won't be here to complain, but that doesn't mean those don't happen.
    I've got this far (nearly completed level 3). Is it worth doing level 4?:(

    Yep. It's a step up from level 3 though, so if you had some troubles with level 3, maybe you could look into the evening classes or online classes.

    Don't forget there are a lot of different ways to study and what is right for one situation for you might not be right for another situation. Have a review for yourself, decide what you want to do and what would be your best way to achieve it and go from there.
  • PGMPGM Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 1,954Registered
    If at all possible I'd look into studying at a local college, the interaction with teachers and other students can help a lot.
  • iskceliskcel Feels At Home Posts: 34Registered
    You say you studied with BPP but was that just home learning or did you try the home learning online? I started studying with them in late Feb and am now doing my fourth module with them using the online classroom and I must say although it has a few teething problems it has been alot more helpful than I think it would have been had I of chosen to just have the home learning from their books.

    Their is an online classroom cohort that you can post questions about the particular module you are studying and the other pupils or the tutor can get back in touch with you through that. Out of the four I have studied with them I have only had trouble getting a response through the cohort on one of the courses. However a quick email to BPP meant that I got a response off the tutor fairly quickly and have had no more problems since.

    The study resources you get with the online course are also very helpful. Could this be an option for you? :-)
  • thirtysomethingmumthirtysomethingmum Just Joined Posts: 3Registered
    Thanks for the advice so far

    I really appreciate everyone's thoughts. I'm not phased by the level of the work (I already have a degree) and I passed the level 2 and 3 exams no problems. I just can't seem to find the right training provider/learning method. In the mean time I have ordered a level 4 Kaplan book so I can at least learn something while I choose how and where to study next. My tutor at Premier agrees that the Osborne books only give a good overview, so at least I'm sure about one thing. That I should try using Kaplan ones.
  • piratepirate Trusted Regular Posts: 469Registered
    Hi thirtysomethingmum

    I am with premier training so have the osbourne books; I bought BPP books for extra exams tests and simulations and found the books to be not as comprehensive as the Osborne books and also in the case of taxation some of the answers we wrong but the revision companions, the extra questions and the passcards I found really useful.

    On doing all the past exam papers I didnt find anythnig asked that wasnt in my osbourne books. In terms of cash management the Osbourne book covered factoring in great detail which actually came up on my skills test but it was only mentioned in a chapter summary on the BPP book.

    I found the assessements that Premier gave me to test my skills to be really excellent and extremely challenging. Having discusssedthis with my tutor he said they are designed to cover the most difficult and challenging aspects and I learnt a lot through doing them. On the final level the practice assignment I had for IAS/DFS really useful as it was complicated and a similar question came up on the exam paper. They also have provided me with revision notes and explained things I have found hard. i have used them massively on the final level and find them to be excellent.

    As someone said no provider is perfect but I can recommend premier Training.

    I also attened a few of the revision classes for Level 4 organised by the AAT which I foundin valuable as it consolidated my learning.

    These forums are excellent and have been great around exams time. Although now exams are done as CBE the same amount of activity before them wont happen but the explanations on here have been fabulous and a lot of the tutors come on here from other colleges and their input would be great.

    I havent stuck rigidly to the answers as when I get my assigments back they do differ to the sample text but I have still got a high pass mark.

    I would have a chat with them first, express your concerns, maybe you could swap tutors, it seems a shame to change a provider if the books and the rigidity are your only concern.

    Let us know what you decide and good luck

    K
  • janwaljanwal Experienced Mentor Posts: 1,189Registered
    Hi

    If the provider and tutor you have are ok and your concern is the material being used, could you not just purchase extra to help. At college we use Kaplan which are easy to follow, but I have purchased some Osbourne books to help with extra back up and I have just ordered A Student's Guide to International Financial Reporting Standards as it has been recommended a few times on here, you can never have too much research.

    Jan
  • thirtysomethingmumthirtysomethingmum Just Joined Posts: 3Registered
    I must have just been unlucky when I got assessed on a couple of things which were not covered in the Osborne books. I study those books very well from cover to cover. Personally I don't like them and prefer BPP, and am now going to give Kaplan a try. I've never had a problem when I've used BPP study materials and expect Kaplan books will be pretty much the same as BPP. However I do agree that having two sets of books could be helpful.
    My tutor at Premier is excellent, and I like the fact that I always have the same tutor. At BPP it was always someone different who answered my queries. Again this is a question of preference. Some people don't mind not having a designated tutor.
    Thanks again for the input. I think I've got it figured out now. ;)
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