Any advice on how to study level 4 effectively?

geek84 Registered Posts: 568 Epic contributor 🐘
Hi folks

I have just completed my level 3, and waiting for the study material to arrive before starting the final level.

Have any of you got any advice on how I should go about studying this level? I understand that I need to complete 4 compulsory units and 2 optional units. Is that right?

Should I study the units/modules in order they are given to me or is there a particular 'good' or 'convenient' order in which to study them?

How many hours a day/week are you folks studying for this level?

What criteria have you or will be using in order to select the 2 required optional units?

I understand that there is also a project to complete? How much knowledge/study hours do you think are required in order to complete that?

Thanks in advance for you repsonse(s).


  • guinea pig
    guinea pig Registered Posts: 402 Dedicated contributor πŸ¦‰
    Hi Geek,
    I am starting level 4 at college in 2 weeks times, and am also interested to know which subjects other students have "chosen". We have to do Personal Tax, and Business tax, but as a colleague of mine found the Business Tax option very challenging, I wonder if Auditing or Credit Management might be better? I suppose it also depends on work you do/want to do?
    Our course is one day per week for the college year, but as my employer will only give me half a day out each week, I will have to self study the rest. I have just completed, and passed the project, so thats a good start; It took me just over two months, studying most Saturday mornings, and some evenings, probably about 40 - 50 hours. This also depends on how much knowledge/experience you already have that relates to the project, and how much support you get. My tutor was very good.
    Good luck,
  • geek84
    geek84 Registered Posts: 568 Epic contributor 🐘
    Good Morning guineapig

    Would you like to become a study buddy with me on this level? We could help & motivate each other!!

    If so, please PM me and we can exchange email addresses etc
  • babsa
    babsa Registered Posts: 118 Dedicated contributor πŸ¦‰
    Well done on passing level 3.
    Level 4 is hard work but well worth it. I would try to get your project out of the way and then you can think about your exam subjects. I would spend hours studying after work. I did 2 nights at college and spent my day off studying. Read the text book that is what they are there for. If you are stuck on anything people on the forum are willing to help so you are not on your own.
    Good luck.
  • geek84
    geek84 Registered Posts: 568 Epic contributor 🐘
    Hi babsa

    Thanks for your reply. Is there a reason why I should complete the project first?

  • oli
    oli Registered Posts: 88 Regular contributor ⭐
    Hi Geek84,

    Well done on passing level 3 :-) One thing I like about level 3 CBA exams was that you got a provisional result instantly, the 6 week wait for results for level 4 can be agonising.

    I would advise to start the project early on as this is a big and also challenging unit to complete in my opinion, at my college we were given 4 months to complete the project.

    As for the other units I suggest starting with financial statements, one of the bigger units as not only do you have to learn the calculations for preparing financial statements, you have to learn the international accounting standards (IAS's) which I and others on the forum have seemed to have found very challenging.

    I would advise doing the budgeting unit and then the financial performance unit as I found I could relate back to the budgeting unit when doing financial performance.

    As for the optional units my college tutors made the decision for us to do personal/business tax which to be honest I think I would have chosen. Once again I would advise doing personal tax first then business tax as you can relate back to personal tax when doing business tax.

    With the project you will need to put a lot of time into it, doing research, SWOT/PEST analysis, cost benefit analysis, speaking with managers/supervisors/staff (if doing the workplace project) etc. Financial statements will be learning calculations and IAS's, budgeting and financial performance (my favourite 2 units) is mostly calculations and then reporting on your findings, personal/business tax is calculations and learning laws/rules of tax.

    Sorry that I cannot provide you with information for credit management or external auditing as I have never studied those units. Credit management sounds pretty interesting and external auditing is supposed to be pretty boring as it is mostly just ticking things off and learning legislation as far as I'm aware could be wrong.

    Hope this info helps :-)
  • geek84
    geek84 Registered Posts: 568 Epic contributor 🐘
    Hi Oli

    Many thanks indeed for your advice.

    What stage are you at in level 4?
  • lyndseywood87
    lyndseywood87 Registered Posts: 47 Epic contributor 🐘
    Hi Geek,

    Level 4 is a bit more challenging than level 3, but it can be done. I have done External Audit, as we were made to do this at my college, however I work in industry and this will not be very benificial. In terms of challenging wise, Audit was one of the easiest exams to revise for I found.

    I sat Financial Statements, Financial Performance and External Audit, within a three week period in June, and I found External Audit the easiest to follow and revise for. Its mainly rules and regulations, then legal framework, and the basis of preparing and carrying out an audit. You dont do none of the actual work as if you were doing the audit just the background, however examples are used. The questions in this exam are mainly multiple choice with around two or three longer wordy questions which are along the lines of what would you do in this scenario.... Reviewing the purchase ledger system within a company that is currently in an audit showing each stage of checking.

    I am about half way through my project and would strongly suggest you get this over and done with asap. I am running out of steam with mine so I need to get it done as soon as possible really.

    Hope this is helpful.

  • oli
    oli Registered Posts: 88 Regular contributor ⭐
    Hi Geek84,

    I have just completed level 4 and awaiting full membership.
  • geek84
    geek84 Registered Posts: 568 Epic contributor 🐘
    Good Morning folks

    Thanks for your advice so far.

    OLI - How long did it take you to complete level 4? Are you planning to progress to acca or cima? Are you in an accounts related role?

    I am out of work at the moment and finding it difficult in the job market, let alone find an accounts related role!

    I have a further problem in that after completing the AAT, I am planning to go on to acca. However, without a job, I will have to pay my own fees, which I am told could run into the Β£000's !
  • Meticulous
    Meticulous Banned User Posts: 9 New contributor 🐸
    Hi Geek84,

    Premier Training offer the Level 4 Diploma in Accounting there is the option to fast track your course too. On average if you can commit around 6 hours to your studies a week you can get through this level within 7-8 months! Because you are unfortunately out of work at the minute you could more time and get throguh it way faster. When you enrol with them they send out the material straight away and allof the study material is there. Another good thing is that you can pay the course fee over 4 installments which really helped me out.

    You get a personal tutor so throughout your studies you can ring them as much as you want. You get their direct line and email address and there is no queying system so you always get to speak to someone who is able to help which is great for when you get a sneaky hour in the evening as they are open for 3 late nights.

    Also with Premier Training you can do the course in which ever order you want. With the optional units i have spoken to my tutor and they have really helped me decide which units would suit me best and be more beneficial for me. They are a great help and really friendly. And, with the ICAS project you get assigned a specialist tutor who you deal with throughout your project. She is really nice and helps with any queries. You will have good conversations with her and she will give you loads of advice which really helps makes sense of things too!

    If you want to ask any other questions about Premier Training course please feel free - i want to help you make the right decision =)
  • oli
    oli Registered Posts: 88 Regular contributor ⭐
    @Geek84: I started level 4 in September and finished in late June, After that we were just in for our last few exams until early July.

    As for further study I am looking at studying CIMA through distance learning, taking my first 2 exams in May 2012. Only thing that stopped me from sitting exams this November was money, registration, exemption fees and one unit would have come to just under Β£500 which I just didn't have.

    Currently working in practice but looking to get back into an industry role with study support at some point. I understand your situation as the job market is shocking at the moment, employers can be oh so picky. I'm assuming you're registered with agencies, have you tried taking copies of your CV to local accountancy practices? Also do you have any accounts experience?

    As for funding ACCA I would advise distance learning as its the cheaper option but you will need motivation.
  • geek84
    geek84 Registered Posts: 568 Epic contributor 🐘
    Hi folks

    Many thanks for your replies.

    METICULOUS - Many thanks for your words of advice. However, I am aleady with Premier Training. My tutor is Aan Dawson, who is your tutor? What stage are you at on level 4?

  • Sally5065
    Sally5065 Registered Posts: 48 Regular contributor ⭐

    I have recenty started level 4 through Premier training too. Did level 3 with them and found them very helpful.

    Sally x
  • garfield
    garfield Registered Posts: 10 New contributor 🐸
    Hi geek84

    I am about to do the CBT for Credit Management on Monday, and I found it ok (I think, Monday will be the decider :)) I took Audit under the old stanadards, and couldn't get my head round it, have now decided to do Personal Tax instead. I think it depends how your brain works, I find it easier to remember formulas and financial statements etc, whereas Audit is very much based on the theory of auditors responsibilities, and procedures when auditing accounts, and it just wasn't for me. But we're all different, so hard to say whether you would like it.

    Might be an idea to look through the practice exams on AAT website and see which look interesting?

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