Can I do the exams without actually studying at a college/online course?

rhian Registered Posts: 57 Epic contributor 🐘
Hi, I'm currently doing level 2 and 3 at college and doing my exams there too.

However I want to do level 4 alone at home and just go to an exam provider to sit the papers. Just pay for the exams themselves and no actual course. Is this allowed?? I would just buy the books and study myself.

Also, if I did do this, could I do the exams whenever I wanted or do they have specific dates? Is it possible to do it over summer or are they only done during academic year (sept-jun)??

Sorry for the long post!! Would love any information, thank you :)


  • Diddy Mau
    Diddy Mau Registered Posts: 238 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
    Hi Rhian,
    I am currently doing level 4 now through the college. I would condentrate on levels2 & 3, once these are complete move onto level4 as it is a step up from level 3 and you need to know this for level 4.
    I had done 2&3 at the same time at college.
    level 4 is a lot more indepth and I would do this next year with your college as you have people to ask advice for. I dont think you can sit exams outside of term time, not sure.
    I am sure you need level 3 to get onto a level4 course, dont think you can just buy the books alone with out going through a provider
  • katie2008
    katie2008 Registered Posts: 294 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    Hi Rhian,

    yes you can!

    I know for sure because I am.

    Some of the best providers are BPP/KAPLAN/PREMIER TRAINING.

    Have a quick google, and they will come up.

    Personally I am studying with Kaplan, and can sit my exams any time, they have about 20 centres scattered around the uk so bound to be one near you.

    My one unit (distance learning) was £135.00 including delivery and vat. The exams are about £50/£55.

    I would however, finish levels 2 & 3, before getting started on level 4, as it is very intense, and you would wish you had completed the first 2 first!

    Hope this helps.

  • uknitty
    uknitty Registered Posts: 591 Epic contributor 🐘
    If you have completed your level 3 then you could study level 4 alone by just buying the books if you wanted to. You would need to register with a distance learning provider/college for the ICAS unit as this needs to be marked by a tutor. I understand that most of the main distance learning providers (Premier Training, Kaplan, Eagle, BPP) are offering ICAS as a "stand alone" unit.

    You would also need to find an exam centre that accepts external candidates. I use Kaplan in Liverpool for my exams - Kaplan have centres throughout the UK and they accept external candidates for CBE's, as to BPP. They tend to have exams on at least a monthly basis, and I personally have not experienced any difficulties in booking a CBE as an external candidate.

    All that - said I think the key point is that you need to have completed level 3 (or be granted exemptions by the AAT) to start studying at level 4.

    I am on track to complete level 4 within 9 months, I'm able to work through the level 4 units slightly quicker than I had initially hoped - this is because most of the concepts explored at level 4 are an expansion on what is covered at level 3.

    If you really really take your time over the level 3 material and make sure you have a good understanding it will make level 4 much easier.

    So to answer your question, yes you can study level 4 (with the exeption of ICAS) as an external student, but I agree with Diddy - it would be better to get level 2 and 3 out of the way before considering doing so.
  • rhian
    rhian Registered Posts: 57 Epic contributor 🐘
    thank you everyone and sorry for the slow reply! i'm now planning on studying level 4 as an external candidate with BBP or Kaplan, but i'm a bit worried about the ICAS module. since it is a 'stand-alone' module does this mean i'll need to study it in a class? would anyone accept me for only one module?

    thanks again :)
  • Focus888
    Focus888 Registered Posts: 46 Regular contributor ⭐
    Hi, i am interested in doing this as well. How would i go about doing this? do i just ring up Kaplan and say i want to take the exam as an external student and just pay the exam fee? Thanks.
  • rhian
    rhian Registered Posts: 57 Epic contributor 🐘
    Focus888 wrote: »
    Hi, i am interested in doing this as well. How would i go about doing this? do i just ring up Kaplan and say i want to take the exam as an external student and just pay the exam fee? Thanks.

    Hi! I rang up Kaplan to book mine but she said there was nothing for external candidates outside of London which I think is rubbish as I'm sure many people on this forum are sitting Kaplan exams all over the UK as external candidates!

    After speaking to Kaplan I decided to try BPP- much easier as you just press 1 on the phone and it takes you straight to bookings and after they give you a list of optional dates you book it there and then!

    Don't let me put you off Kaplan though, I'm sure they're just as convenient as BPP really! I think if you were to phone them and you were lucky enough to get a better representative than I got you should be fine. (Obviously she could have been right about the London thing but I just don't think it's correct!)

    Sorry I wrote a lot more than planned :) Rhian
  • Jason1984
    Jason1984 Registered Posts: 6 Regular contributor ⭐
    So....just to clarify: If I wanted to do the level 2 exams without actually enrolling on a course, I could do so? If that's the case, which books would it be beneficial for me to buy?
  • cooper
    cooper Registered Posts: 2 New contributor 🐸
    Reply to Rhian
    I am sitting exams with Kaplan as an external candidate outside London.
  • beckyln
    beckyln Registered Posts: 52 Epic contributor 🐘
    I would definately recommend doing Level 3 before level 4. I did two years on an accountancy degree and still learnt new things by doing Level 3!

    I've used BPP books and Osbourne. I liked the Osbourne as I found the text not so scary! But the BPP goes into more depth... the Pass cards are a good one too use too!

    I'm studying with the Home Learning College and probs wouldn't recommend them although the tutor support is fantastic the customer support isn't! (It took me 5 months too get the right books)!!!

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