level 4.going it alone....

gflynn31gflynn31 New MemberRegistered Posts: 5
Hi all,

Well, I started with AAT back in July last year on level 2 and am now nearly through level 3. I have found it fairly straightforward and logical and would really like to progress onto level 4 as soon as.

I studied via distance learning which suited me better as I am mature(38!!)and have to juggle work/family commitments around. I am unsure about whether to 'go it alone' for level 4 or stay with the distance learning company(Eagle) which to be honest have been excellent in every respect.

The reason why I am weighing it up is mainly that I havent relied on them for any kind of assistance in understanding topics and prefer to work things out for myself. I am also weighing up the financial cost and reckon I can save at least £500 going it alone.

What I need to ask my fellow students is the following

Is it really a massive leap from levels 3 to 4?
Can it be done by going it alone?(I do not work in an accounts related position currently)
How many people start level 4 and then just quit due to the difficulty(my training provider informs me that the pass rate for level 4 is 50% nationally)
For the ICAS module can this be purchased independently and if so for how much?

Sorry to bombard you with all this but it is a fairly big decision. Ultimately I want to work in accounts and I feel that unless I at least have the qualification in full , employers wont give me a second glance

Thanks everyone, and good luck to you all.

Gary

Comments

  • SarahJSSarahJS Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 272
    I'm looking at the same thing. I know ICAS can be bought separately, Kaplan do it less than 200 pounds I think.

    I'm decided on doing it myself (I've weighed up how many fails in exams I would take to be worth buying the courses where I'd presume I'd pass first time, and it came out as 3 fails before a pass to break even) because I've never needed too much support, and like you prefer to work it out on my own.
  • uknittyuknitty Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 591
    I stuck with a distance learning provider throughout as I agreed an upfront fee for the entire course and paid in instalments (it actually worked out very cost effective for me)

    It feels that I havn't used a huge amount of tutor support - but when I reflect I wonder if this is because the feedback that I recieved on my assignments has been very concicse and really allowed me to go away and focus on the areas to "brush up" on.

    I'd say before making a decision, perhaps buy the either the "Limited Company Accounts" or Financial Performance Tutorial. Take a look and see what you make of these as they seem to be the trickiest units for people at level 4. If you buy the books direct from Osborne should only set you back about £20 per module which is a small price to pay in assessing if you want to sign up for a distance learning package that wll be a much bigger financial commitment.

    For me, I wouldn't have gone it alone - but other people have.

    Finally - Kaplan do offer ICAS as a stand alone (£150) but I think they are slightly slower on marking than other companies. I think at one point Eagle were talking about offering ICAS as an independent unit.... perhaps worht checking it out with them ?

    Good luck and let us know how you get on.
  • clegganatorclegganator Well-Known Registered Posts: 184
    gflynn31 wrote: »
    Is it really a massive leap from levels 3 to 4?

    Yes, it's a pretty big leap!
    gflynn31 wrote: »
    Can it be done by going it alone?(I do not work in an accounts related position currently)
    How many people start level 4 and then just quit due to the difficulty(my training provider informs me that the pass rate for level 4 is 50% nationally)

    You can but it depends on what else you do in your spare time and if you are willing to sacrifice those things for your qualification. A lot of people don't which is why they fail!
  • SarahJSSarahJS Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 272
    uknitty wrote: »

    I'd say before making a decision, perhaps buy the either the "Limited Company Accounts" or Financial Performance Tutorial. Take a look and see what you make of these as they seem to be the trickiest units for people at level 4. If you buy the books direct from Osborne should only set you back about £20 per module which is a small price to pay in assessing if you want to sign up for a distance learning package that wll be a much bigger financial commitment.

    I really agree with this.. I did it for level 3, and it definately made my decision easier than deciding if I had no real idea of the new standard of understanding required.
  • gflynn31gflynn31 New Member Registered Posts: 5
    [PHP]I'm decided on doing it myself (I've weighed up how many fails in exams I would take to be worth buying the courses where I'd presume I'd pass first time, and it came out as 3 fails before a pass to break even) because I've never needed too much support, and like you prefer to work it out on my own.[/PHP]


    Sarah,

    have you actually started level 4 yet and how are you finding it?
  • SarahJSSarahJS Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 272
    I've not actually started yet, just bought the books.

    The books don't look too bad, the content looks a step up but manageable. My main concern is the technique for the written parts of the exam.
  • deborahcarpenterdeborahcarpenter Well-Known Registered Posts: 161
    I done level 2 & 3 home learning but went to college one day a week for level and i am so glad i did. It is such a great leap up from Level 3. I too was a mature 40 when i passed level 4. I am now due to complete ATT (taxation) in May this year (home learning) and also complete ACCA next year (home learning)

    I am so glad i stuck it out, even though i too had to juggle family and kids,it was worth it in the end,. I am now self employed and work from home with an ever growing client list.

    As i said keep going, it will be worth it in the end!!!
  • gflynn31gflynn31 New Member Registered Posts: 5
    Deborah, its great to hear your story......its so inspiring and im glad to see
    that there is definitely a market for self employed work as this is my preferred route too.

    Well done you.......
  • SarahJSSarahJS Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 272
    I've just had my last level 3 exams today AP1 and 2 and passed both, so just waiting on SPSW results before I can start booking level 4 :)

    How did you find ATT Deborah, I'm starting that at my new job soon :)
  • Sonya AshbarrySonya Ashbarry Feels At Home Registered Posts: 31
    Hey Gary

    I almost feel the need to apologise for butting in on this conversation :)))) I feel it's our responsibility to help customers make choices which have a positive influence on their future.

    First of all thank you so much for complimenting our service as being excellent in every respect. We are delighted with such positive feedback. We work hard at providing customers with a robust professional service and a very positive learning experience.

    We are team that feel passionate about helping people with their futures. It's not just about gaining a qualification! Education and training is about gaining as much knowledge and experience as you can in order to improve your career prospects. As a self employed practitioner, it's about having the best knowledge and skills so that you can provide the best service to your clients and maximise earning potential. p

    At eagle we feel that it's our own resources and support that makes that difference. Hopefully you enjoyed using our study buddy and you may have seen our updates in latest news. We applaude publishers for their efforts to keep their books current-believe me it's quite a task. But generally they update and reprint annually. Another advantage of being with a good provider is that they'll keep you updated with new info daily! Especially through our marking service. Our tutors are able to guide you so that you learn techniques to maximise understanding of key concepts and therefore increase the opportunity to earn as many marks as possible in exams. Particularly at level four! In the long term investing in good quality TRAINING will pay for itself. Not only will you be well prepared for exams but you'll have good knowledge in order to be able to provide and excellent service to clients. A good training provider can save you time and money! Don't forget to cost your time! :))

    I'm replying on my iPad so I can't seem to scroll to proof read!!! I won't ramble any longer then, and I apologise for errors :). Of course we wish everyone success with whichever study method they choose.

    Best wishes. Sonya
  • gflynn31gflynn31 New Member Registered Posts: 5
    Wow,

    Really didnt expect this many responses, clearly it is a subject for debate.

    Sonya,
    I value your comments and will be in touch in due course. It is unknown territory
    at level 4 but I know that I am absolutely committed to seeing this through as I can
    clearly see a future for myself. There is absolutely no issue with the quality of the service you
    provide which in fact makes this a harder decision if you see what I mean. I just need to ensure
    I pass first time by using the best method possible for myself, the prime reason is the cost
    !!

    Everybody else, thanks for your comments I will weigh them all up and let you know the outcome
    in the next few months............
  • Sonya AshbarrySonya Ashbarry Feels At Home Registered Posts: 31
    Experience

    Hi,

    It is a hot topic of conversation at the moment for many colleges, not just distance learning centres. I wonder how AAT will achieve their objective of "Growing People and Growing Economies" if colleges and jobs are under threat, which could happen in the long term if this trend continued. AAT can't cope with supporting thousands of students directly. Their costs would increase substantially resulting in increased membership fees perhaps!

    Some more food for thought...we said in the office today that if we use the services of a hair dresser, plumber, mechanic, doctor, surgeon or accountant you expect that they've been on a training course and learnt from experienced professionals, rather than gained skills from purely studying a text book and passing exams.

    It's worrying what our future holds, if this trend continues, for all professions.

    Rant over :001_rolleyes::001_smile: I just love what I do so I can't help myself.

    Kindest

    Sonya
  • MWAUGH1983MWAUGH1983 Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 420
    gflynn31 wrote: »
    Wow,

    Really didnt expect this many responses, clearly it is a subject for debate.

    Sonya,
    I value your comments and will be in touch in due course. It is unknown territory
    at level 4 but I know that I am absolutely committed to seeing this through as I can
    clearly see a future for myself. There is absolutely no issue with the quality of the service you
    provide which in fact makes this a harder decision if you see what I mean. I just need to ensure
    I pass first time by using the best method possible for myself, the prime reason is the cost
    !!

    Everybody else, thanks for your comments I will weigh them all up and let you know the outcome
    in the next few months............

    I think if I was thinking of self studying when I started AAT a few years ago then I wouldn't have bothered! However, with the support from the AAT on here and the help on the forum then I find that invaluable and it gives a different level of support so I think self learning for whatever level is a important consideration.

    I dont think self studying would be frown upon by employers; if you did the study by yourself and got the grade then I think that would be pretty impressive and would develop key skills like time managment, problem solving - and I think employers would be bothered about people doing further study like acca or cima - I personally would never consider distance learning or self study for acca or cima unless there was another way - I think traditional teaching or where you have direct contact with a tutor is a key thing in correlation with the difficulty of the level.

    If you want any advice on how im managing or what way I do it then please PM me :)

    Cheers
    Martin
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