Ready for Level 4 - seeking advice

billdoor Registered Posts: 129 πŸŽ† 🐘 πŸŽ†
Hi all

I passed my final Level 3 exam today and am now looking at Level 4. I understand that there are four mandatory modules and then two optional modules, and none of them are computer-marked.

My plan is to do the level by self-study, I'd really appreciate any feedback on the following:

1. Does ICAS have to be done with a training provider and does it really have to take three months?!

2. Do I have to notify anyone (i.e. AAT) of my chosen optional modules, or just pick two as I please?

3. Any advice regarding what order to take the modules in?

Finally, if anyone has used the BPP books for Level 4, are they good?

Thanks very much:thumbup1:


  • Nps
    Nps Registered Posts: 782

    1) Yes ICAS has to be done with a training provider but you can do it as quickly or slowly as you like (though that may not be the case with all providers). I had very little support with mine and just kind of guessed what to do. Hence I had a couple of submissions before it was accepted. Just make sure you are provided with a copy of the marking schedule so you can see what needs to be covered. I submitted my first draft a few days after getting the case study. Had I had a copy of the marking criteria I could have ensured that the first draft contained everything it needed. Personally I see no reason why you can't do the project alongside the exams but some people seem to suggest you leave it till the end due to the workload.

    2) Just pick 2 modules and sit the exams. I didn't inform AAT beforehand.

    3) I think most people will agree that Financial Statements is the hardest module, but it's still very achievable if you study the syllabus. Financial Performance follows on from budgeting so I would suggest you do those straight after each other. For the optional modules, there is a fair bit of crossover between personal tax and business tax so again if you choose either one, I would consider doing them both. That said, I do believe they are the hardest two optional modules. If you are continuing with chartered studies afterwards, I would recommend the tax options.

    4) I've used BPP books for all levels and now ACCA. I have found them to be very good and cover all aspects of the syllabus. I think they sometimes go into perhaps too much detail for the specific exams but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Yes, they do have some errors, but I think that's the case with all the providers.

    Hope that helps.
  • billdoor
    billdoor Registered Posts: 129 πŸŽ† 🐘 πŸŽ†
    Thanks for your reply, that's really helpful. I'll look into ICAS a bit more then with different training providers and see which option would suit me most.

    I've read that Budgeting and then Financial Performance are good choices to start with if you ended Level 3 with Costs and Revenues, would you agree with that? I did that exam yesterday so it's all fresh.

    Good to hear about the BPP books, I've used them for Levels 2 and 3 and have found the same - they cover everything and sometimes they cover things which you don't really need to know for the module, which is fine, and they're easy enough to read but do have the occasional error - which is probably the same for all providers, as you said. I'll use them again then.

    Thanks again, much appreciated.
  • omega man
    omega man Registered Posts: 283
    I am on level 4 distance learning and i have used Kaplan as my training provider for ICAS,i am on the case study now it was uploaded on 20 Nov and you have up to 4 months for your first submission and another 2 months max for 2 further submissions if your doing the case study.
    I have done and passed budgeting and financial performance and will take the two tax exams in the new year and do financial statements last of all.
    Cost wise it is Β£55 per exam and i paid Β£251 with postage costs and 8hrs of videos for my ICAS project.
  • Spamkebab
    Spamkebab Registered Posts: 233 πŸŽ† 🐘 πŸŽ†
    Are the videos any good Omega?

    Sounds as though you are well kitted out for ICAS!

    I've just received the go ahead for my project, my plan has been okayed so it looks like a busy weekend for me.

  • omega man
    omega man Registered Posts: 283
    The videos are ok nothing that special.
    Although there are other videos like after AAT like AAT,CIMA,ACCA.
    Sounds like you want to blitz your report and get it out of the way and uploaded before xmas.
    I will probably go the more slowly softly softly approach.
  • Spamkebab
    Spamkebab Registered Posts: 233 πŸŽ† 🐘 πŸŽ†
    I want to have it nailed down before Christmas yeah, A fresh start in the New Year and all that but to be honest i'd rather spend a little longer and get it right for the second submission at worst. (i'm not expecting to be first time perfect as this report writing is brand spanking new to me)

    You can't catch a monkey by rushing in lol.
  • Nps
    Nps Registered Posts: 782
    I also did my ICAS project with Kaplan. I got sent a couple of pages of printed sheets and access to their En-gage system which I just found contained far too much irrelevant information. I didn't get given any access to videos and it was only after my first submission that I found out that they should have provided me with a text book and a marking schedule.
    Having now completed my project I would give the following advice to anyone about to start it (if using a case study).

    I did the Cookridge carpets case study and the sheer volume which you could write about their accounting issues is ridiculous. I picked a couple of points out and went way over my word count. Once I had the marking guidance and added all the theory that was required, I was nearly three times over. If I was to start again, I would get the theory in first and then use the case study to illustrate the points. I personally wasn't overly impressed by the ICAS format at all.

    From reading all the ICAS threads on here it really does seem that every provider, and even different markers, want you to approach the project in different ways.

    In answer to your question about order of units, yes, budgeting would be a very good first module if you have only just done C&R's.
  • nightshade
    nightshade Registered Posts: 33 πŸ’« 🐯 πŸ’«
    billdoor wrote: Β»
    Good to hear about the BPP books, ....... I'll use them again then.

    Just to check Billdoor, you're not buying the distance learning package (Β£130) from BPP are you? I did for all of level 2, before finding out you can order the materials seperately for around Β£35... only difference is the package comes with a plastic wallet...:glare:
  • omega man
    omega man Registered Posts: 283
    Spamkebab- did you not have to do a report at level 2.
    I had to write a report at level 2 on the different accounting bodies.
    Good luck with your report.
  • billdoor
    billdoor Registered Posts: 129 πŸŽ† 🐘 πŸŽ†
    Thanks for the replies folks, very useful information. I've ordered the books for Budgeting so am looking forward to seeing what that's like.

    nightshade - no, I'm just buying the Study Text and Question Bank, nothing else. I did Level 2 as online distance learning and got the passcards, folder, video lectures etc but didn't really need them. I think Level 2 cost me about Β£1200 and Level 3 about Β£650. Thanks for the advice though, I know myself that it's great advice for anyone reading!:laugh:
  • omega man
    omega man Registered Posts: 283
    I did level 2+3 for free at college as i am on jobseekers allowance.
    For level 4 i bought the osborne books Β£114 and after i have done all 5 exams and the project,that will be another Β£526, so Β£640 in total as long as i have no re-sits.
  • billdoor
    billdoor Registered Posts: 129 πŸŽ† 🐘 πŸŽ†
    Sounds good to me omega!

    That reminds me, BPP phoned me a while ago to let me know that there's some kind of government scheme whereby people can have their studies funded - but you have to meet some criteria, one of which is being in an accounts job for X number of hours per week (which I'm not). Apparently it hasn't been very well advertised and most people don't know about it.
Privacy Policy