Career advice:

JJB Registered Posts: 9 Regular contributor ⭐
Hi guys,

I need your opinions on a matter that is extremely frustrating for me at the moment.

I'm 3 exams away from achieving AAT full membership, I need Business Tax, Financial Statements and Financial Performance.

Before you say finish off exams, your so close etc etc, can you try and look at it in another way...

I am waiting on Business Tax result, but have failed FS and FP 4 times each! I am at a point where I no longer care about AAT. My fiancé is expecting our first child in December and we have recently moved into our first house together. So times are stressful.

Anyway, I have been working in Tax recently at work, and I really really enjoy it! Would it be wise to just start afresh and go for the ATT>CTA route? Can anyone give me experience of this and can you all give me advice on what to do, I'm a lost cause! Cannot stop stressing about it all!

Cheers guys,


  • Nps
    Nps Registered Posts: 782
    First of all, congratulations on your imminent arrival - you have fun times ahead.

    Secondly, to your question. Please remember that the beauty of an anonymous forum is that people can say what they really think without worrying about saying the right thing. The other beauty is that you can choose to ignore them!

    My opinion (feel free to ignore!) You'd be mad to not finish off AAT now. All that work, all that time, all that money, to just leave it half finished. Once baby arrives, you'll do everything in your power to give them the best life you can. Ask yourself, will being AAT qualified help you to do that?

    Before you make any decisions about ATT, you need to see if you've passed Business Tax. If you haven't, then the decision is kind of made for you for the time being, as you are unlikely to find ATT any easier than AAT. On the subject of CTA (and this is where I hope I don't offend you, but I have the luxury of being able to say things that may or may not be relevant, but that your friends would shy away from saying), I think you are underestimating how difficult CTA would be. If you are finding FS and FP of AAT difficult, then I think you would find CTA really difficult. I know they cover different areas but they are similar in respect of the general area of study.

    ATT is likely to also contain modules that you find as difficult as FP and FS, so how would you feel 2 years down the line, to find yourself with 2 half qualifications, when you could have struggled on and achieved one full one?

    My advice would be to really examine WHY you are failing FS and FP.
    How do you study? College, distance learning etc. That method is obviously not working for you, so try something different. Even if only a different learning provider.
    Try buying some different books. Claire Finch writes a book which is supposed to be very good for FS and several say they definitely owe their pass to that book.
    Ask yourself honestly why you are failing? Can you honestly say you have done everything you can, is it exam nerves, is it lack of exam practice, is it lack of time, is it general lack of understanding. Do you do all the green lights and practice assessments? If you can pinpoint why, then you are half way to passing already.
    You are new to this forum. You've missed an amazing resource of support, help and guidance. So there's one thing you haven't used to your advantage to help you pass. You're here now, so that's that bit sorted.
    You have done each exam 4 times, so you should be very familiar with the content, so again, you're half way to the passes already. Is it certain bits which let you down every time or just an all round lack of understanding the subject?

    How will you feel when you get those 2 passes, won't it feel brilliant and so much more of an achievement than those which you sailed through? Then you can go on to ATT and CTA knowing that you have the ability and determination to do them? Passing AAT is within touching distance, it really is.

    When baby arrives, I think the last thing you are going to want to be doing is starting a whole new qualification (trust me, I've been there). However it is also possible if you are determined (again, have been there).

    You CAN do it, you've passed the rest of AAT, so deep down you know you can pass the rest. I get a huge sense of satisfaction from helping people here (so much so that I'm reconsidering my career options and looking into some part time tutoring), and I'm not the only one, so you can be rest assured that if you have a query, someone will help you with it. You have a whole forum of people helping you (who've all been where you are), how can you fail with that kind of support!

    With all that said and done, you mention that you are stressed. Do not underestimate how much this can affect you. Perhaps you need to step back and relax for a few months and then perhaps go back to it with a fresh set of eyes. Or give yourself a deadline (perhaps before baby arrives, depending on how long that is), to really get into passing those last 2 exams. They are only exams at the end of the day, they'll still be there later if you want to take a break from them. Or just chip away at the exams slowly, who says you have to finish them asap.

    Anyway, I hope this has given you a different perspective and some things to consider.
  • Nps
    Nps Registered Posts: 782
    Sorry, didn't realise it was turning into an essay as I was happily typing away!
  • Nps
    Nps Registered Posts: 782
    Me again!

    I've just been reading your other threads so have a better idea of your circs. It seems you've been a member of the forums a while, but don't use them much, you're missing out on lots of help.

    Are you still with the same employer? It sounds like you are in a really enviable position, all that experience plus nearly AAT qualified. You really are in a great position to launch the next stage of your career when you pass those final 2 exams. Have you spoken to your employer about your concerns? Are they funding your studies? Have you considered any repercussions of not finishing AAT in that respect? Again, I'll be honest. If I had a member of staff, who didn't complete a qualification that I had supported them through (especially if I'd paid fees or given them time off for college) I'd be really unimpressed. Just be aware that giving up on AAT may have further reaching consequences for you than just not finishing the qualification. You've talked about pay rises before and the consensus was that once you were AAT qualified, you'd be in a great position for a pay rise - keep focussing on that!

    You really can pass them, please don't give up.
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