Management Accounting: Decision and Control (AQ2016) Exam

Just got my results back for the decisions and control exam, which I failed but I wasn't surprised, was it me or was the exam just different to the BPP / Kaplan text books, the questions were so different to what I was expecting?
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Comments

  • hertshornethertshornet Registered Posts: 7
    We had an unexpectedly low pass rate and low results. Our college complained exam didn't match spec and specifically not the sample papers. They said 5 other colleges had complained - any feedback on responses? AAT seem to blame college new lecturer blames students. As a few passed AAT argued not the exam - but it was clearly different. All the class used full time allocation which was unusual. Also failed narrowly so gutted, but others who passed well before failed with low marks.

    Also anyone else having problems with BPP books not just typos/layout but theory/example problems - we have just been given emailed 87 page supplement to financial statements book. Our cost to print out!

    Looking like 2016 transition has not been properly planned or implemented/tested. Some problem with provider - but ATT should check providers and publishers ready.
    seebee73
  • JohnNJohnN Registered, Tutor Posts: 20
    Have just finished teaching MDCL and first students have just taken the exam. They looked shell shocked when coming out and stated the questions were nothing like those in the practice papers or the BPP text book. Of course we don't expect them to be identical to the AAT practice papers but if they are very different then the practice papers might be giving the students a false sense of confidence.

    I will be looking for some pretty detailed feedback from the examiner about this paper. In fact it might be worth having an early review of the results by the AAT.

    From memory we had this problem with the Financial Statements paper a few years back and it led to a review of the syllabus content.

    I am also interested in DAS007's comment on Kaplan and BPP. Does anyone have anything to add about the Osborne books? Also am I right in thinking that Osborne is now part of Kaplan?

    We have also had some issues with the text book but if you refer back to the AAT re general guidance they simply say 'nothing to do with us gov'. However I think that cooperation between the AAT and the publishers is very important in terms of types of questions that might be asked. I fully understand that the AAT aren't responsible for the text books content and the onus might actually be on the publishers to seek more guidance.

    Also, has there been a new examiner for this topic?
    Thanks for raising this topic.
  • amandacavanaghamandacavanagh HampshireRegistered, Tutor Posts: 3
    Completely agree with JohnN about more cooperation between AAT and the publishers. AAT know the style of questions they are asking which is clearly different from the past and they have a large question bank for each module. Why aren't they communicating at least some of these to the publishers? Surely this will produce more competent learners in the end and will raise standards.

    I remember when students used to get bored of practising the old written papers because they were so repetitive. The learners want as much practice as they can get. They want to be as well prepared as possible by testing their learning every which way they can.
    SueFW
  • Mike WebsterMike Webster Just Joined Cardiff and ValeRegistered, Tutor Posts: 106
    Whilst I agree that it appears that questions in the live assessments (for many units it appears) are very different to the questions you've had in online and publisher practice assessments, I have to ask the following question:

    Are you being taught to pass an exam or are you being taught how to solve problems in a real life situation? In the workplace, you will not be faced with a problem in one format, it is very likely that you will be faced with problems that will need you to apply your knowledge - you won't even be told what technique you need to use.

    Being faced with a very different format can be off-putting but, if you're well prepared and able to solve a range of problems using the skills and techniques you've been taught.

    If it's any comfort though, a number of tutors have noted that pass rates have dropped in the switch from AQ2013 to AQ2016.
    Michael JH Webster
  • JohnNJohnN Registered, Tutor Posts: 20
    Mike,
    Thanks for joining in the discussion. Much appreciated.

    I guess the answer to your first question is that we are teaching them to do both pass an exam and then to be able to use and develop those techniques in real life situations.
    Real life situations do not usually have an two and a half time limit and can of course involve discussions with colleagues to work out collaborative solutions.

    The feeling is, and it seems to be fairly strong, is that this particular paper may be a step too far.

    I accept your point about different formats but to put two fairly similar assessments as practice and then come up with a very different actual assessment is misleading.

    I think we now need some facts and I am hoping for early publication by the AAT of the results so far and also a fairly comprehensive feedback document by the examiner.

    Our absolute priority must always be to maintain the integrity and value of these Level 4 papers.

    Just to keep it in one place I will put future responses on the Tutors section of this forum.

    SueFW
  • Mike WebsterMike Webster Just Joined Cardiff and ValeRegistered, Tutor Posts: 106
    Please see the email I received from AAT re this assessment:

    Critical Information – Suspension of Management Decisions and Controls (MDCL) Assessment

    Recently we have become increasingly concerned about the performance of the MDCL assessment that went live on 1 September 2016. We are also concerned about the level of feedback we have received from a number of training providers and students about the assessment.

    In view of these concerns, we have decided to undertake a thorough review of the MDCL assessment. The primary focus of the review will be to ensure that no student has been disadvantaged in this assessment.

    No other unit assessments are affected.

    In order to carry out the review we have suspended the MDCL assessment, effective immediately.

    The suspension will have the following immediate effects:
    Any MDCL assessments that are already scheduled for today will be allowed to continue. The review will take these results into consideration. 
    Once the assessment has been suspended, we will void all scheduled MDCL assessments. You will not be able to schedule any MDCL assessments until further notice.
    Any MDCL assessments that are currently in marking will be put on hold. These will not be released until we are confident that the results are correct. 
    MDCL Sample assessments published on our website and available in SecureAssess will also be suspended.
    Notices will be published on our website and SecureAssess where appropriate. 
    Those students currently awaiting their results for the MDCL unit will be notified about the delay in releasing their results.   
    We will be communicating directly with the following students who have already received a result for this assessment, to confirm that:
    Competent results for MDCL assessments will not be overturned
    Percentages achieved by students who have a Competent result for the MDCL assessment will be reviewed
    All MDCL Not Yet Competent results will be reviewed.
    While we are very sorry for the impact that this suspension will have, we are determined to ensure that the assessment is valid and that no student is disadvantaged.
     
    Over the next week we will continue to review the assessment and will update you on our progress by 12.00 GMT on Friday 3 February. 

    Please share this information with any colleagues who are involved in the running or scheduling of AAT assessments.

    Michael JH Webster
    SueFW
  • SueFWSueFW Registered Posts: 58
    edited January 27
    I am so pleased to see AAT have suspended this exam and are reviewing it. As a student who took this before Christmas I received a Not Yet Competent result and I was so upset. This is the only exam I have not passed so far on level 4. I passed all my level 2 and 3 exams with no retakes. I had spent hours revising and completing all the resources available. So you can imagine my shock and horror going into the exam and seeing totally different questions to what I had practiced. This was totally demoralising and has really knocked my confidence and faith in AAT. I have even considered not continuing with my studies.

    Whist I understand questions can be asked in different ways, students do need to have practiced the different formats to allow them confidence and speed when in an exam with only a 2.5 hour time limit. In a work place situation you are able to practice and take advice and are not under the time constraints of an exam. Therefore I would disagree with anyone who says you should be able to do anything with the knowledge you've learnt. AAT expected way too much from students on this paper with insufficient practice assessment questions and, had I had the chance to practice the type of questions I'd got in my paper maybe I wouldn't have failed which has caused me so much stress especially after I had studied and revised so hard!
    scamp83SC1234
  • scamp83scamp83 Registered Posts: 50
    SueFW said:

    I am so pleased to see AAT have suspended this exam and are reviewing it. As a student who took this before Christmas I received a Not Yet Competent result and I was so upset. This is the only exam I have not passed so far on level 4. I passed all my level 2 and 3 exams with no retakes. I had spent hours revising and completing all the resources available. So you can imagine my shock and horror going into the exam and seeing totally different questions to what I had practiced. This was totally demoralising and has really knocked my confidence and faith in AAT. I have even considered not continuing with my studies.



    Whist I understand questions can be asked in different ways, students do need to have practiced the different formats to allow them confidence and speed when in an exam with only a 2.5 hour time limit. In a work place situation you are able to practice and take advice and are not under the time constraints of an exam. Therefore I would disagree with anyone who says you should be able to do anything with the knowledge you've learnt. AAT expected way too much from students on this paper with insufficient practice assessment questions and, had I had the chance to practice the type of questions I'd got in my paper maybe I wouldn't have failed which has caused me so much stress especially after I had studied and revised so hard!

    I can't tell you how much I agree with this, I'm in exactly the same situation. To people who comment about how we shouldn't rely on the same format as the practice exams, why would AAT provide them in the first place if we weren't to get some kind of idea how the live exam would go? Two and a half hours goes very quickly when you are looking at very unfamiliar materials and layouts.......
    SueFWSC1234
  • NatalieSarantosNatalieSarantos Registered Posts: 87
    > @Mike Webster said:
    > Please see the email I received from AAT re this assessment:
    >
    > Critical Information – Suspension of Management Decisions and Controls (MDCL) Assessment
    >
    > Recently we have become increasingly concerned about the performance of the MDCL assessment that went live on 1 September 2016. We are also concerned about the level of feedback we have received from a number of training providers and students about the assessment.
    >
    > In view of these concerns, we have decided to undertake a thorough review of the MDCL assessment. The primary focus of the review will be to ensure that no student has been disadvantaged in this assessment.
    >
    > No other unit assessments are affected.
    >
    > In order to carry out the review we have suspended the MDCL assessment, effective immediately.
    >
    > The suspension will have the following immediate effects:
    > Any MDCL assessments that are already scheduled for today will be allowed to continue. The review will take these results into consideration. 
    > Once the assessment has been suspended, we will void all scheduled MDCL assessments. You will not be able to schedule any MDCL assessments until further notice.
    > Any MDCL assessments that are currently in marking will be put on hold. These will not be released until we are confident that the results are correct. 
    > MDCL Sample assessments published on our website and available in SecureAssess will also be suspended.
    > Notices will be published on our website and SecureAssess where appropriate. 
    > Those students currently awaiting their results for the MDCL unit will be notified about the delay in releasing their results.   
    > We will be communicating directly with the following students who have already received a result for this assessment, to confirm that:
    > Competent results for MDCL assessments will not be overturned
    > Percentages achieved by students who have a Competent result for the MDCL assessment will be reviewed
    > All MDCL Not Yet Competent results will be reviewed.
    > While we are very sorry for the impact that this suspension will have, we are determined to ensure that the assessment is valid and that no student is disadvantaged.
    >  
    > Over the next week we will continue to review the assessment and will update you on our progress by 12.00 GMT on Friday 3 February. 
    >
    > Please share this information with any colleagues who are involved in the running or scheduling of AAT

    Do we have any idea of what might happen? Has this happened before? Could they lower the pass rate?

    I missed the pass rate by 3% which is beyond belief because my lowest score on a sample assessment was 90%. I purchased the Osborne workbook, BPP question bank and the 2 online ones. That's a total of 10 sample assessments, each with 90% minimum so I think it's safe to say I fully understood the material!

    I have completed an honours degree, passed levels 2 and 3 without a single resit and I have never faced an exam that was as hard as this one. The time limit, the wording of the questions and the format was entirely different to anything we had done! Extremely unfair.

    I was due to resit tomorrow but of course that has been suspended now so I'm just wondering what they will do!
  • scamp83scamp83 Registered Posts: 50

    > @Mike Webster said:

    > Please see the email I received from AAT re this assessment:

    >

    > Critical Information – Suspension of Management Decisions and Controls (MDCL) Assessment

    >

    > Recently we have become increasingly concerned about the performance of the MDCL assessment that went live on 1 September 2016. We are also concerned about the level of feedback we have received from a number of training providers and students about the assessment.

    >

    > In view of these concerns, we have decided to undertake a thorough review of the MDCL assessment. The primary focus of the review will be to ensure that no student has been disadvantaged in this assessment.

    >

    > No other unit assessments are affected.

    >

    > In order to carry out the review we have suspended the MDCL assessment, effective immediately.

    >

    > The suspension will have the following immediate effects:

    > Any MDCL assessments that are already scheduled for today will be allowed to continue. The review will take these results into consideration. 

    > Once the assessment has been suspended, we will void all scheduled MDCL assessments. You will not be able to schedule any MDCL assessments until further notice.

    > Any MDCL assessments that are currently in marking will be put on hold. These will not be released until we are confident that the results are correct. 

    > MDCL Sample assessments published on our website and available in SecureAssess will also be suspended.

    > Notices will be published on our website and SecureAssess where appropriate. 

    > Those students currently awaiting their results for the MDCL unit will be notified about the delay in releasing their results.   

    > We will be communicating directly with the following students who have already received a result for this assessment, to confirm that:

    > Competent results for MDCL assessments will not be overturned

    > Percentages achieved by students who have a Competent result for the MDCL assessment will be reviewed

    > All MDCL Not Yet Competent results will be reviewed.

    > While we are very sorry for the impact that this suspension will have, we are determined to ensure that the assessment is valid and that no student is disadvantaged.

    >  

    > Over the next week we will continue to review the assessment and will update you on our progress by 12.00 GMT on Friday 3 February. 

    >

    > Please share this information with any colleagues who are involved in the running or scheduling of AAT



    Do we have any idea of what might happen? Has this happened before? Could they lower the pass rate?



    I missed the pass rate by 3% which is beyond belief because my lowest score on a sample assessment was 90%. I purchased the Osborne workbook, BPP question bank and the 2 online ones. That's a total of 10 sample assessments, each with 90% minimum so I think it's safe to say I fully understood the material!



    I have completed an honours degree, passed levels 2 and 3 without a single resit and I have never faced an exam that was as hard as this one. The time limit, the wording of the questions and the format was entirely different to anything we had done! Extremely unfair.



    I was due to resit tomorrow but of course that has been suspended now so I'm just wondering what they will do!

    It seems a lot of us are in the same boat, I also failed by 3% (I put in for a re-mark but nothing came of that) ...I also passed all my level 2 and 3 exams first time.....something is obviously not quite right with this module! I think I spent the first 30 minutes of the exam in a blind panic!
  • NatalieSarantosNatalieSarantos Registered Posts: 87
    @scamp83 people in my class got as low as 20% and some have even quit AAT altogether. It was beyond belief! Why didn't any of the study material match the exam? I was going to send for a re-mark but I did really well on the essays so I didn't see the point.
    What do you think will be the outcome?
  • scamp83scamp83 Registered Posts: 50
    @NatalieSarantos I have no idea.....I'm crossing my fingers for a lowering of the pass mark though! How annoying for you that you've prepared for the resit, only for them to cancel at the last minute :-(
  • NatalieSarantosNatalieSarantos Registered Posts: 87
    @scamp83 yes me too! It's clear that they have messed up big time because everyone cannot be complaining without a good reason. So, I wonder, can they just make the exam fairer and make us resit it? The mistake has been theirs, not ours so I cannot see how they can expect us to pay for the resit? Especially if we missed the pass rate by 3%! Plus if they make the exam easier, the people who now take it will have an unfair advantage. I think the fairest thing they can do is lower the pass rate.
    To be honest, I was prepared when I first sat my exam. I had done BPP and Osborne workbooks completely so I took my budgeting exam on Thursday (went brilliantly, very fair) and was just going to refresh on MDCL this weekend. I just really want to get this module out of the way now, I've spent way too much time on it!
  • scamp83scamp83 Registered Posts: 50
    @NatalieSarantos I was planning to re-take it around the time I do the synoptic (I'll be interested to see pass rates for that exam too as it's a completely new module, I'm glad I won't be one of the first sittings of that!).
    I sat Budgeting before Christmas and received my results last week - I passed, phew! Glad to hear your exam went well, I hope you get the same result :-)


  • NatalieSarantosNatalieSarantos Registered Posts: 87
    @scamp83 congratulations on passing budgeting! I can't wait to get the results for it. My confidence took a massive hit with MDCL so I need a good grade for it!
    When are you taking the synoptic one?
  • scamp83scamp83 Registered Posts: 50
    @NatalieSarantos Yeah it's good to kind of be back on track after the horror of MDCL!! When I received my result back in December, I did contact AAT and ask if they ever lowered the pass mark (as so many of us failed)......their reply was 'the standard pass mark is 70% for every assessment and qualification, and will not be lowered regardless of the pass rate. This a set benchmark which ensures a fair level playing field for everyone across all venues'...so not looking good from that perspective but hopefully there is a first time for everything!

    Our synoptic is planned for the May sitting, we had been due to take it at the end of March but we've switched things around.
  • NatalieSarantosNatalieSarantos Registered Posts: 87
    @scamp83 that is so unfair! They really have to sort something out because this is their mistake, not the students! Really don't feel I should have to retake it.
    We have ours on 1st July so let's see how that goes.
    Honestly I've lost so much faith in AAT that I contemplated dropping out and starting ACCA! I'm not scared of hard work but I can't cope with exams that are out to get students like that.
    Let's see what happens!
    scamp83
  • NatalieSarantosNatalieSarantos Registered Posts: 87
    @scamp83 I wonder if they can still keep to that (not lowering pass rate) if this has been their own mistake!
  • scamp83scamp83 Registered Posts: 50
    @NatalieSarantos Yeah it's a very unique situation and like you say, not the fault of the students. If we have to re-sit we should maybe refuse; come the end of the year they would have no-one passing the year with that particular module outstanding..... ;-)
  • NatalieSarantosNatalieSarantos Registered Posts: 87
    @scamp83 thing is that they'll now review the exam and make it easier, they have to. They can't have their good name come into repute (goodwill and all that lol) with their top students failing!
    This is unprecedented. I've never heard of this happening anywhere. Like honestly, what were they thinking setting an exam like that?!
    I feel like giving them a call and venting but it'll just be someone in customer services lol
  • SueFWSueFW Registered Posts: 58
    This has really knocked my confidence too and I don't know if I can carry on I put a lot of revision in and then got into the exam and the questions are nothing like the ones I'd practiced. The problem with lowering the pass rate is what level do they lower it to? It could have an unfair advantage to others. The whole lot of results should be scrapped and the exam remodelled to reflect the resources that students are using. Either this or they should issue more practice assessments with questions which are like the ones presented in the live assessments. I got 59% so would not be happy for them to lower the pass mark if it's likely to be 60% and I know a lot of our students got less than 60% too so where would it leave those under the lowered pass rate they would still be at a disadvantage?
    SophieChall
  • NatalieSarantosNatalieSarantos Registered Posts: 87
    @Suejw wholeheartedly, I think they should lower it to 50% pass rate, minimum! Forcing us to resit an exam because they messed up is unfair! I start financial statements on Wednesday so I was going to redo it today. Now I won't be able to resit the exam until September because it will detriotate the quality of what I am doing now! Then imagine how much I'm going to remember by September. It'll be like starting all over again.
    They've c*cked up BIG time so they need to fix it now. 2 students have literally dropped out after this exam. I can't say it enough what were they thinking!!!
  • NatalieSarantosNatalieSarantos Registered Posts: 87
    @Suejw @scamp83 I'm just curious, how many people passed it in your class?
  • SueFWSueFW Registered Posts: 58
    Out of 14 only 3 passed
  • NatalieSarantosNatalieSarantos Registered Posts: 87
    @Suejw only 2 out of 15 in my class. My grade was 3rd highest. 78% was the highest in my class. How about yours?
  • scamp83scamp83 Registered Posts: 50
    Only 1 person out of around 15 passed at my college........ :o I think they scraped though with a low seventies percentage too......
  • SueFWSueFW Registered Posts: 58
    I don't know what the pass marks were as they weren't disclosed unfortunately. I was just so p####ed off that the exam was so poor and I have lost complete respect for AAT at the moment. I am supposed to be taking Financial Statements on 10 Feb but I am absolutely dreading it and I'm so scared I've got myself into such a state
  • scamp83scamp83 Registered Posts: 50
    Why are pass rates etc not freely available? I can't see them anywhere on the website....

    I know it's easy to say @SueFW but try not to worry.....with your previous success rate I'm sure you'll be fine. It's annoying that our confidence has been knocked with that ridiculous exam! :#
    SueFW
  • NatalieSarantosNatalieSarantos Registered Posts: 87
    @Suejw @scamp83 I felt exactly the same way as you did. I struggled really focusing on Budgeting because of this. Luckily budgeting was a good and fair exam. I agree with having lost respect for the AAT. I was ready to request a refund and go straight to ACCA!
    So let me get this straight, between us, out of a possible 44 students, 6 passed, that's 13.6%, are they mad?! AND the highest grade we know of is 78%. Something is really really wrong here guys. They've messed up big time!
  • scamp83scamp83 Registered Posts: 50
    My teacher told us that at another college NO students passed, so that reduces the pass rate even further! Crikey!
    If my employer hadn't paid for my study I would definitely be thinking about switching to ACCA.
    I guess we just need to wait now for the next announcement on this....
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