Home For AAT student members AQ 2016 Advanced Diploma in Accounting Synoptic Assessment - Advanced

Synoptic results

Just after a discussion on how people found the synoptic exam in July for level 3.
All i keep reading is that everyone had problems whether that was time, technical or generally AAT secure assess not working.
Just wondering if theres anyone who found the exam okay because im now concerned that i may have messed it all up :/
Also i think that AAT should have tested all this for a year with training providers then maybe the technical difficulties may not have happened.


  • Sheldz93Sheldz93 PrestonRegistered Posts: 22
    Hi @gabandy!

    I didn't have any computer issues when I sat my exam, but I was the only person in the exam room so this probably explains why I didn't!

    Saying this, I still struggled with the exam and I also am worried I haven't done enough or I have made a mess of the exam!

    The first section was OK, but section two was odd! I like to think I am pretty good at using excel but the time scales given for this where a bit unfair, I had 3 minutes to spare when I finished and I used this time to ensure I had uploaded my work correctly.

    How did you find it?
  • gabandygabandy Registered Posts: 22
    I found the exam okay and found that section 2 was quite straight forward and i was clear on what i had to do.
    I couldnt have asked for a nicer exam
    Just finigers crossed for friday its going to be a long day.
  • DSmith986DSmith986 ShrewsburyRegistered Posts: 7
    I've been lurking around here the past few months and have seen a lot of people with less than favorable reviews of the exam, particularly the Excel section but I agree with you gabandy, it was quite straightforward and I understood what was being asked of me. I managed to finish the exam with 15 minutes to spare.

    I should maybe qualify that I'm sidestepping into an accounting career from a finance career in my early 30's and have been using Excel religiously for over a decade, so I guess I had that going for me! I currently work in an accountancy practice and Excel is absolutely essential, so I disagree with the people who are trying to spin the viewpoint that knowledge of Excel and Accountancy are mutually exclusive. The purpose of the course is to get you on track for a career in Accountancy, of which Excel is absolutely a part of.
  • DSmith986DSmith986 ShrewsburyRegistered Posts: 7
    I did leave the exam feeling positive however that positivity has festered over the past 6 weeks and I'm now nervous as all hell about Friday! I need 82% to achieve distinction overall so heres hoping.
  • gabandygabandy Registered Posts: 22
    Its good to find someone who thinks the same as me.
    I have worked in an accounting role and there hasnt been one day where i have not used excel. I think this helped alot.
    I hope you get 82% i will just be happy with a pass even though i need 85% for a merit
  • Sheldz93Sheldz93 PrestonRegistered Posts: 22
    @DSmith986 @gabandy I agree with why excel is part of the course not disputing that!
    I have just managed to secure myself a role within an accountancy practice and I am really excited to take the next step in my career! Do either of you have any tips for me?
    I need 88% to get an overall distinction, but even if I get 70% I will get an overall Merit. I hope you both get the results you are after!!
    I have always been nervous when awaiting exam results and I suppose I doubt my ability a lot too! I had to complete an unexpected mini test last night when I enrolled onto complete level 4 at college and I aced that so I am feeling a bit more relaxed now!
  • gabandygabandy Registered Posts: 22
    Ask as many questions as you can and gain knowledge from people who have been there and done it so to speak
  • gabandygabandy Registered Posts: 22
    Im hoping the results get released first thing on friday and not last thing
  • MultiplicatorMultiplicator Registered Posts: 116
    // it was quite straightforward and I understood what was being asked of me. I managed to finish the exam with 15 minutes to spare. I should maybe qualify that .........have been using Excel religiously for over a decade,//

    is it unfair of me to point out that this is like saying: " I passed French O level not because the course I paid for was any good but because I live in France !" ?
  • chris_nuttallchris_nuttall Registered Posts: 10
    Is it definitely Friday that the results are released? I have only been told 6 weeks after the exam with no clear date.

    For me it all depends on the 1st sheet. If I have 100% then I think I have passed if not i think I would have failed. I made a few silly mistakes in the 1st part of the test. The excel part I had a nightmare VLookup I can use and did use on at least a weekly basis. Could I get it work on the night of the exam. The goal setting function went hay wire, but with other people in my class I had a smooth ride.

    Well much better than the person who clicked end at the end of the 1st section and didn't even touch the spreadsheet.
  • gabandygabandy Registered Posts: 22
    It is definately friday AAT have confirmed but as for the time i beleive that is anything between 9am and 6pm so it could be a very long day.

    I dont understand how people can end wothout even attempting the spreadsheets i just dont get it
  • chris_nuttallchris_nuttall Registered Posts: 10
    I think the person just had a moment. More than not wanting to do it.

    Thanks for the date and time more than what I have got from college
  • DSmith986DSmith986 ShrewsburyRegistered Posts: 7

    // it was quite straightforward and I understood what was being asked of me. I managed to finish the exam with 15 minutes to spare. I should maybe qualify that .........have been using Excel religiously for over a decade,//

    is it unfair of me to point out that this is like saying: " I passed French O level not because the course I paid for was any good but because I live in France !" ?

    Well my comment wasn't about Excel ability. It was about being able to understand the question. I still covered the Excel material in preparation for the exam and learnt some things I didn't know before (goal seek etc) which DID come up for me on the exam. I'm not some Excel mastermind, I just studied properly. Just hope my confidence isn't misplaced.

  • gabandygabandy Registered Posts: 22
    @DSmith986 @chris_nuttall @Sheldz93 @Multiplicator
    Results are in. I passed with 70% not the best but im happy to have passed :)
  • Sheldz93Sheldz93 PrestonRegistered Posts: 22
    Congrats @gabandy!!!! I got 76%. Not what I wanted but I'm just super pleased I've passed now!!! And I have an overall Merit which suits me just fine.
  • DSmith986DSmith986 ShrewsburyRegistered Posts: 7
    90%. Beyond pleased :) Congrats everyone else for the pass.
  • Sheldz93Sheldz93 PrestonRegistered Posts: 22
    well done @DSmith986!!!!! :)
  • ArchpArchp Registered Posts: 1
    Flopped it. Well done to those who've passed =) Kinda frustrated with the 6 week wait :/
  • DSmith986DSmith986 ShrewsburyRegistered Posts: 7
    Well done to you too @Sheldz93 :)

    Good luck with your new job in Practice, the real world stuff is a total different animal to the AAT, but the main rule is just ask a lot of questions. If you need advice or anything feel free to message me on here or my e-mail is on my profile.

    VAT returns are about to become your new worst enemy :)
  • Sheldz93Sheldz93 PrestonRegistered Posts: 22
    Thanks @DSmith986!! I am really excited about the role, I have been trying for over a year to find someone who will give me the chance to prove myself and I have been very lucky to land the position I have! I have one week left at my current job then I start and I cannot wait! Bring on the VAT returns =)

    I am sure I will need some advice so thank you kindly for your offer :)
  • Dory1980Dory1980 Registered Posts: 1
    Hey I'm new to the forum. Well done to those who have passed!
  • MultiplicatorMultiplicator Registered Posts: 116
    perhaps less well done than you think
    the successes get to do Level 4 which is another car crash of a course - their thread is available adjoining and replete with tear stained emails complaining of taking money for the course and giving nothing in return

    Us failers are forced to save money ( I am going on a Nile Cruise with my budgeted (ha!) level 4 fee ) - at least I come out with a working knowledge of ptolemaic temples and Egyptian Arabic - instead of weeks of groans disappointment and gnashing of teeth.
    I mean what a deal !

    Who says AAT doesnt care for the students ? - the rule stopping them taking a further course is probably the humane and certainly the optimising option
  • MultiplicatorMultiplicator Registered Posts: 116
    Arch p sorry to hear you flopped it
    join the floppers of which I am one but ...... not the only one
    it is quite hard to get motivated for go no 2 .... this I have found the hardest thing ( motivation to study but not study itself )
    It will be excel - I like excel is fun ( you tube) a LOT of useful viddies
    and AAT level 3 tutorials are crawling onto you tube as well which are worth a go

    and good luck again haha!
  • MultiplicatorMultiplicator Registered Posts: 116
    also published on level 4 site adjoining

    [email protected]

    Association of Accountancy Technicians courses and exams

    I wish to add my voice to that of Joanne Farley in pointing out the difficulties we candidates have experienced over the introduction of the new curriculum in the accountancy exams run by AAT, one of the providers of accountancy courses and qualifications outside the universities.

    AAT have introduced a final exam called the synoptic for all their courses. This is a “new” final month assessment of the whole course and is new to younger candidates. The course material we were taught were not consistent with the new format.

    The result is that the results of the final exam are so poor that the majority have failed the course and so cannot continue to level 4 – there are similar issues with the next year’s level 4 final exam

    A mark pattern of 80, 80 , 80, 60 indicates there is an issue with the fourth exam and not an issue with the candidate. It suggests that AAT in 2017 have been testing their brand new, carelessly planned test and not testing the candidates (at the considerable expense of the candidates, most of whom have day jobs, mortgages and families)

    The courses cost around £2000 and there is an expectation that the exams will assess the course content. The students do not expect to buy a “pass” but do expect that the assessment will reflect course content.

    The upshot is that the examiners are echoing that the new exam cannot have any comparison as it is new and they are piloting it and examining the very new information that they have never had before. This means they are testing the exam instead of testing the candidates at £2000 a pop.

    In fact examinations can be quality controlled which should not be a surprise anyone. There should be content validity – an exam in accountancy should test accountancy skills. Very low marks seem to have been scored in the section on Excel – and you may wonder if a proprietary product should be tested in a national exam. Bill Gates would answer a strong yes to that one

    There should be minimal inter-observer variation: that is, one examiner’s opinion should roughly match another’s. There should be minimal inter-personal variation (someone passing one exam should pass another). The set of students who pass should roughly resemble the year past and the year following as the three populations can be expected not to vary to a wide extent from year to year.

    The issue with the AAT Level 3 and 4 in 2017 is that the pass rates are markedly lower than the previous year, and candidates have during their course scored high for four early sections and then failed one, the last in the series but the first in the new format. A pattern of early failure and passing the final is very rare in AAT. It means that they have paid for the whole course and then failed. – rather than fail early and not be allowed to progress thus saving course fees. There is a wide occurrence of four over 80 passes and then a final bad failure of 62. [Pass mark 70%].

    The conclusion I invite you to make is that AAT have changed their exam – their criteria for passing without checking if the candidates have been prepared for such a change. Not surprisingly the fail rate has shot up. AAT have done themselves great reputational damage and the candidates have most money.

    Oliver Dearlove

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