Level 4 Synoptic PDSY - Cost Benefit Analysis (Task 6)


Unfortunately, I sat my level 4 synoptic exam in November 2018 and failed it with only 64% despite getting 78% and 79% in both of my mocks :(

I believe the main reason for this is because in the actual exam, my final 15 mark question was entirely about cost benefit analysis and although I know what CBA is, I did not recognise the style of the question at all and guessed my way through it unsuccessfully.

In the exam, it gave me a new scenario where a company was considering investing in a more efficient system, and asked me to perform CBA by filling out a blank grid with no signage or instruction, and then went on to ask for an evaluation of my findings in part b. Sadly, I have not come across anything like this in all the mocks/questions I’ve done.

The blank grid didn’t have any headings or anything whatsoever (resembling a blank excel spreadsheet), but the question at the top did say something along the lines of “Using the scenario above and CBA, use the grid below to illustrate your findings” with no section to write paragraphs, which was 10 marks, followed by a 4 mark question asking me to explain my findings, and a 1 mark question at the top asking me to define CBA and the scenario was quite hefty which is significantly different to the lecture examples in the First Intuition revision material I was using.

Please can anyone give me some advice on how to prepare for this question ahead of my retake in a few weeks, and what they did / would do to go about answering this task 6 question?

Thanks in advance!!


  • VS1VS1 Registered Posts: 57
    Hi Nema,

    If you log onto AAT portal and look under E-Learning section for Relevant Costing, it should have all the information about costs that need to be considered when deciding to implement a new system. That should help you with the calculation part of the exam, as it explains what costs to consider and what to ignore.

    Also for the written element, we need to consider the financial and non-financial benefits of implementing the system.
  • FindingNemaFindingNema Registered Posts: 8
    Hi VS1,

    Thank you very much for your help!! I'll have a look at the online portal and hopefully it will tidy up any of my misunderstandings!
  • Kate95Kate95 Registered Posts: 5
    I had this same question and was gutted because if I had gotten a SWOT analysis I know I would of passed! I’m re sitting on 12th feb for the third time, hoping it’s third time lucky!
    Thanks for the advice @VS1
    Good luck @FindingNema
  • FindingNemaFindingNema Registered Posts: 8
    Hi Kate,

    That really sucks! Hopefully we'll be more successful the next time round, mine is booked for the 12th also - all the best @Kate95 and thanks again @VS1! P.s Kate, if you don't use it already I'd highly recommend the Kaplan revision kit, I'm finding it extremely useful.
  • VS1VS1 Registered Posts: 57
    Good luck guys, hope we pass in the next re-sit. I got the SWOT analysis question and still managed to fail.

    I am using Kaplan as well and it is very helpful
  • Kate95Kate95 Registered Posts: 5
    Aw well good luck!! We can both dread the results at the same time haha @FindingNema
    Yes I study with Kaplan anyway, I’m just stuck for things to do as I have exhausted all the material (with doing it twice already🙈)
    @VS1 I got the SWOT analysis the first time round and did really bad on it so I focused a lot of my revision last time on SWOT but didn’t get the question😂🙈

    Good luck guys!🙋🏼‍♀️
  • VS1VS1 Registered Posts: 57
    Hi @Kate95 and @FindingNema , have taken a different approach this time,I have looked at all the E-learning sections for the core units and made notes on these, eg - Activity based costing, lifecycle costing, budgeting, etc. Also looking over the math element (I had task 2 and 4 have numeric questions, which took me by surprise as I didn't brush up on these, because I didn't even think we would be questioned on this topic, my stupidity).

    It would be useful to go over the Decision & Control exam paper. I hope I pass the second time, if not, will just have to recycle my notes and hope for better questions :# :p

    As for SWOT analysis, looking at previous forums, people have revised really well for this but still managed to do bad.
  • Kate95Kate95 Registered Posts: 5
    @FindingNema @VS1 how are you guys feeling?
    I’m stuck for what to do and still feel like I’m no where near prepared for this 🙈🙈
  • FindingNemaFindingNema Registered Posts: 8
    Hi guys!

    @VS1 That's a really good approach I recon, I've just taken the approach of a bull in a china shop and tackled all of the questions physically accessible to me, highlighted every sign question I didn't do well on, and revised the topic, then re-attempted the questions until I can consistently get at least 11/15 or 17/20 minimum on all of the tasks!

    @Kate95 I am absolutely bricking it for tomorrow!!!!! I feel as though I have prepared as much as I can, but I am still anxious after failing once already - it's always the fear of the unknown I guess :( !!! If you don't feel ready for it, maybe try and push your exam to the end of this week to give yourself a little bit longer to prepare? I'm pretty sure we'll still get our results at the same time, so there's no harm I guess :) My exam is at 2pm tomorrow, when is yours booked for?
  • VS1VS1 Registered Posts: 57
    @Kate95 nervous but I am trying not to think about it, just trying to keep myself busy with work and studies.

    I am sure you have covered all the material and you will be fine, just be calm and do your best. Key points we need to remember

    1) Refer back to scenario
    2) For written question - remember Identify, Analyse, explain, think of pros and cons, recommendations.
    3) If a question is for certain number of marks, example of 5 marks - Make sure you don't spend too much time waffling about, just answer to the point. If recommendation attracts 2 marks and only asks for 1 recommendation, by listing 3-4 will only waste time.
    4) SPAM and SOAP - remembering this will really help with Question 3 and Question 4

    Most important of all, have a good night sleep, don't over cramp your mind with information few hours before the exam, you will only make yourself panic.

    Now I hope, I take my own advice :p

    Good Luck both of you, we can do this :)

    When results are released, please share them... We are all in this together
  • VS1VS1 Registered Posts: 57
    Are you guys looking at time series Analysis?
  • FindingNemaFindingNema Registered Posts: 8
    Hey guys @Kate95 @VS1 !

    I had my exam today and it was extremely similar to my first sitting, the exact same CBA question came up again in task 6 really annoyingly!!!!! Otherwise apart from that, Task 1 had general questions i.e. which items would be identified by performing a rec. and which items would not be identified performing a rec. Task 2 was "Evaluate the budgetary process" which basically asked go through each item on the budget and interpret the performance. Task 3 was a Payroll question about risks - specifically about how the company's exposed to being "defrauded" rather than just "weaknesses". Task 4 was a buying-in v.s manufacturing question where I had to compare which would be the best option for Rawhide. Task 5 was pretty straight forward, plugging in figures into formulae i.e. receivables days, payables days etc. And lastly, task six was that pesky CBA task again.

    Hopefully I racked up enough marks throughout the rest of the paper to pass!
  • Marshy77Marshy77 Registered Posts: 25
    Fingers crossed that you've done enough on the other tasks to pass.
  • RamintaRaminta AAT Student, AATQB Posts: 3
    Does anyone has extra learning material on CBA that could share with me? First intuition books do not provide much info about it.
  • FindingNemaFindingNema Registered Posts: 8
    Thanks @Marshy77 I really hope so!!!
    Sure @Raminta if you inbox me an email address you’d like me to send it to I’ve got some bits I can share :)
  • SineadpSineadp Registered Posts: 65
    @FindingNema hello please could you help with any more information on CBA aswell my exam is Friday 😞
  • Kim123Kim123 AAT Student, AATQB Posts: 2
    @FindingNema Hi, please could you send me any information on CBA aswell. It is much appreciated.
  • TahminachoudhuryTahminachoudhury Registered Posts: 1
    @FindingNema hey, could you please send me any information you have on CBA aswell?
  • FindingNemaFindingNema Registered Posts: 8
    Sorry guys, the info I have is just genereal revision for the entire course from Kaplan which unfortunately has nothing to do with CBA - I wasn’t able to find any material at all for CBA anywhere :(
  • Kristina93Kristina93 Registered Posts: 1
    @FindingNema would it be possible for you to share your achievement on each task please? I sat the Synoptic Assessment on 14th February and I really do not think it will be a pass.

    On task 6 I had the same question as you and did not do SWOT analysis, unfortunately.

    Good luck to you, really hope you pass this time!
Sign In or Register to comment.