Help with Cost Benefit Analysis

Hello,
Does anybody have any advice on how to answer the CBA question in this synoptic? I am due to sit the exam for a third time in a few weeks but know for sure that if I get the CBA question again I will fail it, again!
I understand cost benefit analysis and what to include/exclude but I do not understand how to answer the question (how to complete the calculation table). I have tried it in two different ways now but I am failing that question so I clearly do not understand what is required.
I have searched through all the reference material, textbooks and online but nowhere is there a mock question similar to that in the exam. The college where I was studying will not provide me with any further help and I cannot get any help from AAT as they just direct me to the study material, which as a number of people have commented, there is no help with this style of question.
I feel like it is a complete waste of time and money sitting this exam again until I can understand what is required of that question and so would appreciate any help/advice that anyone may be able to offer.
Many thanks in advance.
carrie3105
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Comments

  • CornishPixieCornishPixie Registered, MAAT, AATQB, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 71
    From my own perspective, I found it useful to look at relevant costs in decision making. There is a small chapter in the Osborne book (decision and control) about this but a wider internet search proved very worthwhile in terms of how to approach questions like this and certainly showed where I lacked understanding of the topic. The CBA was also my downfall, but I passed the synoptic on my 4th attempt, so don't give up yet.

    I also revised the ratios till I could work out anything that was thrown at me (got exceeded in the exam so an easy 20 marks) and was extra thorough on the strengths and weaknesses question as I realized that I was missing out valuable marks by not giving a full answer to the each of the options given, especially when there was ample opportunity to refer to the pre-release as backing evidence to support your answer.

    Always, always, refer to the pre-release material whenever you can - it's there for a purpose and in the written questions you can integrate your analysis of the pre-release company into almost all of the answers. Its about linking the whole thing together - the pre-release and the exam you have in front of you on the day.

    Good luck - you will get there!
    Staceydanielsx
  • rachmcfcrachmcfc Registered Posts: 18
    Thank you, and well done on passing yours!
    Ratios is the only question I generally do not worry about to be honest, I usually do quite well in the multiple choice and the ratios questions. I tend to struggle in the fraud/threats question because I get confused what to put in each side (as in what is the threat and how to defraud it) but I think with a bit of revision I will get there with that question.
    The written questions have always been my downfall and I think always will. I just seem to go into a state of panic!
    The first time I sat the synoptic I just missed out on a pass but do not remember referring to the reference material at all, the second time I tried to refer back to it at every opportunity but failed worse than the first time.
    I think I would be okay if I got the SWOT analysis question but I've had the CBA question twice now and just have a gut wrenching feeling I will get it again but until I can understand what they are asking me to do and how to answer the question I just feel like I will keep failing! I have searched online and last time thought I had answered in a better way but still got significantly below.
    I'm sure I will get there in the end, just wish it wasn't making me bankrupt in the process!
  • CornishPixieCornishPixie Registered, MAAT, AATQB, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 71
    Just to clarify rachmcfc, which number question are you discussing - 4 or 6?
  • StaceydanielsxStaceydanielsx Registered Posts: 29
    Hi, I have just been googling and found this page. Seemed to help me a bit:

    https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_08.htm
    Vickie30
  • bethany_fordbethany_ford Registered Posts: 22
    @CornishPixie Hello, Please can you explain how the CBA question is layed out in the exam?

    Do you have to write benefits and costs?
    Do you have to add calculations of these benefits and costs?

    I cannot find any sample questions on this?

    Thanks
    carrie3105
  • rachmcfcrachmcfc Registered Posts: 18
    @CornishPixie Hi, I’ve not had much luck with q4 but this has been different each time. It is q6 that I am really struggling with. Both times I’ve had like a table that says to fill in calculations and I do not understand how to fill it in. There is nothing in the textbooks that’s gives an idea. Last time I had googled CBA and tried an approach that looked similar to what I could find but it did not improve my marks any. I just do not understand what to do.
    carrie3105
  • rachmcfcrachmcfc Registered Posts: 18
    @Staceydanielsx thank you for the link. The table seems to look like the layout in the question so I will give it a good read and see if it helps. I tried something similar in my first exam but it seemed to have a cap on number of characters you could type in each box which is where it completely threw me.
  • CornishPixieCornishPixie Registered, MAAT, AATQB, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 71
    rachmcfc and bethany_ford: which tutorial books did you use to study decision and control?
  • Dorota_1680Dorota_1680 Registered Posts: 42
    edited May 20
    Hi all! I just had my synoptic exam for a 3rd time and for the first time i had cost benefit analysis which i didn't come across in practice papers. Can you assist where to get some help on this question?
  • rachmcfcrachmcfc Registered Posts: 18
    @CornishPixie where I studied we used BPP. There is nothing like in these books and now I cannot get any help from my tutors because the course has finished. I should have passed this 5 months ago but I am struggling with no help.
    carrie3105
  • rachmcfcrachmcfc Registered Posts: 18
    @Dorota_1680 I wish I could help but I am sitting my Synoptic for the third time on Thursday and fear I will get this for the third time! I do not have a clue how to answer the question and have been searching for help for months now but cannot find any! I am praying I get SWOT this time but I haven’t had it before so for all I know, that might be worse!
  • Dorota_1680Dorota_1680 Registered Posts: 42
    edited May 21
    Well, I did get SWOT twice before and now I had CBA so you never know you might be lucky and get SWOT now, I also had Relevant Costing which I did not have in other two exams...so finger crossed you will be fine. I did email AAT re. CBA question and ask them to provide more information about it.
    carrie3105
  • Dorota_1680Dorota_1680 Registered Posts: 42
    @rachmcfc you did mention in your previous msg that you understand cost benefit analysis and know what to include/exclude. Can you tell me what to include or exclude please or send me some more slides about it?

  • rachmcfcrachmcfc Registered Posts: 18
    @Dorota_1680 was the Swot question fairly straightforward in the way it was asked? I have some ideas based on the pre release material but I have a feeling it will not be that simple?
    I am not brilliant with CBA, the simplest thing I know is that you do not include Sunk costs (meaining previously/already incurred costs) or costs that would be incurred regardless of the decision made (such as ongoing staff salaries), at least that is how I have understood it. Costs to include would be any additional costs of a decision going ahead, such as additional staff/software purchase. Benefits would be any savings made based on a decision going ahead (such as saving on rent/salaries).
  • rachmcfcrachmcfc Registered Posts: 18
    @Dorota_1680 oh god, what was the relevant costing question? Was that q2? I am absolutely dreading q’s 2 & 4 because they could be absolutely anything! At least with 1, 3, 5 & 6 we have an idea of what the question is based on, but even then I have struggled with 2 and knowing what to write in 3 & 6. I have passed all my other exams but for some reason I just cannot get to grips with this final exam!
  • rachmcfcrachmcfc Registered Posts: 18
    @Dorota_1680 I have contacted AAT as have others and the only answer they seem to come up with is “use the reference material available along with the course books” problem is, there is nothing that relates to the way the question is asked and how it should be answered! There should be a mock question somewhere but there isn’t! My course finished in December so there is no help for AAT or tutors to help with this question! I feel like no matter how much revision I do, if I keep getting this question I am going to keep failing!
    carrie3105
  • Dorota_1680Dorota_1680 Registered Posts: 42
    edited May 22
    @rachmcfc i am in the same boat as you. My course has finished in Dec as well and i don't get any additional support from my college. AAT Customer Service replied yesterday to me but i am not happy with their response so email them back again. They should take into account that CBA is not cover in any books in more details so how do they expect us to pass.
  • rachmcfcrachmcfc Registered Posts: 18
    @Dorota_1680 exactly! They must have had so many complaints about lack of information and help on the CBA question. It seems so unfair that a question worth so many marks that is not really covered in a way it’s set in the exam, and it’s costing us everytime we have to resit because they will not provide the help that we need!
    Dorota_1680
  • StaceydanielsxStaceydanielsx Registered Posts: 29
    I could cry, I feel like I've been revising non- stop. My exam is tomorrow and I don't feel at all ready. Will we ever be ready for this exam I wonder?
  • rachmcfcrachmcfc Registered Posts: 18
    @Staceydanielsx me too! I’m at that point where the more I feel I try to do the worse I am getting at everything! I’m starting to get my ratios wrong which I’ve always been good at. I’m starting to question all the ideas I have for SWOT and which category they would be classed as, and I don't even know where to start with q2 & q4! I feel like I will never pass this exam!
  • CornishPixieCornishPixie Registered, MAAT, AATQB, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 71
    In all honesty, it's time now to take a deep breath and relax if your exam is tomorrow as you need to be on top form. Let your brain digest what it has learnt over the past few days whilst you have been working things out. If you've sat the exam before, then you know what will be expected.

    Focus first and foremost on answering the questions that you are comfortable with - from my experience that was Qs1 and 5 (multiple choice and ratios). These questions will be easyish marks to you and soon completed. Go straight to them using the menu on the side for each task as, if you look at the questions you dislike, you will distract your thinking on your more confident questions (been there and done that myself). My next choice was Q3 which was weaknesses, followed by the budget question. This left me Qs 4 and 6 (by far my least favourites) but the main thing was that I'd spent time answering the questions that I knew I could answer and had a highish chance of gaining some good marks from.

    Remember to include any evidence, no matter how small, about the pre-release material and what it has told you about the state of the company and of the trading environment that it is in. Use the staff names rather than he/she did or didn't do/check something. In my last attempt, I used the pre-release information wherever there was a written answer.

    I took four goes to pass this exam so I know how hard it is but I will have my fingers crossed for you tomorrow.
  • rachmcfcrachmcfc Registered Posts: 18
    @CornishPixie thank you, I am 100% in agreement with your advice. I am the same, more confident with 1 & 5 by far, and then 3. Q’s 2, 4 & 6 I struggle with as I end up in a fluster and forget everything that I know I should write. I struggle to quote the pre-release material as each question has its own information so it just confuses me.
    I think I will attempt it as you say this time whereas before I have tried to work my way through them from 1-6.
    My head is pounding now as I have been trying to revise all day but the more I do now the more mistakes I am making.
    I don’t have much hope for tomorrow so at this stage, it is what it is! Fingers crossed!
  • StaceydanielsxStaceydanielsx Registered Posts: 29
    @rachmcfc how did you find it, my brain is fried!
  • Vickie30Vickie30 Bishop AucklandAAT Student, AATQB Posts: 23
    What did you guys think of the synoptic this week? Mine is tomorrow!! :(
    AATQB - Studying Level 4
  • StaceydanielsxStaceydanielsx Registered Posts: 29
    Hey @Vickie30 it's so hard to say as I felt I did well last year but didn't. I related to the pre- seen as much as possible and just kept writing until the last minute. I kept reminding myself to write as if the examiner knows nothing and put in as many calculations as possible. I had a mock marked and they said for example 'If you say, Bert looks after the payroll, tell them who Bert is' Cost benefit was came up in mine so I'm glad I googled what this was, as it wasn't in my BPP books. Good luck!
  • Vickie30Vickie30 Bishop AucklandAAT Student, AATQB Posts: 23
    I’ve just come out of mine and I honestly don’t know how I’ve done. Some of the questions I’ve never had to answer in that way and really confused me.. I got SWOT analysis which I was really happy about but it was really hard to pick out the 4 things... Overall I have no idea :(
    AATQB - Studying Level 4
  • Dimps92Dimps92 Registered Posts: 17
    @Vickie30 I had my exam last Thursday!! I wish I had the SWOT analysis!! I went through the pre-release the weekend before and found the 4 things I was going to use for the SWOT and ended up getting CBA!! I was not ready for that!!! Definitely think this will be a fail!!
  • Vickie30Vickie30 Bishop AucklandAAT Student, AATQB Posts: 23
    @Dimps92 Hey! Awh honestly it was quite a hard SWOT if I’m honest but I’m glad I didn’t get a CBA! Did you get an email from AAT for feedback? I did say there wasn’t enough material or examples on CBA considering there is whole task on it!
    AATQB - Studying Level 4
  • Dimps92Dimps92 Registered Posts: 17
    @Vickie30 I did the same with my feedback too!
  • Dorota_1680Dorota_1680 Registered Posts: 42
    @Vickie30 @Dimps92

    I did email AAT re.CBA and they got back to me with the following:

    AAT do not publish any tuition books and therefore we would be unable to comment on the content, this would need to be put as a query to the publishers. We send all publishers a copy of our qualification specification which covers every area we would test students on and a training provider would be able to step in on any updates between print versions in case anything changes.



    All students have access to the qualification specification through your MyAAT account so I would advise you to check this to ensure that all of the areas covered are listed in the books you have. I have attached this for you to see.
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