Anyone recently done the level synoptic exam?

Wozzlebangs Registered, AAT Student Posts: 1

I have recently passed my level 3 indirect tax exam and I'm so pleased to only have the 1 exam left now. However I am worried about the synoptic due to a lot of the comments I have read about how hard it is. Can I ask what resources and books people have used that you have found helpful? I cant find a lot of discussion about the exam in recent comments most of it seems to be from 2017 (I assume that is when the synoptic was first brought in) and it seems very negative but I'm hoping it is better now?

Hopefully someone can help :)


  • Earthbound
    Earthbound Registered Posts: 2
    I took the Synoptic about 4 weeks ago. With the lockdown I had more than enough time to study for it, so it didn't feel too horrendous. First Intuition are still doing revision sessions for this - I am studying with them but think anyone can access them for free on Zoom and Youtube.
    There are lots of resources on the AAT website for this, including access to a free Excel course - Filtered. I didn't use that a lot as I used this instead - but is down to personal preference I think.
    Look at the examiners report on the AAT website as that gives a good indication of what might be covered, but I think as long as you are comfortable with the other modules, which you've obviously passed, and are reasonably confident with Excel you should be ok.
    The Ethics part for me was hard, but mainly because it was so dry and boring to learn!
    You also have access to some reference material in the exam for the first part - it's worth having a look at that beforehand so you don't have to struggle to remember it all.
    Think you hear a lot of horror stories about the exam, but less of the successes. That's not to say it isn't hard, it just needs quite a breadth of knowledge so whatever books you're using, take your time to ensure you understand what's in them.
    Sure you will be fine - just have confidence in yourself and try not to listen to all the horror stories.

    Lin :)
  • Pian32
    Pian32 MAAT Posts: 474 Dedicated contributor 🌟 🐵 🌟
    I'd recommend reading the information on the synoptic exam (examiners reports) and to break each question down. Ethics think is this a breach, how large a breach and what type, can it be rectified (through proper disclosure). By tackling it this way you'll avoid common error of over reacting that's described in the report.

    For the written knowledge section it could be on anything you've covered apart from tax so you'll want a working knowledge of the topics so you could explain them to someone unfamiliar with the topic.

    The spreadsheets are where a lot of people feel pushed for time, make sure you are familiar with the spreadsheet software your exam centre uses and you get plenty of practice using the different tools and short cuts. This again can cover any of the topics you've already done just in a spreadsheet.

    I don't know how you've been for time on previous exams if you tend to push the limit you'll want to make sure you manage your time so you don't spend too long on one question and not have time to finish,

    I personally didn't find this exam that bad but everyone is different. I'd also say that those who generally find something easy won't appear as often in the forums so that can skew what you see.
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