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Tips to succeed in the exam for AAT Level 4 - professional synoptic assessment; Please suggest

Hi everybody,

I hope you are well. Please can you help with some tips or provide some answers to my questions to succeed the professional synoptic exam in October, 2020?

Question 1 - is Ruby Dale Ltd correct company to be assessed in October, 2020 exam sitting?
Question 2 - Budgeting task 2 - how difficult it is? what calculations or written study text are covered to provide fulfilled answers to evaluate the budget regarding to live assessment file? How much is connection between budget and the company background.( what are main tips and tricks there)
Question 3 - Decision making tasks, which is the the hardest one and what to review that to fulfill the answer and gain full marks? Also how is ratio analysis assessed there and what to review?
Question 4 - is there a task to complete due to Information system controls & risks to information systems, as to assess all weaknesses and sugest improvements?
Question 5 - can you provide a short guide, tips and notes about the assessment to ensure that I will pass the exam?
Question 6 - what are all topics from internal control to assess all weaknesses in the assessment: payroll, purchase orders, payments, sales, or cash/cheques payments?

Just anything you had essential to know that to pass the exam will be very helpful. Thank you in advance.

Kind regards,
Donatas

JESSTOAL

Comments

  • mergenmergen Just Joined Registered Posts: 111
    Hi @Donny46 , I just got my result from my first sitting of this exam and got 62%. I was studying straight for 8 weeks, non stop. Went through everything. Osborne books, First Intuition books, AAT online study support. Unfortunately there is no secret to this exam, you just have to go through everything and hope for the best.
    I believe Ruby Dale is still the correct company. But and this is a big BUT, nowhere in my exam did I have to mention Ruby Dale. So I wonder what is the reason for having pre-release material for a made up company.
    Donny46
  • Pian32Pian32 Registered Posts: 247
    Hi sorry for the delay I must have missed this post.

    1. Yes from what I've read Ruby dale is the correct material until February 2021

    The rest will best be covered in general below.

    From the practice papers that were available when coming up to my exam it follow a fairly fixed structure their are 3 'short' tasks and 3 'long form' tasks.

    Short
    Task 1 - This is a multiple question section based on correcting errors and ledger accounts
    Task 3- Find 5 weaknesses. The task in all practice papers follows the same format. You're given a description of a system in place and have to find 5 weaknesses in it and explain why.
    Task 5 - Ratios learn them and what they mean and this task should be easy marks.

    Long
    Task 2 - Budgeting - You can use anything form the budgeting you've done. You'll want to be confident in the pros and cons of different budget styles so you can reccommend a different budgeting style. This is a great question to talk a little about Ruby Dale (and I suspect what ever comes next) as you can use the current business situation to highlight why a particular budget might not be accurate. e.g. Ruby Dale is expanding so a fixed budget is likely to be out of date.

    Task 4 - Decision and control - A question for decision making pros and cons of a new system or product. Will things be profitable? What other considerations are there. I'd say this question has a chance to be the most varied

    Task 6 - Again from the AAT material it stated this is either a SWOT question or a Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) question


    There are other threads where you should be able to find notes. However I can add a few tips.

    Do the short tasks first these are things you can effectively learn how to do easily and hopefully rattle off in the exam. For the long tasks make sure you read the question carefully, going on a tangent won't get you any marks.
    Read the text then the question then re read the text and bullet point on scrap any things you see that are important.

    Reference Ruby Dales even when the questions doesn't. All questions are related to Ruby Dales the people involved the budgets the decisions and analysis. You can use the reference sheets to provide other comparative data in ratios for example or the person mentioned in the weaknesses section might not be a suitable person to do the checks etc.

    Lastly based on others reactions make sure you understand CBA I see lots of people who have panicked over these questions.

    I would go through the example exams you have access to and analyse what the questions and exmaple are just in case the structure has changed since I did it last year but even if it hasn't it should give a better understanding of what is wanted.
    AAT Level 4, MAAT
    ACCA in progress
    F4- Passed Aug 2020
    F5- Planned for Dec 2020
    F6- Passed Sep 2020
    F7
    F8
    F9
  • mergenmergen Just Joined Registered Posts: 111
    @Pian32 here is the issue I have. The exam that I sat on 25th of Aug, non of the questions asked or even related closely to Ruby Dale. Each section had specific information that was provided and questions.

    Looks like I would have to reference Ruby Dale as much as possible. But to blindly reference Ruby Dale whenever possible to just pass the exam, doesn't make sense at all. This is not how students should be tested. It's like, memories and regurgitate. No critical thinking, problem solving and etc.
    Please don't think I am having a go at you.
  • Pian32Pian32 Registered Posts: 247
    @mergen

    I won't don't worry. After all I don't set the syllabus or exams.

    My experience with the questions was that you get given new information but it is in the context of the Ruby Dale's business.

    For instance Task 2 I mentioned above. You could be told that the fixed budget is X but from the Ruby Dale's information you know that it's a growing business that has expanded fairly rapidly. You can refer to this to point out that the fixed budget is flawed and that it would be better to use a flexed budget or a rolling budget.

    Task 3 will generally talk about people involved in the transactions and they will probably be people mentioned in the Ruby Dale's reference pages.

    Different people have different opinions on how much you need to reference the original material and I think in part that will depend on the exact question in the exam. For example on the ratios if you aren't given a comparative set of accounts you can use the Ruby dale's info to generate your own and compare against those so you'll reference it more whereas if you already have something to compare it against you won't reference it as much.

    I personally wasn't very big on referencing all the time for the exam as I tend to keep things concise but I would use it a little to put things in the context of the business involved.

    For example a task 2 question could have this as a sentance starter to provide a reference

    Ruby Dale ltd has recently expanded so it would be more appropriate to use .....

    This means you've shown awareness of the business and the context surrounding it for the rest of your response. The rest of you're answer might not refer to it again as you're explaining why what you've suggested could work better.

    Sorry it's a long response explaining how the synoptic works is not an easy one to explain.

    Also I didn't mention it above but @Emmalouise18 has good notes on the topic and if you ask nicely she'll probably share.
    AAT Level 4, MAAT
    ACCA in progress
    F4- Passed Aug 2020
    F5- Planned for Dec 2020
    F6- Passed Sep 2020
    F7
    F8
    F9
    Emmalouise18
  • mergenmergen Just Joined Registered Posts: 111
    edited October 8
    @Emmalouise18 kindly did provide the notes and they were very informative, clear and concise. But unfortunately the exam wasn't anywhere near that, there was no correlation in any of the questions/information to the actual pre-release material.

    Anyway I have booked for a re-sit in 2 weeks time.
  • Bran278Bran278 ManchesterRegistered Posts: 36
    mergen said:

    @Pian32 here is the issue I have. The exam that I sat on 25th of Aug, non of the questions asked or even related closely to Ruby Dale. Each section had specific information that was provided and questions.

    Looks like I would have to reference Ruby Dale as much as possible. But to blindly reference Ruby Dale whenever possible to just pass the exam, doesn't make sense at all. This is not how students should be tested. It's like, memories and regurgitate. No critical thinking, problem solving and etc.
    Please don't think I am having a go at you.

    I could not agree more to this comment! I came out of the exam very confused as the Qs were very precise and could be answered mostly directly standalone, without any reference whatsoever to the pre-release, which is contrary to what I have heard people suggest (I.e. refer back to the pre-release as much as possible).

    Anyway, I ended up with 86% for the exam (got my result today), so I must have done something right :+1:
    Alexa
  • AlexaAlexa Registered, AAT Student Posts: 14
    Hi As above Ruby Dale is the correct company. i have just receive my result and i got 68% first time which i am questioning as on the breakdown there didnt put Ratios which i have calculated instead is a random module so I am hoping they have made mistake and i will have a pass. Any way answers to your questions

    1 multiple choice from whole the units so they can ask anything. There was a even tax question what is the cut of date for submitting tax or something like this.
    2 i did really badly on this so will not give you any tips
    3 this is quite easy you need to look into finding weakness in a given scenario and this could be payrol, credit control, purchasing department or sales ledger department.
    4 Made or buy in redy product.I will write question below
    5 Ratios you need to know how to calculate them and how to interpret them
    6 from what i heard its always CBA i didnt heard of anyone having SWOT analysis.

    for point 4 questions went something like this Ruby Dale had to rent additional premises to produce a perfum. The capacity was 1000000 quantities. If the full capacity wasnt used for perfum it could be used to produce different product. It expected to produce 750 000 in first month and 800 000 in second month. Then asks you to calculate the cost for full capacity which maybe my understanding was wrong i have calculated for whole milion but i had trouble with rent cost. It said if factory not fully used it would be used for different product so is the rent included as a cost for perfum or not as the factory is used for something else. I no longer have tutor support so couldn't ask that question after my exam. If someone will ask can you please tag me in so i know when i have to re sit exam. Then in next point like 4b they ask you to list 6 non financial factors for making the product in house or ready buying. Again a bit of a struggle worth to ask tutor if you can. Is the answer should relate to the anser you gave in point 4a or ( which was buy rady made for me) or you have to give 3 for each. I did 3 for each thinking that if is wrong at least i lose only 3 marks not 6 as 3 would relate to the one from point 4a.

    Finally someone above mentioned that they didn't have to mention the prerelease material - that is a huge mistake. I know it doesn't really ask you to do it but is good to put sentence here and there to show you actually have studied the prerelease. so in point 4b non financial for ready buy was Ruby Dale reputation. In pre release says RD has a very good reputation so i said if they buy ready made product can the supplier make sure its of the best quality so RD doesn't loose her reputation for which she worked so hard to create. In taks 3 you can do something similar when you finding weaknesses try to put a sentence which relate to prerelease.

    Hope this helps Good Luck
  • AlexaAlexa Registered, AAT Student Posts: 14
    @mergen Can you please let me know what your subject title was in point 5 when you go to breakdown please. Mine said Obligations and reporting instead of Ratios which i have done on the exam. I am wondering if there is a mistake and will call them tomorrow as I have checked the results too late to call them today. Thank you
  • mergenmergen Just Joined Registered Posts: 111
    edited October 9
    @Alexa mine says "Regulatory obligation", but I remember that being ratios. I got met on that. Also as you have mentioned above, didn't get SWOT.
  • Bran278Bran278 ManchesterRegistered Posts: 36
    mergen said:

    @Alexa mine says "Regulatory obligation", but I remember that being ratios. I got met on that. Also as you have mentioned above, didn't get SWOT.

    I didn't get the SWOT analysis either.
  • Bran278Bran278 ManchesterRegistered Posts: 36
    Alexa said:

    Hi As above Ruby Dale is the correct company. i have just receive my result and i got 68% first time which i am questioning as on the breakdown there didnt put Ratios which i have calculated instead is a random module so I am hoping they have made mistake and i will have a pass. Any way answers to your questions

    1 multiple choice from whole the units so they can ask anything. There was a even tax question what is the cut of date for submitting tax or something like this.
    2 i did really badly on this so will not give you any tips
    3 this is quite easy you need to look into finding weakness in a given scenario and this could be payrol, credit control, purchasing department or sales ledger department.
    4 Made or buy in redy product.I will write question below
    5 Ratios you need to know how to calculate them and how to interpret them
    6 from what i heard its always CBA i didnt heard of anyone having SWOT analysis.

    for point 4 questions went something like this Ruby Dale had to rent additional premises to produce a perfum. The capacity was 1000000 quantities. If the full capacity wasnt used for perfum it could be used to produce different product. It expected to produce 750 000 in first month and 800 000 in second month. Then asks you to calculate the cost for full capacity which maybe my understanding was wrong i have calculated for whole milion but i had trouble with rent cost. It said if factory not fully used it would be used for different product so is the rent included as a cost for perfum or not as the factory is used for something else. I no longer have tutor support so couldn't ask that question after my exam. If someone will ask can you please tag me in so i know when i have to re sit exam. Then in next point like 4b they ask you to list 6 non financial factors for making the product in house or ready buying. Again a bit of a struggle worth to ask tutor if you can. Is the answer should relate to the anser you gave in point 4a or ( which was buy rady made for me) or you have to give 3 for each. I did 3 for each thinking that if is wrong at least i lose only 3 marks not 6 as 3 would relate to the one from point 4a.

    Finally someone above mentioned that they didn't have to mention the prerelease material - that is a huge mistake. I know it doesn't really ask you to do it but is good to put sentence here and there to show you actually have studied the prerelease. so in point 4b non financial for ready buy was Ruby Dale reputation. In pre release says RD has a very good reputation so i said if they buy ready made product can the supplier make sure its of the best quality so RD doesn't loose her reputation for which she worked so hard to create. In taks 3 you can do something similar when you finding weaknesses try to put a sentence which relate to prerelease.

    Hope this helps Good Luck

    I didn't mean absolutely don't refer back to it at all, obviously highlighting things here and there helps...I just mean, it isn't the be all and end all, shoehorning things in just for the sake of it.

    I can only reference my own experience, which was answering the Qs as they were asked, and I very very rarely had to flip back to the pre-release for anything/any information that wasn't already provided in the Q.
  • AlexaAlexa Registered, AAT Student Posts: 14
    @Bran278 apologies i wasnt trying to be mean. I get what you say. I was the same i could literally answer all the questions without referring to the prerelease but as everyone was recommending this i think i have 2-3 references to it on different tasks.
    Bran278
  • Donny46Donny46 Registered Posts: 2
    Hi everybody,
    I just sit the exam PDSY Level 4. I have updates on tasks were examined for Ruby Dale Ltd.
    Easy tasks:
    Task 1 - multiple questions assessment, similar what we practise in mocks, but questions are connected to Ruby Dale Ltd. Humm… not sure, as some answers are unknown. Hope so I have pass.
    Task 5 - Ratio analysis, never seen such before, or learnt, but have done great as had practises a lot. Tricks such as Ruby Dale Ltd activities before year end, which has main influence on the answers. Study financials about the company. Exceeded.
    Task 3 - internal controls for purchasing and ordering, main issues with lack segregation of duties - easy one. Hope so I have exceeded.
    Hard tasks! All need to review before going to exam as level of difficulty is knowledge with no practice from supplied mocks or tests from college:
    Task 2 - budget, here I got myself crazy - Zero budget planning assumptions to evaluate and changes for absorbed statements into some four other types, which gives benefits to Ruby Dale Ltd. Never done similar task before, as no mocks or tests have been issued under zero budget product range. Look forward to understanding about analysis in more detail too. FAILED
    Task 4 – decision making regarding Ruby’s shops in China. Hell…non-relevant and relevant cost-plus contribution calculations. Table contain which I have never seen before, so tricky to adding data, as totals has not presented. Six factors non-financial to consider…I think I have messed up here too. FAILED
    Task 6 - cost benefit analysis, tough one, but attainable. I am not sure about my answer but was tricky one. Outsourced receivables service, benefits of this and calculations with six non-financial factors to consider. Shocked…hope I done it just to pass.

    So guys, please if you have any comments or advice just let me know. I look forward to go for second time if I have failed. I need to review new AAT L4 books with new tasks, that would be able to distinguish the answers in the exam correctly.
    Good luck to you all!!!
  • Bran278Bran278 ManchesterRegistered Posts: 36
    > @Alexa said:
    > @Bran278 apologies i wasnt trying to be mean. I get what you say. I was the same i could literally answer all the questions without referring to the prerelease but as everyone was recommending this i think i have 2-3 references to it on different tasks.

    No probs ;)
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