Which parts of the Synoptic exam do you have to refer to the Pre-Release Material?



  • ConnorL
    ConnorL MAAT Posts: 14
    Hi @gabriellenlewis

    Try and refer to the pre-release material in all of the written tasks if possible, you'll never get marked down for writing more so always a good idea to try and include some of the pre-release material in your answers.

    A good revision tip is to print off the material and highlight any area's where you think it might be related to a question which could be asked but of course you get this by a link in the exam and can always read through it in the exam when you have the question in-front of you to see what information could be used in your answer.

    Hope this helps.
  • c4n4ries
    c4n4ries Registered Posts: 9
    My exam is on Monday - I've studied over the MABU, MDCL and FSLC modules and the Accounting Controls for the Synoptic, but I struggle with preparing for the written questions, because it seems very open-ended as to what you could be asked on the day. Do you have any tips/hints of what the written questions are likely to be structured like?
  • CornishPixie
    CornishPixie Registered, MAAT, AATQB, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 117
    Hi c2n4ries, I haven't seen the current pre-release so not sure what it is about but below are my thoughts for task 2.

    For task 2, I would start by identifying what type of budget is being used, and give examples of how you have come to that decision. Then bearing in mind what the pre-release tells you about the company, give suggestions as to how this is or isn't plausible for that company - using information from the pre-release. Is that the best way forward or is there a better alternative given their particular circumstances? If there is a better way? If there is, suggest this, with examples and calculations. Always, always include detailed calculations in your response.

    Make sure that you know your action words (describe, examine etc) as without you answering the question according to these, you will drop very important marks.
  • Dorota_1680
    Dorota_1680 Registered Posts: 59
    Hi ! I have failed for the 3rd time now...the worse % so far...not happy at all as I thought that I have done it well In task 4 - relevant costing but I got Significantly below which is very surprising.... also for Task 2 Budgetary reporting I keep getting Significantly Below. Can someone explain to me what they expecting us to write in Task 2 as I have written a lot but obviously that was incorrect? Can you recommend practice example or some sort of help in better understanding what they expecting to include there? Also for Cost Benefit analyse is there any practice tests available? I have Osbourne, BPP and Kaplan materials and I didn't come across in any of them.
  • Dorota_1680
    Dorota_1680 Registered Posts: 59
    Task 4 relevant Costing. How can I refer to Pre-Release Materials if I had to do some calculations and make a recommendation which location (UK or India) to use. I would not need to refer to Pre-Release Materials if I have all information given in the task plus it was very similar to Practice Assessment 2 on AAT site / Task 4 so I know I have done all calculation right and answers questions about which costs are relevant or not. In their model answers they did not refer to pre-release materials in this task...
  • CornishPixie
    CornishPixie Registered, MAAT, AATQB, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 117
    But I think you will find that none of the model answers refer to the pre-release. It is up to you to make that connection between what question you have in front of you and what you know about the company from the pre-release.
  • Dorota_1680
    Dorota_1680 Registered Posts: 59
    edited July 2019
    @CornishPixie In their model answers on AAT web site they did not refer to pre-release material to answer this particular question and there was no need to as you based your calculations on information /figures provided in the task and not in pre-release materials...
  • rachmcfc
    rachmcfc Registered Posts: 36
    @Dorota_1680 I got my result back on Thursday and failed for the 3rd time too, 2% off! I keep getting a table in q2 asking for calculations and have no idea what they are expecting me to do, so because I can’t do the calculations I then can’t write about it. I struggle to answer the written task in q4 and have no idea how to answer the CBA. I have searched all the references available, textbooks and AAT and can not find any help anywhere how to answer this question!
    I honestly do not know how I am ever going to pass this exam!
    Now the resit week is next week and I am in no way ready to sit it again!
  • Dorota_1680
    Dorota_1680 Registered Posts: 59
    @rachmcfc are you getting a budgeting reporting in Q2? What written task are you getting in q4? in my last exam I did get question about CBA in q6 and I did not know how to complete this task....Did you manage to get some more practice papers to cover these tasks? I did complain to AAT about CBA question 2 months ago but they did get back to me to say that it is not their fault but book publishing/training providers for not including this in syllabus.
  • AAT_Team
    AAT_Team Administrator Posts: 568
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  • chloewain_
    chloewain_ Registered, AAT Student Posts: 42

    Hi, please see below, I have also attached something, not sure if it will be much use

    Before AAT get on my case, I haven't sat the exam yet, so the below isn't based on live exams :)

    The way I am going to tackle question 2 (budgeting) is read through the writing and write everything down quickly that I think is significant. I am also struggling with how I am meant to know what the question is actually asking, it's mad. I even look at the practice answers, and think 'that isn't what it was asking'
    So I can see that you always get a mark for stating which budget it is, (fixed, flexed, rolling or 0 based, I don't think the last 2 are mentioned much). You can then mention whether it is a top-down budget or a bottom-up budget. You should be able to find this out because, in the writing, it will tell you who has written the report (e.g. the director has drafted the budget = top-down). You can then mention if these two planning procedures are correct for the business. (E.g. top-down method may not be relevant as directors don't have enough knowledge of the production to set a budget. It may also not be suitable to be fixed for example)
    There seems to always be a problem with the budget, so now that you have stated what kind of budget it is, and whether it is relevant to the business or not, you should then state what you would recommend instead. Fixed may not be suitable, but a rolling budget may be better.

    Now the only problem is, knowing what info to write there. It is not like us students lack the knowledge, it is just difficult to understand what they are asking.

    I would strongly recommend you look at the following link. It seemed pointless to me at first, but you can get a better understanding of what they are asking if you understand the words used. I thought I did, (i have always been good at English and the written questions in AAT) but I think they really help with question 2 and 4. So for example, if it says compare, you know you have to identify differences and similarities. If people were unsure of this word, then people may just write differences and lose half their marks.


    In response to your CBA, I came across another comment on the forum that said there is study support on AAT that goes through it. It doesn't go through it much or put it into a table, but maybe if they are only expecting us to understand the parts they are showing us, then we will be better equipped in the exam. I have gone over this study support 3 times now, so I know the ins and outs, and hopefully, no matter what kind of question I get on CBA, if I have such a good understanding, I should be able to answer it. If not, and I fail the exam, I too will be complaining to AAT haha. (It is near the end)


    I also found this link useful, telling me what order to go in and how many marks I actually need for a pass (i don't get if I just scrape a 70% as long as I pass!) As you can see, you are only expected to get 8/15 for both 2 and 4, and 9/15 for 3 and 6.


    This is also a good video for those little tips (things like if you see 'should normally' in the question then it shows that it doesn't always happen like this and therefore that is an internal weakness). It is all about reading further into the question. I'm sorry if this hasn't been much help, but hopefully, if you go over and over again what is coming up for each question and understand what the examiner is looking for, then we should be able to answer the questions, even if we are unsure on what it is asking! (This is the only hope that I've got in the exam anyway!!)

    Please stay positive, I know it must be so hard, but I believe in you, and know you can do it!!!

    Are you sitting the Ruby Dale? I may be able to send you some stuff over if you are
  • Dorota_1680
    Dorota_1680 Registered Posts: 59
    edited September 2019
    @chloewain_ Thank you so so much for your tips and links. Fingers crossed we will pass
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