Poor AAT Exam Resources

mbuckmbuck Registered Users Posts: 7
Does anyone else agree that the AAT resources available to you before you sit an exam are not sufficient enough? I am now on level 4 and have sat my first exam in cash management, which I am not yet competent. However, I believe that the two sample assessments available are not enough to fully prepare you for the exam and the anomalies that the AAT put in.

I have spoken to my tutor and classmates regarding this and they share similar views. This may be enough to support you through level 1/2/3 but for the depth of knowledge and the variety of questions that can be asked I don't believe this is adequate in level 4.

I think that the AAT should do more to prepare you for the range of questions that will be asked and the different ways is which they can ask them. The issue of 2 samples of each question before an exam is not good enough in my eyes. During my exam, I was asked questions in ways that I had not seen during studying/ revision and the sample assessments, which completely threw me and was 100% unsure as was not something I had covered. When I spoke to my tutor, it came to light that the only resources available to them is also the two sample assessments and they base there learning material on that, which reiterates that you practice a certain way in which you view and tackle a task.

Please understand I am not trying to excuse myself for my disappointing results in the exam, I just want more support from the AAT and wondered if anyone else agreed?

Please comment as would like to know your thoughts!


  • ClarekayeClarekaye Trusted Regular Registered Users Posts: 306
    I found that for 3 and 4, you have to make sure you cover yourself from all angles, they can't tell you the question will be x y and z you need to expect z a and t if you get me?!
    Talking from someone who is now doing ACCA AAT is a breeeeze, don't forget they need to keep their own standards up so need to test every student to their highest level. Good luck :)
  • welshwizardwelshwizard Trusted Regular South WalesRegistered Users Posts: 465

    Sadly, you're studying for a qulaification which requires a level of comeptence (not just a pass) and, therefore, you should be able to tackle tasks regardless of the format/way questions are asked provided the task requirements fall within the assessment criteria.

    I've lost count of the number of times people say 'I've never seen a question, like that' - surely, in the workplace, you'll be coming across new situations/problems on a daily basis and, just because you haven't faced them before, doesn't mean you can't address the issues.

    If you're well prepared for the assessment you should be able to tackle anything that's thrown at you but, if you need more practice material, why not buy one of the question/revision books out there? Osborne, Kaplan and BPP all have books out there with a wide variety of task types and, importantly, more practice assessments.

    We tutors can only give you the tools to do the job - the key for you is to be able to take those tools and use them accordingly.

    I am sure that you'll be far more successful with your next attempt at this assessment - remember, you didn't fail, you achieved differently and, importantly, learned what you don't know/weren't competent at along the way. This will surely stand you in good stead for the next sitting.

    Good luck.
  • mbuckmbuck Registered Users Posts: 7
    Thank you both for your replies. I completely agree with you that AAT should test you for competence in order to keep their high standards. I just feel that in class you are taught over and over again a set and normally single way in which to do something, that there needs to then be more to broaden the learning material available. I mean, surely in class you should be taught various angles in which to deal with something not only to prepare you for the exam, but also for the workplace.
    However it seems that all learning material provided is what is based upon those two sample assessments. I am not damning the AAT at all, don't get me wrong about that, I just believe that there should be more provided to fully prepare you, even if this is to broaden the variety in the two samples?

    Thank you again for your replies
  • BeccaLouJ9BeccaLouJ9 Experienced Mentor DevonRegistered Users Posts: 940
    edited February 2015
    Do you not think that maybe your learning provider needs to address this issue rather than the AAT? They (the tutor) are there to teach you the subject and exam technique, this is what they are trained for. As @welshwizard says, they are there to give you the tools, which as an accountant, you need to learn how to use in a varied set of circumstances. If they aren't giving you the level you require perhaps it is something you need to discuss with them?

    I found the BPP books really good for level four, maybe give those a try?

    Good luck in your studies.

    Becca Jones MAAT ATT :)
  • mbuckmbuck Registered Users Posts: 7
    Thank you for your reply.

    Like i said i have spoke to my tutor, and he's told me that the AAT don't provide any other sample assessments than the one on the AAT website. Therefore the questions they prepare for us are exactly the same as that on the sample assessment, which is exactly my point. We are being taught something on the basis of the AAT samples, where the content in the CBT's are nothing we have practised! ( I know what you have said but surely you can not be tested on something that you have not been practised?)

    I just think it would be beneficial all round for the AAT to provide a few more sample questions in the different formats even if this is directly to the AAT providers?

  • BeccaLouJ9BeccaLouJ9 Experienced Mentor DevonRegistered Users Posts: 940
    edited February 2015
    I understand what you are saying, what I am saying is that the tutors should really be able to teach not based on just what the AAT provide: they should teach the syllabus and some exam technique. I am sure if it were just a case of copying the exams from the AAT website we could all be tutors?

    I do agree that more AAT exam practice isn't a bad thing, although there are a lot of these in the tuition providers' manuals as mentioned by @welshwizard.

    B x
    Becca Jones MAAT ATT :)
  • ClarekayeClarekaye Trusted Regular Registered Users Posts: 306
    Having not studied in a classroom environment - all distance learning, I can only say the providers I went with had mocks, practice tests etc so I am backing up BeccaLou here, your tutor should be providing you with more tests and questions here!
  • mbuckmbuck Registered Users Posts: 7
    Thank you all for your comments - I will indeed speak to my tutor. Would you recommend anything other resources other than AAT website? Thank you again
  • BeccaLouJ9BeccaLouJ9 Experienced Mentor DevonRegistered Users Posts: 940
    As I say I used BPP for all of my AAT studies (distance learning) so I can recommend them, however I can't compare them to anything else! :) There are study manuals, question banks, pass cards etc.

    Also, use the forums for any questions you have! It's an invaluable source and you will always find help, whatever the question.

    Good luck!

    B x
    Becca Jones MAAT ATT :)
  • mbuckmbuck Registered Users Posts: 7
    Thank you for you help :)
  • RebecccaRebeccca Just Joined Registered Users Posts: 4
    Hi All,
    I can't help but feel this is a slight cop-out. After all, you're going into a grown-up working environment where your employer is hoping not to have to hold your hand for the rest of your working life... So with this is mind, exam practice should involve thinking outside the box a little and, like mentioned above, getting your hands on ALL material available to you that covers the course content.
    For most level 4 papers, I used the Kaplan books issued by my tutor, but felt all mocks etc. we had just weren't enough, so went and bought the Osborne and BPP books too.
    I can't recommend doing this enough as the approach to exam practice are all so very different; BPP in particular have some very wordy questions but I found these harder than the actual exam.
    You may be lucky enough to find students on the forum here, or on places like EBay, who are selling on their books having passed their latest paper, which could save you quite a bit. BUT, be prepared to see notes in them if you don't buy them brand new.

    Best of luck with your exams. Work hard and it will pay off, I promise :smile:
  • leptionleption Registered Users Posts: 36
    Welsh wizard you're quite right in saying that in the workplace we'll come across different scenarios at, it happens to me all the time, but at least we can liaise with colleagues for help and guidance. Surely they cant put the same questions, but some of these questions are just plain SILLY even some of the tutors agree sometimes they themselves cant even get the answers to these questions or it takes them ages to work it out.
  • JohnPjJohnPj Just Joined Registered Users Posts: 38
    I agree, there isn't enough rescourses online!! I just failed my CSHM exam too. I got COMPLETELY different questions for my written questions. The examiner just tries to trick you I suppose.

    As to the comment on , in a work place you get new tasks etc. In the everyday life we can research online or ask our managers/bosses for help. Therefore the "exam approach" is NOT realistic. I do believe more examples should be available.
  • Sharon123Sharon123 Registered Users Posts: 80
    The BPP exam practice books are a useful resource, however particularly by level 4 you should be able to apply your knowledge to different situations. The AAT practice tests on the website are as much as anything to make you familiar with the format of the exams.
  • zippizippi Feels At Home Registered Users Posts: 176
    I have passed all my exams first time and work damn hard. We did not have more than 4 lessons on this and as this was the last topic, my college wanted to finish it by 1st July. Hence got only 4 weeks prior to exam including lessons. I just had a third attempt on cash management and every time, just like Ptax has been completely different and extremely long and complicated workout. Lot of unnecessary red herring!! However, I agree with Buck and John pj. Some of you I guess are lucky to have tutors, who go above and beyond to help you and give you different materials and resources, unfortunately ours didn't and what little we had was nothing there to prepare you for reality of exam.

    I think AAT should review this and correct it!!!
  • SandyHoodSandyHood Font Of All Knowledge Registered Users, Moderators Posts: 2,034
    This discussion is interesting.
    I get the impression that a consensus feel that good exam preparation requires a variety of exercises. And that many of the contributors consider that this is the responsibility of the college or tuition provider you use.

    Many college lecturers do go to the syllabus and produce questions to help test your knowledge and understanding. These people focus on the same material the exam writers use.

    Sadly some tuition providers (possibly through lack of time) rely on ready made questions for practice. This can leave candidates under prepared for the exams.

    If you are studying without a learning provider I recommend checking the syllabus yourself.

    I am a tutor. My classes are CIMA and ACCA. I use the syllabus for every course I take. I look at the exam questions that were used in the past. I often say,
    "well they tested the topic that way then, how are they likely to test it next time?"
    On those sorts of papers it is a rare surprise to see a particular type of task for a syllabus topic turn up more than once.

  • deepgcdeepgc Registered Users Posts: 6
    BPP in Newcastle were particularly dire, I'm so happy I made the change to FT
  • ShortASSETShortASSET Registered Users Posts: 20
    I am having some issues too with the quality of the AAT material and partners.
    I came to Malta and sitting my exams at MCAST community college.
    To be honest if I compare the venue to the ones I used in England there are major differences. Very loud and mostly over booked. The noise level makes it impossible to focus on questions. Loud keyboards and talking, last time the student were crunching crisps from a bag. Seriously!
    I always had good results and here I failed two exams already. One is the Ethics one.
    The ethics exam booking it self was a disaster. Home Learning College didn`t responded to my emails in time so I missed two dates. When they finally responded they forgot to book the exam with AAT and Mcast had no idea how to proceed the external student as Home Learning didn`t sent them the required information.
    I pretty much found out on the same day of the exam that I can do it.
    The questions I got were wide open and all kind of threats was present. Unlike support pages on the internet. There were barely straightforward questions.
    I even had one question didn`t even mean anything to me. One sentence, no question but a sentence (empty one) now I am a foreign national but I can speak a very high level of english if I need it to.
    The exam the Ethical one is a disaster it self. Many question can fall into almost every threat, now how can you evaluate what is the most threatened one if everybody has different weaknesses and strengths regarding conflicts.
    I don`t know who creates the questions but I would really like to see answering mine regarding to ethics and see what the person have to say about my feedback.
  • Rachel97Rachel97 Registered Users Posts: 5
    I couldn't agree more mbuck,

    I sat my MDCL ( management decision and control ) exam yesterday and got really upset about it.

    I did all the AAT Mocks & Kaplan's mocks but none of these even related to the actual exam. I did a lot of revision for this so it wasn't like i hadn't tried but i already know i have failed before i get my results back. I do blame this on the syllabus changing as i started on AQ2013 and now i am doing AQ2016 so the exams have changed as well as the study materials ect. I have also spoken to my tutor about this and he said AAT do not give them a lot of information as to what is going to be on the AQ2016, the information they do get is very vague. I do think the mocks should reflect the exam. I know Level 4 exams are not easy but the revision materials should be more varied so there are no shocks in the exam. You are always to get one question that might trick you but not the whole thing!

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