Exam tips for AAT Levels 2, 3 and 4

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Lacking confidence in passing your exam? Looking for those key tips that’ll get you the best possible results?

Well you’ve come to the right place. Our expert academics have put together some great advice that can boost your AAT results.

To break it down, we include the following:

General study tips
Calculating variances
Question types
Practicing for CBT exams


General Tips

  • If there’s a huge volume of content to learn for your units, don’t cram it in at the last minute.
  • Where possible, use mind maps and mnemonics to help to retain the knowledge.
  • When in the exam, read the questions carefully. One word can completely change the perception of the question, so make sure you read it twice at least.
  • Exams can be time pressured, therefore practice as many questions as possible to time before the exam. The more you practice the faster you’ll get. Practicing questions prior to the exam will also allow you to get used to the way in which questions are asked.
  • Students with a good range of broad knowledge will have a greater chance of passing the exam than students with strong knowledge but for a small range of topics.
  • Learning the material thoroughly means we can apply our knowledge to any question, regardless of communication style.
  • Practice answering questions across the syllabus, don’t just concentrate on the areas you like.


Which formula to use in the Spreadsheet SDST/SPSW Software exam (Level 3 only)

If you don’t know which to use then hit the Insert Function button and type in what you want the function to do in plain English. This will provide a few likely options, and explain how that function works.


Exam Technique is KEY to passing this paper


Why we calculate variances and what they mean (Level 4 only)

If you’re studying the Financial Performance (FSLC) or Budgeting (MABU) units, variance analysis helps a business to understand why they performed better or worse than expected.

If worse, it could be because we paid more for materials than we should have done, or perhaps our labour worked less efficiently than we thought they would. The variance calculations help us tell the business performance story.

To pass the Financial Statements (FSLC – the old FSTM paper) it requires a different emphasis to pass than you may be used to. FSLC is the only Financial Accounting paper at Level 4 and there is a lot of content for the student to learn and be familiar with.

Exam Technique is KEY to passing this paper. Even if you have all the theory you may struggle if you ignore exam technique. Don’t feel like you have to do the tasks in the order they are set.

It may be better to work through areas you feel stronger on earlier, to avoid over-running on time. However this is a personal choice so pick a question order which works for you. It’s also VITAL to practice a mock exam in full, including the written tasks. This will help you with time management so you are comfortable with how long each task will take.


Types of questions likely to appear on the CBA

We advise you look at the various AAT practice assessment on MyAAT to familiarise with the type of questions which could be included.

Within this are the sample assessments and Green light tests. The Green light tests simulate the live exam and help you understand the software/layout.

The questions in the exams are randomly selected so the more question practice you do the more familiar you’ll get with the different question types.


Practicing for CBT exams

  • Aim to work on as many practice questions as possible. You’ll recognise familiar patterns and formats and this will make it easier in the real exam. We offer practice assessments in our Osborne workbook and on the Moodle platform.
  • Read each question carefully. Sounds obvious, but many students try and look for the question they’re familiar with instead of reading the actual requirement. The requirement is usually at the end of the question. So, read it, think about what type of information is needed, and then look for the information.
  • Make sure you’re familiar with your calculator – don’t buy a new one the day before your exam! You should know how to use all the relevant functions and, for example, the most efficient way of working out a percentage. You may wish to consider purchasing a second identical calculator as a spare too. Only non programmable calculators are allowed.
  • Make sure your sample/practice assessments are completed in exam conditions and to exam time.


What to do when entering the CBT exam room

  • Remain silent from when you enter, as you are then under exam conditions.
  • Sit at the desk allocated and ensure you are comfortable, adjusting your chair, the monitor position, keyboard and mouse placement, until you are happy with the setup.
  • Listen to the invigilator’s instructions. Ask the invigilator any questions you have, prior to the commencement of the exam. Raise your hand to ask a question.
  • Once the exam is complete make sure you have clicked on the submit button. All results are revealed in your AAT account. It can take between 24 hours and 6 weeks for results to be revealed.


Exam ready?

We hope you put these tips into practice and get the exam success you want. If you have any further queries do not hesitate to contact us anytime.