In 2016 the AAT changed their syllabus to include a new Synoptic assessment which covers topics from all the units students study in a qualification. Although here at AVADO we've adapted our teaching to make sure you only take the Synoptic when you're ready, a lot of students have been nervous about this new, trickier exam. Not Zahra Jiwa though! On her recent AAT Level 2 course she scored over 95% in each of her five exams, including the new Synoptic assessment! We spoke to her about her experience studying AAT:
What were you doing before starting the course?
In 2010 I had graduated in Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Sciences BSc (Hons). After finishing university I was employed in various different roles; it was only when I was promoted to the role of an agency accounts assistant within the company I was working for that I realised I had a passion for numbers and figures and I wanted to take it further. I then progressed to work for a private investment bank and decided to look into my options to find an ideal course that would help me to progress in my career.
What made you decide to study AAT Level 2?
I realised that if I seriously wanted to do well in my career and enhance my job prospects within the field it was essential for me to gain qualifications. I started to investigate what options were available as I wanted to complete a course which was nationally recognised, had good career prospects and also flexibility so that I could still work full-time and study in my own time. I did some online research and asked for a brochure to gain more information about the AAT course. Eventually I decided that AAT was the best option for me and I knew the next step would be to look for a good learning provider that could help me achieve my goal.
Why did you choose AVADO?
I visited the AVADO website and saw that studying with AVADO would allow me to study at my own pace, in my own time. They also had an excellent pass rate and provided online interactive classes and therefore it ticked all the boxes! I still had a few queries but the course advisor I spoke to made me feel at ease, she answered all my queries, asked a few simple questions and within minutes I was enrolled on to the course. I found the entire enrolment process very easy and I was able to immediately access the online campus. I was very excited to get started and I just couldn’t wait for my books to arrive! When I received the books I saw they were well written, the learning material had been dissected into topics and there were worked examples and case studies to explain different scenarios which really helped my studies.
How did you find learning online? Had you done it before?
I had not studied online before, at university we were able to access our notes online but I had to physically attend for the classes and practicals. I found studying online to be very convenient and practical. It gave me the flexibility to work full-time and still not miss out on classes as I could catch up by watching the online class recordings in my own time. The virtual learning campus was easy to navigate, there were knowledge tests for each topic and practice assessments for each module which were automatically marked online, so I could track my progress through the course.
How has your experience been?
My overall learning experience has been great! I have enjoyed studying AAT level 2, I believe the course is well structured and the knowledge I have gained through this course will help me a great deal in my career. It’s a big change to transition from studying science to accountancy, but I didn’t have any problems because the way the course is written helps students learn the basic fundamentals that are mandatory to know for the later topics. The way the course is written motivated me to study further. After each exam I felt motivated to do just as well in the next, no wonder I managed to score above 95% in all my exams! I am an avid book reader and I have a passion for cake baking and decorating, but I did have to sacrifice a lot of the time that I would have spent pursuing my hobbies and invest that time into my studies instead. Thankfully I saw my efforts paying off after each exam when I received my results.
What has the support been like from your tutor and community team?
My tutor was very supportive so were the student advice team and whenever I had any queries related to the course or exams they got back to me very quickly.
Last year AAT introduced their new synoptic assessments. How did you find yours? Any tips for doing well?
Initially I felt slightly apprehensive about the synoptic assessment as I expected it to be quite difficult, however as I went through studying each of the topics and passing my exams I was able to grasp the fundamentals and could then build on that knowledge as each of the topics tied in together. I designed a realistic study-plan that I knew I could follow, and each week I would set an objective which I would then endeavour to achieve. I believe the key to excel in the synoptic paper is to make sure you understand the basics as you’re working through the course, and to study plenty of different case studies and examples. Go through all the knowledge tests and don’t memorise the answers, instead realise where you went wrong and why. I was shocked to find out I scored 99% on the synoptic!
Do you have any study tips for other students studying AAT?
It’s helpful to have a keen interest in the course you are studying. Try to read around the subjects you learn about like costing or VAT. If you find a concept hard to understand don’t give up, try to look at it in different ways and ask for advice till it makes sense. If you are unsure about something, don’t hesitate to ask your tutor for guidance. Everyone has their own style of learning: some learn by reading, writing or actively answering questions. Find out which way is ideal for you and stick to it! Knowledge gives life to your soul, so don’t get too stressed and enjoy your studies. Take any challenges that come your way positively!
What’s next for your career?
Currently, I’m still working at a private investment bank while studying AAT Level 3 with AVADO. In future I hope to also complete AAT level 4 and then perhaps look into studying ACCA. I believe this will broaden my career prospects and enable me to find the ideal role.
Any other comments on your overall experience studying with AVADO?
My overall experience with AVADO has been great; the support AVADO has provided has been phenomenal and there is nothing negative to say about them! I would like to take this opportunity to thank the team behind AVADO for their assistance and support in my studies and wish them a prosperous future. Finally, I would like to wish other fellow AAT students good luck in their exams and advise others to also study with AVADO!