Common mistakes students make in foundation assessments and how to avoid them

AAT publishes Examiner’s Reports for all assessments, which reveal what areas of assessments students are performing well in, and the areas they are struggling with.

The reports are intended to be constructive and informative and promote a better understanding of the assessment requirements. Here we outline some common errors made in the Foundation assessments and how to avoid them.

Bookkeeping Transactions

Common mistake: Incorrectly calculating net and VAT amounts

  • On average, students completed the assessment in 73% of the 90 minutes available, with the most time spent on Tasks 1 and 3.
  • Even the most successful students often fail to recognise simple calculation errors, so any remaining time should be used to review responses.
  • The most common error in this assessment was incorrectly calculating net and VAT amounts from a total amount.

Students should focus on improving their skills in:

  1. Extracting net and VAT amounts from a total amount.
  2. Balancing T accounts.
  3. Transferring amounts from the cash book to the general ledger.

Elements of Costing

Common mistake: Not reading the questions properly

  • On average, students completed the assessment in 72% of the 90 minutes available, with the most time spent on Tasks 3, 4 and 8.
  • There is sufficient time available for students to spend longer on tasks and to take their time to properly read the questions.
  • A key area of strength for students was in completing inventory records and completing basic pay calculations.

To prepare for the types of questions in this assessment, students should complete the:

  1. Real-life scenario
  2. e-learning modules
  3. Green light test
  4. Practice assessments

Using Accounting Software

Common mistake: Not providing enough evidence

  • On average, students complete this assessment with around 20 minutes to spare, so they should take time to check that the correct evidence is uploaded.
  • Students need to ensure that they are familiar with the reports that their specific accounting software produces.
  • Students that are not yet competent are neglecting to sufficiently evidence the completion of tasks.

Common errors across tasks are:

  1. Failing to enter transactions using the general ledger code provided in Task 3
  2. Failing to accurately enter information provided in the task – in particular, dates and references
  3. Failing to upload evidence in accordance with the assessment requirements

Full reports can be viewed on the AAT Lifelong Learning Portal (log in to view content).

Further reading:

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