Have you been studying for an AAT assessment that’s now on pause? AAT tutors give us their top tips for holding onto that knowledge and continuing your studies during Covid-19.
Studying on lockdown
Your ability to study towards future AAT assessments during lockdown will very much depend on your other responsibilities. If, like many AAT students, you’re juggling childcare and working from home, revising may not be your top priority.
But if you’re on furlough, or a full-time student, “this is a fantastic opportunity,” says Accountancy Learning tutor Pat Leahy.
“It’s also an excellent chance for apprentices to work on their portfolio and submit it for review.”
Even if your classes have stopped completely for the moment, you can push ahead with your studies using the wealth of useful features on AAT’s new Lifelong Learning Portal, including podcasts by industry experts and bite-sized Study Support videos that review a key skill in just a few minutes.
Storing knowledge for the long haul
Cancelled assessments can be frustrating. But on a positive note, you may find yourself with ample time on your hands for some deep concentration on studies. And ironically, this can lead to you storing learned information deeper and for longer.
“Having a longer period to learn material allows you to develop reserves of longer-term memory that will lead to higher marks in assessments and help you in your working career,” says Gareth John, chairman and director of Accountancy Training college First Intuition.
Having more time to study makes it even more important to keep your methods varied, though.
“There’s a risk that boredom will set in, so I’d recommend looking at different ways of revising,” Leahy says.
“Teaching others is a really good way of ensuring you know a topic, so how about pretending you’re going to give a presentation on a particular topic?”
You can even follow through by giving the presentation – either in person to someone you’re isolating with, or for a fellow student or relative via video call.
Moving on to your next unit
Studying the same subject over and over again is bound to get boring, so don’t be afraid to move on when you’re ready.
“Although many students will feel reluctant to start a new unit without sitting the one already studied, I think this could potentially be a blessing in disguise,” says Jade Hunt of Accountancy Learning.
“The synoptic exams require us to retain the information, and if candidates progress on to further studies they may sit multiple exams during a single window, so this is all good practice.”
There may even be more overlap than you’d expect.
“There are certain units, such as level 3 Advanced Bookkeeping and Final Accounts Preparation, that actually go together quite well as the material contained builds on and overlaps with the material already seen in the other,” John adds.
Rebooking your assessment
It’s a good idea to rebook any assessments you were due to take during lockdown as soon as possible.
But John advises: “Even if students have been studying for two or three units in parallel, I wouldn’t suggest sitting all of the assessments too close to each other.”
“It’s better to spread them out a little bit to allow time to prepare for each in turn.”
Three tips for lockdown revision success
1. Break your revision down into stages
John recommends splitting your studies into the following three stages:
- Learning phase – reading course notes, watching online lectures etc.
- Revision phase – reviewing your notes, submitting work to tutors for feedback etc.
- Rehearsal phase – completing mock assessments.
2. Choose methods that suit YOUR learning style
“If you’re a visual learner then flashcards could be really useful,” Hunt says. “If you’re a kinaesthetic learner, why not record voice memos and play them to yourself whilst you’re waiting for the kettle to boil?”
3. Tune in to the AAT Lifelong Learning Portal
“With the Lifelong Learning Portal, we’ve taken a long look at how our students approach their studies and created something that will genuinely benefit them,” says Patrick Willis of the AAT. “We really hope you enjoy using it.”
Log in today for easy access to AAT study support resources, all in the one place. You can add notes to resources to help your revision, and reminders to resources you want to revise later. You can even add resources from your tutor or a favourite blogger to really broaden your revision.
How much revision you can get done during lockdown for your next AAT assessment will depend on your personal circumstances.
But if you have lots of time on your hands, this is a great opportunity to advance your studies and gain a deeper understanding of the subjects in which you should already have been assessed.
Either way, the AAT’s new Lifelong Learning Portal can help you nail your next assessment – whenever that is.
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Jessica Bown is an award-winning freelance journalist and editor.