Ready to pass your synoptic? 4 things you need to know

We want you to be as ready for your exams as possible, so here’s what you need to know about preparing and what to expect.

Although many students worry about the written elements of the synoptics, if your understanding from the mandatory units is clear, the written elements should not take you by surprise. However, in order to successfully pass the synoptic assessment, it is essential that it is approached logically. 

1. Before you book your synoptic assessment

Prior to booking the synoptic, you need to have attempted the mandatory units – it is advisable not to attempt the synoptic assessment until all mandatory units have been successfully completed. Statistics show that if a student has passed their mandatory units, they have a better chance of passing their synoptic. 

When students are preparing for their synoptic, they can see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, this also means many students start to rush their studies – which can lead to not achieving their best possible grade or even failing the synoptic. If you feel you are not ready to take the synoptic, then don’t. Allowing yourself an extra couple of weeks of study may be the difference between passing and failing. 

2. Preparing for your assessment

When approaching the Professional Diploma synoptic assessment, make sure you have read the pre-release materials before the exam. This will give you some background of the company you are analysing, and it will also save you some time in the exam.   

Prior knowledge is also essential when progressing through the AAT qualification. The synoptic can assess you on areas that were covered at previous levels of the qualification. To prepare for the synoptic, some students may find it beneficial to attempt the computer-based assessments (CBAs) from the lower levels in order to give them in-depth knowledge and understanding before attempting a higher level synoptic. Remember, you can never revise too much!

3. On the day of your assessment

Don’t forget your calculator and a pen. You can ask the invigilator for scrap paper to make notes. Remember, you cannot take any learning materials into the examination. All scrap paper must be handed to the invigilator at the end of the exam for destroying. 

Timing is of the essence when completing your synoptic. The Foundation Level synoptic is 2 hours in duration, the Advanced Level is 3 hours and 15 minutes and the Professional Level is 3 hours. 

4. During your assessment

Show the examiner what knowledge you have and explain how the figures affect the business. Make sure you base your answers on the scenario and you don’t just generalise. The examiner wants to see how you would deal with these scenarios in the real world and how you would explain your findings.

When you are answering the questions, make sure you don’t spend too much time on questions that have low-value marks. Don’t be afraid of the synoptic – just take your time, answer the written elements thoroughly, and read the question.  

Top tips for synoptic success

  • Complete all the mandatory units before booking the synoptic exam. If you do not successfully complete one of the assessments, then it is advisable to redo it before attempting the synoptic. 
  • If you are self-studying, use the resources available. AAT study support search has valuable resources that will help you prepare for your synoptic.
  • Read the Chief Examiner’s Report. This is a valuable document that gives feedback on each task in the synoptic. The examiner highlights the strengths and weaknesses within each task.
  • Focus your studies on your weak areas. It is always worth attempting the CBAs on AAT’s study support area again for the mandatory units to keep the skills fresh.

Further reading:

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