The importance of practice assessments

You’re studying to achieve your qualification, so you need to pass assessments. 

It may be some time since you last sat an assessment.  As in life, preparation is key.

Failure to plan is planning to fail…

Enter your assessment date in your study planner. Then start to write your sticky notes and enter them in your diary.

  1. Review all your notes and practice, practice and practice. Reading the book is a passive form of learning and has limited success, so make your revision active. Can you recreate a definition on a postcard by only looking at the front?  Can you explain a principle to someone (real or imaginary)? 
  2. Once you’ve mastered that, do some e-learning on AAT, the Green Light tests are next on your task list.
  3. The Examiner reports are the next thing to read, review, scribble on and highlight.  All AAT units have one and it reviews the student’s past performances, showing what worked and where they were weak, learn from other’s mistakes – an easy win.
  4. Use the qualification specification for your qualification. , Go through the learning objectives and  work out what you can and can’t do.

Now you can plan – focus your studies to fill those weaknesses.

It’s very tempting to do questions you know, but in revision you need to concentrate on those you can’t answer.

Do as many practice questions as you can, the adage practice makes perfect is true in accountancy.

Practice assessments

When it comes to a practice paper, first read the question carefully, then read what you need to do, then read the question again.

So many marks are lost due to not answering the actual question asked, but answering what you think they have asked, or what you know.

Ensure that you understand the ’Active verb‘, it’s explained in more detail in the ‘Study tips – how to apply the active verbs’article.

Consider your answers

With practice papers, attempt to highlight the active verb and key points. So for example:

“Describe what’s required in a business document to make it professional.”

Your answer would be “A business document should be clear, easily understood, polite, accurate and free from errors.”

Finally practice assessments, do them under assessment conditions, no books, no music or disruption.

Don’t read the answers and say “Yes, that’s what I would have written.” It’s better learning to try, finish the paper and then review, if it’s wrong, you will learn from that.

Practice assessments are designed to get you familiar with the layout, what is likely to be asked and in what format. The more you practice them the better final grade you will get. They are great active learning and focus on what knowledge is needed to pass the assessment.

Top tip

Each time you sit an assessment and self-mark, make sure you review where you could get more marks. Use them as a tool to further identify areas where you need to do more revision.

Finally, assessments are not as scary as you imagine.

If you’re likely to get stressed, practice deep measured breathing and remember the assessor just wants to be sure you understand the topic, they’re not trying to catch you out. 

Sam Perkin is an AAT tutor.

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