In which order should I study my AAT units?

A question I’m often asked by new student’s is “in which order should I be studying these units?”

There is no set rule on  this, but we do have recommended orders for each level, as some units follow on from others.

In which order should I study my AAT units?

A question I’m often asked by new student’s is “in which order should I be studying these units?”

There is no set rule on  this, but we do have recommended orders for each level, as some units follow on from others.

This is the recommended order for level 2:

  • Bookkeeping transactions (BTRN)
  • Bookkeeping controls (BKCL)
  • Elements of costing (ELCO)
  • Foundation Synoptic (FSYN)
  • Using accounting software (UACS)

The reason for this order is that it is best to start with the two bookkeeping units, so that you gain a good knowledge of debits and credits.

Bookkeeping transactions is best done first because Bookkeeping Controls then follows on and builds on the knowledge, you’ve already learned in Bookkeeping Transactions.

Elements of Costing is the next unit to tackle and then the Synoptic.

This exam will have questions on the first three units (BTRN, BKCL, ELCO)

This is to test that you have retained your knowledge from these units, so you need to have sat the first three units before sitting the synoptic exam.

For this reason, the Synoptic unit is fourth,  as it’s essential that the first three units are still  fresh in your mind.

Using accounts software is a standalone unit, so is best done last and will not be tested in the Synoptic unit.

This is the recommended order for level 3:

  • Advanced Bookkeeping (AVBK)
  • Final Accounts Preparation (FAPR)
  • Management Accounts – Costing (MMAC)
  • Advanced Synoptic (AVSY)
  • Indirect tax (IDRX)

Once again, the reason for studying in this order is that it is best to start with the two bookkeeping units (Advanced Bookkeeping and Final Accounts Preparation)

These units build on what you’ve already learned in the first two units of level 2, and typically students have studied this at the very beginning of that level. Ideally we don’t want a large time delay between studying these units and then needing this knowledge for level 3.

Advanced Bookkeeping is best done first and then Final Accounts, as it builds on the knowledge learned in Advanced Bookkeeping.

Management Accounts – Costing is done next (and builds on what you learned at level 2 in the Elements of Costing unit)

The Synoptic unit is next, this exam will have questions on the first three units (AVBK, FAPR, MMAC)

This will test whether you have retained your knowledge from these units. You therefore need to have sat the first three units before sitting the Synoptic Exam.

For this reason, the synoptic unit is fourth, as it’s essential that the first three units are still  fresh in your mind.

Indirect tax is a standalone unit and taken last, as it is not tested as part of the Synoptic.  This also means that during the 6 weeks that you are waiting for your Synoptic result, you can study IDRX, which is quite a short unit.  If you choose to take this route you will get both this result and your Synoptic at a similar time.

This is the recommended order for level 4:

  • Management Accounts – Budgeting (MABU)
  • Management Accounts – Decision and Control (MDCL)
  • Financial Statements for Limited Companies (FSLC)
  • Professional Synoptic (PDSY)

Two chosen optional units

The reason for this order is that Budgeting is a nice unit to begin with for level 4, as it builds on the knowledge learned from Elements of Costing (level 2) and Management Accounts Costing (Level 3)

Decision and control follows on naturally from this unit as it builds on the knowledge you’ve just learned in Budgeting.

Financial Statements is the next unit to tackle as it will build on the bookkeeping knowledge gained from levels 2 and 3.

The Synoptic unit then follows and this exam will focus on questions from the first three units (MABU, MDCL, FSLC)

This is to test that you’ve retained the knowledge you’ve gained, so it’s essential that you’ve sat the first three units before taking on the synoptic exam.

Then you’ll take on two optional units.  However, as these optional units are not part of the synoptic exam, you could actually start with them.  However, we wouldn’t suggest you study these between any of the mandatory units and the Synoptic exam. This would create a time difference between studying Budgeting, and needing that knowledge for the Synoptic exam.

I fully recommend that when you start any new level, that you get in touch with your tutor to discuss the choices available to you.

At level 3, you can start with Indirect Tax as it is a standalone unit.

Likewise, at level 4, you can start with Financial Statements as this is a standalone unit.

You could also start with your optional units, as they don’t have to be done last.

At each level, you must do the 3 main units before the Synoptic as these units will be tested in this exam.

We do have the above recommended orders, but you do have different options and they can be adjusted depending on the individual student. As I mentioned at the beginning, the order is not set in stone, but some units are best done before others.

Have a chat with your tutor to discuss what is best for you.

Happy studying!

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