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  • Answering your AAT exam questions

    by Seanie Lynch | Sep 20, 2019

    Got a question about your AAT exam?

    Here we’ve put together a list of the most common questions we get asked.

    Q: How long will it take to get results?

    A: For students, these are accessed within the Your Assessment Results service. Assessment Venues do not have access to student result data.

    Results for assessments that are computer-marked are available within 24 hours after it’s been submitted.

    Results for assessments that are at least partially human-marked by AAT are released six weeks from the date the assessment was submitted.

    Synoptic Exam Results will be released online six weeks from the Friday of each synoptic assessment window.

    Q: Can I re-sit straight away?

    A: You should only enter an assessment when you’re well prepared and  expected to pass it. If you’re unsuccessful you should discuss the results with a tutor and revise appropriately before retaking.

    There are resit restrictions in place for students who are aged 16-19, in a full-time study programme, and studying one of the qualifications listed on the AAT website.

    Q: I have specific requirements, when in the exam. What do I do?

    A: For students with particular assessment requirements, please speak to your AAT Approved Centre in advance of your exam date, to allow them to arrange additional support.

    Q: Where can I resit the exam?

    A: You can resit your exams at any AAT approved centre.

    Q: How much does it cost to re-sit the exam?

    A: At Kaplan, a resit exam costs the same as your initial exam; there are no additional charges.

    Q: How should I approach answering the questions in my exam?

    A: Follow Kaplan's 'two wave approach'. Work through all the questions initially, answering all the ‘easier’ questions first, then work through the remainder.

    If you get stuck with a question, don’t spend too much time on it. Leave it to the end but remember to go back to it. Make sure you answer all questions.

    Q: Will all areas of the syllabus be examined; are there any I can ignore?

    A: With computer based tests, questions are selected from a large database. It means you could be asked anything from any area of the syllabus, so be familiar with all topics.

    Q: Are the computer based test questions random?

    A: Yes, the questions are selected at random, although the structure of the exam remains the same. So the person you are sat next to in the exam is likely to have different questions from you.

    Q: Will the questions in the exam be like those I’ve seen in my text books and on the AAT website?

    A: The live exams are not seen by us and the style of question is always evolving. The question styles seen in the material are based on expert knowledge and information provided by the AAT practice assessments.

    You need to have a full understanding of the syllabus and be prepared for any style of question. The more practice, the better.

    Q: Do I need to do the subjects in a set order?

    A: For Foundation Certificate, we advise you complete the Bookkeeping Transactions (BTRN) unit before studying for Bookkeeping Controls (BKCL) or Using Accounting Software (UACS).

    You should complete your studies for all units (with the exception of Using Accounting Software) before you attempt the synoptic assessment.

    For Advanced Diploma, we advise that you complete the Advanced Bookkeeping (AVBK) subject before studying for Final Accounts Preparation (FAPR).

    Our Advanced Diploma Synoptic Assessment (AVSY) course covers the syllabus areas relating to the Ethics for Accountants (ETFA) and Spreadsheets for Accounting (SPSH) subjects, which are assessed only as part of the synoptic exam. They also allow you to recap on your learning from earlier subjects. This is so you’re well prepared ahead of the exam.

    For Professional Diploma, you should only start studying for the Professional Synoptic course (PDSY) once you've completed the other three mandatory units. They all form part of the Synoptic Assessment.

    In the Professional Synoptic course, we'll cover the Accounting Systems and Controls unit that will be assessed in the Synoptic Assessment. There are only six exam windows for this assessment in a year, so please bear this in mind when you start studying for the Professional Synoptic course.

    Q: Do I have to renew my student membership with AAT if I’m just waiting for my final exam result to come through?

    A: Yes. The AAT will not release exam results if your student membership is not up to date. However, the student membership renewal will last for 12 months which means you can apply to be a full member of the AAT (use the letters M.A.A.T) whilst still on the student rate.

    You will not need to pay full membership fees until your renewal comes around again.

    Q: Is there a time limit on qualifying?

    A: There isn’t a deadline for students to complete a level once they are registered.

    Q: If I take a break from studying, do I still need to pay my membership fees?

    A: The AAT membership fee is for 12 months of membership, rather than for each level of the qualification, etc. So it’s dependent on the date of your initial registration and how long you intend to break for.

    Q: What can I take into the exam room?

    A: You may bring pens, pencils, erasers and calculators. No other equipment is allowed though. Within the assessment room, these must be placed on your exam desk or stored in a transparent case. All equipment, including the transparent case, will be checked and approved by the Assessment Centre prior to the start of the assessment.

    Students are permitted to use a scientific calculator but they cannot be used if they:

    • Emit audible tones
    • Can print
    • Allow text, dictionaries or mathematical formulas to be stored and retrieved
    • Can communicate with other devices or the internet
    • Are functions of a personal organiser or any digital device.

    The following items are not permitted:

    • Mobile phones
    • Dictionaries
    • Computers other than those being used for the assessment
    • Memory sticks
    • Study text, revision cards, course notes
    • Books and papers
    • Any other form of digital, electronic, recording or programmable equipment, including, but not limited to:
      • Tablets
      • Dictaphones
      • Smart watches
      • Cameras in any form, including wearable devices

    You must have official photo ID (Driver's License or passport) if the invigilators of the exam haven’t met you before.  However, we can admit students with no ID if they are known to two members of staff, and if a declaration is signed.

    Q: What should I do if I am struggling with a particular area of the syllabus?

    A: If there’s a particular topic you’re struggling with, review your course notes and text books before attempting more. Don’t waste time writing revision notes. The best revision is question practice. You can contact your Kaplan tutor for assistance too.

    Try and think of fun ways to practice – perhaps hold a quiz with colleagues who are also studying.

    Q: How long are the CBT exams?

    A: The duration of your exam will depend on the unit you’re sitting so refer back to your course notes and text books for this information. Arrive at the exam location 30 minutes before the exam start time, and allow 15 minutes after it before you leave.

    Q: What do I do at the start of the exam?

    A: You’ll need to follow the instructions on screen. This will include entering a keycode which will be given to you by your invigilator.

    Your name, AAT student number and name of the exam will appear on screen. Make sure this is the correct exam that you’re planning to sit. Inform the invigilator if any of the info isn’t correct.

    There is one page of formal instructions onscreen, informing you of specific information for your exam. Please read this and follow the instructions.

    Q: What do I do once I finish the exam?

    A: The CBE will automatically end once the time is up.

    You can finish early if you’re certain you’ve completed every question to the best of your ability, by clicking on the 'Exit' icon. Don’t feel pressured to finish early simply because other people may have.

  • Stuck on CIMA Management Accounting? You’re not alone

    by Seanie Lynch | Aug 22, 2019

    We know that lots of people are struggling with Management Accounting (P1) and Advanced Management Accounting (P2), so here are some tips to help you in your exams, and you can sign up to our exam advice webinar.

    Read the question and answer the question - don’t leave anything blank

    Make sure you understand exactly what the question is asking, and answer just that. Don’t waffle or go off on a tangent. You’ll be marked for a correct answer - not the number of words you use. And never assume that the person marking your paper knows what you mean. Make sure you answer the question that was actually asked, not the one you would have liked it to be. If you’re not 100% sure, at least put something. One mark is better than no marks - that’s what a blank answer gets.

    Watch the time - practice your exams

    So many people get caught out as time definitely flies in exams. The more mock or practice exams you do, the more used to the time constraints you’ll be. Don’t let the time run out in a real exam.

    Build your confidence

    You have 90 minutes to answer 60 questions. Do the easy ones first. Read through the questions and jump on the ones you understand quickly and can answer. Then you will feel more confident coming back to the trickier ones. 

    Brush up on your maths and make sure you can use your calculator

    You can’t pass an accounting exam without encountering numbers - and numbers mean maths. You need to be able to rearrange equations, understand double negatives and simple algebra. Don’t think you can get by without properly preparing.

    You will also need to use a scientific calculator for basic discounting and compounding - this is tricky without a calculator. Make sure you know how to use yours - there are plenty of useful guides online to help you.

    Watch our CIMA Management Accounting webinar

    For more hints and tips, a walk through of some exam questions on key topics, and answers to common questions, watch our webinar.

    Syllabus change

    Remember the 2019 syllabus is examinable from 4th November, with the final 2015 syllabus exams on the 3rd Nov. Although the syllabus changes for P1 and P2 are fairly minor, you will still have some additional study to complete if you have studied under the 2015 syllabus and plan (or have to) sit the exam under the 2019 syllabus. Save yourself some extra work and get your exam booked and ideally passed before the end of October.

  • AAT qualified jobs and salaries by level

    by Seanie Lynch | Aug 19, 2019

    There are just so many jobs to choose from when you’re AAT qualified - you can really pick what you feel suits you best.

    AAT is an accountancy qualification that makes you instantly more employable, leading to a great career.

    Did you know?

    85% of AAT members working with UK companies say they feel very or quite secure in
    their job.

    AAT salary survey 2021

    What qualifications or experience do I need to study AAT?

    None. You don’t need any prior qualifications or accountancy experience to begin studying AAT. Anyone, from school leavers to career changers, can start the qualification.

    Great careers, in-demand skills

    With an AAT qualification there are plenty of careers to choose from. Here are just a few to consider:


    Bookkeepers allow businesses to have a full view of their finances at any time. They keep financial records up to date and accurate. They also deal with other tasks such as:

    • Purchase orders / invoicing
    • Sales accounting and credit control
    • Financial admin
    • Data processing
    • Payroll accounting
    • Preparing financial statements.

    Average salary: £24,000 (
    AAT course: Bookkeeping / Advanced Bookkeeping

    Accounts assistant

    Accounting Assistants support the Accounting department. They perform tasks such as:

    • Processing and recording transactions
    • Preparing reports and budgets
    • Act as a go between for clients and suppliers
    • Fact checking
    • Filing
    • Admin

    Average salary: £21, 000 (2021 AAT salary survey)
    AAT course: Foundation Certificate or Advanced Diploma

    Payroll Manager

    Payroll Managers are required to be responsible for the payroll team.

    They deliver training and supervision to ensure legislative compliance.

    Essentially they have a relationship with HR, and address any issues with payroll that employees may experience.

    Average salary: £37,000 (
    AAT course: Professional Diploma

    Did you know?

    80% of those who have completed an AAT qualification agree that it has increased their earning potential

    AAT salary survey 2021

    Finance Analyst

    Financial analysts typically work in: banks, pension funds, insurance companies, and other businesses. They advise businesses and individuals on investment decisions.

    The work involves: the assessment of stocks, bonds, and investment performances.

    Average salary: £39,000 (Glassdoor)
    AAT course: Professional Diploma

    Tax Manager

    They create, implement and oversee tax plans for their clients (businesses or individuals).

    Their primary goal is to accurately manage clients' tax reporting for compliance.

    Average salary: £57,000 (totaljobs)
    AAT course: Professional Diploma

    Chartered accountant

    Completing the Professional level gives you exemptions if you decide to progress to fully Chartered Accountant status. This applies to: CIMA, ACCA or ACA (ICAEW). So you’d be exempt for up to six papers for these qualifications.

    Essentially, you’d fasttrack through your studies.

    These are world renowned qualifications, which can bring huge benefits for your status and career.

    Average salary: £38,000-£41,000 (
    AAT course: Professional Diploma and beyond

    Interesting fact

    76% of members say they are very or quite satisfied with their
    current job

    AAT salary survey 2021


    The AAT Professional Diploma lets you choose from five options. This gives you the chance to become an expert in a chosen field such as: Tax, Audit or Credit Management.

    Combined with the knowledge you’ve already developed, these specialisms will vastly enhance your career prospects.

    Learn from the best, be the best

    Whether you’re a learner or employer, we offer the full range of AAT options, driving you to succeed. We have:

    • 70+ years training accountancy
    • 75 FTSE 100 firms using our services
    • 45,000 students per year
    • 8 out 10 top accountancy firms using our services

    So what are you waiting for? Begin your AAT career with us now.

  • You voted for us as a Top Apprentice Trainer - thank you!

    by Seanie Lynch | Aug 06, 2019

    Thanks to our current apprentices, we are now one of RateMyApprenticeship's Top 50 UK Training Providers for 2019-2020. We came in 4th place and we’re so grateful to everyone who voted for us.

    Votes came from current apprentices who reviewed over 300 training providers. We were the highest rated accountancy firm on the list, and placed higher than big brands and educational companies, including Siemens, Manchester Metropolitan University, and the Open University.

    Did you know?

    We train over 5,000 apprentices every year, and 75 of the FTSE 100 companies use us for training. We have a team of over 200 qualified and expert tutors to deliver top rated courses around the country.

    The award ceremony was held in July and celebrated the achievements of apprentices, employers, schools, colleges, and apprentice training providers. There were over 350 guests on the night and it was a dynamic and fun event.

    The audience was treated to an afternoon of inspiring speakers including: Tim Campbell (MBE and winner of the BBC’s The Apprentice), and Jamala Osman (winner of Britain and Ireland’s 2018 Young Citizen Award and TEDx Speaker). There was also a panel discussion with business leaders from across the industry.

    The Top 50 table is now live on the RateMyApprenticeship Awards launch site.

    Thank you once again to everyone who voted for us - it’s fantastic to know that we’re providing the training you need.

  • Exam resits - get back on that horse

    by Seanie Lynch | Aug 06, 2019

    Failing exams is a fact of life.

    I’ve blogged about it many times because we all deal with it at some point.

    In the exam world, we follow failure with a resit. But what should happen between failure and sitting the new exam? How can we best study for an exam we’ve already sat?

    Repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.

    C. S. Lewis

    Change your mindset

    Your mindset is made up of assumptions and beliefs that lead to an opinion. What’s important is recognising they are assumptions. Carol Dwecks* work around Fixed and Growth mindsets states the importance of having the right mindset and how to think about it.

    She argues that students who believe that intelligence is fixed, find it difficult to move forward. But those with a growth mindset think the opposite. They believe in improvement, that intelligence is not fixed, and that failure is something to learn from. This puts them in a better position to learn from their mistakes and try again.

    The difference between ‘average people’ and ‘achieving people’ is their perception of and response to failure.

    John C. Maxwell

    Failing an exam is a fact. Why you failed, and what caused it, are often assumptions. The secret here is to revisit your assumptions. Find out what you think they mean, and change the negative mindset to a positive one.

    It’s easy to think you’re fooling yourself. But this is not about putting a positive spin on a set of poor results. If you didn’t do enough work, telling yourself it will be better next time will achieve little. The positive mindset here is recognising that working harder will give you a better chance of passing, which of course it will.

    Here’s another great way to think of it:

    A failure is not always a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances.

    B.F Skinner (famous behaviourist)

    Learn from your mistakes

    Spend time finding out what may have caused the failure. Was it a lack of work or effort? Be honest with yourself. Was there one area, or topic, where you had no idea what to do? Did you run out of time?

    Examiners’ reports and script reviews can be very helpful. They provide personal feedback on your exam performance. However they are an additional cost and if you're on a budget you may find what you want from the published resources.

    If a script review isn’t available you could sit the exam again, but this time in the comfort of your own home (as opposed to the CBE suite). This can offer insight into what went wrong. It’s better if you can get your answer marked by a third party though. This doesn’t have to be an expert (e.g. a Kaplan Tutor) but it will help.

    Don’t worry about already knowing the answers. Think about this in the same way that the police reconstruct a crime - it’s to give you insight. Not knowing what you did wrong makes it  difficult to correct next time.

    Refine your study

    Firstly, remember you’ve done this all before. You’ve a base knowledge of the subject, and you’re not starting from scratch. So you’ll already have materials, revision notes and a bank of past questions. If you don’t - then the good news is you now know exactly what you need!

    Past papers – Analyse what came up in your exam and add the findings to your existing analysis of past papers. With objective tests, or where getting past papers is not possible, think about differences in terms of style, complexity etc.

    Revision notes – Although you’ll have existing notes, start with a clean sheet of paper and rewrite them. By all means, use your existing notes as a guide, but re-reading your old revision notes is not particularly effective. You might also want to consider an alternative note taking style, for example mind maps.

    New question bank – As with revision notes you’ll also have a book of past questions. Get a clean copy e.g. one with no workings or writing in the margin. This is a mindset trick. A clean copy will make each question feel new. Also consider buying or borrowing a different set of questions.

    Timetable – Having a timetable was important last time but it’s essential for a resit. You’re more likely to have limited time so need to maximise what you have.

    Get back on that horse

    I hope some of the above helps your quest for better results next time round.

    All that remains is for me to wish you the best of luck with the resit and take note of what Zig Ziglar** said – failure is an event, not a person.

    Stuart Pedley Smith is Kaplan Financial’s Head of Learning. For any learning subjects you may wish to read content about, email us on

    *Professor of psychology at Stanford University
    **Motivational speaker

  • End Point Assessments - the new way to quality assure Apprenticeships

    by Seanie Lynch | Jul 12, 2019

    Meet Emily and Billie, two successful apprentices at York based Accountants - Garbutt and Elliott.

    With the help of the new End Point Assessments, we see how their AAT level Apprenticeships are driving them to career success.

    The EPAs are a new addition to Finance Apprenticeships. They encourage the apprentice to reflect on their learnings and identify the new skills they've acquired, since starting their course.

    It's been really great for me because it gives a structure to my work

    - Billie Godley

    As the new Accountancy Apprenticeship standards enter their third year of operation, more students and employers are preparing to take, or have taken, an End Point Assessment.

  • What can you earn with CIMA?

    by Sharon Cooper | Jul 03, 2019

    CIMA is a qualification that can open doors for you in any industry across the world.

    There are many benefits to studying for a CIMA qualification. 

    From learning real-life skills and competencies, to becoming more attractive to employers, it will also boost your earning potential.

    Even while you're still studying, you could see your salary increase as you move through the qualification.

    CIMA salaries

    According to research carried out by CIMA, qualified CIMA members in the UK are earning more than twice the UK national average at £63,000 in basic salary plus £7,200. That’s a total salary of £70,200 per year.

    With CIMA you’ll also earn whilst you learn, and students earned an average £32,000 in basic salary plus £2,790 in bonuses. Here is what you could expect to earn as you move through the qualification.

    • Operational - £30,000
    • Management - £32,000
    • Strategic - £39,000

    Source: 2019 Association of International Certified Professional Accountants Salary Survey

    And after qualification, the world’s your oyster!

    As a CGMA designation holder, you can earn more and go further. Even while you’re still studying, you can step ahead in the job market.

    CIMA Global*

    Potential roles and salaries

    Operational roles

    Junior Financial Analyst - responsible for assisting senior analysts in various accounting and financial management duties. Depending on the structure of the organisation, a junior financial analyst may be part of the accounting or finance department.
    Average annual salary: £23,000**

    Financial analyst - provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions. You would have to be able to assess the performance of stocks, bonds, and other types of investments.
    Average annual salary: £36,000**

    Management roles

    Financial Accountant - duties include analysing general ledger transactions, posting journals, balance sheet reconciliations and variance analysis. Financial accountant make sure that budget holders and financial planners have the most accurate information.
    Average annual salary: £47,500**

    Business Analyst - providing support to senior management so they can make commercial decisions. Skills needed include: risk management, business partnering and financial modelling.
    Average annual salary: £52,500**

    Strategic professional roles

    Financial Controller - responsible for overseeing the preparation of financial statements and ensuring insightful data from the reports. Must also verify the authenticity of financial reports, regulatory compliance and analysis of financial data.
    Average annual salary: £55,000***

    Financial Manager - a varied role, depending on the organisation you work for. If the business is larger, then the role could be more about strategic analysis, but in a smaller organisation a finance manager might be more involved in the collection and preparation of accounts.
    Average annual salary: £49,000***

    Start your CIMA journey now

    Kaplan has a comprehensive range of CIMA courses that we’re confident will guide you towards CIMA success and these higher salary figures. If you’re at the start of your CIMA journey, our flexible Certificate Level courses can be started at any time with Computer Based Assessments held throughout the year.

    Professional Level courses start every 3 months and give you the option to complete a level in 6, 9 or 12 months. This means you can fast track through if you want to complete a level sooner, so your earning potential could increase faster than you think.

    ** average salary checker 2019
    *** average salary checker Nov 2019

  • ACCA Strategic Professional - your questions, answered

    by Rebecca Evans - Head of Product Management | Jun 27, 2019

    Just finished Applied Skills level, and now moving onto Strategic Professional?

    Many struggle to know what to do next. Read on for answers to the most common questions.

    When should I sit the Ethics and Professional Skills Module (EPSM)?

    Ideally you should complete your Ethics and Professional Skills module before, or alongside, your first Strategic Professional subject. The module will increase your chances of passing at this level, as it will supplement your technical knowledge - with the ethics and higher level professional skills you’ll need.

    It’s essential that the module is completed ahead of Strategic Business Leader (SBL), as the skills covered are explicitly examined in this subject. If you leave the EPSM until later on you’ll be at an unnecessary disadvantage.

    When should I attempt SBL?

    If you’re studying the ACCA qualification, under a Level 7 Apprenticeship, you must sit SBL as your final paper as it’s the formal end point assessment (EPA). For all other students, you can take it at any time (as long as you’ve completed, or are completing, the Applied Skills level).

    This is the longest exam, at 4 hours, and requires you to have professional skills such as: communication, analysis and scepticism. You may not have developed these in earlier subjects, or at this point in your career, so it’s advisable to get at least one or two Strategic Professional subjects under your belt first.

    Which options should I choose?

    At Strategic Professional there are two compulsory papers, SBL and SBR, and four optional papers, AFM, APM, ATX and AAA. There’s no set combination, although students often select ATX with AAA and  AFM with APM. When making your selection there are a few things to consider:

    • How much did you enjoy the underpinning subject? If you disliked FM you might find it hard to motivate yourself to study AFM, as we tend to spend more time doing the things we enjoy.
    • How well did you do in the underpinning subject? If you didn’t perform well, either scoring a low mark or failing a time or two, at the lower level subject it’s likely you’ll find the higher level subject difficult to pass. If you had three attempts at TX don’t opt for ATX!
    • What field are you working in currently / do you want to work in? If working in practice you should do AAA as it’s essential if you want to obtain a practice certificate. One of the AAA examiners has previously stated that those students not working in an audit environment may find the exam difficult. If working in industry you may find AFM and or APM more useful.
    • Employer preferences. If your employer is paying for your studies they may have a preference over which subjects you take. Even if they don’t, it may be courteous to check!

    Should I attempt AAA before SBR?

    Absolutely not! You should always complete Strategic Business Reporting (SBR) before, or alongside, Advanced Audit and Assurance (AAA). Sitting them the other way round is like running before you can walk.

    In SBR you learn about the accounting standards. In AAA you learn about auditing them. If you sit AAA before SBR you’re trying to learn how to audit standards you haven’t yet learned. Don’t put yourself at an unnecessary disadvantage. AAA is a tough paper with a pass rate usually hovering around 30%, so don’t make your job any harder!

    Should I take a different approach to my studies?

    If you’ve been studying diligently and scoring high marks at the lower levels then probably not. Keep doing what you are doing. However, if you’ve scraped by doing the bare minimum then now is perhaps time for a change.

    Research completed by Kaplan shows a strong correlation between students that complete their practice tests and assessments/pass rates, particularly at the Strategic Professional level.

    Getting them marked is even more important than at the Applied Skills level as all answers are long form (there’s no objective test questions), so good exam technique is essential. If your tuition provider offers to mark your answers, submit them on time to get the feedback you need. This will drive improvements and increase your chance of exam success.

    Whatever you choose to do at the next sitting - good luck!

  • How to make boring subjects, interesting

    by Seanie Lynch | Jun 25, 2019

    When we think something’s ‘boring’ we struggle to engage with it.

    With accountancy, as with any study subject, some areas are perceived as more ‘interesting’ than others.

    But what if we could blur the lines between boring and interesting? Surely that would lead to improved learning & exam performance.

    Why do we get bored?

    Firstly, let’s define what boredom is.

    For many of us who are familiar with the feeling - a definition may feel vague. Here’s the dictionary description:

    “The feeling of being bored by something tedious”

    Not helpful. If we dig deeper we find:

    “The aversive experience of wanting, but being unable to engage in satisfying activity”

    Or put another way, what you’re doing isn’t interesting enough to prevent your mind from wandering.

    The brain is always searching for dopamine, which is the neurotransmitter that helps control your reward and pleasure centres. This suggests the ‘boring’ task is not delivering enough dopamine for you to continue.

    Evidence shows that people with low levels of dopamine production get bored easily, and they continually look for new and more stimulating activities. This so called “trait boredom” has been linked to dropping out of school, higher levels of anxiety, gambling and alcohol/drug abuse.

    The opposite of boredom is engagement

    When it comes to learning, we should look to change ‘boredom’ by becoming more engaged.

    One way of thinking about engagement is that it’s what you see when someone is motivated. There is evidence* to show that engaged students are more likely to do well in exams and aspire to higher education.

    So, what can I do?

    • Recognise when you’re feeling bored. This is the first step, because if you don’t know you’re bored it’s easy to conclude that you dislike the subject: ‘It’s not my fault, the subject’s boring’.
    • Your subject needs to be meaningful. Students often say, “I will never use what I have to learn”. The truth is you simply don’t know. I thought I’d never need to understand the Capital Asset Pricing Model** - little did I know, I’d actually teach it.
    • Be curious. Keep thinking, “that’s interesting”. Nothing is inherently boring, it’s only the way you’re looking at it. Curiosity is a state of mind.
      The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.

      Ellen Parr
    • Make it fun or turn it into a game. There’s no doubt that during your studies there’ll be a need for repetitive learning tasks  - which will be boring. But if you break it up into bite-size chunks and turn it into a rewarding game - e.g. ‘If I learn 4 definitions by 6pm I can finish for the day’ - you’ll be amazed how much easier it can be.
    • Find people who’re engaged with something and ask what they see. Why do they find it interesting? This might be necessary if your teacher fails to bring the subject to life. Interest and engagement are contagious.
    • ‘It’s too easy / it’s too hard’. Your boredom might come about because what you’re learning is basic. If that’s the case, ask for more advanced work.  And if it’s too hard, speak to your teacher, they will be able to help. This is an example of taking control.

    Often boredom strikes when you feel there’s nothing you can do, sitting waiting for a train that has been delayed. By taking some form of control e.g. checking alternative routes home, the boredom will pass.

    Don’t entirely write off boredom!

    There’s one small but important point on boredom. The feeling isn’t completely without it’s uses, and this TED talk illustrates that perfectly.

    It shows how boredom can lead to your most brilliant ideas. The talk argues that because the brain is searching for stimulation when bored, it can lead to increased creativity and great ideas.

    So yes, reframing boring as interesting is a good method to increase engagement, but it is not without it’s benefits.

    Stuart Pedley Smith is Kaplan Financial’s Head of Learning. For any learning subjects you may wish to read content about, email us on

    *Wang & Eccles, 2012a
    **A formula used in Financial Management to calculate shareholder returns

  • CIMA Strategic Case Study - Exam Tips

    by Seanie Lynch | Jun 11, 2019

    Bronwyn Clarke came 1st in the world for the CIMA Strategic case study. Following this fantastic result, we seized the opportunity to ask her one simple question ‘How?’.

    Working for Network Rail, she’s currently a Management Accountant on their finance graduate scheme. She’s completed the full CIMA from foundation level, in little over two years, and has big plans for her career.

    I’d like to be a Finance Director one day and this will stand me in good stead

    So before the CIMA syllabus changes come into play this year, read her first hand insights for the case study exam.

    Start revising the technical parts of F3/P3/E3 early

    Failing, and therefore having to re-sit my MCS, was a blessing in disguise. I don’t think I’d have done so well in SCS otherwise. I had to cram my 3 strategic OTs into about 2 months but that meant it was still fresh in my mind coming into SCS.

    I don’t think you need to be obsessive with detail, and some topics will be more applicable to certain industries. However, true understanding rather regurgitation is key here. After this, spend time closer to the exam doing practice and pre-seen related revision.

    Know the pre-seen

    This is key. Going into the exam I knew the company from the pre-seen as well as my own and knew the key facts and figures like the back of my hand. This really helps to apply your knowledge to the company and get the integration marks. Plus, it saves you time in the exam!

    Industry analysis is important

    This is essential at this level, because you’re thinking strategically so your competitors and industry are far more important. CIMA are bound to pick a well-known industry, so do your research and you’ll find loads of material out there to extend your knowledge.

    Don’t just blurt everything out

    Don’t jott down everything you know about a particular topic - with no regard for how it reads. If you emailed something like that to a real board of directors they’d think you were mad. Use your CIMA knowledge to explain the implications of certain things for the business.

    If they ask you for advice give them an answer with clear pros/cons for each option. If applicable, explain what other people in the industry are doing and how that’s impacted their business. This isn’t operational; only 25% of the marks are awarded for the technical knowledge from previous papers.

    Plan your answer

    Plan your answer before writing anything. It’ll make sure you’re being coherent and will make you feel relaxed when writing (if you’ve basically completed it in note form).

    Submit all of your mocks

    Do them beforehand and in the most exam-like conditions you can. After it, read the feedback or the whole exercise will be pointless.

    Another thing I found useful for revision was looking back over past exam questions and bullet pointing how I would answer them. It doesn’t take as much time as a mock but tests your knowledge and indicates which areas to improve upon.


    Bronwyn believes that much of the key to her success was based on revising the technical aspects early on, then moving onto the industry and practice questions closer to the exam. Also, with a keen eye on the style and approach to writing the case study - and as much practise as possible.

    In-depth knowledge of the pre-seen and industry are key to doing well. Also, remember in the exam that you’re writing from the perspective of a Finance Manager – it’s not a ‘cram it into an hour’ essay!

    We hope you implement this advice and use it to boost your studies - leading to your own exam success!

  • AAT Apprentice - combining work and study

    by Seanie Lynch | Jun 06, 2019

    Meet Abby Lacey. She’s 42, and an Office Manager for Thames Valley Berkshire LEP Ltd.  A recent AAT Apprentice with Kaplan, she’s now looking to progress to Level 7.

    In a previous life, she was a self-employed virtual PA who did some bookkeeping. She had ambitions to qualify, but time and finances wouldn’t allow it.

    Here is her story...


    How did you get onto the Apprenticeship?

    My CEO suggested I look into different qualifications. I thought an Apprenticeship would be great not only for me, but for our company. We are a small operation, with only ten staff, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have an apprentice!

    Will you continue to progress through other levels?

    I’d like to progress to Level 7 in the long term, but time and finances are always an issue!

    What is your long term goal?

    I’m happy in my current role but hope, in the medium term, to expand my financial responsibilities. In the long term I’d like to work for myself, and this qualification will really help.

    What support did you receive from Kaplan? Can you see the benefit of training with a provider vs doing it on your own?

    I have an excellent Talent Coach and am studying in the classroom. Kaplan has been brilliant for me and I wouldn’t change it! From the student services department, to my tutor and the admin staff at Reading, everyone has been really helpful.

    What’s been the hardest part about your AAT and how did you deal with that?

    Not passing AVBK the first time round.

    Having been out of study for many years, and being a perfectionist, it was difficult to admit  defeat, but thankfully I have a great boss and a supportive network of colleagues, friends and family. They boosted me, and luckily I passed the next time round.

    Have you managed a good work-life balance throughout your studies?

    It’s fairly tricky, but I’m able to have one day a week away from work. I also have a very understanding husband and son who leave me to it.

    You do have to be disciplined and stick to your plan.

    Do you have any advice for people looking to work in the accountancy industry?

    An Apprenticeship is a really good way of combining work and study, if it’s available to you.

    Accountancy is a great industry as it’s so varied. You can be working as a sole trading bookkeeper or working in large corporate departments – there’s something for everyone.
  • We’re listening: our 2019 annual student satisfaction survey

    by Seanie Lynch | Jun 04, 2019

    Student feedback is vital; it helps us improve our products and create a better service for our customers.

    Back in 2017 we made several changes to the way we gather and act on student feedback.The changes allow us to gather feedback more frequently, with a quicker resolution of issues, and avoid over-surveying our students.

    Did you know?

    We have experts who work in every part of the business, to guarantee that our courses are designed with one thing in mind – making it easy for you to succeed in your exams.

    Our approach was to split feedback into three different categories:

    • End of course survey - to capture regular course specific feedback focusing on tutors, materials and marking, as well as a general measure of satisfaction by asking students about their willingness to recommend Kaplan.
    • An annual student satisfaction survey - to gather general feedback on the student experience. This survey was redesigned in partnership with an external agency to focus on the areas most important to students.
    • Ad Hoc surveys - allow us to focus on specific initiatives at appropriate times.

    Around 6,100 students took part in our latest annual student satisfaction survey, conducted in Q4 2018, and as always it generated some interesting results.

    What are we doing well?

    Improved Net Promoter Score

    We use Net Promoter Score (NPS) to measure the willingness of our customers to recommend our products and services to others. The scale runs from -100 to +100 and Kaplan's latest score is +35.

    This is a second year on year increase, up slightly from +33 in 2017. It’s a strong score when benchmarked against other industries and other education providers. However, we recognise there’s still room for improvement.

    Satisfaction scores with our tutors’ expertise, knowledge, approachability and helpfulness remains high, as does satisfaction with their availability.

    Confident, helpful & happy

    Our ease of study score is 8 out of 10 (which is unchanged from 2018) and the three most common words used to describe studying with Kaplan are again ‘confident’, ‘helpful’ and ‘happy’, which suggests the student experience is generally a positive one.

    What can we do better?

    Focus on improving our mock exam feedback

    Feedback indicates the changes we’ve made to the speed of marking mock exams is being recognised. However satisfaction scores suggested we needed to improve the quality of our feedback too.

    To address this, our new quality assurance processes were introduced in September 2018, which include reviewing scripts from every marker, every sitting to ensure the amount and format of comments are in line with expectations. We expect to see a substantial increase in scores in the next annual survey.

    User Experience design to improve navigation

    During 2018 we made changes to our MyKaplan learning resource. This included the introduction the VideoBank, which is a collection of short informal videos covering a wide range of subject areas.

    We also added subtitles to our video content for our hearing impaired students, and created a ‘Help & Support’ page on MyKaplan. This kept the necessary contact details in one place (including Live Online recordings) - for easy access.

    To build on these changes we’ve recruited some user experience (UX) researchers who will work with students throughout 2019 to improve the usability of MyKaplan.

    Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

    Kapan recognises the importance of NPS and the features of our service that we need to get right in order for our students to recommend us. In 2018 we introduced targets for a number of KPIs including: tutor quality, response to student queries, printed and online materials and marking.

    These are reviewed by our senior managers every month and shared across the business, ensuring everyone at Kaplan is focused on delivering the best service to our students.

    Win £250

    The next annual satisfaction survey will take place in October 2019. If you complete the survey you'll be entered into a prize draw to win one of four £250 prizes. Keep an eye out for the survey in your inbox, complete it, and you’ll be automatically entered.

    Don’t forget you can give feedback anytime using our end of course survey. The link can be found in MyKaplan.

  • Learning, self control and marshmallows

    by Seanie Lynch | May 30, 2019
    Delaying gratification in the short term, in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term, is the indispensable prerequisite for success.

    Brian Tracy

    Children who demonstrate self-discipline gain higher marks in school, have better social and cognitive skills, greater self-awareness and cope with stress more easily in later life.

    This is according to a study carried out in the late 1960s, by renowned US psychologist Walter Mischel. The research led to one of the most valuable insights into human behaviour and learning.

    In the experiment, a child was offered a choice between having one marshmallow immediately or two marshmallows if they waited for a short period (approx. 15 minutes). The child was alone as the tester left the room, and they returned later to reward those who hadn’t eaten the marshmallow as promised. Those that still had the marshmallow sat in front of them had demonstrated self control.

    It became known as the marshmallow experiment* and was the inspiration for further research. It raised some intriguing questions: why are some able to resist but others couldn't? Were some born with higher levels of willpower, or could it be learned?

    Delayed Gratification

    Later research* suggested that delaying gratification may also require trust (social trust) in the individuals offering the future rewards. If the children didn’t think they would get a second marshmallow, it was stated, then they’d most likely eat the first one. So if you don’t believe the person is trustworthy, then even those with “will power” will give in.

    This implies that the ability to delay cannot be hard wired and is influenced to some extent by what you believe. There has also been the suggestion that it is logical to eat the first marshmallow, especially if you have grown up in an environment where resources are scarce.

    There are two factors at play here: self-control and established belief.

    Implications for Learning

    Delayed gratification is about short-term for long term reward. And that is an important component of learning. Yes, learning should be interesting and enjoyable, but there comes a point when it is not.

    This is especially true when taking exams, even if you enjoy the subject. Sitting a test or exam that you might fail can be stressful, and for most of us it’s a far from a pleasant experience.

    Learning also requires sacrifice - in terms of what you give up. For example not meeting with friends, avoiding social media, studying on bank holidays, and generally missing out.

    Simple techniques you can use

    The good news is that, as Walter Mischel and others discovered, you can improve your self-control by using a few simple techniques:

    • Remove distractions – if the marshmallow had been taken out of sight, the temptation to eat it would be left to your imagination. The student’s marshmallow is most likely to be a mobile phone, so how about you remove it for a couple of hours. An alternative is to distract yourself. Rather than thinking about what your giving up, do something else. Watch a video on the topic, produce a mind map etc.
    • Have a routine – develop a routine for example, always study for two hours after you get home.
    • Reframe – if you thought that the marshmallow was bitter, the temptation to eat it would go away. It is possible to reframe the distraction as a negative, for example -  that mobile phone ringing is someone I don’t want to speak to….
    • Reward yourself – when you have studied for 2 hours, give yourself a reward. It could be anything you like, a new car might be over the top, but you deserve something.
    • Set goals – perhaps obvious, but if you have a goal not to eat the marshmallow for 15 minutes, then 1 hour, eventually you will be able to resist for days.

    All of the above will work for anyone studying towards a professional accounting qualification. But one specific tip that might help is to not delay having your marshmallow for too long.  An accounting qualification can take three years, so it's best to break it down into smaller goals, take it one paper at a time.

    The world is changing, as organisations attempt to satisfy the continual demands of those with a “want it now” mentality. Having what you want, when you want, may seem ideal but those who’ve enjoyed instant gratification have not always found it a good place to be.

    Listen to the man himself talk about delayed gratification and the marshmallow experiment, it’s just 4 minutes.  – Walter Mischel.

    Any questions about your learning?

    We’re happy to hear any questions you may have about best learning practises, or the science behind the study process. We are always looking to address the most relevant questions for future blog pieces.

    Stuart Pedley Smith is Kaplan Financial’s Head of Learning. For any learning subjects you may wish to read content about, email us on

    *Mischel’s 2014 book, The Marshmallow Test: Understanding Self-control and How To Master It, offers some interesting insight into the nature/nurture question.
    **In particular work by Laura Michaelson et al, in 2013

  • Start your ACCA journey with OnDemand

    by Seanie Lynch | May 28, 2019

    ACCA’s Applied Knowledge level is available for the OnDemand platform*, ensuring we have the best study options for ACCA starters.

    Flexible bite-sized learning

    Gone are the days when you’d go to a library to find out how to do something. We rely so much on Google and YouTube for support. It’s no secret our culture is video-centric as we’re used to consuming info in short chunks.

    Did you know?

    OnDemand has produced some of our highest pass rates for both CIMA and AAT qualifications, with enrolment figures increasing every month.

    This is why we believe OnDemand, our award-winning** and interactive course, is the future of flexible learning. With resources designed for online study, it offers consumable bursts of information – within an optimised learning system.

    It gives you the best of both worlds: combining the structure of a tutor-led course, with the flexibility to study anytime and anywhere.

    With OnDemand you can learn the fundamentals of Applied Knowledge in any location: on a train, in a library, or even on a beach. The bite-sized study modules come in a range of formats: tutor led videos, interactive texts, and short quizzes. In addition, you’ll have the usual high quality content of a Kaplan course, such as: mocks, ACCA approved study texts, and pocket notes for revision.

    Thanks for making the topic interesting and understandable. I had a difficult choice: go to University or use Kaplan study materials. I’m glad I chose Kaplan

    Rohit Jung Thapa (took OnDemand for P2)

    You’re in control

    You have the freedom to learn at a rate and method that suits you. Also, you’ll be guided through all the resources, so you know exactly what you need to complete and in what order.

    Once you’ve mastered the basic knowledge, for instance, the course provides detailed application modules on each key syllabus. This shows you how it applies to exam questions, preparing you for success..

    The unique benefits of OnDemand.

    • Structured programme with flexible start times
    • Regular feedback to keep you on track
    • Hundreds of practice questions
    • Online resources and focused modules with tutor-led, bite-sized videos
    • A new and multi-award winning study method
    • Application modules: helping you to apply knowledge to exam questions
    • Knowledge checks
    • Unrivalled tutor support, similar to classroom (7 days a week, with live chat)
    • 6 months from selected start month.

    Start your Accountancy journey

    Applied Knowledge is the entry point for those wanting to become ACCA qualified. It’s the most accessible level: if you have the equivalent of 2 A Levels and 3 GCSE’s, you can start ACCA Applied Knowledge.

    Once ACCA qualified, students earn an average of £28,000-£40,000***. Starting with Applied Knowledge gives you a strong foundation for a successful career in Accountancy.

    And now available OnDemand, you can study on your terms, wherever you want. The study platform provides video content on all major subject areas for the module, and will continue to update with more.

    Try a free trial of ACCA OnDemand platform today, and start your route to qualification instantly.****

    *This is relevant to exams from September 2019 onwards.
    **Awards won - PQ Online College of the Year 2018, AAT Awards Best Use of E-Learning 2018.
    ***According to
    ****The demo simply illustrates the OnDemand format. It is not representative of the Applied Knowledge module content.

  • Using data to boost your chances of passing – the results

    by Sharon Cooper | May 24, 2019

    Last year, Kaplan and CIMA joined forces by sharing data to identify what the most successful students do.

    The results are in and we can now share them with you.

    Using data to boost your chances of passing: The results.


    Unfortunately there isn’t a “lucky month” for taking exams. The analysis showed there to be no seasonal peaks or troughs. Students should sit the exams at a time that fits in with their work commitments and personal life.

    Calendar showing important dates in January.

    Study Methods

    There were differences in student performance between study channels (e.g. classroom, online etc) in terms of both speed of progression and exam success, but we concluded it would be wrong to promote one channel over another because so much is dependant on individual learning styles.

    Students should select the method of study that fits with their preferred way of learning.

    Three students studying in different ways.

    Exam timing from start of course

    The average pass rate for students sitting the exam within the first 12 weeks is 77%. In the next 8 weeks this falls to 61%. The implication is that taking the exam after 12 weeks reduces pass rates by 16%.

    Student taking an exam.
    Pass rates fell by 6% after the third week, and a further 10% by week six.

    Exam timing from end of course

    The data shows a decline in pass rates from the end of the course to sitting the exam.

    Taking long periods of time after the course reduces chances of exam success.

    These findings are more relevant for scheduled courses where there is a clear end date.

    There are differences for individual papers but overall the evidence suggests students should sit the exam within 3 weeks from when the course ends.


    The data showed that exemptions make little difference to exam success.

    Clock face showing the time at ten past ten.
    Student receiving help from a Kaplan tutor.

    Exam rescheduling

    Students who change the exam date from their original booking have a 16% lower pass rate than those who don’t re-schedule.

    This might seem strange, if a student doesn’t feel ready to sit the exam, delaying is a sensible option. However, the data suggests this is not a good idea.

    The key message is to book the exam and don’t change it.

    Using My Kaplan

    Attempting questions and mock exams on MyKaplan resulted in higher pass rates.

    Completing knowledge checks and mock exams increased pass rates by 5%.

    This shouldn’t be interpreted that attempting questions only increases pass rates by 5%. Many students will use paper based text books and question banks and these activities have not been captured because there’s no digital evidence.

    A tablet and a smartphone showing the MyKaplan user interface.

    We hope these findings help you reflect on your learning habits. There are always ways to improve and reach your full exam potential.

    This research project was carried out by Kaplan’s Head of Learning Stuart Pedley Smith and CIMA. For further information on study tips and the science of learning stay updated with our insights posts.

    The full story

    To watch the full presentation on this study, and see how the results were gathered, register to listen to the webinar recording. 

  • It’s a fact, Question Based Days help you pass

    by Sharon Cooper | May 22, 2019

    Question Based Days (QBDs) get you exam ready. The questions are exam standard and aren’t found anywhere else in Kaplan’s study materials.

    It’s the perfect prep for your last few days of revision, as they highlight final areas of weakness to focus on - giving you the best chance of success.

    Students notice the benefit of seeing a complete course from start to finish - learning the concepts in tuition, exam technique in revision and then applying their knowledge in QBDs
    - Andrew Mower, Kaplan ACCA Tutor


    If you need further convincing, here are the main benefits of QBDs:

    • Personalised feedback

      Tuition/revision sessions feed back on general weaknesses reported by the ACCA examining team, whereas QBDs focus on the specific weaknesses of your class.

      The tutor will review your attempts and work closely with our team of experienced markers. This allows for the most direct and meaningful type of feedback, and it’s very immediate.

      It's received there and then (for classroom), and within a few days of submitting your attempt for (Live Online).

    • Helpful timing (for exam)

      Revision mocks and practice questions are very helpful, but you can do these early in your studies. With QBDs you sit the questions just before the real exam, so this gives you a realistic insight into how you might do on the day.

      This can be a great confidence boost going into the real thing, and gives you an idea of priority areas of study to focus on in the remaining days leading up to the exam.

    Did you know?

    In 2018, those who took the Complete Course (Tuition, Revisions and QBDs) had a 21% higher pass rate than those who took Tuition and Revision, and a 32% higher pass rate than just Tuition.* 

    • Brand new questions

      The QBD courses contain more than 120 marks worth of brand new questions.

      They cover all the examinable areas but also often include some of the less common areas that you may have forgotten about.

    • Format is the same as the real exam

      You will be encouraged to complete your answers using software/formats identical to the exam (for CBE, or paper based). This is vital practice as you familiarise yourself with the layout and style, making the real thing a more efficient process.

      You complete these questions to time and in exam conditions, which is great practice. Particularly good for those who may desire discipline - which can be absent when practising alone. 

    A unique advantage

    Taking place a week or two prior to the real exam, Question Based Days (QBDs) put everything you have learned into practice, and within an exam environment.

    There are not many providers who offer this benefit, and it’s the nearest thing you will experience to real exam pressure. It’s so much more than a mock exam. 

    Our analysis shows that students who complete the question based day tend to be more focused and achieve higher results in the final exam than those who don’t. QBDs give you the edge.

    To take advantage of our Question Based Days, which run in all of our ACCA classroom locations and via Live Online, visit our site today.

    *Figures based on an average taken from 2018 June sitting for F8 and P4 papers.

  • VideoBank - hundreds of videos full of expert advice

    by Seanie Lynch | May 02, 2019

    We have hundreds of expert tutor-led videos, ideal for furthering your learning, or just cementing what you already know. Providing hints, tips, and practical advice on how to get through your exams.

    The videos are available any time, so if you feel you need an early morning boost, or you’re studying late at night and just need to check some details, they’re there to be watched.

    They are short and informal, so they aren’t overwhelming, and don’t take up too much of your time.

    The videos provide clarification on topics

    - Josh FM

    Why watch videos?

    We all learn differently, and watching a video can make a topic more accessible, rather than reading a book. The tutors are all experts in their fields, so the information you will get from the videos is accurate and clear. They know what students get stuck on, and have ways of explaining things differently, to make learning concepts as simple as possible.

    Videos are a great way to back up what you’ve learnt in your textbooks or in the classroom. You can recap anything you’ve studied, just in a different way.

    But don’t just take it from us. Students already using VideoBank say it really helps them.

    I’ve found the video bank VERY useful during my F9 (FM) revision. Overall I have definitely found this very helpful for my revision and I can’t wait to use this for future courses!

    - Hannah F9

    The videos cover everything

    No matter what course you’re doing, or what level you’re at, we have videos that are relevant for your stage of study. So whether you’re doing ACCA or CIMA, there will be a video for your course.

    You don’t have to watch every relevant video to succeed, they’re just there to give you a little extra assistance and a different perspective on topics when you need it. 

    As well as great video content, many of them link to Kaplan’s Knowledge Bank so you can read more information about a specific topic without having to search for it.

    Click here for a VideoBank preview.

    How do I access the videos?

    If you’re a current student, you simply need to log in to MyKaplan and click on Course Content.

    If you’re a new student, have a look at our courses. Once you’ve chosen the one you want and signed up, you’ll get access to VideoBank as part of your online resources.

    The videos are all tagged with their relevant subjects and topics, so it’s easy to find the one that you’re after.

  • PQ awards winner – an Apprenticeship role model

    by Seanie Lynch | May 02, 2019

    Zane Salmon, one of our AAT Apprentices, was victorious at the 2019 PQ Awards - named Apprentice of the Year.

    The national awards celebrate Accountancy success – across all areas of the profession: from the tutors, to training providers, to the learners themselves.

    Zane is an exceptionally hardworking apprentice and his record speaks for itself: achieving an average of 97% when studying Level 2 AAT with Kaplan.

    His upwards trajectory continued. With Level 3 AAT, after completing two units, he scored  94% and 83% respectively. He’s now on-course for a Distinction with his Level 3 AAT Qualification.

    Today he works towards his Apprenticeship as an employee of Grant Thornton, in their Audit Department. Never one to rest on his laurels, he’s made an immediate impact at the large corporate.


    Zane’s academic journey is exemplary, but it’s his personal story that must have caught the judges’ attention. Zane’s route to success came from a collaboration between Kaplan and LTSB (Leadership Through Sport & Business).

    LTSB are a national social mobility charity that supports bright young people from disadvantaged backgrounds into to meaningful work in major firms.

    Through intensive training and partnerships, with blue-chip companies and elite football foundations, their transformative Accountancy Apprenticeship programme develops young people personally and professionally. It better prepares them for the business world.

    We address all forms of disadvantage: personal, in terms of adverse life-events; socio-economic, in terms of class boundaries or lack of social capital; and practical, in terms of the preparation young people have had for the working world

    - David Pinchin

    Up to this point in his young career, Zane hadn’t had it easy. Previously overlooked for opportunities within the sector, he was concerned it was due to his mild ADHD and dyslexia. Zane had also recently left home, and was tasked with living alone and having to support himself. At such an age, there was a lot resting on his shoulders.

    During this period, he assessed the options available and came across the LTSB “More Than an Apprenticeship” programme. So in September 2017 - with the intention of gaining an Accountancy and Finance Apprenticeship – he applied.

    The rest, they say, is history.

    Zane’s PQ nomination made reference to the huge first impression he made, and the impact he continues to make, at Grant Thornton. The company hope to make his role permanent after the completion of his Level 3 qualification.

    Zane’s strength of character and determination has been effectively channeled into the opportunity created by Kaplan and LTSB. It’s great to see the programme truly work for those it intends to support.

    This programme helped me develop both personally and professionally. It's changed my life.

    - Zane Salmon

    Well done Zane!

    To find out more about the Leadership Through Sport and Business programmes, visit their site.

  • Are you prepared? CIMA 2019 Professional Qualification Updates

    by Seanie Lynch | Apr 03, 2019

    Listen to Kaplan and CIMA’s joint webinars on the updates to the CIMA qualification.

    The new CIMA syllabus updates are largely designed to prepare accountants for the digital world. According to CIMA’s VP of examinations,

    They’ll help drive real world job performance, and will focus on key competencies at the least risk of automation.


    But do you know what the changes are?

    We have done three easy to digest presentations breaking down the changes, and giving a summary of their impact.

    They also feature an extensive Q&A, giving listeners advice on what to do before the exam change in November.

    Please register for your selected webinar using the form below.

    Professional Qualification Update - Webinar

    Delivered by Steve Flatman, VP Examinations (Management Accounting) at CIMA and Rebecca Evans, Head of Product Management at Kaplan Financial.

    Round up of the webinar agenda:

    1. Info on the Professional Qualification update
    2. Key dates
    3. Transition Guidance
    4. Questions

    Info on the Professional Qualification update

    This section explains the ‘what’ as well as the ‘why’.

    Not only do we explain what is changing and why, but also what is staying the same, with a full breakdown of the professional qualification.

    The good news is, it’s designed to make you more employable and your skills relevant to today’s job market.

    Key Dates

    Here we outline all the upcoming key dates for the roll out, and what implications it’ll have on course content, case studies, and exams. The main message is to keep studying.

    Transition Guidance

    Guidance and tips are offered on how to make the smoothest transition in light of the changes. It details the best way to plan your studies, regardless of which level you are at.

    Info is also provided on the range of support resources available, which offer further detail on the changes.


    There is an extensive Q&A at the end of the talk.

    Advice following Operational Case Study results - Webinar

    Delivered by Katie Collins, CIMA Production Manager and Kaplan Financial tutor.

    Round up of the webinar agenda:

    1. Professional Qualification Update
    2. What to do next
    3. Questions

    Professional Qualification update

    This section explains the ‘what’ as well as the ‘why’.

    Not only do we explain what is changing and why, but also what is staying the same, with a full breakdown of the professional qualification.

    The good news is, it’s designed to make you more employable and your skills relevant to today’s job market.

    What to do next

    Advice on your next steps, depending on where you are up to in your studies. Explanation of how to speed up your study if you want to complete your level before the exam change in November. Also advice if you’ve not passed your most recent exam, and the path forward. 

    Advice following Management Case Study Results - Webinar

    Delivered by Delivered by Katie Collins, CIMA Production Manager and Kaplan Financial tutor.

    Round up of the webinar agenda:

    1. Professional Qualification Update
    2. What to do next
    3. Questions

    Professional Qualification update

    This section explains the ‘what’ as well as the ‘why’.

    Not only do we explain what is changing and why, but also what is staying the same, with a full breakdown of the professional qualification.

    The good news is, it’s designed to make you more employable and your skills relevant to today’s job market.

    What to do next

    Advice on your next steps, depending on where you are up to in your studies. Explanation of how to speed up your study if you want to complete your level before the exam change in November. Also advice if you’ve not passed your most recent exam, and the path forward. 

    Register now

    Please complete the form below to access the recording of your chosen webinar.

  • Your career after AAT

    by User Not Found | Feb 06, 2019

    Completing your AAT Level 4 Apprenticeship is a great milestone in your career.

    You can now use MAAT1 after your name, and are in a position to progress further - with the new knowledge and skills you have.

    However, have you considered furthering your studies all the way to full Chartered Accountancy status? 

    With ICAEW, ACCA or CIMA, you can study for these qualifications through a Level 7 Apprenticeship, meaning you’ll receive additional support and time for training.

    Here are some of the benefits that opting to complete a Level 7 Apprenticeship could bring you:

    • Achieve full Chartered Status and a Masters Level Qualification

      Now you have a professional designation after completing AAT, you could go one step further. You could achieve full Chartered Accountancy status.

      This equates to a Masters level qualification2 for ICAEW, ACCA or CIMA. With it, you’d be joining an internationally recognised body, which brings considerable benefits for your status and career.

    • Invest in your development

      When you study via the Level 7 Apprenticeship, together with the completion of your qualification, you’ll also develop essential skills and behaviours.

      Networking, business acumen and problem solving are some of the key-workplace competencies which are developed. They not only improve job satisfaction but ultimately increase your value in the workplace.

    • Support whilst you study

      If you study via an Apprenticeship, you’ll be given additional support to complete your qualification. Apprentices have 20% of their working time protected for training and development. Some of this could be achieved through studying for your qualification3.

    • Boost earnings potential

      A recent Accountancy Age survey4 revealed that qualified Accountants averagely earned £64,220 whereas those without a formal qualification averagely earned £45,974.

      Whilst overall earnings vary according to level, location and experience, achieving Chartered status will impact your salary.
    • Use your skills all over the world

      In addition to boosting your salary potential, Chartered Accountancy gives you the opportunity to use your qualification all over the world.

      The qualification itself, and the skills developed when completing your Apprenticeship, are extremely transferable and in high demand everywhere.

    So let the world be your oyster. Start thinking about the next level of your studies now.

    For expert advice and guidance on Level 7 Accountancy Apprenticeships, please contact Kaplan on

    1.You will still be subject to fulfilling the AAT’s requirements for membership, including achieving relevant work experience as per AAT’s Membership Criteria Policy
    2.Please note you do not receive a Masters Degree - this is an equivalent qualification
    3.It is your employer’s discretion as to how the 20% training time is used
    4.Accountancy Age Salary Survey 2018

  • Sleep and study

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Oct 14, 2021

    We discuss why sleep can impact how we learn and why it is fundamental to our mental health.

    This week our host Stuart Pedley Smith, Head of learning here at Kaplan, explores the topic of sleep, how it affects how we learn and our mental health.

    Kaplan’s learn better podcast covers topical subjects to support our past, present and future learners to succeed in both their studies and careers.

    Guest Dr Nishi Bhopal, Psychiatrist and Sleep Specialist, explains how fundamental sleep is to your mental health and how we learn. Focusing on consolidation, one of the three primary aspects to learning, she helps to provide understanding as to why sleep deprivation can affect your recall of information.

    Sharing top tips on how to get the best night's sleep, Dr Bhopal points out how obsessing over the amount of sleep you get can actually have a further negative impact on your mental health and your amount of sleep. She explains that although sleep should be a priority, you need to listen to your body rather than focusing on a specific time.

    Key topics

    What is sleep?

    Sleep is a state of being where your awareness of your environment and environmental stimuli is reduced. Similar to hibernation and being in a coma, the main difference is sleep can be rapidly reversed.

    The three primary aspects of learning

    There are three primary aspects of learning: acquisition, consolidation and recall. Sleep is most important to the consolidation aspect. This is when we file away the information into the correct places to help us when it comes to recalling it at a later date. During this phase we also get rid of any extraneous information that we don't need to know. Sleep deprivation can cause consolidation of information to be impacted.

    I visualize the brain almost like an office, where you’ve got multiple filing cabinets, and with sleep deprivation you can imagine you have an office with papers everywhere. Nothing is filed in the right places.

    Top tips for a good night's sleep

    • Get into bed and get up at the same time each day - Having a routine can really help you to sleep better as well as combat the symptoms of “social jetlag”.

    • Don’t get into bed until you are sleepy - Although this sounds counter intuitive, we need to make sure that you associate being in bed with sleep. Lying in bed for hours on your phone will cause your body to instead associate being in bed with being awake, causing you to struggle to sleep well.

    • Find something to help you unwind and relax - Lots of people struggle to fall asleep as their mind is active and thinking about different things and trying to solve problems. This can make it hard to fall asleep, and so doing something that helps distract your mind and relax you before going to bed can be really beneficial in helping you get to sleep.

    Sleep deprivation and the impact on mental health

    Sleep and mental health are directly related, in fact they have a bidirectional relationship. This means that when you aren’t sleeping well it affects your mental health and when you are experiencing issues with mental health it causes issues with sleep. However, there are several different things you can do to help you have a good night's sleep.

    It’s really hard to improve your depression and anxiety, reduce stress levels and of course optimise learning without adequate sleep.

    The economic issue of sleep

    Sleep deprivation can impact the economy financially. In the US it has been noted that workers lose an average of about 11 days of productivity each year due to sleep issues*.

    Some large companies have even implemented nap rooms into their offices to help their workers get the sleep they need to increase their productivity.

    Tune in now to find out more.

    *Sourced from the Washington Post.

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