Hannah Blakeway had just started a new job, was adapting to the lockdown, and heavily pregnant - but this didn’t stop her! Here she reveals how she persevered and completed the AAT qualification with Kaplan.
I started a new role last year as a Property Compliance Support Officer at Progress Housing Group. The role was within a newly-formed compliance team at the Group and I was keen to learn and progress.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the majority of our team meetings took place over Zoom which meant that, as a brand-new team, we all had to put in extra effort to get to know each other.
My organisation was very supportive. They proactively provided equipment, delivered training and they have always had a great focus on employee wellbeing. It didn't take long for us all to adapt to this way of working.
Why study AAT Foundation?
I wanted to study for the AAT Foundation Certificate as I thought it was important to have an awareness of accountancy to allow me to progress within the organisation.
I chose Kaplan as my training provider because of the range and quality of study materials they offer.
Studying for AAT has given me a good understanding of bookkeeping and budgeting. I don’t necessarily want to be an accountant, but I recognise that I need to understand these concepts to be an effective all-round manager.
Within the next five years, I am keen to build on the foundations which the AAT certificate has given me.
High stakes: finish AAT before giving birth
I had been thinking about studying the AAT Foundation course for a while. Despite being pregnant, starting a new job and the world being in the midst of a global pandemic, I was determined to start and finish before the baby arrived! I won’t lie, it was a challenge to juggle everything and find a work/life balance but I knew it would be worth it in the end.
On a typical day I was working from home, as well as studying and looking after my toddler because the nurseries were shut! Thankfully though, my husband and I shared the childcare and my company were very supportive.
Adapting to flexible study
Due to the pandemic, I picked the ‘OnDemand’ study method as I needed the flexibility to study remotely at a time which suited me. It was great in that it prevented any Covid disruption and with the nurseries closed. It allowed me to accommodate childcare too. You can’t dedicate a fixed hour to anything with a toddler!
To keep up with the pace of study, I tried to make time each day to work through the materials, sometimes for an hour or even 20 minutes. One of the benefits of OnDemand study was that I could pause the class and return to it when I had time.
At the weekends, I would read through the textbooks and work through practice questions to make sure I was confident on the concepts I’d covered during the week.
Also, booking my exam five or six weeks in advance really kept me motivated. This self imposed deadline allowed me to keep on track with studying.
Growing in confidence
Studying with Kaplan was really good because a learning support tutor would contact me from time to time to see if I needed any additional support, including mental health support with the ongoing pandemic.
Once the exam centres opened it was easy to book my exams online. I had a deadline (end of 2020) that I really wanted to stick to, so I ended up taking two exams in one month once the centre re-opened. Luckily, due to all my prep, I felt ready!
I felt confident going in as I was consistently getting 80% on mock exams. The Kaplan mocks are very useful because the layout of the questions is the same as the actual exam and you get an exact mark.
My advice for other AAT students
- Dedicate a little bit of time each day to study. It all adds up. You might have loads going on at home or at work but if you can just find 15 or 20 minutes each day then it will make a huge difference.
- Book an exam and work towards a deadline. You can always push it back if you need to, but it’s really motivating knowing that you’re working towards a date.
- Use the pocket notes! They are really helpful, I can’t recommend them enough.
Progress your career with AAT
If you’re interested in the AAT qualification then please do visit our course pages.