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Get to the core

Kaplan’s AAT team explains what synoptic tests are and how to tackle them

January 2017

Under AQ2016, you need to complete a new synoptic assessment before moving on to your next level. A synoptic assessment tests the knowledge you have gained throughout the level, covering multiple (but not all) units. It is a computer-based exam that you will attempt once you have completed the other core units within the qualification.
It has been introduced to demonstrate your knowledge of core accountancy skills, your ability to apply them in the workplace and further show employers your status as a qualified accounting technician – beyond just passing exams.
Synoptic assessments for the Level 3 Advanced and Level 4 Professional qualifications will be available to sit at six fixed times of the year, but your tutors will help you plan your studies around this.
How long are the synoptic assessments?
The duration of the synoptic assessment will vary depending on the qualification:
• Foundation synoptic assessment is two hours.
• Advanced synoptic assessment is three hours.
• Professional synoptic assessment is three hours.
What does a synoptic assessment look like? These synoptic assessments are not trying to catch you out and therefore the style and the look of these questions will be similar to what you have already seen in the individual unit assessments. Each synoptic assessment is going to be examining new content, so the whole exam itself is not going to be based purely on the other units.
When will I get my marks for the synoptic assessment? All synoptic assessments for each qualification have an element of human marking, so it will take up to six weeks for the results to be available.
What does it mean for you? As of 1 September 2016, students currently part way through a level had the option to transfer onto AQ2016 syllabus, or stay on the current one. If you remain on the current syllabus you have until 31 December 2017 and will not have to sit a synoptic assessment to complete it.
If you commence a new level after 1 September 2016 you will automatically be put onto the AQ2016 syllabus and will need to sit the synoptic assessment to complete that level.
You will need to sit the synoptic assessment after completing all other units on the Foundation & Advanced qualifications (Levels 2 and 3). For the Professional qualification (Level 4) you can sit it after you complete the compulsory units.

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