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10 Essential Facts About AAT Exams and Accountancy Qualifications

Ever wonder how AAT qualifications help in your finance career goals?

AAT qualifications make you a work-ready employee by giving you the skills to perform your duties effectively. On top of that, when you gain full professional member status, you become an attractive candidate for job applications and career employment.

But before applying as an AAT professional member, you must sit and pass your assessments first. This makes assessments important aspects of the qualification because they measure your learning.

So, in this article, we'll share 10 essential facts about AAT exams and their related qualifications. At the end of the blog, we'll also talk about what happens after you finish your assessments.

What is an AAT Accounting Qualification?

What is an AAT Accounting Qualification?

AAT accounting qualification is a professional credential offered by its awarding body, the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT). This qualification equips you with the knowledge and skills needed to be competent in your preferred accounting career.

AAT provides accounting courses across their three levels of qualification. Let's discuss each AAT accounting qualification level in detail below.

AAT Level 2 Certificate in Accounting

If you are new to accounting, this level is for you.

The AAT Level 2 Certificate in Accounting is your introductory level that highlights key bookkeeping concepts and recording financial transactions. This qualification covers essential topics like double-entry bookkeeping and costing principles. Your estimated completion time for this level is 9 to 12 months, depending on your learning capabilities and pacing.

AAT Level 3 Diploma in Accounting

Do you already know the basic accounting concepts? Then, you should continue building your essential knowledge through AAT level 3!

AAT Level 3 Diploma in Accounting enriches and expands further on your accounting practices. The qualification tackles drafting financial statements, processing tax, and management accounting. Estimated completion time for this level can range from 12 to 15 months.

Training in this AAT course prepares you to become a licensed bookkeeper or professional member with designated letters AATQB (AAT Qualified Bookkeeper).

AAT Level 4 Diploma in Professional Accounting

If you want to achieve mastery in the accounting field, consider studying AAT level 4.

AAT Level 4 Diploma in Professional Accounting helps you develop advanced accountancy and business performance skills. The level focuses on specialised areas like applied management accounting, financial reporting, and internal accounting systems. With level 4, you can also learn optional units in the course, like taxation, auditing, and financial management.

Training included in these AAT courses helps prepare you to become a licensed accountant or professional member with designated letters MAAT (Full Membership AAT).

What are AAT Exams?

What are AAT Exams?

Exams are essential aspects of the AAT qualifications. You'll sit through a set number of assessments for every AAT level. The number of exams you'll take still depends on your chosen level, as you'll have different units per level.

Here's a detailed summary of the units for each AAT level and their respective allotted assessment time.

  • Exams in Level 2 AAT Syllabus

    AAT Level 2 Certificate in Accounting has 4 mandatory units you must take. These units and their corresponding exam duration are as follows:

    • Introduction to Bookkeeping, 90 minutes
    • Principles of Bookkeeping Controls, 90 minutes,
    • Principles of Costing, 90 minutes
    • The Business Environment, 2 hours
  • Exams in Level 4 AAT Syllabus

    AAT Level 3 Diploma in Accounting has 4 mandatory units you must take. These units and their corresponding exam duration are as follows:

    • Preparing Financial Statements, 2.5 hours
    • Management Accounting Techniques, 2.5 hours
    • Tax Processes for Businesses, 1.5 hours
    • Business Awareness, 2.5 hours
  • Exams in Level 4 AAT Syllabus

    AAT Level 4 has 3 mandatory units you must take. These units and their corresponding exam duration are as follows:

    • Drafting and Interpreting Financial Statements, 2.5 hours
    • Applied Management Accounting, 3 hours
    • Internal Accounting Systems and Control, 2.5 hours

    Additionally, you also get 2 units that you'll pick out of the 5 optional units. These 5 optional units and their respective exam duration are as follows:

    • Business Tax, 2 hours
    • Personal Tax, 2 hours
    • Audit and Assurance, 2.5 hours
    • Credit and Debt Management, 2 hours
    • Cash and Financial Management, 2 hours

What is the Format for AAT Exams?

What is the Format for AAT Exams?

If you're studying for AAT accounting qualifications, you will have your computer-based assessments through AAT's online SecureAssess systems. This means you need to sit your examinations via AAT-approved assessment venues.

Formats for unit assessments vary per level. Here's a breakdown of assessment formats for each AAT level.

Level 2 Exam Format

Questions from AAT level 2 assessments are in a multiple-choice format that you can select from a drop-down menu. You also need to answer questions by typing numbers into a form field. Make sure to inform your assessment venue centre what accounting software you are learning to give you access to it in your exams.

Level 3 Exam Format

Questions from this AAT level assessment consist of multiple choices and filling texts in the blank field. For synoptic assessments, the assessment types will be short answers, requiring you to input your answers in the empty fields.

Level 4 Exam Format

Questions from this AAT accounting level will also include multiple-choice questions that you can pick from a drop-down menu. Some formats include typing your numerical figures and long-form text into form fields. Synoptic assessments may require using Excel software to complete your test.


When can I Sit My Exams?

You can sit your AAT exams any time of the year after completing the relevant units of the qualification. Make sure to check the availability of your assessment centre before booking your exam schedule, as some venues have limited vacant slots during specific periods.

Can I Take My AAT Assessments Remotely?

AAT has now started trialling remote invigilation as another way to sit with your assessments this 2024. Remote invigilation is an assessment carried out and supervised over the Internet. This saves you time and effort as you can take your tests in the comforts of your home rather than going to an AAT assessment centre.

Once launched, AAT will conduct a phased roll-out of the exams and modules you can take online. Speak to us to learn more about AAT's remote exams.

How Much Do AAT Exams Cost?

Fees from AAT exams will vary per test centre's location, so it's best to find an assessment centre that's either more convenient for you or has lower exam fees.

Additionally, these exam fees will also depend on the AAT level that you're currently taking and the number of units within the course. These fees can range from £95 to £125 per module at your AAT-approved testing centres.

What is the pass mark for AAT Exams?

When taking the AAT assessments, hit the 70% pass mark for each exam. This passing mark rate ensures that you have grasped the necessary concepts and skills for proficiency in accountancy and finance roles. Note that the pass mark applies to all levels and units within the AAT accounting qualification and will contribute to your overall qualification grade.

What are the AAT Grade Boundaries?

As mentioned, your overall AAT qualification grade will depend on your individual assessment scores.

Qualification grades are important as they help employers identify your strengths and weaknesses in the various accounting fields. Each assessment will have different weighted scores, with the synoptic paper having the heaviest weight, contributing 30-35% to your qualification grade.

You will receive a "Pass" grade with a 70-79% qualification score. When your score reaches 80-89%, you will receive the "Merit" grade. Finally, you can get the "Distinction" grade with a score of over 90%.

To roughly compute your overall qualification grade, you can head to your myAAT portal to access the AAT grade calculator.

Can I Retake my AAT Assessment if I Fail?

If you didn't pass any of your AAT assessments, don't worry! You can still retake your AAT assessment as much as you need. However, note that you'll only have 2 attempts to pass the examination at Levels 2 and 3 if you're aged 16 to 19, residing in England and Wales, and not in an apprentice programme.

You can also retake your assessment to improve your grades, but resitting will incur additional costs.

What Happens After I Pass the AAT Exams

After passing the unit assessments, you can apply for AAT professional membership and use the designatory letters AATQB (AAT Qualified Bookkeeper) at Level 3 or MAAT (Full Membership AAT) at Level 4 to showcase your career advancements.

Getting the qualification opens you up to many career possibilities. Some of the accounting jobs that you get when you have an AAT qualification are:

  • Accounting Technician
  • Payroll Manager
  • Accounts Payable Clerk
  • Bookkeeper
  • Accounts Assistant
  • Payments & Billing Supervisor
  • Tax Technician
  • Cost Accountant

You can also use your AAT accounting qualification to further your accounting educational background. Awarding bodies like CIMA and ACCA will credit your level 4 qualification, which can exempt you from taking some of their exams or units.


The AAT accounting qualification offers a robust career progression if you want to thrive in the finance industry. This qualification unlocks endless career possibilities when you pass your assessments.

That's why studying hard and preparing for these AAT exams is important. Finishing these exams will help prove that you're adept at taking on accounting-related roles.

Pass your exams and get your AAT accounting qualification with e-Careers! We provide comprehensive AAT training and support at an affordable price to help you pass the exams with flying colours. Contact us at +44(0) 20 3198 7700 or visit our AAT Accounting page for more information about our AAT-related courses.

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