AAT AQ2016 Syllabus Advice | Kaplan Financial
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Training and Qualifications > Accountancy > AAT > Pages > 2016-syllabus-changes.aspx  

Below is some advice and information about the new syllabus, and what your options are for moving onto AQ2016 or staying on AQ2013.

Why not watch a recording of our webinar where we discussed the key changes in the new syllabus and gave advice on what you should do next.

Watch now

Overview of changes for AQ2016 syllabus

Click on an item to learn more about the changes.

New naming for each Level

For AQ2016, AAT have renamed each of the levels:

AAT Foundation Certificate in Accounting Level 2

AAT Foundation Certificate in Accounting Level 2

AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting Level 3

AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting Level 3

AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting Level 4

AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting Level 4
New synoptic assessment

What is it?

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) topics.

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 & Level 4 Professional qualifications will be available to sit at 6 fixed times of the year, but our tutors will help you plan your studies around this.

What does it mean for you?

As of 1st September, students currently part way through a level will have the option to transfer onto AQ2016 syllabus, or stay on the current one. If you remain on the current syllabus, you will have until 31st December 2017 and will not have to sit a synoptic assessment to complete it.

If you start a new level after 1st 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 & 3). For the Professional qualification (Level 4) you can sit it after you complete the compulsory units.

New Grading System

What is it?

At the end of each level, you will now be given a grade based on your exam performance. The grading bands are as follows:

  • Distinction (90%-100%)
  • Merit (80%-89%)
  • Pass (70%-79%)
  • Fail (0-69%).

What does it mean for you?

We think the grading will help you stay motivated as you strive towards distinction, but it should also help you differentiate yourself from other students in the eyes of employers.

Resit restriction for some students

What is the resit restriction?

Some students will only be able to take one resit per unit assessment and synoptic assessment within their study programme period. The Department for Education considers a study programme to be a 24 month period.

This means that students will have a maximum of two attempts for each individual assessment within the 24 month period.

Who is not affected?

  • Students aged 19 or above
  • Scottish students
  • International students
  • Students on an apprenticeship programme

Who is affected?

Students who are aged 16-19 and studying one of the qualifications listed below, where a resit restriction applies.

Which qualifications will the resit restrictions apply to?

Resit restrictions only apply to the following qualifications:

  • AAT Foundation Certificate in Accounting
  • AAT Foundation Diploma in Accounting and Business
  • AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting

They do not apply to:

  • Professional Diploma in Accounting
  • AAT short courses
  • Existing qualifications ahead of 1 September 2016

Does the resit rule apply if I live in Scotland?

No, the resit restriction does not apply to students who are registered with AAT at a residential address in Scotland studying any of the above qualifications.

Does the resit rule apply if I live outside the UK?

No, the resit restriction does not apply to students at an international residential address while studying any of the above qualifications.

How is the age limit applied for the resit restriction?

At the point of registration with AAT, if you are under 19 at the previous 1 September, the resit restriction will automatically be applied to your qualification.


  • Student turns 19 on 15 August 2016
  • Student registers with AAT to study the Foundation Certificate in Accounting on 3 September 2016
  • The resit restriction would not apply to this student.

When does the 24 month resit restriction period run from and to?

The 24 month resit restriction period will take effect from the previous 1 September prior to a student registering with AAT. All resit restriction periods run from 1 September for 24 months.

Example: If AAT registration occurs on 1 October 2016, the 24 month period runs 1 September 2016 until 31 August 2018 and the student is allowed one resit at each assessment during that period.

What happens after two attempts at an assessment?

If you attempt a unit assessment or a synoptic assessment twice within a 24 month study period, you will have to wait until the next 24 month period, before any further attempts can be made at that assessment.

What happens if my AAT membership ends during a study period?

If a resit restriction was previously applied, this will remain in place when you reinstate your membership. You are still only allowed two attempts at each assessment within 24 months.

Does the restriction apply to AQ2013 qualifications or AAT short courses?

No, the resit restriction is only applicable to the AQ2016 qualifications listed above.

Transitional guidance

AAT AQ2016 Syllabus Transitional Advice

AQ2016 transitional guidance (167kb)

Your options

What will happen if I do not complete the level by the 31st December?

You can still carry on studying AQ2013 syllabus up until 31st December 2017. Any new starters as of now are automatically enrolled onto AQ2016 (and will require you to pass the synoptic assessment to progress).

If you do not complete the full level by 31st December then the units you have achieved under AQ2013 will be mapped over to AQ2016 qualification, and you will automatically be transferred over to AQ2016.

However, you need to be aware that not all units map over to AQ2016 so, depending on your situation, you may lose credit for some of the units you’ve already achieved.

IMPORTANT: If you are on an Apprenticeship where you started a level after 31st August 2015, this option is not available to you and you will move on to AQ2016 for your next level. This is because you are required to be on programme for a minimum of 12 months.

If you do wish to transfer, you will need to check which of your units can be carried over to the AQ2016 syllabus using the AQ16 transitional Guidance above. Don't forget on the 31st December 2017, you will be automatically transferred over by AAT to AQ16 and will lose credit for those units that do not map over.

Your only option is to enrol onto AQ16 on a full level.

If you still want more advice, you can watch our AQ2016 advice webinar.

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AQ2016 Syllabus Advice