The New AAT 2016 Syllabus

Posted by: Patricia Barlow Post Date: 24th May 2016

The AAT standards will be changing from September 2016, and this will affect both new and current learners. The new qualification will mean that AAT is more robust, strengthening its ability to provide a fantastic start to a career in accounting.

The changes have been driven not only by government, but also by the changing needs of employers. So, what do the new standards look like?

Current learners

If you are currently registered and studying the AAT qualification on the AQ2013 standards, you have until December 2017 to complete the qualification. If you do not complete it by this time you will be transferred onto the AQ2016 standards.

That doesn’t mean you will need to resit all of the exams you have passed on the AQ2013 standards, as some will be recognised on the new AQ2016 standards. You will then need to complete the new qualification.

If you allow your AAT membership to lapse and do not renew until after September 2016, you will automatically be transferred on to the new AQ2016 standards. You will then need to complete the new qualification.

New learners

So, what are the AQ2016 standards, and how will they affect new learners?

If you register with AAT after September 2016, you will be starting on the new AAT standards.

There will still be three levels, but these will have different names:

  • Level 2 will now be the foundation level
  • Level 3 will be the advanced level
  • Level 4 will be the professional level

Synoptic assessment

Each level will have a number of units that are assessed via an exam at the end. At the end of the level, you will then have a synoptic assessment.

This is designed for you to demonstrate your understanding of how all the units at each level link together. Developing an awareness of broader topics as well as individual units makes you a more rounded accountant, and prepares you to thrive in a professional context.

Employers have driven this change, and value those who have a good overall understanding of accounting, and can integrate different topics.

Synoptic assessments can only be sat on certain dates. For levels 3 and 4, exam sittings are available every 7-8 weeks.


Under the new standards, exams will now give a percentage grade, as well as deciding whether you are competent or not yet competent.

At the end of the level, after you have sat the synoptic assessment, all of the percentages for the individual units will be added together to give either a pass, merit or distinction grade for that specific level.

This is a great way to set yourself apart from other AAT qualified individuals. If you have worked especially hard and achieved very high marks, it will be much easier to demonstrate this to employers.

If you have any questions about studying towards your AAT qualification under the new standards, don’t hesitate to get in touch below.

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