Nick’s Diary – October 2011

Seeing as the entire month of October was filled with Kaplan revision courses, study leave and mock exams I have wondered whether my life has been interesting enough this month to warrant a diary entry. However, as consistency is key, I didn’t feel it would be appropriate to just leave a two month block empty, so I’ve decided to blog about the ATT and CTA entry route.

I joined in January 2011 and by February I was at Bradenham focusing on my first phase of ATT tuition. Ever since, I’ve been attending courses at Kaplan and Bradenham aimed at preparing me for the exams I have just sat. Throughout this period I have continually sat internal ‘link’ exams which are designed to test my progress and help prepare me for the real thing. Overall this year, I think I’ve spent around 7-8 weeks at Kaplan studying for the ATT along with several more weeks at internal Grant Thornton Bradenham courses.

The ATT consists (or at least it will do in 2012) of three exams and two online e-assessments. The three hour written exam papers are Personal Tax, Business Tax and Accounting Principles and a specialist paper. The specialist papers are Business Tax Higher Skills, Business Compliance, Inheritance Tax and VAT. I sat Business Tax Higher Skills as this best reflected my work in the office. These exams are mainly computation based but do not require a genius’ understanding of mathematics, luckily. The e-assessments, one in Law and one in Professional Responsibilities & Ethics are new to 2012 so sadly I’ve not any experience of what they will be like for the new trainees.

I did manage to get a couple of breaks in between revision and headed over to my old stomping ground of Loughborough University for their Pizza Night and Careers Fair. It was great to go back and speak with up-and-coming applicants about my job, yet another thing I never thought I’d be doing when I joined Grant Thornton as a Tax Associate.

I sat all exams in one sitting which means if my results are favourable in January I’ll have an extra three letters after my name and will be a qualified Taxation Technician ? fingers crossed. Needless to say getting through the five solid weeks of revision and 12 hours of exams in two days was one major relief and it’s great to have my social life back. Although, looking back that investment of time and effort was well worth it and I look forward with muted confidence to results day. My five weeks out of the office made the ‘normal’ 7am start quite a shock to the system but with plenty of work to come back to I’ve quickly been lifted out of revision mode.

November’s calendar looks good so I’ll have plenty of interesting things to blab about next month, I promise.

If you’re interested in reading further about the Association of Taxation Technicians or the Chartered Tax Advisor qualifications the websites can be found here:



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