Exemptions for AAT qualifications and recognition of prior learning

What are exemptions?

If you can provide evidence of gaining a previous, relevant qualification from an external awarding body, you may not have to sit all AAT assessments.

We believe that if you've already studied qualification units featuring the same content, you should not need to duplicate work. This means you can fast track on the most appropriate AAT qualification.

You may be eligible for exemptions if you have:

  • Previous finance or accounting qualifications
  • An accounting or finance degree

Previous finance or accounting qualifications

If you have a recognised accounting or finance qualification with an external awarding body, follow the steps below to apply for an exemption with AAT:

Step 1. Check your eligibility

If you have a previous qualification, this may mean you are exempt from sitting some AAT assessments. Use our exemptions navigator below to see if your previous qualification offers you any exemptions.

Use the exemptions navigator

You can also check the exemptions list for AAT qualifications (PDF) which covers all of the accepted qualifications and units.

Read the AAT exemptions policy (PDF) for further information.

Step 2. Submit evidence to AAT

  1. If your qualification is on the list - you will need to email a scanned copy of your certificate to customersupport@aat.org.uk. This is used as evidence to gain an exemption. 
  2. If your qualification is not on the list - you will need to contact your training provider. They will submit evidence of any previous qualification to us on your behalf - AAT will review the application and make a decision.

Our membership support team will provide you with details on how to pay the exemption fee - this can be done online or over the phone.

You will pay a fee for each exemption you apply for:

  • Each exemption fee is the same as the equivalent assessment fee
  • The fee covers the administrative costs of applying the exemption

AAT full membership (MAAT)

If you are studying a qualification with, or are a member of, another accounting professional body you may also be eligible to become an AAT full member. This means you can use the letters MAAT after your name. Read about the benefits of AAT full membership and how to apply

An accounting or finance degree

If you have completed a recognised accounting or finance related degree with one of our partner universities below, you may be eligible to apply for exemptions for the Level 4 AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting.

Universities partnered with AAT

  • Birmingham City University
  • University of Chester
  • Coventry University College
  • Edge Hill University
  • University of Glamorgan
  • University of Hull
  • Liverpool John Moores University
  • Northumbria University
  • Middlesex University
  • University of Portsmouth
  • London South Bank University
  • University of Wolverhampton

If your university is not listed above, ask your course administrator to contact AAT's regional account managers to arrange a meeting.

AAT full membership (MAAT)

If you have an accounting or finance degree you may also be eligible to become an AAT full member and use the letters MAAT after your name. Read about the benefits of AAT full membership and how to apply.

Recognition of prior learning 

If you don't have any relevant qualifications from an external awarding body you can use to get exemptions for AAT units or qualifications, you may still be eligible to use the recognition of prior learning (RPL) process.

RPL is an assessment process that makes use of a learner’s existing achievements, knowledge, understanding or skills to demonstrate competence or achievement against an AAT unit.

Through the RPL process evidence of a learner’s previous achievement is mapped against the learning outcomes and assessment criteria of an AAT unit and assessed by the training provider. It is then subject to internal and external quality assurance to verify the validity, authenticity, currency and sufficiency of the evidence. 

RPL can be applied to all AAT units, with the exception of the synoptic assessments and units, which are only assessed as part of the synoptic assessments.

AAT’s Recognition of prior learning policy (PDF) sets out the principles and process for centres who are planning to use RPL for their students. The policy explains:

  • the requirements for training providers to have their own RPL policy
  • how and when RPL can be used as a method of assessment
  • the type and suitability of evidence
  • the processes that should be followed to achieve a successful RPL outcome.