Exemptions for AAT qualifications and recognition of prior learning

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 shouldn't need to duplicate work. This means you can fast-track onto the most appropriate AAT qualification.

You may be eligible for exemptions if you have:

  • previous finance or accounting qualifications
  • an accounting or finance degree.

If you have previous finance or accounting qualifications

If you've got 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

You might be exempt from sitting some AAT assessments if you fulfil these criteria.

  • You're a registered AAT student member.
  • You have a previous, relevant qualification.
  • Your qualification is no more than six years older than the award date on the certificate.
  • The unit for which you want exemption is not assessed through synoptic assessment: these are not eligible for exemption.
  • You aren't seeking exemption for a whole level of an AAT qualification: it's not possible to be certificated for any level by means of exemptions alone. Only up to 50% of a qualification can be exempt and/or the recognition of prior learning route permitted. Students must achieve at least half the number of units in an AAT qualification.

 To check if your previous qualification offers you any exemptions, use our exemptions navigator.

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

Read these policies for further information: 

Step 2. Submit evidence to AAT

If your qualification is on the list you'll need to email a scanned copy of your certificate to customersupport@aat.org.uk. This is used as evidence to gain an exemption.

If your qualification is not on the list you'll need to contact your training provider. They'll submit evidence of any previous qualification to us on your behalf. AAT will review the application and make a decision.

Step 3. Pay exemption fee

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

  • You'll 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.

If you have an accounting or finance degree

If you've 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 AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting.

If your university is not listed above, ask your course administrator to contact AAT's Regional Account Managers to arrange a meeting.

Exemptions for AAT full membership (MAAT)

Exemptions for AAT full membership (MAAT)

If you've got 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's 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 training providers 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.