Exemptions for AAT qualifications and recognition of prior learning

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

You may be eligible for exemptions if you have:

  • previous finance or accounting qualifications that you achieved no more than six years ago, or
  • an accounting or finance degree.

You can't apply for exemption for a whole level. You can achieve a maximum of 50% of a level through exemption, and/or recognition of prior learning. 

Step 1. Check your eligibility

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

Check if you're eligible with our Exemptions Checker

Answer two or three simple questions and our tool will tell you if you're eligible for an exemption, and what your next steps are.

If you prefer you can check the exemptions list for AAT qualifications, which covers all the accepted qualifications and units.

Download the exemptions list for AAT qualifications (PDF)

Step 2. Submit your evidence

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 the 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 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 (AQ2016) or the AAT Level 4 Diploma in Professional Accounting.

Universities partnered with AAT

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

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 Level 2 Certificate in Accounting synoptic assessment for the Business Environment unit.

Recognition of prior learning policy

Recognition of prior learning policy

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 to be followed to achieve a successful RPL outcome.