Thursday, 4 December 2014

Personal Catchup

Greetings friends!

So enough time has passed that I think it's time for a bit of a personal post. You know the kind; where I post how things are with me and what I'm up to?

Well if you remember about a month ago things started falling apart and now that the ink has dried per se, I am able to reveal what had happened.

To many this may not seem like a big thing, but at the start of November we learned that the parent company for our nursery was shutting our nursery down with only 4 weeks notice given.

Now there were lots of reasons why this was bad. For starters as anyone who has gone through the job of finding a nursery (any at all, never mind a good one) you almost always need to give them more than 4 weeks notice. This is down to their attendance rules and how when term starts they have older students leave allowing for younger ones to join. We knew that not only would there be no vacancies, but at this short notice we knew that the waiting list for January would also be full.

But it's more than that. Our little Moo had been going to this nursery since she was 6 months old, the staff there were like family to us. So not only were we having to leave them behind (and their own predicament of also being given 4 weeks notice of redundancy) but somehow we had to explain to the little Moo that the place and people she loved going to and seeing five times a week she would at best be able to see on occasion (other kids birthday parties etc).

All of this was heart breaking and we didn't know how we were going to pull the fabled rabbit out of the proverbial hat.

Thankfully things turned around and quite literally at the last minute we were told by a nearby nursery who's fees were doable within our very tight budget, best of all was that they would take her from the start of December.

So that was great! One major issue resolved. Of clues we still have the 'trouble' of a little Moo who is too young to understand redundancies and closures and all she wants to do is go back to nursery with her friends.

But I'm sure that is normal for any parent who has to make a change with a Youngling, so we're doing our best to keep home life stable and encouraging her to make new friends at her new 'Pre School' (we found referring to it as Pre School allowed the Youngling to understand it better, that she wasn't being taken away from her old place, instead she was progressing to the next stage - just like when she turned 2 and moved from the babies area to the 2+. Turns out the Pre School have an issue with us calling it that, but the way I see it; we pay for her to go there, so if we want to call it Magic Faery Land then they can just suck it up and deal with it).

So that's that.


Then there was the issue with my exam.

For those of you who've been following along at home you will know that I've been studying for the past 3 years for AAT Level 2. The past year has been spent doing the single module of Basic Accounting Part 2 from the AQ2010 syllabus.

Well I sat the paper back in April and seriously made a pigs ear of it.

So I studied and resat it again in October.

Again; another pigs ear.

Things were looking bad! That was 2 attempts and I was not making progress, plus I received news that they were ceasing the AQ2010 syllabus. Anyone who was still studying 2010 would be automatically moved to the 2013 syllabus at no charge, but there was 1 issue. 2013 had an extra exam that 2010 did not have. If I was not Level 2 Qualified by the end of December 2014 I would need to pass 2 papers, not the 1 I had outstanding to qualify.


So I did the only thing I could think of: I got my head down, studied my ass off and did practice paper after practice paper!

I sat one paper online complete with the answers in Word.doc. After each page I went through the answers to see if I got it right. If it was I left it as is. If if was not correct I made a note of the question, where I went wrong and what sort of formula or rational was the correct one. I then left the answer as my original incorrect answer. This way when I finished and the exam calculated my score I would see how well I did even with the wrong answers.

I was going to take these answers away and study them. Then in a day or 2's time sit another practice paper and do the same. I made note of any wrong answers I made twice in a row and any new ones. I also made note of any I got wrong before but this time got right and how 'easy' I found these ones.

Then a third paper, every time I did this I was amazed to see that not only was I getting a pass mark on the practice paper, but I was always getting new questions wrong, not repeating old mistakes.

In other words I was learning from my mistakes and only falling over when confronted with either a question that asked for new information entirely or tackled an old question from a different direction.

I wrote and re-wrote my notes each time putting them down in a way that not only told me the answers I was looking for, but also why they were the right answer: what was the Why and Rational behind these answers and therefore allowing me to not only know the correct answers, but to understand why these were the correct answers.

Then came the big day; Saturday 29th November 10:00.

I was sat in the room with my hands trembling. The clock had started and I began making my notes:

Sales = Dr SLCA, Cr Relevant (Sales), Cr VAT
Purchase = Cr PLCA, Dr Relevant (Purchases), Dr VAT
Irrecoverable Debts = Like Purchases, but against the SLCA rather than the PLCA
VAT: Treated like Control Accounts

That sort of thing.

Then I sat the paper.

Part 1, Questions 1-9 I had no problem with, I sped through them knowing EXACTLY what to put where. There was no guess work or arrogance. I had answered these questions a thousand times before and I knew what to put where.

Question 10: Journals & the Trial Balance.
Easy I thought. The Trial balance had caused a few issues before, like Sales, what were sales? A credit or a debit? I mean surely making a sale counts as Income right, so a credit? Hold on! But it also increases the amount in the bank, and isn't your bank an Asset? Wouldn't that make it a Debit?


I had read so many guides over the past few weeks and I found an explanation that worked for me. I knew not if it was right, but it made sense:

Sales: Selling off (reducing the volume held) of Stock (Temporary Assets).
A reduction of Assets? Ha! That's Credit!!

From there the rest is easy! Purchases and Sales Returns are the opposite of Sales, and Purchase Returns are the opposite of Purchases. Then you have VAT on Sales and Purchases as well as Cash sales etc

So I did that, moved on to Part 2, did all 8 questions and clicked Finish.

My heart jumped, was I right to click finish? I still had an hour on the clock. Fuck! What if in my haste I had just screwed myself!

So I went to the admin office, got my print out and had to ask the admin clerk to double check that it was correct.

GRADE: Competent

Now in these exams there are only two grades: Competent and Not Yet Competent.

In other words I had passed!

My final AQ2010 AAT Level 2 exam and I had passed it!

Then I looked at the break down: 80% of the questions I had excelled beyond the requirements to pass the paper! If we were looking at an actual grade this would have easily been an A, maybe even an A+! I have never in my entire life scored that high on any academic paper!!

So here we are! Less than a week away before my birthday where I turn 31, a youngling who has a new pre school sorted, my Xmas shopping is done (except for a couple of presents that I'll be sorting out tomorrow) and for the first time in a very long time I feel like I can finally rest and enjoy myself!

On that note, this is Level 2 Association of Accounting Technicians qualified Dr Loxley - signing off!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

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