Pre-exam study leave

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We have staff studying AAT level 3 and 4, and ACCA level 2. All are on day release (some in college, some online). In addition to the day release and day off for the exam, how many days is reasonable to give off for pre-exam swatting/mock exams?

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By SkyBlue22
16th Oct 2023 16:32

I guess that's up to your firm. My firm don't give days for study pre exam, you're expected to study in your evenings/weekends.

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By JB101
16th Oct 2023 16:33

2 days a week - often called Saturday and Sunday!

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By cinnamint
16th Oct 2023 16:42

As in 'swatting flies' ? or Swotting. Whatever you like!

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paddle steamer
16th Oct 2023 16:50

ICAS back in the 80s you got circa 2 weeks study leave, then again the training costs, study block release periods and study leave all got adjusted within the salary received-there was no free lunch.

(First 12 weeks of training, £25 pw, cost of travel to work Edin-Gla, £30 pw, even after passing the Prelims (Math Studies, Tax, Accounting) at week 12 I still only got £80 pw)

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By lionofludesch
16th Oct 2023 17:23

I think we got 26 weeks over four years.

It's a long time ago ......

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Danny Kent
By Viciuno
16th Oct 2023 18:10

Where I did most of my training we didn't get any days off (were expected back in the office after the exam!). Current employer offers 1 day study leave though.

Although if you are relying on 1 day study leave to pass you are probably going to fail anyway! As I'm sure post people here did you need to spend weeks/months studying in your spare time, for a day you may as well not bother!

In saying that I've heard of firms that offer the block release for studying, and salary is pro-ratta'd. I can see how that would work for some people; especially for more mature trainee's with other commitments like children that mean they can't spend every evening after work with their head in a book.

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By Bobbo
16th Oct 2023 18:11

When I did ACA revision time was built into the days you attended college for, so nothing further provided by the employer. (Not that it was anywhere near enough time for revision of course - so evenings and weekends too)

In fact the college ran some mock exams on Saturdays and work did not give us the time back for these. (Particularly painful was a Saturday mock exam when my birthday was on the Friday).

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By kevinringer
16th Oct 2023 18:42

Back in the day, I was given the exam day off, but that was all. All study (correspondence course in those days), revision etc had to be done in my own time. Times have changed and I'm interested in what study leave staff are given in 2023.

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By spilly
16th Oct 2023 19:04

I was given the day before the exam off. The firm reckoned that we wouldn’t concentrate well on proper work anyway with an exam looming.

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By lionofludesch
16th Oct 2023 19:14

Pretty sure that the 26 weeks study leave was an ICAEW training contract requirement at the time. Obviously, the salary took into account that you'd not be working for an eighth of your 4 year contract. I was one of the first batch to have a training contract as opposed to articles.

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By IWantToLearn
16th Oct 2023 19:55

Where I worked it was similar to Bobbo, you receive your college days and that's it. The college days at Kaplan included some self-study days which the employer was also supposed to let you have off.

If on an apprenticeship and receiving government funding they need to also be doing 20% off-the-job training i.e. 52 days a year. Not all of that is for "study" but I guess it's a good starting point. I think around 30 days per annum is good from both sides of the table.

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By mbee1
17th Oct 2023 07:21

How mean in not giving anyone time off. We've a staff member who will take his final CTA exams next month and we've given him 10 days on full pay. We want him to pass. Yes he's a diligent student and I know he's been working hard in his own time but a few days study leave won't hurt.

And, if he passes, he'll get a decent pay rise.

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By tom123
17th Oct 2023 07:54

I paid for all my own study, and took all my exams and study time in annual leave...

(if we are playing the "who had it hardest" :)

Mind you, that made my qualification my own, and nothing to do with my employer. To be fair, outside of practice, accountancy is an overhead to be minimised - including training.

I wouldn't have had it any way - I learned loads in the small companies I worked at.

My apprentice has just taken his final AAT level 2 exam, and I gave a couple of extra days last week just for final prep. No point throwing an exam opportunity away for the sake of a couple of extra days out of the office.

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Replying to tom123:
paddle steamer
17th Oct 2023 10:40

In Yorkshire perhaps???

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By carnmores
17th Oct 2023 10:43

i seem to remember that we had at least 4 weeks at Financial Training all paid from 1974 - 78

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Replying to carnmores:
By tonyaustin
18th Oct 2023 14:12

Yes and the final ICAEW exams were 5 x 3 hour papers over 3 consecutive days (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning). If you failed more than one paper, you sat all 5 again, 6 months later. We didn't have to go back to work on Friday afternoon!

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Replying to tonyaustin:
By carnmores
18th Oct 2023 14:31

Aha yes i got referred for auditing, managed to scrape through

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By Hazel Accounts
17th Oct 2023 14:16

I did ACCA (quite a long time ago now) and the standard thing then seemed to be 1 week per paper. Paid for first attempt. Obviously salary overall was lower to reflect that but was sort of in line with ICAEW contracts at that time.
However I didn't get day release - up until exam leave I worked 5 days a week and went to college and studied evenings and/or weekends.

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Mike Cooper HJS
By mike_uk_1983
18th Oct 2023 09:54

When I tried we had time off work to do the study course, revision course and QBE provided by FT/Kaplan or whatever they were called at the time.

Then for the exam we had the day before exam as well as the exam itself.

I think if you want to keep employees on side then one extra day per an exam isn't much to provide.

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By The Rogue
18th Oct 2023 10:26

When I studied my company paid for books and courses. Study was mostly on my own in the evenings and sometimes in college at a weekend. I had the morning off for a morning exam and the full day if it was in the afternoon. I work in industry, not practice.

The idea of having a few study days off just before an exam surprises me. You can't learn it all in 48 hours. Study/revision started soon after the results of the previous exam came out.

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All Paul Accountants in Leeds
By paulinleeds
18th Oct 2023 12:25

I also did day release and day off for the exam.

I wouldn't expect to give paid time off for swotting before the exams. Evenings and weekend.

If this is for employee of your firm, then I may be out of date on what is normal. I may offer 1 week of unpaid leave, but this has to be managed as al trainees cannot be off the same week in a small office.

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By Dp2020
18th Oct 2023 16:08

AAT ? if you can spell your name you'll pass, shouldn't require leave

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By Kaylee100
18th Oct 2023 17:21

Our study leave (a hundred years ago!) Was determined by our training contract and it was very clear. If we wanted more we took it from our own holiday allowance.

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By turchyna582
18th Oct 2023 19:06

Absolutely none!
If they really want to achieve, it should be in their own time.
Time off to sit the exams only.

I studied for my Company & Commercial Accountants Syallabus - Intermediate B and Final 1/2/3.......15 subjects over 3 my own time in the mid 1970's.....ready for commencement of my 2nd career at age 30 as an Accountant.
I also did it via traditional 'Correspondence Course' without computers or internet (inbetween my 12 on/24 off shifts) whilst still working in my first career as an RAF Flight Simulation Engineer (on the Harrier Jump Jet) Germany.
It was also time consuming in that my Correspondence College was UK based, so it was traditional delivery by post of my Assignments and Tutor responses.
As an aside (financially); the RAF would not pay for any of the study or exam fees, as I was not going to remain in the RAF and change trades when I qualified. Going from being a SNCO (engineer in the Top Trade group)) to then being a Junior commissioned Officer (in a much lower trade Group) was not an improvement in Status or Salary.
Travelling to sit my exams in London, was also at my expense and taken as part of my annual leave.

It seems that the current generation of students have so many tools and resources available to them; that I believe this vastly reduces their perseverence, focus, real ambition, and moreover...their ability to actually fulfill their role if those tools (computers, software, and internet) did not exist.
Heaven knows how many would cope with maintaining a full suite of manual double entry Ledgers, manual payrolls (albeit assisted by Tax Tables), and endless manual Schedule D Tax Computations?


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By trecar
20th Oct 2023 10:40

When I was studying I got zilch in support. No time off, exam time was from holiday, no help with study costs and no recognition when I passed exams. As another respondent has commented it was all my own and my employers deserved no credit.
However, what students are expected to know nowadays is vastly more than I was up against and modern approaches need to recognise that fact. Taking payroll as an example, my training consisted of about twenty minutes on how to use tax tables and what the various forms were for then told to get on with it. I learnt about payroll as I came up against each problem and found out how to deal with it. I doubt very much whether that approach would work nowadays.

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