vyen
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I'm seriously stuck with the CTA, having failed the AT OMB paper three times (marks in each sitting: 35, 35, and 43)...

I used to work in CT in practice but recently made a move into industry working as Tax Manager for a plc with a focus on VAT and CT, and I find much of the OMB material very irrelevant now.

The reasons I'm stuck are twofold:

i) I passed the OMB case study paper so I'm fairly familiar with the material,
ii) I can't do the CT papers as my Awareness paper had a CT module (my first tax job was with a big 4 employer who put us on a specific ATT/CTA pathway).

My plan is to try the AT OMB paper for the 4th time in May, and then start studying for the AT CB VAT paper as it is much more relevant to my current role, and is preferred by my employer.

However, I feel like I am one fail away from having a serious breakdown having dedicated nearly all of my annual leave in the past 4 years to these exams. The time commitment has seriously impacted my relationships and mental health. The only benefit of finishing this qualification at this point would be a payrise, other than that I am happy and safe in my role as Tax Manager which is not dependent on my passing - and for these reasons, I feel that my motivation has slumped to its lowest level ever.

If I could get over the obvious sunk costs from having already covered the OMB material three times, I wonder if I should postpone and perhaps give up on the AT OMB altogehter and try the two AT VAT papers instead? I don't think this would prevent me from being eligible for CTA membership, but it would definitely be an unusual route.

Any advice whatsoever would be appreciated. Thanks
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fossie
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(Original post by vyen)
I'm seriously stuck with the CTA, having failed the AT OMB paper three times (marks in each sitting: 35, 35, and 43)...

I used to work in CT in practice but recently made a move into industry working as Tax Manager for a plc with a focus on VAT and CT, and I find much of the OMB material very irrelevant now.

The reasons I'm stuck are twofold:

i) I passed the OMB case study paper so I'm fairly familiar with the material,
ii) I can't do the CT papers as my Awareness paper had a CT module (my first tax job was with a big 4 employer who put us on a specific ATT/CTA pathway).

My plan is to try the AT OMB paper for the 4th time in May, and then start studying for the AT CB VAT paper as it is much more relevant to my current role, and is preferred by my employer.

However, I feel like I am one fail away from having a serious breakdown having dedicated nearly all of my annual leave in the past 4 years to these exams. The time commitment has seriously impacted my relationships and mental health. The only benefit of finishing this qualification at this point would be a payrise, other than that I am happy and safe in my role as Tax Manager which is not dependent on my passing - and for these reasons, I feel that my motivation has slumped to its lowest level ever.

If I could get over the obvious sunk costs from having already covered the OMB material three times, I wonder if I should postpone and perhaps give up on the AT OMB altogehter and try the two AT VAT papers instead? I don't think this would prevent me from being eligible for CTA membership, but it would definitely be an unusual route.

Any advice whatsoever would be appreciated. Thanks
Some things to think about:

1) When do your credits all start to expire? (You haven't mentioned this.)
2) How much do you want/need to be CTA qualified? (You imply not that much.)
3) What changed between your second and third attempt? 35 to 43 is a jump. Was it the open book effect, or did you change your exam technique/approach?

I assume you're ATT qualified only at present, which may limit your future options as most other places will want CTA and/or an accountancy qualification. But, it's not a deal-breaker.

In my experience, VAT is not a popular choice for CTA because it's difficult (even worse pass marks than the other papers) and only true VAT nerds ever pass. Do you feel like a VAT specialist now? Or are you really just a CT person who does a bit of VAT? I would only seriously consider changing papers if you honestly feel you've become a VAT person and are not just someone who dabbles.
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vyen
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(Original post by fossie)
Some things to think about:

1) When do your credits all start to expire? (You haven't mentioned this.)
2) How much do you want/need to be CTA qualified? (You imply not that much.)
3) What changed between your second and third attempt? 35 to 43 is a jump. Was it the open book effect, or did you change your exam technique/approach?

I assume you're ATT qualified only at present, which may limit your future options as most other places will want CTA and/or an accountancy qualification. But, it's not a deal-breaker.

In my experience, VAT is not a popular choice for CTA because it's difficult (even worse pass marks than the other papers) and only true VAT nerds ever pass. Do you feel like a VAT specialist now? Or are you really just a CT person who does a bit of VAT? I would only seriously consider changing papers if you honestly feel you've become a VAT person and are not just someone who dabbles.
Thank you for replying.

1. I have 4 more sittings before my Awareness paper expires, so would need to pass by Nov 2022. If I were to switch, I would postpone my current sitting until November, leaving me with only 3 sessions (Nov 2021, May 2022, and Nov 2022).
2. I definitely want to finish it given how hard I've had to work to get to this point. It's only the last fail that has really impacted me and made me question whether attempting the OMB paper again is the right approach. I am motivated to study, but not very motivated to study OMB (again!)
3. I improved my exam technique and timekeeping but some areas always let me down no matter how much I revise and practice them, especially partnerships and some areas of CGT.

Yes, I am currently ATT qualified and would like to continue working in tax, ideally fully CTA qualified as it will help me make my case for future pay raises and promotions.

My role is about 60% VAT and it is our biggest risk area. I feel that I would be much more interested in the content and that it would help me in the long term in this role as I don't have previous VAT experience. I saw that the Cross Border VAT exam consistently has higher pass rates than OMB (57% v 42% in the Nov 20 sitting), but the Domestic VAT exam seems more difficult (34% in the last sitting).

I probably need to make a decision early this week and still think that a new approach/more relevant content might help me stay focused and motivated, although deep down I know that if I just did exam practice every night and weekend between now and 7 May I could pass the OMB.
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fossie
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(Original post by vyen)
Thank you for replying.

1. I have 4 more sittings before my Awareness paper expires - 6 sittings before my case study expires (I've asked CIOT to confirm which one needs to be valid).
2. I definitely want to finish it given how hard I've had to work to get to this point. It's only the last fail that has really impacted me and made me question whether attempting the OMB paper again is the right approach. I am motivated to study, but not very motivated to study OMB (again!)
3. I improved my exam technique and timekeeping but some areas always let me down no matter how much I revise and practice them, especially partnerships and some areas of CGT.

Yes, I am currently ATT qualified and would like to continue working in tax, ideally fully CTA qualified as it will help me make my case for future pay raises and promotions.

My role is about 60% VAT and it is our biggest risk area. I feel that I would be much more interested in the content and that it would help me in the long term in this role as I don't have previous VAT experience. I saw that the Cross Border VAT exam consistently has higher pass rates than OMB (57% v 42% in the Nov 20 sitting), but the Domestic VAT exam seems more difficult (34% in the last sitting).

I probably need to make a decision early this week and still think that a new approach/more relevant content might help me stay focused and motivated, although deep down I know that if I just did exam practice every night and weekend between now and 7 May I could pass the OMB.
OK. Based on what you've said, I'd recommend sticking with OMB as one of your advisory papers. I don't think it's a case of you can't pass it, I think you've just had your confidence rocked by three fails in a row. With those marks, and with the exam being open book now, I am fairly confident it's your exam technique.

If you haven't done it already, you need to be doing mock exams and then reviewing your answers to the correct answers and doing a brutal post-mortem. Chances are, with marks like yours, you're losing points for not writing down the obvious stuff and/or you're not reading the question requirement carefully. You need to be able to debrief papers sat under timed conditions to understand where your personal blind spots are.

Do you have any support for this paper (e.g. tuition provider, study group), or are you self-studying it alone?

Did you listen to the £10 CIOT exam technique day?
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vyen
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(Original post by fossie)
OK. Based on what you've said, I'd recommend sticking with OMB as one of your advisory papers. I don't think it's a case of you can't pass it, I think you've just had your confidence rocked by three fails in a row. With those marks, and with the exam being open book now, I am fairly confident it's your exam technique.

If you haven't done it already, you need to be doing mock exams and then reviewing your answers to the correct answers and doing a brutal post-mortem. Chances are, with marks like yours, you're losing points for not writing down the obvious stuff and/or you're not reading the question requirement carefully. You need to be able to debrief papers sat under timed conditions to understand where your personal blind spots are.

Do you have any support for this paper (e.g. tuition provider, study group), or are you self-studying it alone?

Did you listen to the £10 CIOT exam technique day?
Thanks for that, I'm having a meeting with my boss on Wednesday to discuss and decide. Past questions/timed papers are all I've been doing, I probably just need to be stricter with the time when practicing.

I studied with Tolleys for this one, even qualified for their Guaranteed Pass Scheme for my previous resit, but as it's my fourth attempt I'm self-studying. I reached out to a private tutor who said he didn't think I needed 1-1 support.

Thanks for the advice - I will check out the CIOT exam technique session.
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