AF1: Free preparation guide

AF1 CII

AF1: Free preparation guide

If you are thinking of sitting the CII’s AF1 exam, then go into it with your eyes open. Based on the latest CII published results, this is one of the easier AF exams but the pass rate is still just 49% (the latest published results). If you expect to pass purely because you cover taxation in your daily work, clearly this isn’t enough for many people.

If you want to know about what’s been tested in the past, exam technique and what study options are available, click here for our FREE AF1 preparation guide.

You will also find preparation guides for AF2, 4, 5 and 7 on the same link.

The CII AF1 is a popular exam. For most people, this will be the first CII AF exam that they do – mainly because aspects of taxation tend to also underpin aspects within the other technical AF subjects.

AF1: what does the exam look like?

The AF1 exam is 3 hours long. It consists of 3 case studies. The first is worth 80 marks and the subsequent two are both worth 40 marks each. Overall, the paper usually has around 20 questions (or part questions) so there is plenty of scope for the examiners to test across a broad range of the syllabus. The paper as a whole is worth 160 marks.

With a pass mark of around 55%, this means that you will normally need around 88 marks to pass the exam.  This pass mark applies to the overall exam paper so you could bomb on one case study and still pass if you get enough marks elsewhere. If you got full marks on case study 1 (you can but dream!) and made a very limited attempt at the other two case studies, chances are you’d still pass.

What’s been tested in the past?

AF1 has been around ages – not only in it’s present format, but with it’s predecessor G10. So it has a track record. An analysis of past exam papers shows that it is almost inevitable that you will be examined in the following areas:

  • Income tax calculations
  • CGT calculations
  • IHT calculations

Areas frequently tested historically:

  • Trust taxation
  • Taxation of investments – both direct and indirect
  • Wills / intestacy
  • Powers of attorney

 Other tested areas:

  • Bankruptcy
  • Tax and self assessment
  • National insurance contributions

You can get some further analyses by looking at our AF1 Preparation Guide.

How much revision will I need?

The CII suggest around 100 hours of study for this exam. Whether you need this amount – more or less – will depend on your existing knowledge of the area. Even if you have good knowledge of tax and trusts already, there are likely to be areas of the syllabus that you are NOT familiar with. And if nothing else, you will still need to practice that all important exam technique.

What study material are there?

There is no study text for AF1 because it applies the knowledge from the Diploma subjects R03 (Personal Taxation), J02 (Trusts) and R05 (not that we’d suggest worrying about R05).

So what do you do? Here’s what we’d suggest:

  1. Past exam papers. The CII website includes the last two published exam papers. Click here for these.
  2. R03 and J02 study texts. Read the elements of these that you are not familiar with. These are provided as part of your CII exam enrolment.
  3. Case study workbook. This is also provided as part of your CII exam enrolment.
  4. Audio talking books. These are already provided for you if you selected the CII enrolment plus package. If not and you want to learn on the go, click here for details.

Further AF1 resources

Click here for a link to our exam technique and study hub.

Click here for our blog: AF1 and how to pass it.

Click here for our blog: AF1: the 5 myths.

If you want to access our FREE preparation guides for other CII AF exams, they are available on our site for AF1, 2, 4 and 5. Just click here

Prepare well and be successful.

The Diploma Doctor

Marie Patterson
Ian Patterson