CII AF7: Free preparation guide

CII AF7 exam

CII AF7: Free preparation guide

If you are thinking of sitting the CII’s AF7 exam, then go into it with your eyes open. If you want to know about important dates, exam technique and what study options are available, click here for our FREE AF7 preparation guide.

You will also find preparation guides for AF1, 2, 4 and 5 on the same link.

AF7 is a popular exam. Safeguarded benefits is a big area for many financial advisers and if you are involved in the transfer of safeguarded benefits in some way, then this might be the subject for you. In practice, it’s the only current pension-specific Advanced Diploma exam available from the CII.

What does the AF7 exam look like?

The AF7 exam is 2 hours long. It consists of 3 or 4 short answer questions and then two additional case studies. These both have three to four questions making 9-12 questions in total. Overall, the paper will have 100 marks with the short answer questions accounting for around 30 to 35 of the marks, and the case study questions accounting for 30-35 marks each.

With a pass mark of around 60%, this means that you will normally need 60 marks to pass the exam.  The 60% pass mark applies to the exam overall so you could bomb on one case study and still pass if you get the marks elsewhere.

What’s been tested in the past?

AF7 is a relatively new exam that was only launched in October 2017. So there have only been 3 past papers at the time of writing. Like any new exam, it takes a few sittings to see what the examiners are choosing to focus on. The best way to spot these areas is to look at the past exam guides.

These exam guides are now provided via the CII’s on-line RevisionMate as part of the enrolment package. You should ensure you spend time studying these.

But of course, these are past CII AF7 exams and going forward, you can expect to see far more content on the changes to transfers introduced by the FCA in 2018. These didn’t receive much coverage in the October AF7 exam. Don’t be too surprised if this changes in the April 2019 AF7 exam and beyond.

There is a free link to a CII AF7 exam paper if you want to take a look before you enroll. Click here for the link to the CII website.

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 transfers already, there are likely to be areas of the syllabus that you are NOT familiar with. You will still need to practice that all important exam technique, if nothing else.

The current pass rate for AF7 is a measly 44% so one thing is clear – relying on just your day job is unlikely to prove successful. Don’t under-estimate this exam.

Do I need to read the CII’s AF7 study text from cover to cover?

Unless this is a brand new area for you, the answer will probably be ‘no’. For many people, just reading a study text is not likely to be an effective method of revision. You’re unlikely to remember much, especially if you just read without taking notes.

Most people sitting this exam will have some knowledge. Some will have quite extensive existing knowledge. So just use the study text as a reference source – focus on using past exam papers and top-up your knowledge by reading about the bits you are not familiar with.

Click here for a link to our exam technique.

Click here for more details about how you can learn on the go.

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