Tag Archives: cii af exams

AF exam

AF exams: make your study count

Most people who are unsuccessful in a CII AF exam will still be within around 5% of the pass mark

In many cases, those that are successful just answer the questions a little bit better, or know a little bit more. Few people like exam study and even fewer like re-sitting exams so we’ve produced an exam technique and study hub to help you to pass your AF exam first time.

You need to consider two elements:

  1. What you do before the exam, i.e. how much and how effective your exam study is
  2. What you do in the exam,  i.e. how good your exam technique is

In this blog, I’ll look at 5 tips on how you can make the most of your revision before you enter the exam hall. CII AF exams – AF1, AF2, AF4 and AF7 – require between 100 and 150 hours of study. Unfortunately, most people will need this amount of study. There are no easy short cuts when you are sitting degree-level exams like these AF subjects. But there’s still plenty of scope for working smarter, not harder.

  1. Make sure your study is effective. It isn’t just about the hours you put into studying.  People learn in different ways so learn what works for you. Click here and invest 23 minutes of your life to watch a FREE video that can revolutionise how you you revise.
  2. Make a plan. Think about how much study you can commit to, and how best to fit this study in around your work and other commitments. Start early and study in bite-sized chunks: 20 to 30 minutes is ideal.
  3. Use a variety of study methods. Learning doesn’t all have to be something which requires dedicated ‘study time’. We produce MP3 material for the AF1, AF4 and AF7 exams. With 3-7 hours of material (depending on the subject), you can be learning while you commute, drive or jog.  Study doesn’t have to impact on your home life, work life, or both. Click here for details. Try using Brainscape (which is free) to make ‘electronic index cards’. Register as a member (or log-in) by clicking here to access our AF4 revision cards on Brainscape.
  4. Look at past AF exam papers. Two of these are provided on the CII exam site for each respective subject (AF1, AF2, AF4 and AF7). Others are supplied as part of your CII exam enrolment on RevisionMate. Ideally, everyone would complete at least two of these under exam conditions before the exam. This doesn’t sound a lot, and it isn’t, but I bet most people who sit an AF exam DON’T do this.
  5. It’s not all about knowledge. Most people who fail a CII AF exam will do so because their exam technique wasn’t great; not through lack of knowledge. AF exams, aren’t about remembering lists; they are about applying knowledge. The information provided in the case study is there for a reason – so use it! Ensure that you use those FREE past CII exam papers to practice your technique. For most people, this is what will make the difference.

Further CII AF exam resources:

To find out more about how you can learn on the go, or our unique concise study revision notes – click here

Click here for exam specific tips: AF1 , AF4 and AF7

We’ve summarised the key areas that have been tested historically in AF1, AF2, AF4, AF5 and AF7 in our FREE exam Preparation Guides for each exam. To access these, register as a member (or log-in) by clicking here.

Prepare well and be successful first time. Until the next time.

The Diploma Doctor

CII Af exams

CII exam dates: 2019

Want to know when the CII AF exam dates are in 2019? What’s the last date for entering the exam without having to pay a late entry fee? Which is the the easiest exam – statistically? If you want the answers to these questions, then read on.

The CII 2019 exam dates

The CII written April AF exams are held between the 8th and 10th April. The specific times and dates for each exam are:

The CII April 2019 AF exam dates:

8th April 9.30 AF1.

9th April 9.30 AF4. 2.00 AF7.

10th April 9.30 AF2 and AF5.

The CII October 2019 AF exam dates:

7th October 9.30 AF1.

8th October 9.30 AF4. 2.00 AF7.

9th October 9.30 AF2 and AF5.

Late payment charge

An additional charge is payable if you register for an AF exam after the following dates. Changes after these dates are not generally allowed.

April exams: 27th February 2019

October exams: 28th August 2019

Written exams v coursework?

Of course, the CII now offer AF6 and AF8 on a coursework basis. This means that you have to submit assignments and there isn’t a specified exam date. But you do need to complete all three assignments within a 12 month period so if you intend to sit one of these subjects and a written AF exam, schedule the writing of your assignments. Avoid writing assignments during March when you will need to study for the written exam.

Which is the easiest CII AF exam?

In theory, this might be a sensible way to select an exam. In practice, it might not quite work-out this way. We always suggest selecting an exam that is of most use to your work and to your business. If you work in a specialist area, then your day-job may help to give you a head start in a subject where others struggle.

Here are the latest CII pass rates for the AF exams (current as at summer 2018 – the latest published figures at the time of writing):

AF1 – 49.10%

AF2 – 48.28%

AF4 – 48.96%

AF5 – 64.60%

AF6 – 60.00%

AF7 – 43.74%

AF8 – figures not available as this is a new exam

Click here for the figures for previous years and to see the trends

Want to know more?

CII exam handbook – click here

Free AF exam preparation guide. Click here

Blogs on choosing your AF exam. Click here

Prepare well and be successful.

The Diploma Doctor

CII exams

CII exams: getting to Chartered

One of the questions that we frequently get asked is ‘which CII exams should I sit next?’. If you are on the road to chartered status, there are a wide range of options. This is a big area so in this article, I’ll look at some of the key options for the Certificate and Diploma CII exams that are worth considering.  I’ve looked at related areas in two other blogs:

CII exams: getting to CII Chartered status (part 2). To view it, click here

Which CII exam should I sit next? To view it, click here

CII Chartered requirements

To complete Chartered Status, the CII require a total of 290 exam credits. Assuming you’ve completed all of the R0 exams, that’s 100 credits out of the way. A further 120 credits must be AF subjects (including AF5 which is compulsory). This leaves a remaining 70 credits that can come from Diploma, Certificate or Advanced Diploma CII exams.

Click here for a link to the CII qualification guide.

Clusters of CII exams

What you’ll find is that most of the the Advanced Diploma or AF exam subjects are based on the lower level Diploma exams. In other words, the technical content is Diploma but the use or application of this knowledge is a level 6 skill. In simple terms, view Diploma as being ‘what is it?’ and Advanced Diploma as being ‘how do I use it?’.

If you know the rules, this means that it is possible to ‘max out’ your credits and minimise your work. Here’s how.

AF1 – Personal tax and trust planning

Based on the CII AF1 syllabus, there are three underpinning Diploma subjects for this exam: R03, part of R05 and J02 (Trusts).

On successful completion, the credits are:

AF1 (30 credits at Advanced Diploma)

J02 (20 credits at Diploma level)

Total credits: 50. If you haven’t already got R03 or R05, then that’s an additional 20 credits.

Remember that J02, R03 and R05 are deemed to be the necessary underpinning knowledge for AF1 so if you need this knowledge anyway, why not also sit these CII exams (if you haven’t already) and potentially get up to 70 credits?

Sensibly, you’d sit these exams relatively close together to minimise your study and to ensure that you lose as little of your knowledge from your study as possible.

AF4 – Investment Planning

Likewise with AF4, there are two underpinning Diploma subjects for this exam: R02 and J10 (Discretionary investment management)

On successful completion, the credits are:

AF4 (30 credits at Advanced Diploma)

J10  (20 credits at Diploma level)

Total credits: 50. If you haven’t already got R02, then that’s an additional 20 credits, making 70.

If you look at the syllabuses for R02 and J10 CII exams, you’ll find a significant degree of overlap. So if investments are your thing, why wouldn’t you ensure that you have credits for both of these?  For not too much extra study, you could get 40 credits between them.

Finally on the theme of investments, J12 looks at securities and dealing and J11 looks at wrap and platform services.  The content in these subjects could also be tested to some degree in AF4. So if you go the full monty, this is a potential total of 110 credits for investment related subjects.

And there other investment related options as well, but I’ll leave this for another time.

AF7 – Pension transfers

With AF7, the CII state that the two underpinning subjects are R02 and J05 (pension income options).

On successful completion, the credits are:

AF7 (20 credits at Advanced Diploma)

J05 (20 credits at Diploma level)

Total credits: 40. If you haven’t already got R02, then that’s an additional 20 credits, making 60.  If you want the qualification: ‘Certificate in Pension Transfer Advice’, you’ll also need R01 and R04. If you haven’t already got them because you started sitting CII exams more years ago than you care to remember, this is another 30 credits in addition.  Finally, AF8, or retirement income planning, is an Advanced Diploma subject that is tested using coursework and is worth another 30 credits. Pensions related subjects could potentially be worth a total of 120 credits.

If you want to know more about these AF exams and how to prepare for them, click here to access our FREE Exam preparation guides.

If you want to know how to fit your study in around your work and family commitments, click here.

Remember, work smarter, not harder. Until the next time

Diploma Doctor

af-exam-study

AF exam study

Based on the CII’s published AF exam study pass rates, 40 to 50% of people who sit AF exams will fail. This is a pretty depressing statistic. It’s also something that is quite avoidable.

So as we watch the tennis, cricket and golf – and take in the sun – the hard truth is that it is also time to start studying for your AF exam in October.

The CII recommend 150 hours of study and for many people, this is not unreasonable. Part of the challenge with AF exams is that the syllabus areas are very broad.  This means that the day-job will only help you to a limited extent and there will be plenty of areas that most people will not have come across (or will be less familiar).

Here are three resources that will help you to prepare.

AF exam study preparation guide

We provide a free preparation guide to AF1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. This explains all about the exam, provides some tips on technique and how to study, and highlights areas that the respective exam seems to cover time and again. This is intended to help you go into your AF exam with your eyes open, and well prepared.

Click here to download

MP3 audio material – AF1, AF3 and AF4

We also believe that it isn’t just about how much study you do, but how effective it is.  As a result, we are the leading provider of MP3 audio material for the AF exams. These help you to revise and make use of your time when you are driving, or in the gym. This reinforces what you know, and helps you to identify and learn about what you don’t.

Updated versions of this will be available by mid-August. If you can’t wait, buy the current version and we’ll automatically send you the updated version at no extra cost. Click here for details.

Brainscape

This website is nothing to do with The Patterson Group – but we love it.  It’s an on-line version of that classic of all revision methods  – the flash card (or index card). The beauty of Brainscape is that you can make your own cards  electronically so they are on your iPad.  It also has a ‘mastery’ feature so once you are confident with a question and answer, it doesn’t come up so often so it forces you to focus on the bits you really struggle with.  It’s just great for ease of access and brilliant when you have a spare 10 minutes to revise. It’s also free when you register.

Click here for their website. If you then search for AF4, you’ll see that we’ve set up a set of AF exam study flash cards. This is our little gift to help you to pass your AF4 exam first time.

Good luck with your exams.

The Diploma Doctor

1