Posted by The Team at Brand Financial Training on February 9, 2021 in Newsletter
9 February 2021
Happy February to you all, and hats off to all of you whose new year’s resolutions are still going strong! If this year’s goals include passing a number of CII exams, there is plenty of good news:
The CII exam centres currently remain open or if you prefer you have the option of remote invigilation.
Also, this year, the CII are staggering their written exams rather than holding them over a three-day period in April and October and, if all goes to plan, they will be offering three sitting of most of the ‘J’ and ‘AF’ exams rather than two as in previous years – so plenty of flexibility and opportunity to achieve those exam goals.
Good luck to all those of you taking exams in the coming few weeks and remember, we are here if you need any help or advice.
The Team at Brand Financial Training
A Quick Look at The Money and Pensions Service
In early 2019, the Single Financial Guidance Body was formed. Later that year, it was rebranded as the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) and launched to the wider community. An understanding of MaPS is particularly relevant to the CII’s R01, R04, R06, and CF1 examinations, so in this article, we take a quick look at the new service.
MaPS brings together and, in time will replace, three existing financial guidance bodies: the Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service, and Pension Wise.
Its mission is to ensure everyone in the UK can easily access the information they need to make the right decisions for them throughout their lives, making the most of their money and pensions. It is the largest single funder of free debt advice in England.
Five Core Functions
MaPS aims to deliver its mission across five core functions:
Pension guidance – Via The Pensions Advisory Service, it provides expert help to those with pension queries. Via Pension Wise, it supports those aged 50+ in making decisions regarding their defined contribution pension pots.
Debt advice – Working with delivery partners, MaPS provides free and effective debt advice as well as support for debt advisers.
Money guidance – Under the Money Advice Service brand, it provides free, impartial money guidance through its call centre and online via its website and webchat function.
Consumer protection – MaPS is working with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to help prevent consumers’ becoming victims of financial scams.
The Service is looking to provide a point of focus for those working on financial capability with children and young people and delivering debt advice. This is provided under the new ‘UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing’ brand.
3 Ways to List Your Way to Being Motivated to Study
Motivation to study can be ever elusive. There are always other tasks that seem more appealing. At times, even the most undesirable of tasks can be better than cracking open your textbook. Unfortunately, putting study off can result in less than desirable outcomes on exam results day. Here are three ways you can use lists to keep up your motivation to spend time revising.
Do you ever find that when it is time to study, any other activity would be better than sitting yourself down with your textbook? The oven suddenly needs cleaning, the car needs detailing, or you decide it’s time to cull, edit and re-organise your digital photo collection. You are not alone; many people struggle to find the motivation to study.
Unfortunately, studying is one of those responsibilities that can have terrible consequences should you choose to procrastinate or, worse, not study at all. But how does one find the time and energy and the focus needed to get motivated? Here’s the answer and it only requires three easy steps.
1 – Portion your time and topics.
Too often we lose our focus and energy when faced with a large amount of information that must be learned and studied. By breaking down your studying into smaller steps that require less time to complete (say no more than 15 minutes), you will be more encouraged – and motivated – to get started and to stay on track.
Look at how much time you have to devote to your studies. Look at what you need to study. Then create a written list of what topics to cover and how much time you will be devoting to each. Just by making this plan of action, you will become more encouraged.
If AF7 is on your radar for 2021, we’re offering brand new resources to help prepare you for one of the toughest of the CII financial planning exams. We already offer mock papers; now we’re pleased to offer two additional resources: Revision Notes and Core Knowledge.
Core Knowledge – This resource covers the ‘staple’ questions which come up in AF7 time and time again as well as a focus on understanding key calculations from across the syllabus*. You’ll find questions, answers, detailed explanations, and cross-references to the relevant CII study text. We feel that practising these questions is key to your AF7 revision.
Revision Notes – A streamlined version of the learning outcomes and exam syllabus designed for use when you are further along with your studies. They will be a more focused take on the CII’s exam syllabus and learning outcomes with self-test questions.
Do take a look here for more info. And don’t forget to check out our best value study kits for an additional 10% off the price of buying these resources individually.
*Whilst you are unlikely to be asked to perform calculations in the exam, you do need to understand the calculation methods.
MP3 Audio Masterclasses
..."Your MP3 audio masterclasses were of great quality. I felt they reminded me of some things I had not thought about for some time and prompted some wider study. The content was accurate, relevant and up to date for the exam and the length of each class was very good. The approach was not patronising like so many learning MP3s. I would definitely recommend..."
Richard Baxter, Senior Financial Adviser, Gower Financial Services, Guernsey
Available for AF1, AF4, J02, R01, R02, R03, R04 and R05
Every individual has his/her own learning style. Learning by listening provides an alternative to reading and re-reading the study text, and can help with absorbing and understanding materials. Our MP3 audio masterclasses come in digestible chunks allowing you to listen at home, in the car, at the gym or wherever else you may be.
For a list of each masterclass in your chosen exam, go to:
From next Friday, we will be busy preparing our AF5 fact-find analysis ready for release on 19 February. We were thrilled our customers achieved a pass rate of 77% in 2020 compared to the current CII pass rate of 57%*.
The analysis aims to give you a better understanding of how to tackle the AF5 exam, looking at potential objectives, likely questions and model answers based on the assumed objectives plus generic questions and help with exam technique.
* The CII percentage shown is as displayed on the CII website as at 4 February 2021. Our pass rate is based on the feedback from those customers who respond to our email asking them about their results.
March Exam Sitting Cancelled for AF4
The March AF4 exam has been cancelled due to social distancing restrictions and so the next sitting is planned for 24 June 2021. Do keep your ears open with regards other possible cancellations as it’s a fast-moving situation! The latest information can be found on the CII website.
Updates to CII Study Texts
Here’s a reminder that the CII update their study texts throughout the examinable year to either incorporate new legislations, correct errors or clarify information. Many candidates aren’t aware of this, which can result in candidates studying out-of-date information.
To find out if you have the most up-to-date information, visit the CII website, navigate to your chosen exam and click on ‘learning solutions update’ in the ‘Unit updates’ section in the sidebar.
Note that we keep our resources up-to-date with any updates from the CII.
Did You Miss These Posts on Our Blog?
Articles and Help for All Your Exams
You’ll find that there’s something for everyone when you check out our blog:
specific topics and how-to articles;
reviews of recent CII exam papers;
our Friday Five – a weekly quiz to give you a fun break from reading the study text;
study techniques that help you to retain your revision and keep your brain working for you, when you need it
Here are the blog posts you might have missed since our last newsletter:
There’s such a variety of information on offer to help you as you tackle your CII exams, that you won’t want to miss a single post. We’ve made it easy for you; just click the button below and enter your email details. Be ‘in the know’ with CII-exam-related tips and info – straight to your inbox!
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Friday 5 Focus on...
"5 Questions in 5 Minutes Every Friday"
Each week, we ask questions relating to one of these topics: Investments, Taxation, Pensions, Protection, or Regulation. The challenge is for you to answer them in 5 minutes.
Where do I find the Friday Five?
We post each week’s Friday Five to our blog first thing every Friday. You can either visit our blog every Friday at https://brandft.co.uk/blog/ or you can simply go there now, and click on the subscribe button in the top right-hand corner of the blog and sign up to receive notifications of our Friday Five posts.
Note that we don’t email the Friday Five out to everybody every Friday, so we recommend you sign up to our blog at https://brandft.co.uk/blog/ so that you receive an email notification when it is posted. It will only take you a minute to sign up.
A bit of Friday Fun, but with the added benefit of testing your exam knowledge!