Posted by The Team at Brand Financial Training on July 14, 2020 in Newsletter
14 July 2020
Last week saw the first remote invigilation exam sittings run by the CII. We’d love to know how you found them. (We know there was a nightmare with the CII’s remote invigilation for R06 for many of you.)
Did it add extra stress? Was it complicated? Did it make little difference to sitting in an exam hall? Was it better to type than to write? Do let us know.
For multiple choice financial services exams, don’t forget that tax year 19/20 is examined until 31 August 2020, so all our existing resources available online are valid. We are now working on updating our resources for the 20/21 tax year examinable from 1 September.
Also, don’t forget that J11 was due to have its last sitting in April 2020, but due to the cancellation, there is one final sitting now scheduled for October 2020, which the CII have confirmed will be using the 19/20 syllabus and study text.
The Team at Brand Financial Training
The Little-Known Tax Perk of Being Married
The marriage allowance is a scheme to give income tax relief to married couples, but it does only apply to those couples with very specific circumstances. Here, we discuss those circumstances and provide an example that will be useful to those who are studying for any of the CII CF1, R01, R03, R06, AF1, or AF5 exams.
Let’s remind ourselves of the circumstances that need to exist for the Marriage Allowance to apply:
Firstly, couples need to be married or in a civil partnership
The spouse wishing to transfer must have an income of less than £12,500
The spouse receiving the transferred allowance must not be a higher rate taxpayer
The receiving spouse must be resident in the UK for tax purposes
The amount that can be transferred in the 2019/20 tax year (and 2020/21) is limited to £1,250
This, therefore, only benefits couples where one doesn’t earn enough income to use their full personal allowance (less than £12,500) and the other one is paying tax at no more than the basic rate.
For those born before 6 April 1935, it is probably more beneficial to claim the (more generous) married couple’s allowance instead (you can still apply for the marriage allowance, but it’s not possible to receive the marriage allowance and the married couple’s allowance at the same time).
Is it time to embrace your inner night owl or morning lark?
We’ve all heard about the current pandemic potentially ‘resetting the world’. And if that sounds a shade over-ambitious, one thing the present crisis could perhaps more realistically reset is our sleeping patterns.
It appears that these have changed somewhat in recent months, with some of us retiring to bed at a different hour and waking slightly later than usual. At the same time, others have been getting rather less rest than ‘normal’ (whatever that is).
Sleep scientist Matthew Walker believes recent data indicates that more of us are beginning to enjoy our slumber in keeping with what’s called our biological chronotype or internal clock – whether that’s morning lark, night owl, or somewhere in-between. In practice, the average sleep cycle typically runs from around 11.30 pm until about 7.30 am, although many people change bedtimes and rising times during their lives and as they get older.
(A night owl, incidentally, should not be confused with an insomniac, or someone who is awake late because they can’t sleep.)
Interestingly, chronotype is something that’s predominantly biologically fixed, meaning it’s hardwired into our bodies and not an easy thing to change, although not impossible.
Walker has suggested that as more of us return to our day jobs in the weeks and months ahead, employers could even ask staff their preferred sleeping and waking times, and start to work these into individual work schedules.
That may sound like a radical proposal – but when you consider how much more productive, creative, and efficient we all are when we’re well rested, perhaps it isn’t such a crazy idea?
And it may well be that this is something worth thinking about as you use lockdown to reflect on how best you work and study, and begin to plan ahead.
Available for AF1, AF4, AF5, AF7, CF1, J02, J05, J10, R01, R02, R03, R04, R05, R06
..."Your study notes were invaluable… I would advise everybody who is due to sit these to use the study notes and the mock exams as these will give you a terrific insight into how the exams work. Good luck."...
Brian Lynn, Partner, Brian Lynn Financial Services
Passing your CII exam can seem like a struggle, especially when the study text arrives on your doorstep with a heavy thud. Our study notes immediately focus your mind and help you sort the wheat from the chaff so that you can spend time revising what needs to be revised and get focused on what is needed.
They put the exam syllabus into a sensible order and you can download them instantly in PDF format.
Why not try before you buy? Download one of our free tasters:
..."The Brand training material certainly helps you to focus on the key information required and get straight to the salient facts. Having to read all of RO4 and JO5 was daunting but by using the notes as a guide it helped me to condense a lot of this information quickly."...
Mandy Saunders, Verifier
Updated Resources for the New Examinable Tax Year 2020/21
We’ll be updating all our 19/20 resources in July/August, and all purchasers of our 19/20 resources will be entitled to the 20/21 versions free of charge*. The updated resources will be available in late August. We’ll keep you informed as the time draws nearer.
*Note this does not apply to: IF exams whose examinable year ends on 31 Dec; the e-learning videos, which have a 6-month subscription, or our R03 hard copy study text.
Last Ever J11 Wrap and Platform Services Exam Sitting
Last ever sitting of J11 is in October 2020. We have confirmed with the CII that they will NOT be updating the CII study text for this exam, so you can continue to use the 19/20 study text as well as our 19/20 resources.
You can find the full information here. Contact the CII directly if you have any questions about this.
Our resources can help you revise for J12. Find out more here.
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!
Quote of the Month
..." Begin while others are procrastinating. Work while others are wishing. "...
William Arthur Ward
"5 Questions in 5 Minutes Every Friday"
This is a bit of Friday Fun where we provide you with 5 questions (and answers) relevant to a mix of CII exams. The challenge is for you to answer the questions 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!
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.