Posted by The Team at Brand Financial Training on May 12, 2020 in Newsletter
12 May 2020
The CII are keeping us on our toes at the moment. Recently, the CII announced a new July sitting for those who had booked onto the AF1, AF5 and AF7 April sittings, that were cancelled.
The new July sittings are now available to everyone; although, there are limited spaces in only a few locations. Do contact the CII to either move your booking or make a new booking. Of course, do bear in mind that noone knows what will be going on in July, so there is always a chance that they will be cancelled.
For the July sittings, examinable tax year 19/20 is examined (as 19/20 is examined until 31 August 2020), so all our existing resources available online are valid. You can also purchase our AF5 July analysis online as normal.
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. Again, please contact the CII to book.
As for many of you, the team here at Brand Financial Training continue to juggle children, schoolwork, and work, with the associated good days and bad. We hope you are coping ok. If you have decided that now is the time to study, we’re still here for you. You can purchase and download resources from our website 24/7 as normal. And if you purchase any of our 19/20 resources, you will be able to claim the 20/21 versions free of charge, when they are ready in late August. You can find out more below.
If you have any queries, all we ask is that you bear with us, as it may take longer for us to answer the phone or respond to emails.
The Team at Brand Financial Training
9 Ways to Increase Your Chances of Passing Your CII Written Exam
With some written exams back on track for July and the rest in October, it’s time to think about exam technique and how to give yourself the best chance of receiving the marks on offer.
1. With the Advanced Financial Planning Exams, be specific, and keep the clients in the case study in mind at all times.
With AF exams, your answers should be related to the actual case study as much as is possible. If they are not, there is a real risk you won’t be awarded the mark.
2. Use bullet points.
It’s true that bullet points are a lot easier to mark for the examiners, but they can also benefit the student. Using bullet points helps you to be concise and focused and prevents waffle – a practice that rarely results in extra marks. Look at the exam guides for your subject, study the marking schemes, and practise answering in this way.
3. Use the number of marks available as an indicator of how many points are needed.
If the question is for eight marks, you will be expected to make eight different points – one point wouldn’t be given two marks. However, two marks might be within one sentence, for example: ‘Their home is owned as joint tenants (for one mark); therefore, Julie will inherit Tom’s share (for one mark)’.
The examiner will look for the correct points throughout your whole answer, i.e. they won’t just mark the first eight points you give, so if you can think of more, write them down. Also, if the question asks you to recommend and justify something, then don’t forget to do both, as you would expect that half the marks will be for the recommendation and half for the justification. If it helps, then draw yourself a line through the page to clearly show your recommendation one side and your justification the other – again, the examiner will love you for this. You can also do this if you are asked for the pros and cons of products or a particular comparison.
Why your ‘study type’ may no longer matter – and what to do instead
Few would seriously claim that lockdown is fun for all of us, all of the time. However, it may present the best opportunity you’ve had in a while to pause, take stock, and think strategically about the way you work best.
For example, it was once widely thought that if students knew which learning strategies best suited them, they’d learn more effectively and efficiently. So, from the 1980s, tailored learning approaches were fashionable, as educational theorists devised questionnaires to identify four main kinds of adult learners.
Activists (those who learn by doing)
Theorists (those who like facts and concepts)
Pragmatists (those who experiment with ideas and the way they work)
Reflectors (watchers and thinkers)
The idea was that you just had to find your own learning type and stick with it, and success would be yours.
Inevitably, however, and perhaps unsurprisingly, in reality things aren’t quite that straightforward. Over the years, a number of variations on this theme have been bandied around. But in more recent times, there’s been a definite shift in favour of a more holistic approach.
…“The R01 videos, study notes, workbook and practice papers were so helpful and made revision a lot more approachable. It really helped me to pass when I failed before! I look forward to using your other materials for the other exams!…
Sarah, DC Pensions Associate Consultant, London
Covering the exam learning outcomes, our modular e-learning packages provide you with 24/7 online access, for 3 months, to videos, a workbook including handouts and self-test questions for each module, and PDFs of the slides used in the videos.
E-Learning is a great alternative to face-to-face training:
No travel required
You can watch the videos as many times as you need – it is not “once only” where vital information can be missed
You receive further support via the workbook with handouts and self-test questions
As the R01 and R02 exams are broken down into modules, you don’t experience overwhelm (and exhaustion!)
Why not try before you buy? Download one of our free tasters:
The CII’s July sittings for AF1, AF5 and AF7 are now open to everyone. They were previously only open to those who had been booked on the cancelled April sittings. Whilst they are now open to everyone, the sittings are only available in a handful of locations and there are limited spaces. You can book online with the CII as usual, or give them a call.
A full range of Brand Financial Training’s resources* are available for all your exam sittings, including mock papers, calculation workbooks, study notes, audio masterclasses, analyses and more:
*Tax year 19/20 is examined until 31 August 2020, and therefore will be examined in the July sitting. Therefore all our resources are valid for that exam.
Updated Resources for the New Examinable Tax Year 2020/21
With things being so uncertain at this time, we want to assure you that we’ll be updating all our 19/20 resources as usual 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.
*This does not apply to IF exams, where the examinable year ends on 31 Dec.
Last Ever J11 Wrap and Platform Services Exam Sitting
J11 is being withdrawn by the CII. The last and only remaining sitting was meant to occur in April 2020, but it was cancelled. This last sitting is now due to be held in October 2020*.
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
..." An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. "...
"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.