Posted by Catriona Standingford on September 11, 2018 in Newsletter
11 September 2018
I love September. Kids are back at school, the sun is still shining (sort of), and I can get back to some sort of normality. Mind you, since last week, I have been getting used to a new ‘normal’ with all three of my kids going to a completely new school. It’s a learning experience for us all, and it feels like my head is going to explode with all the new information I’m having to absorb and act on. I also have an additional job title now – taxi driver. The school isn’t local, so I’m being a taxi to-ing and fro-ing twice a day until we’re all settled and then, we might consider the school bus.
My youngest also turned five last Thursday. He’s just started school (eldest in Reception year), and all I can say is “Man About School”. It’s like he’s got the whole thing sussed and swaggers about. I wonder when reality will set in…
And keeping to the education theme, September also means a new examinable tax year for CII financial services exams. So make sure you’re using up-to-date resources for 2018/19.
Enjoy the last smidge of Summer!
Catriona and the Team Brand Financial Training
Taking a closer look at the very challenging CII AF7 exam
Here we’re taking a closer look at the CII’s AF7 Pension Transfers exam. It’s a challenging exam, which is evident in the low pass rate. We delve deeper into what was tested in the last two sittings, and give readers some hints on how to prepare themselves for exam day.
If we look at the annual pass rates for the CII Advanced Diploma exams in 2017, we can see there was a rise in delegates passing AF1 (tax and trusts), but a drop in those passing AF2 (business planning), AF4 (investment planning) and AF5 (financial planning) – we are not sure why the result for AF6 was n/a. What is also interesting is that the first sitting of AF7 the Pension Transfer exam produced the lowest AF paper result, with only 43.74% of candidates gaining a pass in that paper.
AF7 is a challenging paper, for a reason
The first thing to say about the AF7 exam is that it has to be a challenging paper; in the CII words ‘the objective of the pension transfer qualification is to develop the specialist knowledge and skills needed for advising on the transfer of safeguarded benefits’. Pension transfers are in the news all the time, and regulation is being updated regularly along with FCA consultations. The CII Level 4 ‘Certificate in Pension Transfer Advice’ satisfies the FCA qualification requirements for those wishing to get involved with pension transfer business and is on completion of R01 Financial Services, regulation and ethics, R02 Investment principles and risk, R04 Pensions and retirement planning and AF7. So let’s focus on the AF7 exam by looking at the papers from October 2017 and April 2018.
Brought to you in association with Lysette Offley at Genius Material
15 Ways to Learn by Doing [+Free Printable]
Some people learn best by doing. If you’re one of those people, you can do worse than to link things you want to remember to things you do that you’re already very familiar with – such as a hobby or directions for making something. This article gives you some great ideas that will suit the doers among us.
Here are some ideas for bringing ‘doing’ activities into your revision. Give it a go and notice what works well for you.
Once you’ve made your notes, trace the keywords in the air with your finger. It might feel a bit daft at first, but if it works for you, it could make a huge difference.
When you make revision notes – doodle! Doing something as you learn – even twirling a pen while you read – it all helps.
Role-play. Mime and imitate or act out the content of your notes.
Move around. Try learning in different positions. Maybe sitting at the desk isn’t the best place for you after all. Experiment by lying down or propping yourself up on a cushion and see what keeps you the most comfortable the longest.
If possible, use modeling clay to make models of what you’re learning.
Take frequent study breaks. That’s important for everyone, but especially for you. Take steps to avoid getting bored or distracted. Keep your revision purposeful by doing it in short bursts.
Use a computer. The tactile sensations of your fingertips on the keyboard help the information to go in.
Updated Resources for the New Examinable Tax Year 2018/19
We have updated all of our CII financial services exam resources for the new examinable tax year 2018/19 that began on 1 September.
Available for AF5 and R06
...“Brand’s Fact Find Analysis for AF5 was instrumental in my obtaining a pass. Furthermore, I found the friendly and engaging approach of Catriona evidenced a genuine interest in my successfully navigating this level 6 paper.”...
Marius Hampden, Consultant, Hopwood Ash Financial Planning, Newbury
Passing AF5 or R06 isn’t only about having the necessary knowledge and understanding, it’s about being able to apply that knowledge exactly as needed and in a timely manner.
It is essential that you have fully prepared for the exam and are ready to answer questions relating to the fact-find/case studies. If you go into the exam unprepared, you will lose vital time and marks. Our full analysis covers the areas that you are likely to see in the exam. However other questions may be asked, and we strongly advise you to think around other potential areas of questioning.
At least 10 calendar days before the exam sittings for R06 and AF5, we email in PDF format, a full detailed analysis of the fact-find/case studies issued by the CII for the next exam sitting plus types of questions and examiner’s comments, exam technique and past paper analysis, AND it includes access to email support for 1 working day before the exam (9am-5pm). The AF5 fact-find analysis also covers potential objectives and likely questions based on assumed objectives.
Pre-order our analysis (plus email support) before the discount disappears in the last week of September!
Why not try before you buy? Download one of our free tasters:
...“Your R06 case study analysis was great & definitely helped significantly – it was good to know that you are revising the right areas & hi-lighted some areas which I hadn’t anticipated – it covered the vast majority of the questions … I have used your resources on RO1, RO2,RO3, RO4,RO5 & RO6 & passed them all first time so would recommend them to anybody taking these exams.”...
Jonathan Woodman, Boroughbridge
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;
information on recent updates to the CII study texts.
Here are the blog posts you might have missed since our last newsletter:
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"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!