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The April 2015 CII J03 Exam – Big on Business Structures

The April 2015 CII J03 Exam – Big on Business Structures

When the CII releases the exam paper from the last sitting, we do a review of the questions asked of candidates to see where the curve balls lie and we give you advice on where you can focus your study. Here is the CII J03 exam review for the April 2015 sitting. This will be of interest to you if you’re planning to sit J03 in October.

This week we’re looking at the J03 April exam – the tax and legal aspects of business.

The April 2015 Exam Paper

You can find a copy here:

http://www.cii.co.uk/media/5973036/j03_april_2015_qp.pdf

Two hours are given to answer 15 short answer questions for a total of 130 marks, and one thing you can say for the J0 exams is that they do seem to follow a format without too many wide-of-the-mark questions.

The April exam began with testing knowledge on financial risks for a sole trader and deciding on a business name. These topics are of course in the manual, but when you’re asked for three advantages (of registering a business name as a trade mark) and the book only offers one, it can be hard to know what the question writer is looking for.

It goes without saying that all of the business structures will be tested extensively, and in this paper there were also 15 marks for partnership knowledge and 14 marks on liquidation of a limited company. The rest of the paper was made up of self-employed tax liabilities, performance ratios, SAYE schemes , national insurance, trading profits, dismissing employees, shares and IHT, double option agreements and CGT.

The October 2014 Exam Paper

Comparing this paper with the one from last October, and April 2015 we feel was the gentler option. You can find October’s paper here:

http://www.cii.co.uk/media/5620619/j03_october_2014_qp.pdf

On first glance this paper looks challenging. In 2013 the pass rate for J03 was 56.30% – this dropped to 54.81% in 2014. Compare this to the non-written exams such as J10 (81.06%) and J12 (72.89%). Of course, it goes without saying that you need to be prepared for J03 in a different way than the multiple choice exams but the pass rates are quite telling.

So the October paper, you will see, had questions on SSASs and property, key person insurance, another question on dismissing employees, bankruptcy orders, a nice 8-point question on allowable business expenses, class 1 national insurance, tax relief on loans and 10 marks for ratios where interestingly the CII give the formula in the question – which must have been a relief to many…

One question that does stand out is question 10 where 12 marks were on offer to describe the rules for setting up an EMI scheme and the taxation treatment. SAYE schemes, share incentive plans and share option schemes are the schemes most advisers would have come across and be familiar with – EMIs not so much and not something we feel has been overly tested in the past. For relatively big marks question 10 would have caused a few sinking feelings in the room.

Grab the resources you need!

If you’re studying for your CII J03 exam, and you’re biting your nails due to anxiety about exam day, grab our free taster to try out one of Brand Financial Training’s mock exam papers for yourself.  Click the link to download the J03 mock exam taster now!

Click here to download  our free taster mock paper for CII J03Over to You…

Are you knowledgeable in the areas described above? If you’re planning on sitting J03 in October, which areas do you think will pose the greatest challenge for you?

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