Why you should act now if the CII Business Exams are for you
Business Financial Planning is an area that hasn’t seen a huge take-up in terms of exam entries, which is presumably why the CII recently announced the two relevant units, J03 ‘The Tax and Legal aspects of Business’ and AF2 ‘Business Financial Planning’, would be discontinued at the end of this year.
There will be an AF2 sitting in May and a J03 sitting in June with a re-sit opportunity for both units in the autumn – just for those students who have previously failed the exam. If this is an area that interests you, then it might be time to consider these exams before it’s too late.
J03 is a level 4 unit tested by a 2-hour exam made up of 15 short-answer questions, and AF2 is a level 6 unit tested by a 3-hour exam comprising three case studies with various questions on each.
The current pass rate for J03 is 52% and for AF2 it’s just 40%. It’s clear from these figures that both units require a great deal of work to secure a pass, and this shouldn’t be underestimated.
What do the syllabuses cover?
If you look at the syllabus for both J03 and AF2, you will see many similarities; both cover:
- the main legal forms of business
- bankruptcy and insolvency
- business accounting
- employment law
- business protection
What are the differences and similarities between J03 and AF2?
The difference is that J03 candidates need to demonstrate an understanding of these areas whilst AF2 candidates must evaluate and recommend appropriate solutions based on detailed understanding and analysis.
Both exams are quite formulaic in that the same subjects tend to get examined frequently, for example, bankruptcy is often tested as are ratios and it goes without saying that in each exam unit there will be questions on business protection. Students must ensure they understand all of the different business protection solutions including key man insurance.
AF2 students should also be fully prepared for a question on pensions; in previous papers, candidates have been tested on the rules governing an SSAS loan to the business, a calculation to work out the pension contribution needed to buy a property with maximum borrowing and the tax treatment of the required pension contribution. When writing answers, students must remember to apply their technical knowledge to the case study where possible. Just repeating a list of facts will not necessarily gain you all the marks on offer in an AF paper.The CII has announced the discontinuation of two units by the end of 2021. Click To Tweet
The J03 manual is the core learning resource for both exams and it’s a challenging book – it’s one of the biggest, and students will need to prepare a detailed study plan to ensure they cover everything. Also important though is using old exam papers and other mock papers to practise exam technique.
With there being just one more opportunity for new students to enter these exams, now might be the time to add something more to the exam credit pot; J03 provides 20 credits towards the Diploma and AF2 provides 30 credits towards the Advanced Diploma.
Grab the resources you need!
If you’re studying for your CII AF2 exam, and you’re wanting to feel prepared on exam day, you’ll need to practise applying the knowledge. Grab our free taster to try out one of Brand Financial Training’s resources for yourself. Click the link to download the AF2 calculation workbook taster now!
Alternatively, you can download a taster for one of our J03 resources if you are preparing for that exam.
Information in this article is correct as at 9th March 2021.