The CII J07 September 2023 Exam in Review
Here, we are looking at the J07 exam – Supervision in a regulated environment – that was sat in the last exam sitting, September 2023.
This article is correct as at 17 December 2023.
You can find the exam guide here.
A standard J07 question to kick-start the exam. Candidates would be expected to know the FCA’s conduct rules for individuals and senior managers, and well-prepared candidates would have been able to pick up the majority of marks on offer in this part of the question.
Section (b) asked candidates to define the competent employee rule. As two marks were on offer here, to pick up the extra mark, the answer should have not only stated that employees should have the skills knowledge and expertise to discharge responsibilities, but it should have also included the fact that a good standard of ethical behaviour is required.
This question required standard knowledge detailed clearly in the study text around supervision.
One thing you can count on in the J07 exam is a question testing candidates’ understanding of the different leadership and behavioural models. If candidates had revised the key features of each of the models, this question, listing each of the first six steps of Kotter’s model and a disadvantage of each, could have picked up 12 marks.
The pros and cons of the various methods of communication used by businesses are clearly set out in a table in the J07 study text. Even if candidates had not revised this in detail, they could have had a good guess at the advantages and disadvantages of a business using social media as a method of communication.The #CII #J07 syllabus is wide, with a great level of detail required to gain a pass. Here is a review of the last exam paper. Click To Tweet
This question involved a mini case regarding Jacob, a senior manager performing a certified role. The question asked candidates to identify the key areas that must be assessed when undertaking a fitness and propriety assessment and how frequently it will be assessed after his initial assessment. Most candidates familiar with the fit and proper person tests would have scored well here.
This question focused on training needs. Candidates were asked to identify and define three key types of information used to assess training needs and provide an example for each. The wording of this question may have thrown candidates as the CII were looking for the three main sources of training needs i.e., environmental, organisational, and individual.
This question introduced another mini case study with Rhona, a team supervisor, preparing a training and development plan for team member, Morag, who wishes to progress in her role. The questions tested the practical application of setting a plan and how it would benefit her and the company. Candidates who had revised this section of the study text, and worked through the example provided, should have scored well here.
There was a nice offering in Question 8 where candidates were asked to list and explain the six key stages of the financial advice process. This is a well-known part of the syllabus, and most candidates should have performed well.
The data protection principles of the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) were examined in Question 9. This would seem to be a straightforward question, so it was interesting to read in the examiner’s comments that a lot of candidates had set out the GDPR rights rather than the principles. This is a comment we hear frequently in CII written exams. Candidates should always read and re-read the questions.
This question tested knowledge of the balanced scorecard. The question was a typical J07 question, and candidates who had revised and memorised this section in detail would have scored well.
Next, candidates had to identify and describe the five stages of the PESOS coaching structure. Hopefully, most candidates had revised the acronym and were well prepared for this question.
In this question, we see another mini case study around Jack, a new employee about to have his first performance review. Another reasonable question around the benefits and drawbacks, for Jack and his company, of performance reviews. Anyone who has undertaken performance reviews themselves would hopefully have gained some good marks on this question.
This question also tested a very specific area of the syllabus regarding competency-based interviewing. Those who revised this section well would have scored highly.
Here, we saw another example of ensuring candidates read the questions thoroughly. The key features of an ‘effective’ management information system were examined rather than the ‘purpose’ of a management information system which many candidates attempted to answer incorrectly.
In part (b), the same issue could easily have arisen. Candidates were required to answer the question regarding the ‘purpose’ of RAG ratings rather than their ‘features’ or ‘benefits’.
The last question asked for the nine protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 – a straightforward question for candidates who had revised the Act well.
Comparison with the February 2023 Exam Paper
Let’s look at what was tested in the previous exam, held in February 2023, which can be found here.
The topics covered were:
- Competencies for job roles and competencies of supervisors. (10)
- Practical application of the Three Lines Model. (6)
- Hygiene and motivation factors in Herzberg’ Motivation Theory model. (10)
- Applying strategies to manage conflict using the Thomas-Kilmann ‘avoid’ model to client scenario. (10)
- Identifying the essential and desirable information for a job specification. (7)
- Statutory rights of employed and self-employed. (10)
- Features of the Conscious Competence Learning Matrix. (8)
- Providing effective feedback in a client scenario. (8)
- Skills required for an effective counselling session. (5)
- Complaints processes. (8)
- Key areas of an ESG business strategy. (9)
- Career management. (12)
- Key indicators that need to be demonstrated for the ‘Investors in People’ accreditation. (9)
- Examples of unsatisfactory performance and actions a manager should take. (8)
- Disciplinary procedures in line with ACAS guidance. (10)
The J07 syllabus is wide, and this paper, as we have seen with many papers in the past, examined small sections of the syllabus in detail. If those sections had been revised well, candidates would have performed well. There were a couple of questions where candidates needed to pay very close attention to the wording to ensure they were answering the question being asked but overall, this was a very typical J07 exam!
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