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Under the Microscope: The April 2015 CII AF2 Exam Paper

Under the Microscope: The April 2015 CII AF2 Exam Paper

In this article, we take a closer look at the questions that were asked of candidates in the April 2015 CII AF2 exam. If you plan to sit the AF2 exam in October, this will help you to prepare as much as possible for exam day.

Looking at the questions set in April’s AF2 Business Financial planning exam has been interesting. If you haven’t seen it yet, the paper can be found here:

Question 1

This started off with ratios, one of which was tested in October 2014. It could have been a good start for many – we know ratios will be tested in AF2 – so students should have been prepared – it was 30 marks in total so a lot at stake. A few marks came next on loans followed by a mixture of theory and calculations.

We know AF2 is not an easy exam, but all the areas tested in question 1 should have part of a well prepared student’s study plan.

Question 2

Moving on from question 1 must always be a relief – question 2 and 3 are always shorter and to the point. Question 2 involved a small company with three shareholders all of which wanted to distribute some of the profits as extra remuneration but in different ways, so the first task was to calculate the net amount to each director and the net cost to the company of making a pension contribution, a dividend and a bonus. Other theoretical questions followed with the last one asking about auto-enrolment. We think delegates would have been, on the whole, happy with question 2.

Question 3

Finally question 3, and again concise information was given regarding three partners in an architect firm and very nice questions followed on partnership protection and the pros and cons of converting to a LLP. Every student, we are sure, would have gained most of the marks on offer here.

Previous Exams

The October AF2 paper would have helped a bit with revision – here is the link if you haven’t seen it:


There was a tiny bit of overlap, but in the main, the last 3 papers have all been quite different. Even looking at the papers from 2013 shows that quite different knowledge is being tested all the time.

This doesn’t mean we don’t think you should use past papers; anyone using the April 2013 paper to study for the October 2014 paper would have found some similar themes, and anyone preparing for an AF exam should be aware of the examiner’s comments from previous years.

Some Exam-Taking Pointers

A common comment with all AF exams is that not enough detail is given to get maximum marks. You can usually tell by the marks on offer how detailed you need to be – if there are 8 marks for a theoretical question you tend to need at least as many bullet points.

It’s also worth remembering that questions don’t have to be answered in the order given; as long as they are clearly marked which question you are answering, it seems to us that to start with question 3 in April and then 2 would have given most delegates the confidence to then go on and tackle the much more challenging question 1.

AF2 is tough, but it’s worth also knowing that only the syllabus is tested. J03 is a daunting manual to plough through but it’s well written and covers what you need to know – so prepare a good study plan, make sure you stick to it and practice answering past exam questions using bullet points – your exam marker will be delighted!

Grab the resources you need!

If you’re studying for your CII AF2 exam, and you’re wanting an edge in your exam revision, grab our free taster to try out one of Brand Financial Training’s mock exam papers for yourself.  Click the link to download the AF2 mock exam taster now!

Click here to download our CII AF2 Mock Exam Paper Taster

Over to You…

Do you plan to sit the AF2 exam in October? On what areas do you think you’ll need to focus your study?


This post was brought to you by Brand Financial Training