How to review effectively

In addition to being a great way to revise, past exam guides are a treasure trove of top tips from the examiners themselves.

In this blog post, we take a look at the latest AF4 exam guide to be released – October 2019.

Reflecting on how you are learning as well as what you are learning

The first two things to note are both points that we’ve actually covered on the forum in feedback to our current learners who’ve been practising having a go at exam style questions.

Firstly, the examiner stated that ‘Candidates answering with a succinct, bullet-point focused style were more effective, and this style of answer was more efficient in gaining marks than the longer, narrative style answer.’

So, use bullets rather than full sentences; this makes it easier for the examiner to pick out the key points that you’re making and to match them to their answer scheme.

Secondly, ‘Candidates should always be aware of the relationship between the number of available marks for a question-part and the number of distinct points required in their answer.’

This is about planning your answer. For example, let’s say the question asks you to state three benefits and three drawbacks of using a stocks and shares ISA as a long-term investment vehicle for retirement, compared to a personal pension. Jot down two of each, and the maximum marks you can possibly get for this question is 4 out of 6. You need at least three of each to get full marks. You might want to try and aim for 4, just in case one of your answers is wrong. But, be mindful of managing your time in the exam and don’t go overboard by aiming for 5 or 6.

There are a couple of other useful tips that stand out in this particular exam guide:

  • Make sure you answer all parts of the question asked. For example, candidates were asked to state 2 reasons why a client might put off the decision to invest, along with 1 justification for each reason. While almost all candidates identified 2 reasons, many did not add the justification and were therefore unable to get full marks.
  • Make sure you answer the question asked. Candidates were asked about a SEIS – but many answered as if the question had been about the EIS. It’s more easily done than you’d think with exam pressure making you rush. Take your time and read the question carefully (and then read it again) before you go ahead and answer it.

Be a sponge!

Sponges surround themselves with people and resources who can help them. They build, tap into and feed on as much information as they can absorb.  They ask questions, listen, and learn new things and we are here to help you all the way.  You don’t have to be a genius to pass these exams – you just need to be a sponge and soak up the success!

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