If you’re studying for the AF1 exam (or even the AF3 exam, or AF4 exam or AF5 exams), you will have noticed by now that you’re likely to be asked one or two calculation questions. If you’ve looked at any past papers or if you are following our structured study plan, you can’t fail to miss that calculation questions will always be worded as:

”Calculate, showing all your workings…”

The emphasis isn’t mine. There is a very good reason why the CII put this part of the question in bold, and have done for as long as I can remember. It’s because you need to show all your workings to get the maximum number of marks. It might sound obvious, but the simple reason that that part of the question is constantly emboldened is because some candidates still don’t do it and therefore stop themselves getting the easy marks. And it’s these marks which can be so critical.

I’m not saying that calculation questions are easy; the AF1 exam is an advanced level exam. But the examiner is not testing your ability to do maths. It’s not a maths exam.

The CII examiner is testing your understanding of how to do the calculation itself. For this reason calculation questions have what are known as ‘follow-through’ marks. Basically, if you have set out your calculation correctly, but maybe missed one thing out, or added/subtracted your numbers incorrectly, then when you look at the model answer in the examination guide you’ll understandably think you’ve scored nothing.

What the model answer doesn’t show you is that when you get one part wrong, yes, you’ll lose that mark (which is fair enough because you’ve made an error). But, if you use that (your) incorrect answer and show the rest of the calculation process/workings correctly, you’ll get credit for that and so potentially end up getting, say 12 out of 13 available marks even though you made a mistake somewhere along the line.

On the other hand, if you work the whole thing out on rough paper, then cross it through and confidently write the final answer in your book, at best you’ll get one mark assuming what you have written is the correct answer. The examiner has no idea how you’ve got to your answer (even if it is right) and more importantly, you haven’t actually answered the question because you didn’t show all your workings.

So do yourself a BIG favour, maximise your scoring potential and show every single one of your workings, even if you’re not sure what you’re doing.
This is a question we often get asked and later in this exam season we’ll answer the regular questions we get on ’rounding up or rounding down’

Have a great day.