||Article by Paul Archer
I've been helping students through their DipFA qualification for almost two years' now and this article is designed to share all the best practises, tips and strategies that can help you achieve a really good mark in this challenging exam.
I'm going to share with you various tips that have come from examiner's reports, students I've worked with over the years and share with you a really good structure that can help you prepare.
Firstly what is the final exam all about?
How the exam works?
It's a 3 hour written, soon to be typed, exam where you need to digest a case study beforehand and then create a carefully written report to your fictional client.
The case study is delivered to you in advance, about two weeks. You have time to prepare, read up in areas of weakness, put together some figures to back up your report and write it completely in advance. And you should too, why not, that's why they send it to you beforehand.
On the day of the exam, you'll get a couple of wobblies, i.e. some subtle changes to the exam paper that might change your report slightly, but if you've done your preparation well enough, these last minute changes won't cause you too many problems.
Picture your client
The case study will be as real as possible, there will be some anomalies and these need to be verified. However you should treat it as a real person and write the report to this person, not the examiner, although you'll want to impress him or her to gain marks. Care with too much impressing as you might fall foul and the examiner might mark you down for over doing the technical aspects.
Plain language is so important, bear in mind who the client is and write for them to understand. Picture them sitting down with a cup of tea with their feet up, reading your report, and trying to make head or tail of it as they sip their brew.
The marking system
It's important to appreciate the marks you gain from the paper so you can focus in the right area.
You get a total of 150 marks -
10 for the introduction, summary
10 for calculating affordability
30 for presentation, language, style
100 for your options, recommendations and advice.
So spend some time on a well crafted introduction, calculations and style and you'll already be on for 50 marks, and you only need 75 to pass.
A time honoured structure
Purpose of report
Synopsis of situation
Summary of objectives
More information needed
Attitude to Risk
Immediate improvements/quick fixes
The structure explained
Begin the report by writing to the client and address him or her by name and talk in the first person e.g. "Brian we spoke about your desire to purchase a home abroad and to do this I will be looking at...."
Agree the purpose of the report and this should link in with his objectives and aims. Talk about the information gleaned, but be brief here, don't just go repeating what's in the Factfinds. Summarise to suit your own words and language to match the client
It's here you may wish to start making some assumptions so that you can agree his objectives clearly. This may be followed by some questions to ask him if you need more information or to confirm or clarify something. Assumptions are fine, as long as you know how these are to be clarified or you merely ask the client to confirm. I know in real life you wouldn't make any assumptions but do you?
Only when you and your client know where you're going can you really get into the report and decide the action for him to take.
Here you can gain some handy marks for showing your knowledge of Income Tax and National Insurance to work out how much money the client can afford to pay for your regular income product you're going to recommend.
Don't space out your calculations like a textbook; instead write them out for the client to understand. Narrate every line of figures so they know what you mean and can follow.
Be accurate, obviously, you'll get marks for the right answer. But you'll get more marks for the workings out along the way. It's just like doing your maths exams at school.
Immediate improvements/quick fixes
There may be some really quick things that might improve your customers situation and don't merit a heading in the recommendations section.
For example switching investment name from husband to wife to minimise taxation or paying off a credit card or other high interest loan with money from deposits.
This section is worth 100 marks and is the meat of the whole report. Break down your recommendations into chunks and allocate time according to how important they are. Try to decide how many marks the examiner might allocate to each section and then spend relevant time on each one.
Try to put them in priority order as this is good financial planning practice.
Put down the options to the client, explain them, and talk to the client as you go.
Make your recommendations and justify why, use real figures where you can. Don't leave it open for the client to decide and too many "we'll decide these when we meet again."
You want to earn marks with a firm recommendation with a justifiable reason why.
If you're not qualified to advise, pass them onto someone who is or another professional such as a solicitor.
Think of your five W's - what, who, how, why and when, for example
What is the advice
Who is involved
How will you make it work?
Why do they need it
When should you start it?
The final part of the report is the next steps section. Here you'll want to wrap things up, give a clear direction for the client to know his next steps, confirm your review arrangements, fee structure maybe.
Some final tips
Keep an eye on time - 3 hours is a long time when you're sitting on the beach doing nothing but goes really quickly when you're enjoying yourself. Seriously though, plan your time and make sure you finish the report. You get most marks in the first few minutes of any section, so you need to at least start every section.
Presentation and structure. It needs to be clearly laid out and look like a proper professional report with headings, sub headings. Maybe tables, a series of bullet points, graphics, illustrations. Why not, after all it's for the customer, so maybe a risk graph might work better than a wall of words. Most people, nowadays, are visual in nature and pictures can paint a thousand words.
All technical terms explained. Don't throw in a technical term, without explaining it, just don't. Anything slightly complex will need explaining in words the customer can understand. Beware the TLA - three letter acronyms - our world is full of them, you know what they mean but does your client?
Less is more. Good communication is powerful and uses few words, just take a look at posters and leaflets; they're conservative with their use of words. Why waffle on when a short concise statement will do. Besides you only have 3 hours to write.
Some useful ideas and tips here, I hope you agree. Remember to do as much preparation beforehand to maximise your success in the exam. Good luck
For more information on the DipFA public Courses, visit http://www.archertraining.co.uk and sign up for the Weekly Sales Tips while you're there.
Sales Training Course Uk
Sales Training Program
Sales Training Uk
Sales Team Training
Sales Training Courses
Sales Training Consultancy
Sales Management Training
Sales Courses Uk
What Server 2008 Means For IT Professionals (Popularity: ): With the manufacturing and distributing of Microsoft's Server 2008, the technological world is about to be spun around, beneficially so, and given a bit of a mechanical facelift. The beauteous creation of Windows Server 2008 is scheduled to officially be unveiled and launched on February 27, 2008. Microsoft's Server 2008 is gaining huge buzz, both from the Media and the new OS's creator, Microsoft, as being one of the biggest ...
Getting A Job and Starting A Career With Computers (Popularity: ): In today's fast-paced and technically-driven world almost any type of job involves using computers. To be unfamiliar with current and evolving technological trends is to be in the doldrums and lagging behind others who are surging rapidly ahead in their careers. So, it only makes sense to become familiar, and even extremely knowledgeable about computers, whether ranging from basic to advanced knowhow. And it's not like knowing about or working ...
Business Analyst Certification (Popularity: ): Establishments nowadays are speedily getting bigger because of a international fiscal growth. Businesses are making an effort in order to enjoy worldwide conditions in order to swiftly boost their income. Rivalry amid companies is powerful in this ecosystem. Winning relies on several factors. A chief prerequisite is a thorough knowledge of an individual company's basic arrangement. This includes a total study of the company's strong suits, faults as well as ...
Start Your Information Technology Career Off With an A+ With CompTIA's A+ Network+ Program (Popularity: ): The knowledge and skills to service and maintain computers in a real-world environment is a valuable, much sought after skill. Trying to learn these skills by one's self can be a difficult and time-consuming process. A better way to learn these skills in a timely and efficient manner is through CompTIA A+ Network+ certification.CompTIA's A+ Network+ is a combination program where students gain a foundation in PC hardware, operating system ...
Computer Based Training And Web Based Training (Popularity: ): What are CBT and WBT?Electronic learning or e-learning is an umbrella term for learning enhanced by the use of computers. To make this happen efficiently, there are many technologies in use, such as CBT and WBT.Computer Based Training (CBT) is a new-age way of learning. It is a form of education in which a student learns by using special training programs while on a computer. This system worked well in ...
Dumps Point (Popularity: ): Dumps Point offers the latest real questions and answer, the real exam topics, to ensure you pass exam successfully, Brain Dumps professional provides Q&As as the same as real exam. The cheap and pocket friendly rates on these certificate programs can be accessed at, It is suitable to use the, for superb performance in your grades. Once you go through the Cert Key training materials thoroughly, it’s guaranteed that you ...
Pass Dumps (Popularity: ): We all know that succeeding in Exam is essential in the IT industry. Pass Dumps provides through guidance with our brand new and incredible from Test1Pass's lab questions and testing engine online to confidently prepare for test. These easy to understand interactive software are in PDF making it simple for you to download and utilize. Online CheatSheet exam real exams with updated exam online book are the great product of ...
Ace The PE Exam (Popularity: ): Within our site you'll discover the top study tips, test-day tips, recommended resources and even more that will give you the edge on any PE Exam. The Professional Engineer Exam is hard, so you need to have a good strategy and the help to pass the exam the first time.
Paper Dumps (Popularity: ): Paper Dumps is leader in providing test papers, exam papers, exam dumps, braindumps, solved papers etc. Preparing these papers; you will be able to pass the certification exam. WE provide all exams questions answers in PDF format in $99 package deal. Pass in first attempt or Full Refund.
ATS Dental Pass (Popularity: ): We are responsible to help you to pass the national board dental examination with our 4,600 sample question software. Join thousands of others who have passed the NBDE I on their first try using our simulation software. Save time and money by replicating the actual exam on computer for your exam preperation.
Test Guide (Popularity: ): Exam can be passed with high score with Test Guide online tutorial. As long as you are taking the self paced from Test1Pass, you will definitely pass your exam. PDF provides the useful information about the exam. A very strong and effective Interactive Exam Engine is available with every Train Signal test, which motivates you to work hard.
Questions Collection (Popularity: ): Don't waste your exam fees on other vendors resources, Questions Collection is the best source to score higher than the required pass score. Use from Test King latest training for real interactive engine to hit the nail on the head. One of the facts ensuring high quality of exam is their constant and regular update. Easily pass your test using the latest test materials and latest Learn Key real exam. ...
Beatcourse Provides The Final Exam Answer For ACC, MGT, LAW & More (Popularity: ): Beatcourse provides entire course study guide, final exam answers. Our courses are LAW 421, LAW 531, MGT 498, ACC 290, STR 581, LDR 531, & many more.
Exam Guide (Popularity: ): The best online IT Certification vendor in the world! Other vendors would love to be called Guide Exam but there is only one site that can guarantee you a pass on the exam. Details are thoroughly researched and produced by Certification experts who are constantly using IT knowledge and experience to produce most accurate and rational products. These easy to understand cheat sheet are in PDF making it simple for ...
Pass Cram (Popularity: ): If you are reluctant to spend that much then there are package options available which covers both cbt nuggets and the lab manual for in a single pack. Pass Cram's real test and Brain Dumps online test guide is the most reliable and we feel proud on them as offered for cert, Perform your latest practise test on from Kill Test updated testing engine and online books will give Clearly ...