I have been serving to college students by their DipFA qualification for nearly two years’ now and this text is designed to share all the most effective practises, suggestions and techniques that may show you how to obtain a extremely good mark on this difficult examination.

I will share with you numerous suggestions which have come from examiner’s experiences, college students I’ve labored with through the years and share with you a extremely good construction that may show you how to put together.

Firstly what’s the last examination all about?

How the examination works?

It is a three hour written, quickly to be typed, examination the place you want to digest a case examine beforehand after which create a fastidiously written report back to your fictional shopper.

The case examine is delivered to you upfront, about two weeks. You’ve gotten time to organize, learn up in areas of weak point, put collectively some figures to again up your report and write it utterly upfront. And it’s best to too, why not, that is why they ship it to you beforehand.

On the day of the examination, you may get a few wobblies, i.e. some delicate modifications to the examination paper which may change your report barely, however in case you’ve performed your preparation effectively sufficient, these final minute modifications will not trigger you too many issues.

Image your shopper

The case examine might be as actual as attainable, there might be some anomalies and these should be verified. Nevertheless it’s best to deal with it as an actual particular person and write the report back to this particular person, not the examiner, though you may wish to impress her or him to realize marks. Care with an excessive amount of impressing as you would possibly fall foul and the examiner would possibly mark you down for over doing the technical elements.

Plain language is so essential, keep in mind who the shopper is and write for them to grasp. Image them sitting down with a cup of tea with their ft up, studying your report, and making an attempt to make head or tail of it as they sip their brew.

The marking system

It is essential to understand the marks you achieve from the paper so you possibly can focus in the correct space.

You get a complete of 150 marks –

  • 10 for the introduction, abstract
  • 10 for calculating affordability
  • 30 for presentation, language, model
  • 100 in your choices, suggestions and recommendation.

So spend a while on a effectively crafted introduction, calculations and magnificence and you may already be on for 50 marks, and also you solely want 75 to cross.

A time honoured construction

  1. Introduction
  2. Function of report
  3. Synopsis of scenario
  4. Abstract of targets
  5. Extra data wanted
  6. Angle to Threat
  7. Affordability Assessed
  8. Instant enhancements/fast fixes
  9. Suggestions
  10. Subsequent Steps

The construction defined


Start the report by writing to the shopper and tackle her or him by identify and speak within the first particular person e.g. “Brian we spoke about your want to buy a house overseas and to do that I might be ….”

Agree the aim of the report and this could hyperlink in along with his targets and goals. Speak concerning the data gleaned, however be temporary right here, do not simply go repeating what’s within the Factfinds. Summarise to fit your personal phrases and language to match the shopper

It is right here you might want to begin making some assumptions in an effort to agree his targets clearly. This can be adopted by some inquiries to ask him in case you want extra data or to substantiate or make clear one thing. Assumptions are advantageous, so long as you know the way these are to be clarified otherwise you merely ask the shopper to substantiate. I do know in actual life you would not make any assumptions however do you?

Solely once you and your shopper know the place you are going can you actually get into the report and resolve the motion for him to take.

Affordability assessed

Right here you possibly can achieve some helpful marks for exhibiting your information of Revenue Tax and Nationwide Insurance coverage to work out how a lot cash the shopper can afford to pay in your common revenue product you are going to advocate.

Do not area out your calculations like a textbook; as an alternative write them out for the shopper to grasp. Narrate each line of figures so that they know what you imply and may comply with.

Be correct, clearly, you may get marks for the correct reply. However you may get extra marks for the workings out alongside the best way. It is identical to doing all your maths exams at college.

Instant enhancements/fast fixes

There could also be some actually fast issues which may enhance your clients scenario and do not advantage a heading within the suggestions part.

For instance switching funding identify from husband to spouse to minimise taxation or paying off a bank card or different excessive curiosity mortgage with cash from deposits.


This part is price 100 marks and is the meat of the entire report. Break down your suggestions into chunks and allocate time in accordance with how essential they’re. Attempt to resolve what number of marks the examiner would possibly allocate to every part after which spend related time on every one.

Attempt to put them in precedence order as that is good monetary planning follow.

Put down the choices to the shopper, clarify them, and speak to the shopper as you go.

Make your suggestions and justify why, use actual figures the place you possibly can. Do not go away it open for the shopper to resolve and too many “we’ll resolve these once we meet once more.”

You wish to earn marks with a agency advice with a justifiable purpose why.

In the event you’re not certified to advise, cross them onto somebody who’s or one other skilled comparable to a solicitor.

Consider your 5 W’s – what, who, how, why and when, for instance

  • What’s the recommendation
  • Who’s concerned
  • How will you make it work?
  • Why do they want it
  • When do you have to begin it?

Subsequent Steps

The ultimate a part of the report is the subsequent steps part. Right here you may wish to wrap issues up, give a transparent path for the shopper to know his subsequent steps, verify your assessment preparations, price construction possibly.

Some last suggestions

Keep watch over time – three hours is a very long time once you’re sitting on the seashore doing nothing however goes actually rapidly once you’re having fun with your self. Significantly although, plan your time and be sure to end the report. You get most marks within the first couple of minutes of any part, so you want to at the least begin each part.

Presentation and construction. It must be clearly laid out and appear like a correct skilled report with headings, sub headings. Possibly tables, a collection of bullet factors, graphics, illustrations. Why not, in any case it is for the shopper, so possibly a threat graph would possibly work higher than a wall of phrases. Most individuals, these days, are visible in nature and footage can paint a thousand phrases.

All technical phrases defined. Do not throw in a technical time period, with out explaining it, simply do not. Something barely advanced will want explaining in phrases the shopper can perceive. Beware the TLA – three letter acronyms – our world is filled with them, you understand what they imply however does your shopper?

Much less is extra. Good communication is highly effective and makes use of few phrases, simply check out posters and leaflets; they’re conservative with their use of phrases. Why waffle on when a brief concise assertion will do. Apart from you solely have three hours to put in writing.


Some helpful concepts and suggestions right here, I hope you agree. Bear in mind to do as a lot preparation beforehand to maximise your success within the examination. Good luck

Source by Paul Archer


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