If you are busy, Lucy Courtenay, qualifications director of the Institute of Financial Planning, warned candidates not to be too ambitious.
There may be a deadline to meet but Ms Courtenay said it is better to sit later than fail and have to resit.
She recommended finding out what the typical study time is and planning how much time you have each week to study.
Ms Courtenay said: “Allow for illness, family emergencies and a heavy workload. Most awarding bodies will allow you to defer to a later sitting if necessary, but there may be a charge.”
Most examination bodies include an assessment of the amount of learning hours required, which are estimated for the ‘average’ rather than experienced learner for each of their tests.
Mark Roberts, further education development manager of the ifs School of Finance, said advisers should use the awarding bodies suggested study time and work out how much time can be spared on a weekly basis.
This can then be referenced to the number of syllabus sections and you have the makings of a study plan, he said.
Mr Roberts said: “When planning your study, consider how well you already know the syllabus areas. Most learning materials include self-assessment questions to test knowledge. Prioritise those topics where your score is low and allocate your time accordingly.”.
To make sure candidates use their time effectively to revise, Steve Jenkins, director of financial services markets at the CII, said they should follow some simple steps:
• formulate a realistic study plan and stick to it;
• don’t cram, study little and often;
• understand the subject by knowing the unit syllabus inside out;
• use a blend of learning and revision materials to improve understanding and recall; and
• take exams when you are ready.