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Q: How do I prepare for a test?

Lucy Courtenay, qualifications director of the Institute of Financial Planning, said most awarding bodies will update the syllabus each year.

IFAs should print off copies of the syllabus or make a photocopy and go through and mark up the areas they are comfortable with, those where they know they need to do a little more work and those which will need a lot of work, she said.

Ms Courtenay said: “You could use a traffic light coding; green, amber and red.”

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According to the Chartered Insurance Institute, most candidates for their examinations purchase a study text such as examination guides, audio CDs, online learning and revision courses.

Steve Jenkins, director of financial services markets at the CII, said: “We would recommend that candidates take note of the appropriate recommended study time to learn and become confident in answering questions on the exam topic.

“This will help to prepare and increase the chances of passing the exam.”

The Institute of Financial Planning’s Ms Courtenay said to increase the chance of passing first time, IFAs should get hold of specimen or past papers.

She said: “It can be worth looking through these before you start your studying so that you know what to expect. They will be valuable later on to use as practice papers.

“Everyone has different ways of studying, you may like to make your own notes on the study materials as it helps to consolidate what you have read.

“Make use of the highlighter pens to show what is important. You can also use other techniques such as mind mapping, which can be a really powerful way of organising information.

“Some people like to use notes on record cards and carry them around all the time for revision whenever there is a spare moment.”

If an adviser can find a colleague or a friend to study with, Ms Courtenay said that can really help them keep motivated and be someone to share problems and solutions with.

It is also vital to make sure you leave enough time for revision.

Examination revision is best tackled as a gradual process with regular re-enforcement of learning, leading to practice of exam style exercises, according to Mark Roberts, further education development manager of the ifs School of Finance.

He said: “Last minute cramming does not work for most people. Why put yourself under more pressure than you have to?”

It is also vital to make sure you know your way to the examination centre.

Mr Roberts said: “It may seem obvious, but make sure you know how to get to the examination venue in good time.

“No matter how well you know the subject and how good your examination technique is, it will count for nothing if you are still on the ring-road trying to find the examination centre five minutes after the exam has started.”