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Q: What are the pros and cons of study methods?

If you don’t already know what style suits you best, the Institute of Financial Planning has a tool at the start of its e-learning courses.

Lucy Courtenay, qualifications director of the Institute of Financial Planning, said: “It is worth finding out what your learning style is so that you choose a method of preparation that will work for you.”

1) Study text

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Pro: According to the Chartered Insurance Institute, the study text is the most popular method of studying for its candidates.

The text provides candidates with the examination syllabus and key information on each area as well as useful websites and study questions.

Con: Although they are a good core learning material, they may not be that easy to transport on the go.

2) Face-to-face training

Pro: The CII offers revision days and workshops at its face to face centres in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Leeds and Glasgow.

The revision days are taught by experienced trainers who will cover all the study areas highlighted in the exam syllabus and answer questions candidates may have on the exam.

Research by the CII also showed that those who attended the training were 50 per cent more likely to pass exams.

Con: As of August 2011, the CII was only able to provide face to face training in six locations so far.

However, the CII also offers virtual classrooms if candidates prefer to undertake face-to-face learning. This allows the tutor and candidate to interact with one another through online training technology.

3) CII’s Revision Mate

Pro: Revision Mate is an online learning portal developed by the CII. It provides candidates with a different learning format than the usual study text with all the revision information available online.

Revision Mate also offers candidates study questions, a study planner and tips, access to discussion forums and an online version of the study text for quick reference. According to Steve Jenkins, director of financial services markets at the CII, this option is helpful to candidates as information can be clearly saved and retrieved online.

Con: Internet access is needed, which means it isn’t entirely mobile.

4) Virtual Classrooms

Pro: The CII has launched virtual classrooms for those studying for the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning.

This study option offers candidates face to face learning by using online training technology, allowing candidates to log on and work remotely.

Candidates can interact, ask tutors questions and take part in interactive games. This option reduces the time and money candidates may have lost through travelling away from the office and clients.

Con: As of August 2011, virtual classrooms were only available for the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning.

5) Distance learning

Pro: Distance learning will suit you if you are motivated and can work on your own. Lucy Courtenay, qualifications director of the Institute of Financial Planning, said if you have a daily commute, then chapters from text books can make ideal reading on the train.