Chartered Insurance Institute  

CII under fire for changes to exam package

CII under fire for changes to exam package

The Chartered Insurance Institute has been accused of trying to limit the study choices for their exams by introducing "all-inclusive packages."

When signing up to take a CII exam individuals now also get a study text and access to the CII's online study tool, RevisionMate.

Candidates can sign-up for the exam alone and not receive the study text only if they are taking a resit or if they already own the study text.

The CII has also made changes to its face-to-face support programme.

But Luiza Todd, a chartered financial planner who runs Bespoke Training Solutions, said the changes would limit choice for those seeking these qualifications rather than assist them by forcing them down the route of just using CII tools rather than tailor support to their own needs.

She said: "Our first priority is, and has always been, achieving excellent pass-rates for our students through the use of high quality exam support materials.

"Our proven and documented success to date means this development will probably lead to lower pass-rates, increased resits and costs.

"To date everyone has benefitted from having the freedom to choose within a competitive market the best learning and development option for them.

"They have not been limited and restricted to the essential tools from the CII as is now the case."

Ms Todd said students all have different learning styles, and warned against a "one size fits all" approach.

The changes also mean face-to-face training will, in future, be delivered through the CII's regional network of 58 local institutes, which already offer this support across a range of other courses.

In-house training and CPD courses at a client's own premises will continue to be provided if required.

The packages vary in cost between £90 for CII members for the Award in Financial Planning to £265 for members for the Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning.

But the CII has rejected Ms Todd's criticisms and said the changes, which apply to award, certificate and diploma units, are a direct response to changing trends and preferences, with the vast majority preferring an inclusive package.

Simon Graham, director of assessment and learning at the CII, said: "In terms of choice, we are offering the inclusive package at a discounted rate compared to the previous system of purchasing the exam and study books separately.

"There is no mandatory requirement to buy additional material, although such items as key fact booklets, extra example questions and past papers are available if required.

"RevisionMate, meanwhile, has always been free and will remain so in the future.

"There is no logical reason why this enhancement to lowering the cost should result in lower pass rates, as the component parts and the content have not been changed.

"Our intent is to offer greater value to our members through a mechanism better aligned to modern revision and exam techniques. We should also point out that our fellow professional bodies already have similar systems in place and we, like them, believe this is the way forward."