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Personal Finance Society
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Financial Services qualifications

Getting started

Studying for a qualification can sometimes look pretty daunting, especially if you've been out of formal education for a while.

But there's no need to worry about making the right choices, the study time or the exams. If you plan properly, and take advantage of all the support the CII has to offer, your journey should be a smooth one.

1. Choose the qualification that's right for you

There's a broad range of qualifications to choose from; whether you are, or intend to become, a financial or mortgage adviser, or you work in an administrative, technical or sales support role, for example paraplanning or life and pensions administration.

To find out more about the range of qualifications on offer, and which is right for you, use your mouse to hover-over the qualifications listed on the qualifications main page.

2. Become a member and enjoy special benefits

Joining the PFS/CII gives you an advantage by creating a platform for your study.

It also gives you privileged access to technical information, online technical dictionaries and additional reference material building on the core qualification study texts. You also get discounts on study materials and exam entry.

Membership also supports you in your working life - visit our Personal Finance Society website to find out more.

3. Your past qualifications can count

If you hold a degree or professional qualification in a relevant subject, for example, accounting, business or law, you could receive credits that count towards completion of the existing Diploma and Advanced Diploma qualifications.

In doing so, you'll avoid duplicating learning already completed and obtain your CII qualification more quickly. Visit the CII recognition of prior learning section for more information.

4. Consider all options when selecting exam units

Every qualification requires completion of a number of different units, each covering a specific topic.

In the case of the Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning and Certificate in Life and Pensions, you can self-select units according to your sector specialism and career aspirations.

All other financial services qualifications require you to complete a specified combination of units - we suggest these are completed in a sequential order as frequently each unit builds knowledge drawing on the preceding unit.

You can find out about the available units by selecting your chosen qualification on the qualifications main page.

5. Create a programme to fit your study style

You can make studying simpler by selecting the learning and revision materials that best suit you. The right choice of learning materials can make a big difference.

For example, attending a CII Face-to-Face revision course can improve your chances of first time exam success by as much as 50%. Get the inside track on your chosen qualification page on this website.

6. Be an effective learner

Follow some simple steps and you'll stand the best chances of passing:

  • Formulate a realistic study plan and stick to it
  • Don't cram, study a little and often
  • Understand your subject by knowing the unit syllabus inside out
  • Use a blend of learning and revision materials to improve understanding and recall.

7. Take exams when you're ready

The Certificate-level and Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning 'R0' exams are typically offered throughout the year, so pick your choice of time and location.

Diploma 'J0' exams and Advanced Diploma exams are available twice yearly in April and October. Get the dates for your diary on each qualification page on this website.

Financial Services Qualifications

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