J05/AF7 study strategies

It may well be a bit late in the day to be asking this question, but here goes:

I am booked in for both J05 and AF7 in October as I have been reliably informed that there is a lot of overlap between the two, and having taken R04 earlier this year I want to stay in 'pensions mode' for a little while longer!

My question is, I have a relatively short time remaining before the exams, and was wondering whether anyone here has done the same thing and has any tips on how best to manage the study, what is best to focus on, and perhaps more importantly, what I can ignore so as not to waste my time needlessly. I'm juggling this with looking after my wife after major surgery so time is at a premium.

With just over 30 days to go, I am well and truly in panic mode, so any help would be gratefully received!


  • Practice questions as often as you can. Write your own questions and answers (separately) and test yourself, get past papers and practice the questions. I'm convinced that the progressive increases in the marks I achieved in the written exams was down to a better answering technique rather than a higher standard of knowledge.

    If you've done R04 then you'll have a lot of the technical knowledge. If you know something well, like a carry forward calculation, then don't spend ages practising them because you'll just make yourself feel good and not actually learn anything. You have to understand how to get the simple marks by stating the obvious clearly and concisely, building up your answers, especially in the areas where your day to day practical knowledge is lacking.

    I have a wife and two young daughters. Most of my revision was done early in the morning at work (arriving 30 minutes early) and on weekend mornings for a couple of hours when no one else was up. That might not work for you but regular short sessions are always better than single longer ones.

    DON'T PANIC! 30 days is ages, there is going to be a lot of overlap in the syllabus and you've already passed one pension exam this year!

    Benjamin Fabi FPFS
    Chartered Financial Planner

  • Completely agree. I've done my study sessions early and weekends and I try to restrict it to 45 minute sessions (15 minute break) then back at it.

    Past papers are the best source.

    John Reynolds of Expert Pensions was quoted saying that you're not expected to be Shakespeare - use bullet points - and it's absolutely true.

    Good luck - you'll find that the JO and AF cover at lot of the same. And yes, try not to panic :-)

  • Hi Andy,

    I over prepared for R04 - the mock made it seem like I needed to know much more detail than I really did. Having read everyone's thoughts above, I'm now thinking this is a great way to capitalise on R04 knowledge so I will also take J05 and maybe someday AF7. Not really bothered about when I do R05 & R06.

    So thanks for posting and best of luck with your exams, I would be interested to hear about how J05 goes for you.


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