AF timeframes


Quite a vague question but I'm trying to work out when to sit what exam to get Chartered (I have my Diploma).

In terms of the April & October sittings for AF papers, how long would you say is needed to prepare for them?

I'm thinking of using Expert Pensions but from looking online their timetable seems to be tailored for the April sitting - is that usually enough time (4 months)? I'm thinking of starting with AF4.

Thank you!


  • The Expert Pensions structured study plans for the April exams have already started so if you were to sign up, you'd need to catch up a little.

  • NathNath Member

    4 months is enough time with the structured study plan they provide. As already mentioned they started 21st Jan though so you would need to catch up so if you are going to use them get involved now.

    I used them for AF3 and now for AF5. They do both April and October sittings. I have taken one AF each October and April so far (AF3, October 2017, AF1 in April 2018 AF4 in October 2018 and now AF5 for April 2019 and Chartered). 4 months is ample time if you follow the structured study plan and put in the hours.

  • kpinkpin Member

    Thank you very much for your help @amarshall and @Nath

  • ParaPParaP Member

    3-4 months is more than enough time. Even less for AF5 as you can only really start preparing for the exam once the fact find is released in my opinion.

    I used expert pensions for AF3, AF4 & AF5 and found them very useful. As John would say, make sure you double bubble and look at sitting J10 with AF4! I only decided against it for AF1 but that was down to affordability.

    Good luck with your studies!!

  • kpinkpin Member

    Thanks @ParaP and yes definitely going to try the double bubble approach! Thanks again.

  • edited May 14

    I need to pull my finger out and start this journey.

    I have previously completed R01 to R06 and 10 years' industry experience.

    It's been a long time now since I sat exams so starting afresh.

    Is there a preferred route to tackling the AF's? Are there easier/harder exams and those which you think are more/less relevant to day-to-day work?

    EDIT: I'm also thinking of doing 2 AF's in October, is that doable?

  • I sat AF7 in October and resat in April. I've been doing pensions exams immediately prior (R04/J05) and as that is a large proportion of my work my plan is AF8 next, then AF4 and finally AF5, which should give me the points I need for chartered. Every time I resit an exam puts me back another 6 months but I don't have capacity to study for an exam and refresh for a failed one.

    AF7 has the lowest pass rate but in some ways is the most important of the AF exams, despite being worth just 20 points, simply because of the work it allows you to do.

    I'm leaving AF5 to last as I'm hoping that the knowledge from the other papers will help. Others may think differently (ie get the compulsory one out of the way first).

    My suggestion is to get your learning statement from the CII - this will tell you how many points you need to get the Advanced Diploma (and therefore Chartered). Choose the exams that interest you, but be careful if you have previous (discontinued) papers. I heard that I would get no credit for AF1 as I already have G10, but I'm not planning to take AF1 anyway, otherwise I would check with the CII.

    One other thing, these are a big step up from the diploma papers and you need to be much more detailed with your answers in the exams, and this caught me out with AF7 in October.

    Good luck in your journey :smile:

  • Thank you.

    Yeah i've literally only done the R0's so assume i need the full 120 credits from AF. But i will double-check that.

  • NathNath Member

    Hi Aron

    Just as a note, as I only just realised this the other day with my learning staement....

    If you have purely done the R0's and you do 120 credits at AF level this will still leave you short for Chartered. R01 to R06 is 100 credits, plus 120 at AF. You need 290 for Chartered with at least 120 at AF level so you would need to gapfill if you wanted to get Chartered.

    Due to my age, I started with FP1, then did CF1-5, then R01-R06, now have AF1, AF3 and AF4 and awaiting results for AF5 June 7th. As I also took the equity release exam a while back and assuming I pass in June it just takes me over by 6 points which is a relief but for some reason I thought if you sat R01 to 6 then the 4 x AFs I just assumed it was Chartered so don't want anyone else making the same mistake.

    Andy, I believe AF7 has the lowest pass rate as it was a new exam and it was needed (if you didn't have AF3) to carry out DB transfers and a lot of 'chancers/fly by night advisers' (not you obviously!!) wanted to pass this for obvious reasons but then didn't realise how tricky it would be. I took the last AF3 exam before they changed to AF7 and I thought it was extremely tough and passed on my second attempt.

    Fingers crossed for June!!

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