How to Pass the Final Exam of the DipFA


I have been serving to college students by their DipFA qualification for nearly two years’ now and this text is designed to share all one of the best practises, suggestions and techniques that may assist you to obtain a very good mark on this difficult examination.

I’ll share with you numerous suggestions which have come from examiner’s reviews, college students I’ve labored with over time and share with you a very good construction that may assist you to put together.

Firstly what’s the closing examination all about?

How the examination works?

It is a 3 hour written, quickly to be typed, examination the place it is advisable to digest a case research beforehand after which create a rigorously written report back to your fictional shopper.

The case research is delivered to you upfront, about two weeks. You might have time to organize, learn up in areas of weak spot, put collectively some figures to again up your report and write it utterly upfront. And it is best to too, why not, that is why they ship it to you beforehand.

On the day of the examination, you will get a few wobblies, i.e. some delicate modifications to the examination paper which may change your report barely, however should you’ve performed your preparation effectively sufficient, these final minute modifications will not trigger you too many issues.

Image your shopper

The case research shall be as actual as attainable, there shall be some anomalies and these have to be verified. Nevertheless it is best to deal with it as an actual particular person and write the report back to this particular person, not the examiner, though you will wish to impress her or him to realize marks. Care with an excessive amount of impressing as you would possibly fall foul and the examiner would possibly mark you down for over doing the technical features.

Plain language is so essential, keep in mind who the shopper is and write for them to grasp. Image them sitting down with a cup of tea with their toes up, studying your report, and making an attempt to make head or tail of it as they sip their brew.

The marking system

It is essential to understand the marks you acquire from the paper so you’ll be able to focus in the proper space.

You get a complete of 150 marks –

  • 10 for the introduction, abstract
  • 10 for calculating affordability
  • 30 for presentation, language, model
  • 100 to your choices, suggestions and recommendation.

So spend a while on a effectively crafted introduction, calculations and magnificence and you will already be on for 50 marks, and also you solely want 75 to move.

A time honoured construction

  1. Introduction
  2. Function of report
  3. Synopsis of state of affairs
  4. Abstract of aims
  5. Extra info wanted
  6. Perspective to Danger
  7. Affordability Assessed
  8. Fast enhancements/fast fixes
  9. Suggestions
  10. Subsequent Steps

The construction defined


Start the report by writing to the shopper and tackle her or him by title and discuss within the first particular person e.g. “Brian we spoke about your need to buy a house overseas and to do that I shall be taking a look at….”

Agree the aim of the report and this could hyperlink in along with his aims and goals. Speak in regards to the info gleaned, however be temporary right here, do not simply go repeating what’s within the Factfinds. Summarise to fit your personal phrases and language to match the shopper

It is right here chances are you’ll want to begin making some assumptions so as to agree his aims clearly. This can be adopted by some inquiries to ask him should you want extra info or to substantiate or make clear one thing. Assumptions are tremendous, so long as you understand how these are to be clarified otherwise you merely ask the shopper to substantiate. I do know in actual life you would not make any assumptions however do you?

Solely while you and your shopper know the place you are going can you actually get into the report and determine the motion for him to take.

Affordability assessed

Right here you’ll be able to acquire some useful marks for displaying your information of Revenue Tax and Nationwide Insurance coverage to work out how a lot cash the shopper can afford to pay to your common earnings product you are going to suggest.

Do not house out your calculations like a textbook; as an alternative write them out for the shopper to grasp. Narrate each line of figures in order that they know what you imply and may observe.

Be correct, clearly, you will get marks for the proper reply. However you will get extra marks for the workings out alongside the best way. It is similar to doing all your maths exams in school.

Fast enhancements/fast fixes

There could also be some actually fast issues which may enhance your prospects state of affairs and do not advantage a heading within the suggestions part.

For instance switching funding title from husband to spouse to minimise taxation or paying off a bank card or different excessive curiosity mortgage with cash from deposits.


This part is value 100 marks and is the meat of the entire report. Break down your suggestions into chunks and allocate time in line with how essential they’re. Attempt to determine what number of marks the examiner would possibly allocate to every part after which spend related time on each.

Attempt to put them in precedence order as that is good monetary planning follow.

Put down the choices to the shopper, clarify them, and discuss to the shopper as you go.

Make your suggestions and justify why, use actual figures the place you’ll be able to. Do not depart it open for the shopper to determine and too many “we’ll determine these once we meet once more.”

You wish to earn marks with a agency advice with a justifiable purpose why.

If you happen to’re not certified to advise, move them onto somebody who’s or one other skilled corresponding to a solicitor.

Consider your 5 W’s – what, who, how, why and when, for instance

  • What’s the recommendation
  • Who’s concerned
  • How will you make it work?
  • Why do they want it
  • When must you begin it?

Subsequent Steps

The ultimate a part of the report is the subsequent steps part. Right here you will wish to wrap issues up, give a transparent route for the shopper to know his subsequent steps, affirm your overview preparations, price construction possibly.

Some closing suggestions

Keep watch over time – 3 hours is a very long time while you’re sitting on the seashore doing nothing however goes actually rapidly while you’re having fun with your self. Severely although, plan your time and ensure you end the report. You get most marks within the first jiffy of any part, so it is advisable to no less than begin each part.

Presentation and construction. It must be clearly laid out and appear to be a correct skilled report with headings, sub headings. Perhaps tables, a sequence of bullet factors, graphics, illustrations. Why not, in any case it is for the client, so possibly a danger graph would possibly work higher than a wall of phrases. Most individuals, these days, are visible in nature and photos can paint a thousand phrases.

All technical phrases defined. Do not throw in a technical time period, with out explaining it, simply do not. Something barely complicated will want explaining in phrases the client can perceive. Beware the TLA – three letter acronyms – our world is filled with them, you realize what they imply however does your shopper?

Much less is extra. Good communication is highly effective and makes use of few phrases, simply check out posters and leaflets; they’re conservative with their use of phrases. Why waffle on when a brief concise assertion will do. Apart from you solely have 3 hours to write down.


Some helpful concepts and suggestions right here, I hope you agree. Bear in mind to do as a lot preparation beforehand to maximise your success within the examination. Good luck

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