A lot of advisers ask me how much time to devote to study in preparation for the adviser exam. It really depends how much lead time you are giving yourself. That is, how many weeks before the exam will you start to study.
In my view, the ideal is 12-weeks. I know this time frame doesn’t work for everyone, however 12 weeks is enough time to get stuck into a structured program with regular study, and get the job done, but not too long that it feels like it is dragging on forever.
Another way of looking at it is that 12-weeks is the equivalent of a full time University semester. If, in that scenario, you include a 3-hour lecture, a 1-hour tutorial and another 4-6 hours a week on assignments, you would be looking at a total of 8-10 hours a week minimum.
Preparing for the adviser exam isn’t much different. There is an enormous amount of reading and the adviser exam itself is an AQF level 7 exam. In other words, it is pitched at University Bachelor degree level. So it is reasonable to approach it as you would any other full semester University subject.
I have designed my tutorial program as an 11-part program with an 88-question self-assess practice exam questions at the end. That fits nicely into a 12-week study period with a week extra for revision.
As you work through the 11 tutorials, you will find the answer sheets provided are annotated with additional explanations and insights, which makes them a great set of notes for your final week of revision.
In addition, everyone who purchases the Home Tutorial & Exam Pack receives a Zoom invitation to a Pre-Exam Seminar (1-1.5 hours) on a Thursday, one week out from the start of each exam period. In this seminar I go through tips for final preparation, types of exam question asked, experiences of other advisers, and for those you need it, some tips for managing the exam. It is important that you manage the exam and it doesn’t manage you.
I have noticed that many advisers start their exam preparation 6 weeks out or less. This means that you need to devote double the time each week to study. The danger of leaving yourself too little time to prepare is that there is such a lot of information to cover, it becomes difficult to absorb.
When you get into the exam, you don’t want your head spinning with partly digested information. The aim is to have a good, solid understanding of the advice rules and associated obligations. Firstly, it makes it a lot easier to reason your way through the questions; and secondly, you can largely avoid scrolling through legislation in the exam which you will have very little time to do.
The adviser exam is a tricky challenge. But as always, success is always in the preparation. So take the time you need, give it one shot with everything you have, and put it behind you forever.
Photo Credit: Min An