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Chartered Insurance Institute
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CII frequently asked questions

Our most frequently asked questions are answered within this section and are updated as new queries are received and answered.

Exams

What is a candidate number?

This is a unique number allocated to each individual at each examination session (except online).

Is the use of highlighter pens permitted?

Some candidates find it useful to highlight certain information in the examination question paper which is relevant to the questions they are being asked. The use of highlighter pens is permitted for that purpose, but, candidates must continue to write their actual answers in either blue or black ink in the answer books provided.

Can I use a calculator in the exam?

If you bring a calculator into the examination room, it must be a silent, battery or solar-powered non-programmable calculator. The use of mobile phones (including iPhones) and electronic equipment capable of being programmed to hold alphabetic or numerical data and/or formulae is prohibited. You may use a financial or scientific calculator, provided it meets these requirements. Calculators are not available from centre officials and cannot be borrowed from another candidate during the exam.

It is important to show all the steps of your calculation in your answer. The examination is testing your ability to carry out all the appropriate steps in calculating a value. A proficient mathematician is someone who follows the correct method, i.e. carries out the appropriate steps. The majority of the marks will be allocated for demonstrating the correct method of calculation.

What can I not take into the examination room with me?

Candidates may not refer to books or notes of any kind during the examinations. Mobile telephones and other means of electronic communication (including all forms of tablet) are not allowed in any examination. Candidates may not bring papers, calculator case or lid, calculator instruction leaflets or rough paper to the examination room. Rough paper will be provided. Paper used for rough work should be handed in to the invigilator at the end of the examination. Candidates must not remove any paper from the examination room at any time.

Can I take food and drink into the examination?

Some examination venues have their own rules about food and drink and we are required to adhere to this in all cases however if the venue allow you may take a drink in a clear container.  Food is not permitted during an examination although confectionary such as mints or boiled sweets are allowed so long as no noise disturbance is caused by opening or eating the items and all rubbish is taken away with you.  Any items taken into the examination room must be placed on the desk in a visible position before the start of the examination.

Can I see my examination script or a breakdown of my results marks?

It is the policy of the CII that under no circumstances can examination answer books be returned to candidates and nor will we disclose the breakdown of marks. This is in line with Schedule 7, paragraphs 8 and 9 of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the policy of many professional examining bodies.

For further information on post-results services which may be available, please see www.cii.co.uk/qualifications/assessment-information/post-results-services/

Is there a quota of passes to be awarded for CII examinations?

A pre-defined quota of passes to be awarded does not exist. If all candidates achieve a score of at least the pass mark, then all candidates will be awarded a pass grade.

How do I get my exam results?

Exam results will be posted to you. Exam results are also available to view online at 8am (GMT/BST) on the date on which the results are dispatched. Online exam results are not available on our website. This candidate-only secure service will require you to identify yourself before being granted access to your results. You will therefore  need your CII Permanent Identity Number (PIN) or CII registered email address (i.e. that which you have previously provided to the CII - see below); and CII password.

Do I have to pass each section of an examination or achieve the overall pass standard?

Candidates must achieve the overall pass standard, rather than pass each section of an examination. However, candidates are strongly advised to study all syllabus areas in preparation for their examinations. This is because those candidates able to display knowledge and understanding across all syllabus areas invariably increase their chances of exam success.

I recently sat an examination and do not understand the feedback codes on the result notification?

For further information on your result and feedback please go to www.cii.co.uk/qualifications/assessment-information/notes-to-results

How can I tell if I may be entitled to claim accreditation of prior learning from CII examinations?

Before an application for accreditation can be considered, you are required to submit evidence of your qualification(s) in the form of an original certificate or a photocopy which has been certified as a true copy of the original by a Member of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Personal Finance Society or a local/affiliated Institute Official whose CII PIN should also be given (where applicable), or a public notary.

The person certifying the information must include their CII PIN, or job title if they are a public notary. Please note that e-mailed or faxed evidence is not acceptable. Please do not send any payment at this time. If you are granted any prior learning you will be advised of the fee/s payable.

How does the CII approach marking written examinations (subjectively tested)?

CII adheres to a positive marking policy to ensure that candidates are treated fairly. Full marks are given if a candidate has provided a complete answer according to the marking scheme. Full credit is also given for alternative answers that are equally valid but not given in the marking scheme. Marks are not withheld for bad spelling or untidy handwriting. If a candidate has attempted more than the required number of optional questions and has not indicated clearly which answers should be disregarded, all the answers are marked and the best marks are awarded. For questions involving numerical calculations, the bulk of the marks are awarded for the correct method being used; only a minority of the marks being awarded for the final answer. Quality assurance processes are in place to ensure that marking is accurate and consistent and that exam standards are maintained over time.

Can I find out how many credits I have from the website?

You can request a Learning Statement, which details your credits, by visiting www.cii.co.uk/learningstatement. You will be asked to log in, if not already logged in. Follow the instructions on the page to request your Learning Statement. Please note: Learning statements are delivered to your registered email address. You must have an online user profile and registered email address to receive your Learning Statement PDF. If you have not received your Learning Statement within a day of submitting your request, before contacting Customer Service, please check your email spam filter (this may be managed by your company's IT department) to ensure that the email and its attachment has not been blocked.

How do I apply for a CII national prize?

It is not necessary for candidates to apply for prizes. Following an annual review of the exam statistics over the previous April and October examination sessions, the winner of each prize is personally notified by the CII - this usually takes place in March each year.

Where do I find information on the fees for examinations, study materials etc regarding your Financial Services Qualifications?

For Financial Services qualifications please visit our website at the following link: CII qualifications, each qualification is listed under its relevant category menu, select the required qualification to view supporting information regarding fees, study materials etc. Alternatively contact Customer Service on +44 (0) 20 8989 8464.

How does the CII approach marking for online examinations (objectively tested)?

Objectively tested examinations include standard format and multiple response format questions. 

A standard format multiple choice question consists of a problem followed by four options (labelled A, B, C and D) from which the candidate must choose the correct or best response. Each question contains only one correct response. One mark is awarded for each correct response identified. No mark is awarded if the candidate chooses an incorrect response, chooses more than one response or fails to choose any response. No marks are deducted for an incorrect response.

A multiple response format question consists of a problem, followed by between four to six options. For each question more than one option is correct. Candidates must select all the correct options to gain the mark.

Online marking is automated with the pass mark pre-set. Quality assurance processes with inbuilt checks are in place to ensure that marking is accurate and that exam standards are maintained over time.

What are the entry requirements for CII units / qualifications?

There are no entry requirements to take any CII units but there are entry requirements to complete some CII qualifications, please see product brochures for more details.

Will the exam include questions on topics which are not covered in the CII study text?

CII examinations test the published syllabus, not the contents of any particular tuition material. While the CII study text will provide the vast majority of the information required for the examination, the CII recommends that candidates read as widely as possible to ensure that the whole syllabus has been covered and consult other reference materials to supplement their studies. Apart from the reading lists attached to syllabuses, we would suggest that students make full use of the tuition options available, consult colleagues and use the internet in their studies.

Can you tell me why the answer to a question in the examination may not appear in the study text?

CII examinations test the published syllabuses, which are available on the website, and not the contents of any particular tuition material. The questions employed in examinations are all deemed central to the syllabus and of an appropriate level for candidates. Candidates are expected to demonstrate understanding and to apply knowledge from across different areas of the syllabus, not simply regurgitate material from the text.

(For units utilising multiple choice questions) is the specimen examination in the exam guide a true reflection of the difficulty of the exam?

Although the specimen examination in the guide is typical of an examination, it should be noted that it is not possible to test every single aspect of the syllabus in any one particular examination. The specimen examinations are compiled from the same question bank as the actual examinations, and are set to the same syllabus, using the same test specification. To prepare properly for the examination, candidates should make full use of the tuition options available and read as widely as possible to ensure that the whole syllabus has been covered. They should also endeavour to keep as up-to-date as possible with developments in the industry by reading the periodicals listed in the reading list, which is located on the syllabus and on the CII website at www.cii.co.uk.

Can I obtain a previous multiple-choice exam?

A specimen examination is provided within the exam guide which is produced in exactly the same way as the examinations. The CII does not publish multiple-choice examination questions from a 'Live' question bank as questions may be re-used in future sittings.

When are the Examination Guides issued for written examinations?

For Diploma units and Advanced Diploma units, the Examination Guide is issued twice a year in line with the two sittings in April and October. The Guide on the April examination is available approximately six weeks prior to the next examination sitting in October. The Guide on the October examination is available approximately six weeks before the next examination sitting in April.

Why are only examination guides from the last two sessions available?

The examination guides from the two most recent sittings are available to purchase on the website.  Examination guides include examiners comments and key points for inclusion in your answers.' The content of the latest Examination guide is also included FREE within the Revision Mate online study tool, provided with a study text purchase. In addition older versions of Examination guides are available for free to members on the Knowledge Services website.

When are the Examination Guides issued for multiple-choice examinations?

Multiple-choice examination guides comprise a complete specimen examination and answers, which also highlight the syllabus areas covered, and include useful hints on how to pass the exam. These are supplied as PDF files for you to print off as and when required for your own use. Multiple choice question examination guides consist of a specimen examination, answers and useful hints on how to prepare for the examination. Multiple choice question examination guides are updated annually to take into account syllabus and legislative changes.

Important note: Candidates should be aware that the questions used in a multiple choice specimen examination will remain the same unless affected by a change in syllabus or legislation, in which case, the question will either be amended to accommodate the change, or replaced by an entirely new question.

Do I have to be a member of the CII to take exams?

No. But you could save money on CII products and as a member would also be able to take advantage of additional benefits. For full details go to www.cii.co.uk/membership/why-join/

When will I receive confirmation about my exam entry?

Confirmation of your exam will be dispatched within 7 working days of your entry being processed. If you do not receive this please contact Customer Service, either by emailing admissionpermitenquiries@cii.co.uk or calling 020 8989 8464.

How do I book an online exam?

To find the insurance or financial services exam you are after, please visit our website at the following link: CII qualifications, each qualification is listed under its relevant category menu, select the required qualification; links to available units for each qualification are displayed on this page.

If you already know the exam unit you wish to sit, you can use the CII site search to find the quick link to that unit shop page. For example, 'CF1' search will return a direct link to the CF1 unit shop page. The exam booking function is visible at the bottom of these pages.

Once in the booking function screen, you can search for available exam venue and times, starting with the region you wish to sit the examination. UK online exams will allow for a postcode search to find the nearest available centres. International will offer a drop down list of available international centres. Once you have selected the exam centre and corresponding available date, then click the 'book now' button to add this to your basket. You can either proceed to the checkout or continue shopping.

Alternatively contact Customer Service on +44 (0) 20 8989 8464.

How do I book a paper-based exam?

To find the insurance or financial services exam you are after, please visit our website at the following link: CII qualifications, each qualification is listed under its relevant category menu, select the required qualification; links to available units for each qualification are displayed on this page.

If you already know the exam unit you wish to sit, you can use the CII site search to find the quick link to that unit shop page. For example, 'AF1' search will return a direct link to the AF1 unit shop page. The exam booking function is visible at the bottom of these pages.

Once in the booking function screen, you can search for available exam venue and times, starting with the region you wish to sit the examination. UK and international paper-based exams will offer a drop down list of available centres and dates. Once you have selected the exam centre and corresponding available date, then click the 'book now' button to add this to your basket. You can either proceed to the checkout or continue shopping.

Alternatively contact Customer Service on +44 (0) 20 8989 8464.

Why are paper-based exams only held in April and October?

The CII endeavours to make examination delivery as flexible as possible. The CII has moved to online delivery of objectively tested exams, allowing candidates to sit examinations on a daily basis in centres around the UK. Units that are objectively tested use multiple choice questions which allow a degree of flexibility in their delivery that is not available for written response examinations. The majority of Diploma and Advanced Diploma exams are sat on paper because they require a written response and, unfortunately, demand means that we are not in a position currently to offer these examinations on a more frequent basis. We recognise that April and October may not be a popular choice for some candidates but feedback has indicated that there is no perfect time for holding the exams. Sitting dates are chosen very carefully according to demand. The dates chosen coincide with the patterns of the industry and avoid major religious and public holidays as much as possible. The examination timetable is published as far in advance of the sitting dates as possible in order to help candidates plan for their study and examination day. You are advised to refer to our website for confirmation of this years availability.  www.cii.co.uk/importantdeadlines

What are the CII examination dates?

This information is available at www.cii.co.uk/importantdeadlines, for specific exam dates, these are available in the brochures.

Why do I have to pay a late entry fee?

The late entry fee covers the extra cost involved in processing the late entry to an examination, bookings processed prior to the closing date all fall into the automatic system generated process, individual late entries need to be processed manually on a case by case basis. These are also standard within the industry.

Why must I pay a fee for changing my examination?

A: The CII is a not for profit organisation and all profits are reinvested for the benefit of our members. The prices set for examination services are approved by the pricing committee. Reserving capacity and administration arrangements at exam centres must be made in advance and any changes made to a confirmed booking at the centre would require additional administration which is not without associated costs. If a significant number of candidates decided to transfer at short notice then this could mean changing capacity at some exam centres at an increased cost. Consequently the notice period and fee for arranging a change to a confirmed booking is necessary to enable us to plan effectively and to keep the associated costs as low as possible

I am studying for the CII exams and would like to read something to update and expand upon what is in the coursebook, can you help me?

For most CII exams there is a list of recommended reading in the syllabus which you can find within the syllabus section for each qualification on the website. Most of the items listed can be borrowed by members from CII Knowledge Services. You can also find much other information on your subject via CII Knowledge Services. CII fact files are particularly useful for updating your knowledge on a particular subject.

Can I calculate my score by averaging the percentage feedback I received for my multiple choice exam?

No, you cannot calculate your score by averaging the percentages given in your feedback. Learning outcomes are weighted according to a test specification. The General Insurance and Financial Services syllabus and test specification can be found at www.cii.co.uk/qualifications, within each qualfication section. The feedback shows, for each learning outcome (or group of learning outcomes), the percentage of questions you answered correctly. For further information on your result and feedback please go to www.cii.co.uk/qualifications/assessment-information/notes-to-results/.

How are the pass rates calculated?

For each unit, the number of candidates who achieved a pass grade or above during the year is divided by the number who sat during the year and this number is expressed as a percentage.

What is included in the pass rate calculation?

The pass rates include all sittings for a unit for the year and include (where applicable), UK sittings, international sittings, in-company sittings and passes by continuous assessment.

When are pass rates updated on the website?

Pass rates are uploaded annually, in early February. The new pass rates replace the oldest set, so that pass rates from the last two years are always shown.

Does the CII provide separate rates for those achieving distinctions?

No, this is not currently part of the service we offer.

Does the CII provide pass rates per examination session?

No, this is not currently part of the service we offer.

Why are the pass rates only available annually at the end of each year?

In order to provide the most accurate picture of pass rates and avoid the skewing of data by single events or short term trends, pass rates are produced annually at the end of each year.

Why are only papers from the last two sessions available?

For non-multiple choice examinations, all examination papers and test specifications are made available after each public examination sitting and remain until they are replaced after a further two sittings. This allows candidates who have taken an exam to match the feedback they receive to questions in the paper and to match those questions to the syllabus.' This, in turn, allows candidates to focus their studies for future examinations.' In addition, new candidates can gain a free example of the exam format and recent exam questions.

What is the test specification?

The test specification details the areas of the syllabus that are tested by each question in the examination.

I have a condition that makes taking exams difficult – can you help me?

Yes - the CII is committed to allowing our candidates to maximise their potential to the best of their ability and ensure there are no unfair barriers.

If your condition is permanent, for example dyslexia or a visual impairment, you would usually already be getting support from your place of work and we would do what we could to replicate that support.

If your condition is temporary, such as a broken leg or post operative issues, there is also help available.

In any case you would need to provide written evidence from an appropriately qualified professional to confirm your condition and how it would affect your performance during an exam, along with recommend solutions such as extra time, large font question papers and anything else to make sure you have an equal chance of passing your exam.

For more information please see our website http://www.cii.co.uk/qualifications/assessment-information/exam-policies/ or call us to discuss your requirements in more detail.

Whilst we will endeavour to meet the requirements of any request received, it would be helpful if you could contact customer.serv@cii.co.uk as soon as you are able to ensure that we have sufficient time, before the exam, to make the required arrangements. The CII will look into any late requests and do our best to accommodate them however, it may not always be possible meet the requirements.

I have special access requirements for my examination which do not relate to a disability – can you help me?

Yes - the CII is committed to allowing our candidates to maximise their potential to the best of their ability and ensure there are no unfair barriers.

If you have special access requirements which do not relate to a disability, it is helpful if you could advise the CII as soon as you are able so they have sufficient time to make arrangements.  The CII will look into any late requests and do our best to accommodate them however, it may not always be possible meet the requirements.

Examples of access arrangements which do not relate to disability include:

• Requiring a female invigilator to be present so that  a candidate who wears a veil can be identified prior to taking the exam
• Requiring time and a quiet space to pray during an exam.  An extra invigilator may be required to fulfil such a request so that the candidate is accompanied at all times whilst the exam is taking place.
• Requiring time and a private space to breast feed during an examination. An extra invigilator may be required to fulfil such a request so that the candidate is accompanied at all times whilst the exam is taking place

Please note that the examples set out above are not exhaustive and other requests may be considered. Please contact customer.serv@cii.co.uk for further information.