School of Excellence - tips from highly successful students

Dear <<First Name>>,

With CISI students in their final revision stage, we thought it would be useful to share tips from some of our students who have achieved top grades in their exams.

Please pass this newsletter on to anyone you know who is taking an exam at the beginning of December.

We wish everyone our very best wishes and good luck!

We are currently taking bookings for Investment Advice Diploma revision courses in both London and Liverpool starting in December. Further courses will be available from January 2016. We also offer one to one support and mock examinations. Don't miss out - visit our website for all dates and online booking.
Best wishes,

07813 493 703


School of Excellence - tips from highly successful students

If you are revising for any of the three exams making up the Chartered Wealth Manager (CWM) qualification, you will no doubt be making your final preparations for the December sitting. Many of you I suspect, will be focusing heavily on building up sufficient knowledge and understanding of the syllabus. Whilst this is obviously important, one area that I find often gets overlooked is appropriate exam technique.
In this article, a few of my most successful students have each very kindly provided some really important tips to achieve success. All of them (and many others I have taught) lead very busy working lives and found the CWM papers a real challenge. Whilst they are far too modest to say so, their aptitude, application and enthusiasm to learn complex topics enabled them to achieve some stunning results.
The Financial Markets paper is the first of the three CWM exams and many candidates find it a challenge to understand fully what the examiner is looking for in terms of the quality and quantity of answers. My view is that this paper covers a very wide scope. You do not have to be an absolute genius at any one topic but you do have to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the whole syllabus.
Robin Ellis won the top marks award in this paper in 2013 (as well as the top aggregate award for all three papers in 2014). He provides solid advice on the Financial Markets exam: “Given the three separate and distinct sections in the Financial Markets paper and the relatively tight time constraints, I think exam technique is key. You need to manage your time efficiently, making sure you don’t waste time on low mark questions but still ensuring you demonstrate enough knowledge to capture all of the marks. Unsurprisingly, the more confident you are with the content and the more practice papers you do, the easier this becomes.”
The second exam, Portfolio Construction Theory brings together a different set of challenges. No less taxing than the first module, many find that a lack of in-depth knowledge on portfolio construction, risk management and appraisal techniques leaves them falling way short of the required standard to pass the exam.
Grant Paterson achieved a Distinction in the June 2015 paper. He says: "If there was one tip I would give students of the Portfolio Construction Theory exam it would be to try and apply what they are learning to what they do in their everyday working lives.
For Portfolio Construction Theory, I would say that this paper tests the nuts and bolts of what we do in portfolio management. The concepts which are studied and tested are an essential part of the toolkit of investment managers across the world.”
Katie Tasker, another top award winner for this paper with a Distinction grade believes that there is a big practical bonus to passing the CWM exams. She says: “Invest the time. Every minute spent studying is a minute well spent, not only for passing the exams but for building on your knowledge which will eventually help in your career. Each exam covers a wide range of topics and areas. Spending the time to cover each in detail, will ensure you will ultimately become a well rounded wealth manager”
The final exam, Applied Wealth Management tests a great deal of the practical application of private client investment management and financial advice. Two outstanding students from recent years give their views.
Stephen Lennon attained a Distinction in the exam and states: “Keep your answers simple. Don’t try to prove how clever you are through the use of niche or esoteric investments. Use mainstream structures, such as pensions and investment bonds where appropriate and make sure you take their tax treatment into account. Oh and remember the allocation of the WMA indices! They’re a great rule of thumb and help save time when constructing a portfolio in the exam.”
Sebastian Taylor also got a distinction in this paper and writes:
“It is vital to make the upcoming exam your only focus as you can’t underestimate how much work is needed to have the level of knowledge needed to pass these exams. With only having a finite amount of time, it is very important to start studying as early as possible as the quicker you finish noting the book, the sooner you can start really learning the content by working through practice questions.”
All of these candidates agree with the principle of active revision.
Robin Ellis takes up the reigns with a final very useful tip for all three papers: “Practice as many exam style questions as you can and be disciplined and honest in reviewing your answers.”
Not only are these all very useful pointers for you leading up to the exams, they also come from people who have achieved the highest standards very recently.
Glascow Consulting Ltd ( is very pleased to announce that we shall be running open comprehensive and revision courses starting in March 2016 for all three Chartered Wealth Manager papers in both London and Liverpool in preparation for the June exam sitting. We also offer courses and support for other CISI qualifications. Our new suite of IAD courses start in December 2015. Contact us now to make a provisional booking at: or phone 0203 292 9229.
We also provide excellent additional support including in-house courses, one to one sessions, email support, mock exam papers with comprehensive feedback and online revision material.
Our services are flexible and comprehensive representing real value for money to achieve the highest chance of success. If you are taking an exam, we’re taking it with you!

Look at our other free resources at or contact us at: for further help.

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