ICAEW.com works better with JavaScript enabled.
Exclusive content
Access to our exclusive resources is for specific groups of students, users and members.

In this guide we introduce some tips for success to help you master the Business Planning: Insurance exam.

Study advice

As with the other Business Planning exams, the Business Planning: Insurance syllabus includes quite a lot of technical material that may take a while to master.

Different people find different parts of the syllabus easy and hard, so do not expect always to “get it” straight away. If you are not quite getting it, give yourself a break from study and come back later. With the account’s preparation areas of the syllabus, try to understand what the different elements of the figures are actually communicating to investors, eg what does “Contractual Service Margin” mean, as much as how do we calculate it? If you understand what information an investor will get from the information we provide, it makes it much easier for us to understand the process of producing that information and cope with novel scenarios in the exam.

Revision advice

Practise, practise, practise! There are no particular quirks in preparation for the Business Planning: Insurance exam. If you put in the time and practise enough questions, read past examiners’ comments, and keep a cool head on the day, you have a very strong chance of success.

Common pitfalls

It is a good idea to look at the examiners’ comments, which are all available in the “student mark plans” after each examination session on the ICAEW website. These give future exam candidates the chance to learn from what their predecessors did not do so well. Common themes that the examiners flag as areas for improvement are:

  • Preparing numbers, but not appearing to understand what they mean. This is especially true in IFRS 17 preparation questions.
  • Not using the facts of the scenario, eg listing the generic advantages of equities or government debts, but not relating those comments to the specific needs of the company in the exam question.
  • Over-reacting to apparent breaches of regulation, rather than dealing with them in a realistic and proportionate way.

Mastering a retake

If you are unfortunate and need to retake, do not lose heart! Look at the specific guidance for people retaking Business Planning: Insurance on the ICAEW website, as that provides more guidance. The examiners consistently report that most people who do not pass first time appear to have some understanding of the Business Planning: Insurance syllabus, but do not appear to be sufficiently well prepared to produce enough evidence of their competence in the time pressure of an exam. ICAEW Chartered Accountants work in environments where working quickly is important, so exams also require candidates to work quickly. The best advice for retakes is generally a rather simple message of invest some time and practise a lot of questions to timed conditions. Retake candidates often do very well on their subsequent attempts, so definitely do not give up.