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In this guide we introduce some tips for success to help you master the Assurance exam.

Aim to complete the question bank twice

It’s important to learn from any mistakes you make, and you shouldn’t expect to answer every question correctly first time through. Don’t annotate directly onto the question bank, so when you come back for the second time you can see the questions with fresh eyes. However, do make a note of whether you answered each question correctly or not, so you know which ones to focus on in your revision.

Play spot the difference

In Assurance, you might find that you see two questions which on first reading look the same but give different answers. When this is the case, compare the two questions to find any differences between them. It might be as minor a wording difference as most or least, or one company being private while the other is public. This small difference will be the key to why the answers are different.

Be curious

While assurance has some specific methods and guidelines to follow, there is always a reason behind a particular fact you need to learn. Be inquisitive, and question why something is the way it is, especially in the ethics area of the syllabus. This will undoubtedly help you to remember some of the topics more clearly if you can understand why, not just what.

Take breaks

It is better to have shorter, more productive revision sessions rather than sitting in front of your notes but not learning. Consider creating a study plan so you know which order you are going to look at topics, or how long you are going to spend studying in each revision session. Carving out specific time – with an end point to it – can help to keep you focused and motivated.

The ICAEW CFAB planner is an ideal tool to help you plan.

Try not to second-guess yourself too much in the exam

As mentioned earlier, there are often small nuances in the questions. Unless you can prove to yourself with a fact that your first thought was incorrect, try not to second-guess your answers. Often your first reaction is correct (especially for the questions which ask you to prioritise for example, most likely, least likely).

Read the question carefully

Don’t rush through the exam. You have on average 1 minute and 48 seconds to answer each question (90 minutes for 50 questions), so make sure you take your time to understand the scenario and what is being asked. Settle into each question and try to explain to yourself why the options you don’t select are incorrect. This will give you more confidence that you have truly considered the whole scenario.