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Time Management for AFP Constructed-Response Questions

Posted by David Gobeil on

The AFP Exam 2 is a constructed-response examination featuring 3 or 4 case studies, which reflect typical financial planning situations that you may encounter. You must provide a written response to the questions. Each case study has 3 or 4 related questions, which may include sub-questions to assess smaller pieces of information. The passing mark is 60%.

Over the years, we have spoken to many candidates who have failed the AFP Exam 2 , and who have told us that they ran out of time and did not answer all of the questions. Failure to manage one’s time is probably a more frequent cause of failure than not knowing enough technical information.

A case study is a client situation and the accompanying questions. You can expect or case studies, each of which has or related questions. This suggests that you will have to answer between 9 and 16 questions.

Assuming that there are 100 marks per paper, you will have 1.8 minutes per mark, calculated as ((3 hours × 60 minutes per hour) ÷ 100 marks per paper).

We have found that it is practical to manage your time by 18 minute intervals, which just happens to be the amount of time that you have for 10 marks. However, this may not correspond to the questions.

At the start of the AFP Exam 2 , you want write on your exam paper the times at which you should have completed each of the case studies. So, count the number of marks for the 1st case study, multiply the number of marks by 1.8 minutes, write this time in large red letters at the end the last question of the first case study. Repeat this process for each case study, such that you have the time written down as to when you should complete each case study.

Given there are only 3 or 4 case studies, you will have between 60 minutes and 45 minutes for each case study. This is too long of a duration to check how your time is doing.

We have found that it is practical to manage your time by 18 minute intervals, which just happens to be the amount of time that you have for 10 marks.

So, go and take a look at each case study and refine your times by noting when you should have completed about 10 marks.

Count up the marks for the case studies until you have about 10 marks. Multiply the actual number of marks by 1.8 minutes per mark to determine how long you can spend on that group of questions and, at the end of the last question, write the time at which you should have completed that group of questions.

Suppose that the first question in a case study had 5 marks, the second had 4 marks and the third had 6 marks; the first and second questions would have 9 marks, the closest to 10 marks.

So, you would want to be finished these two questions in about 16 minutes, calculated as (number of marks of 9 × 1.8 minutes per mark). So, write the time at which you should have finished these questions in red letters on your exam paper.

You would then repeat this process for the remaining case studies and questions.

If when you check your watch, you are going too slow, speed it up. You are wasting time on questions by spending more than the allowed 1.8 minutes per mark; while leaving some out that you might more easily answer.


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