IFS Financial Studies suite

London Institute of Banking and Finance (formerly known as ifs University College)

IFS Certificate in Financial Studies (CeFS)

IFS Diploma in Financial Studies (DipFS)

Countries
  • England
  • Wales
  • Northern Ireland
Purpose

These qualifications are listed on the DfE 16 – 19 performance tables in the Applied General category.

Applied General qualifications are designed to develop transferable knowledge and skills for 16 – 19 learners who want to continue their education through applied learning.

Applied General qualifications are recognised by at least three higher education providers.

The Certificate in Financial Studies provides a comprehensive introduction to personal finance. CeFS develops the knowledge and skills required for young people to make informed financial decisions, by introducing them to the risks and challenges involved in personal finance and the tools for effective planning. Within this, it provides a solid basis for creating financial inclusion, by exploring social-economic trends and their relationship with an individual’s circumstances and attitudes.

The Diploma in Financial Studies provides an in-depth exploration of the key concepts of financial capability, and how they are applied to achieve longer-term financial sustainability. DipFS builds on the skills and knowledge acquired through successful completion of the Certificate in Financial Studies, and extends this to include areas such as financial sustainability within the wider financial services system, and the long-term impact of debt. Within DipFS the student explores the political, economic, social, technological, ethical, and legal impacts of personal finance in the short, medium, and longer terms.

Both qualifications are designed to prepare students for further study through the development of the core skills of critical analysis and evaluation, synthesis, verbal communication (through classroom discussion), and written communication.

Education context

Following the Wolf review of vocational qualifications in 2011, the UK Government announced a number of characteristics that Level 3 Applied General qualifications have to demonstrate to feature in performance tables from 2016.

As a result, over 90% of the Level 3 qualifications previously recognised in performance tables will not be recognised in 2016 and beyond.

The new characteristics define purpose, size and recognition.

Qualifications to be included in the performance tables from 2018 will have to meet further requirements in respect of content, assessment, and grading.

Qualifications can be included in the 2017 performance tables according to the 2016 (interim) or 2018 (full) requirements.

The additional 2018 requirements are reflected in this suite of qualifications.

Financial Capability was confirmed as a component part of the national curriculum in September 2013, with a teaching requirement in all maintained secondary schools from September 2014.  In 2016, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) reviewed the progress to date and found that whilst progress had been made, there was still significant work to be completed. A number of recommendations supporting the development of provision, quality, teacher capability, and inspection developments were made with two being particularly pertinent:

  • ‘Recommendation: The Department for Education should introduce a specific ‘managing money’ strand to the programme of study for secondary level Mathematics to ensure it is taught in the context of real-life scenarios.’(APPG, 2016)
  • ‘Recommendation: Financial education should form a central component of the Department for Education’s action plan for improving PSHE provision to help strengthen young people’s ability to budget and save according to their personal circumstances.’ (APPG 2016)

CeFS and DipFS are designed to build upon this introduction to financial capability and create individuals who are both competent and confident in all aspects of personal finance and through this, to satisfy these recommendations.

www.pfeg.org/sites/default/files/APPG%20on%20Financial%20Education%20for%20Young%20People%20-Final%20Report%20-%20May%202016.pdf

Awarding organisations
  • IFS
  • London Institute of Banking and Finance
Qualification codes
600/8537/X (Certificate in Financial Studies)
600/8551/4 (Diploma in Financial Studies)
Structure

Certificate in Financial Studies is made up of two mandatory units which need to be successfully completed in order for the student to achieve the certificate.

Diploma in Financial Studies is made up of four mandatory units which needs to be successfully completed in order for the student to achieve the diploma.

Subject areas

Certificate in Financial Studies:

  • Financial Capability for the Immediate and Short Term (Unit 1)
  • Financial Capability for the Medium and Long Term (Unit 2)

Diploma in Financial Studies:

  • Financial Capability for the Immediate and Short Term (Unit 1);
  • Financial Capability for the Medium and Long Term (Unit 2);
  • Sustainability of an Individual’s Finances (Unit 3);
  • Sustainability of the Financial Services System (Unit 4)
Levels
  • Level 3
Grading

A – E* (Certificate and Diploma)

Assessment

Each unit of both qualifications is assessed through a combination of multiple choice questions (Part A) and a written paper (Part B).

The pass mark for Part A is 40% of the raw marks. The pass mark for Part B is set each session to reflect any small variations in question paper difficulty.

To pass a unit, the student must achieve the minimum pass mark for both Part A and Part B. The written paper for each unit synoptically assesses the students’ ability to integrate the skills, concepts, and knowledge from the unit.

Unit 4 builds upon Unit 3, both of which build upon Unit 1 and Unit 2.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

Certificate in Financial Studies comprises two units (Unit 1 and Unit 2). 

Students moving on to Diploma in Financial Studies take a further two units (Unit 3 and Unit 4).  Each unit is assessed through a multiple choice paper worth 35 marks, and a written paper worth 65 marks, giving a maximum mark for each unit of 100 marks.

Certificate in Financial Studies:

  • Each unit carries an equal weighting of 50% of the raw marks available.

Diploma in Financial Studies:

  • Units 3 and 4 carry an equal weighting of 50% of the raw marks available.
Unit codes Unit 1 (FCIS) and Unit 2 (FCML) Unit 3 (SIF) and Unit 4 (SFS)  
Weighting as % of total DipFS assessment Each unit carries a weighting of 23.75% Each unit carries a weighting of 26.25%  
  UMS Unit 1 UMS Unit 2] UMS Unit 3 UMS Unit 4 DipFS award
Maximum mark 190 190 210 210 800
(Cap) 190 190 210 210 800
A* 171 171 189 189 720
A 152 152 168 168 640
B 133 133 147 147 560
C 114 114 126 126 480
D 95 95 105 105 400
E 76 76 84 84 320
F 52 52 63 63  
Resit arrangements

For both qualifications, students are allowed one resit attempt for each component of the unit.

The result that gives the student the highest mark in terms of UMS is used.

Guided / notional learning hours notes

CeFS – 187 guided learning hours

DipFS – 374 guided learning hours

UCAS Tariff points

IFS Certificate in Financial Studies

Grade Points
A* 28
A 24
B 20
C 16
D 12
E 8

IFS Diploma in Financial Studies

Grade Points
A* 56
A 48
B 40
C 32
D 24
E 16
Key issues for UK HE admissions

Applied General qualifications are recognised by at least three higher education providers as fulfilling entry requirements to a range of HE courses, either by themselves or alongside other Level 3 qualifications.

Timing of assessments and results

For both qualifications examinations are taken during January, March, May and June.

Provisional results are released at the end of each exam session, with final results released after approval by the Assessment Board at the end of July.

Qualification dates notes

The Certificate and Diploma in Financial Studies qualifications are current.

Progression information

Certificate in Financial Studies (CeFS): for students who wish to develop a wider understanding of the socio-economic impacts of personal finance, the skills, and knowledge developed in CeFS can be extended by taking two further units to complete the DipFS. The financially related content provides a foundation for continued study within the finance sector, and a wide range of other business-related disciplines. CeFS carries the maximum points available for a qualification of its type and size as described on our website. www.ifslearning.ac.uk/financial-capability/Qualifications/ucastariffexplained.aspx

Diploma in Financial Studies (DipFS): the financially related content of this qualification serves as an excellent grounding for undergraduate study within finance and business-related disciplines. The skills developed and enhanced during the course provide valuable study skills appropriate for these disciplines and others.

Financial capability underpins clear decisions about progression options, including life as an undergraduate, and DipFS provides an excellent platform for progression through further or higher education. As a larger qualification than the Certificate in Financial Studies, it has a higher UCAS Tariff and carries the maximum points available for a qualification of its type and size, as described on the IFS website. www.ifslearning.ac.uk/financial-capability/Qualifications/ucastariffexplained.aspx

Letters of support detailing the qualification’s formal acceptance by universities, and employer letters of support are available on the IFS website. www.ifslearning.ac.uk/financial-capability/Qualifications/ucastariffexplained.aspx

The financially related content of DipFS provides a solid foundation for continued study within business and finance-related disciplines. However, the core skills of critical analysis and evaluation, synthesis and written communication, and independent learning are transferable and provide a strong grounding for further study in other fields.