I’m now halfway through the six month study period for the CeMAP Diploma. With the tricky multiple choice assessment out of the way, there was a short (and welcome) interval before the release of the coursework part of the qualification on 3rd April.
The first thing to notice at this stage of the course is that the Student Forum comes to life almost as soon as the coursework has been released. I honestly don’t think I could make progress at this stage of my studies without the Student Forum. It really is the best way for students to exchange ideas by posting questions, calculations and voice their concerns which are debated and ultimately answered by the Course Web Tutor within 24 hours. It’s like having a tutor looking over your shoulder as you study – a genuine virtual classroom.
The coursework itself consists of a customer fact find, presented as a case study to which you have to provide a client report, or what’s known in the industry as a suitability letter. Simple enough so far…. What makes writing the report a challenge is that the client’s circumstances involve key learning outcomes from the CeMAP syllabus. These include topics such as buying property at auction, analysing client affordability, sourcing an appropriate mortgage product, as well as providing recommendations for protection products and advice on writing wills.
As a former mortgage broker pre-MMR regulation, there really couldn’t be a better way to update my skills and knowledge in this area than by studying for the CeMAP Diploma. The fact that the second part of the course involves producing the all-important client report makes the qualification 100% relevant and practical.
The secret to success in this part of the qualification (I think) is to create a client report that covers the technical aspects of the mortgage process but also makes easy and straightforward reading for the client. After all, the art of written and verbal communication is a key skill for a mortgage broker.
With 8 weeks to go before the coursework submission date, it feels like I’m putting together a giant jigsaw. The structure of the report I have to produce is as important as what I put in it. Luckily, students are provided with a model answer to use as a guide, as well as an Examiner’s Report which tells you what mistakes past students have made and how to avoid them.
There's a way to go yet, watch this space....
Michael Nicholls is a Relationship Director at The London Institute of Banking & Finance.