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CeFS - ifs Level 3 Certificate in Financial Studies (QAN 600/8537/X) Details Page


The Certificate in Financial Studies (CeFS) has been designed to provide students with a challenging qualification covering the core disciplines of financial capability. Learners are encouraged to become responsible borrowers, sensible savers, and have an appreciation of the need for financial planning throughout their life.

Download the qualification overview.

Qualification purpose statement

As an Applied General qualification, the Certificate in Financial Studies (CeFS) is primarily designed for students aged 16–19 and provides a comprehensive introduction to personal finance. Its purpose is 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.

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. Read the full Declared Purpose.

CeFS consists of two mandatory units:
Unit 1 – Financial Capability for the Immediate and Short Term
Unit 2 – Financial Capability for the Medium and Long Term

ifs University College CeFS qualification points

CeFS will be included in the 14-19 Vocational Qualifications Performance Tables from the summer 2016 and has been accredited by Ofqual at Level 3 and is part of the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).

For more information
contact one of our regional Customer Relationship Managers or read our testimonials.


CeFS consists of two mandatory units. The recommended guided learning hours (GLH) for the average student to complete is 180 hours.

Unit 1 – Financial Capability for the Immediate and Short Term (FCIS)

By studying FCIS students will gain an appreciation of why money is important through focusing on what money is; attitudes to it; and how it can affect life choices. The unit introduces students to the financial services industry by focusing on the interaction between money, personal finance and the financial services market place. They will gain an appreciation of the differentiation of financial products for savings and the key features of interest and charges on borrowing.

Unit 2 –Financial Capability for the Medium and Long Term (FCML)

By studying FCML students will gain the ability to plan and manage their financial needs in the medium and long-term, with particular reference to the importance of the need to budget for future aspirations and life events. Learners will consider the changing priorities attached to needs, wants and aspirations as individuals progress through the personal life cycle and the role of financial services in assisting lifelong financial planning. Students will gain an understanding of the personal approaches that individuals take towards risk and rewards and the impact of foreseen and unforeseen influences on financial budgeting.

Reference codes & learning hours

Unit Reference Number GLH QCF accreditation
FCIS T / 504 / 8100 90 15
FCML D / 504 / 8110 90 15


Both units will be assessed by paper-based examination or via the ifs e-test™ electronic testing system. They will be made up of the following components:

  • Part A: 35 multiple choice questions in a 45-minute examination (total marks: 35 / 100)
  • Part B: pre-release case study requiring essay responses to 5 questions in a 105-minute examination (total marks: 60 / 100)
  • Part B will also assess spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG) through the essay responses (total mark 5 / 100)

A total of 200 marks are available from both units comprising 100 marks per unit.


The overall qualification will be graded A* - E. To achieve a pass, students must achieve a mark of 40% of the Uniform Mark Scheme (UMS) in both units. Units will be graded with pass / fail only.


Students are allowed one resit attempt for each component of a unit in accordance with the published qualification regulations.

UCAS Tarriff

CeFS can attract up to 70 UCAS tariff points which contribute to university entry. Find out more.

Teaching and Learning Support

ifs University College provides a comprehensive learning support package for tutors and students including:

  • up-to-date resources revised annually enabling flexibility of delivery
  • dedicated Customer Relationship Manager offering support throughout delivery
  • access to my ifslearning, an extensive online student and tutor resource providing access to study materials including specimen examination papers and justifications and teacher guides for each unit
  • access to ifs KnowledgeBank, an online information service and e-library, giving access to a wide range of resources including databases, full-text journals, reference sources and books to support students' studies
  • Delivering Financial Capability Workshops across the country providing advice, guidance and an opportunity to share best practice and expertise


If you are interested in delivering ifs University College Certificate in Financial Studies (CeFS), please contact one of our Customer Relationship Managers (CRM) who will arrange a demonstration of all the resources.


CeFS costs £120 per student which includes registration, examination, student study materials and teaching aids and support.

Entry Criteria

Although there are no specified entry requirements, the level of achievement required to obtain CeFS is equivalent to that of GCE level / AS Level qualifications. Applicants need to be satisfied of their ability to study, in English, at this level.


Preparation for further study

The skills and knowledge developed in CeFS can be extended by taking two further units to form the ifs Level 3 Diploma in Financial Studies (DipFS), or by other options for Further or Higher Education study.

The financially-related content of this qualification provides a foundation for continued study within finance and business-related disciplines, with many students going on to study subjects such as accounting, business, finance and banking at Higher Education Institutions or through further vocational training. The transferable skills developed are also valuable for further study in unrelated disciplines and the financial capability content and skills support students in making informed decisions about the value of personal, employment and study options and budgeting whilst studying.

View letters of support received from UK Higher Education Institutions.

Preparation for employment

This qualification develops knowledge and understanding of the financial services sector and enhances skills that are valued within that sector and others, but does not qualify students for direct entry to a particular occupational role. Students will be in a position to make informed choices related to pursuing one of the many roles available within the sector, either immediately, through further study, or whether to apply the financial skills that they have developed to other careers or study options.

View letters of support received from UK employers.

ifs Student Investor Challenge

The ifs Student Investor Challenge is the UK's premier investment competition for UK students aged between 14 and 19.

Running from November to January each year, the competition gives teams of four students the opportunity to experience trading on the stock market, with £100,000 of virtual money, and the chance to win an all-expenses-paid educational trip to New York.

The competition also enables students to develop their key skills in team work, communication, decision making, problem solving and time management.

Find out more.