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Business, Banking and Finance Level 3

Finance is the most required hard skill by employers in the UK followed by audtiting and accounting, according to the Skills Gap Trend Report 2021. With gaps in the the sector job market, there has never been a better time to learn accounting to help move your career forward.


This course encourages students to become responsible borrowers and sensible savers, and to appreciate the need for financial planning throughout their life. It prepares them for further study by developing the core skills of critical analysis and evaluation, verbal communication (through classroom discussion) and written communication.

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 (Year 1). 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.

This greater understanding of financial planning can support entry to university on finance and banking courses and a wide range of other disciplines. It also supports progress to a wide range of entry level occupations within finance, ensuring that learners understand the sector and have a range of transferrable skills and knowledge.


Exam Board: The London Institute of Banking & Finance


  • What will I study and learn?

    Key content areas

    - Importance of financial capability in the immediate, short, medium and long term.
    Financial services and products, including sources of help and advice.
    - Borrowing, budgeting, financial planning and cash flow forecasting.
    - The impact of external influences at different stages in the personal life cycle.
    - Risk and reward in managing personal finance.

    Key skills developed

    The qualification will encourage students to:
    - analyse financial information, financial services products and services and begin to make judgements about suitability for people in different circumstances;
    - develop an understanding of financial concepts and terminology to enhance financial literacy;
    - analyse, synthesise, evaluate and reflect;
    - demonstrate numeracy skills, including the ability to manipulate financial and other numerical data to reflect the conceptual activity of financial maths;
    - select appropriate data and information to make arguments;
    - structure and communicate ideas logically and coherently; and
    - increase their ability to work and learn independently.

  • How is the course assessed?

    Each unit is assessed through a combination of Multiple Choice Questions (Part A) and a written paper (Part B). Part A can be sat via the LIBF e-test electronic testing system or via a paper-based MCQ examination. Part B will always be sat via paper-based examination.

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

Part A: 35 multiple choice questions in a 45-minute examination.
Part B: pre-release case study requiring essay responses in a 105-minute examination. 

Part B will also assess spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG) through the essay responses.

    Year 1

    Unit 1 and Unit 2 (CeFS- Certificate in Financial Studies)

    Part A: 35 multiple choice questions in a 45-minute examination. 

    Part B: pre-release case study requiring essay responses in a 105-minute examination.

    Part B will also assess spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG) through the essay responses.

    Year 2

    Unit 3 and Unit 4 (DipFS - Diploma in Financial Studies)

    Part A: 35 multiple choice questions in a 1-hour examination.

    Part B: pre-release case study requiring essay responses in a 2-hour examination.

    Part B will also assess spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG) through the essay responses.

  • What skills will I need for the course?

    1. Ability to work under exam conditions

    2. Ability to work independently

    3. Ability to write essays and reports

    4. Ability to manage own workload and meet deadlines

    5. Good research skills

    6. Good numeracy skills

  • What formal entry requirements will I need?

    Minimum 4 GCSE’s grade 4 & above including English and Maths


    Please also see our qualifications and entry requirements page for more information.

  • What are my progression options?

    Progression and preparation for further study

    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 Diploma in Financial Studies (Year 2). CeFS therefore provides both a valuable qualification in its own right and an early exit point for students who wish to gain a foundation for study in financial services without developing or extending this knowledge further to include areas such as financial sustainability and the long-term impact of debt.

    As a free-standing qualification, CeFS provides a platform for progression through further or higher education and has letters of support from universities, examples of which can be found on LIBF website. The financially related content of this qualification provides a foundation for continued study within the finance sector and a wide range of other business-related disciplines; many students go on to study subjects such as accounting, business, finance and banking at university or through further vocational training. The transferable skills developed are also valuable for further study in unrelated disciplines. The financial capability content and skills support students in making informed financial decisions about employment and further study options. This qualification carries the maximum UCAS points available, as described on https://www.libf.ac.uk/study/financial-education/teacher-and-exam-officer-information.

    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, whether this be to pursue a career within the financial services sector immediately or after further study, or whether to apply the financial skills that they have developed to other careers or study options. For students seeking to continue in education, CeFS provides a foundation for further study in business and finance-related disciplines, as well as a wide range of other commercial or not-for profit sectors. For students who choose to move straight into employment, CeFS may support access to employment in areas such as in insurance, banking, and office administration, or in the voluntary sector such as with Citizens Advice.

  • Are there any costs involved?

    You will have to pay for text books, course related trips and own learning materials.

  • Are you aged over 19?

    Students aged 19 or over on 31st August directly preceding their academic year may be required to pay tuition fees for that year of study. Advanced Learner Loans may be available for students studying at Level 3. If you are aged 19-23 as at 31 August and this is your first full Level 2 or 3 you may not have to pay fees, provided the qualification meets the legal entitlement at that level – Please enquire for further details.

    Students who are 19-24 years old with Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP) issued by the Local Authority are not required to pay course fees (ie tuition fees are free). Students will be required to provide a final copy of their EHCP provided by the LA as evidence.

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