Monthly Archives:October 2017

pass the CII R0 exam first time

How do I pass my CII R0 exam first time?

This blog is all about how you can pass a CII R0 exam first time.

How easy are the CII R0 exams?

This depends on which exam you are thinking of. The exams you will need to meet the level 4 qualification necessary to provide investment advice are: R01, R02, R03, R04, R05 and R06. The first five exams are all multiple choice. Based on the latest CII published figures (2018),  the pass rate varies between 52.55 for R03 (Personal taxation) and 76.35% for R05 (Financial protection). R06 is a written exam where the case study is published 2 weeks before the exam. So this is a very different type of exam.

For the full breakdown of the stats, click here

Are they all the same type of exam?

No. As I’ve just mentioned, R06 is a written exam. But the differences don’t stop there. If you are going to pass your CII R0 exam the first time, you will need to understand the quirks of each exam. And they all have them. The number of questions differ, but the key difference is the balance between the standard response questions and the multiple response questions. With a standard response question, there is one correct answer and four options. With the multiple response question, more than one question will be correct and there will be more than 4 possible answers. These are MUCH harder – if you score 50% on these you are doing well so you need to score well on the standard multiple choice questions to compensate.

Key point: check the syllabus for your exam. This shows if there are any of those pesky multiple response questions (R01-4 inc all have them) and if so, how many and in which chapters. You will then need to revise these chapters even more thoroughly.

How much study is required in order to pass the CII R0 exam first time?

Again, it differs from one subject to another. The amount of study the CII recommends varies between each R0 exam and is between 50 hours and 100 hours.  R06 shouldn’t take anything like 100 hours; R04 at only 50 hours study will be a push, especially if you have little relevant pensions knowledge.

Of course, the thing that really matters are your own learning preferences and experience. Use the CII guidance as no more than that – guidance. Some of you will need more; some of you will need less.

If you have some prior knowledge of financial services, do a practice paper at the start of your revision. Yes, you are likely to bomb. But you might get a pleasant surprise and if nothing else, you will know where you stand.

Key point: Don’t leave doing practice papers until the end of your study.

What does effective study look like?

Recognise that this will differ from one person to another. Just because a mate says that they “read the study text from cover to cover” doesn’t mean it will work for you.  So here are some random thoughts:

  • You’ll automatically be supplied with the CII study text. Most people should use this as a reference source and NOT try and read it all. Try answering the practice questions and read through the useful ‘end of chapter’ summary before deciding whether you need to read each chapter more thoroughly.
  • Remember that as part of your exam enrolment package, you get access to the CII’s online  RevisionMate system. This has tons of ‘free’ practice questions. Brilliant.
  • Do have a plan. Book your exam as it might take longer than you think to get an exam date. You’ll probably need to start studying  4-8 weeks before the exam – particularly if you have a day job. Be realistic about how much you can get done in the evenings and weekend. Take the odd Friday and Saturday evening off and get a life.
  • Use audio talking books if your are able to learn on the go. That’s what we do so if you are interested, click here.
  • Above all, make your study active. People learn best by ‘doing’. As a minimum, use highlighter pens and make index cards of the bits you can’t remember.  Do regular practice questions. Read a chapter and get a colleague / local sadist / partner to test you on the content.

Exam success means making as many mistakes as you can before the exam. Try it. You’ll learn from them.

Other resources

5 myths of R01

5 myths of R02

5 myths of R03

5 myths of R04

5 Myths of R05

Prepare well and lots of success.

The Diploma Doctor

CII R05 exam

The CII’s R04 exam – 3 top tips everyone should know

A student’s perspective:

I’m Sam. I passed all of my CII R0 exams (including the R04 exam) within the last year and this is my view as a student.  Please bear in mind that I am writing this from the perspective of a 23 year old. I had little previous knowledge of the financial services industry prior to completing my diploma exams.  So here are my three top tips for the CII R04 exam.

These tips are designed to highlight particular areas of the R04 syllabus that I, and others I have spoken to, found either technically difficult or confusing.

Differences between a SIPP and SASS

Luckily for us, we are not required to know huge amounts of detail about either a SIPP or SASS for the RO4 exam. However, a basic knowledge of the differences between them is to be expected. I have produced a table below which outlines the broad differences between them, and this should be sufficient for your RO4 exam.

Type of arrangement Individual Money Purchase scheme Occupational Money Purchase Scheme
Regulator FCA TPR
Governance Contract under Master Trust Individual Trust
Able to lend to employer? No Yes, up to 50% of value
Choice of investments Chosen by member Chosen by trustees
Amount of administration required? Minimal  Large amount
Statutory Money Purchase illustrations required? Provided annually Not required
Membership Anyone Sponsoring employer can restrict membership

Death Benefits

Here is the position with lump sum death benefits paid from uncrystallised or unused funds

Death of the member occurs before age 75 If the fund is designated to provide a lump sum within the two year window:
• it will be paid free of tax if the fund is within the member’s available LTA .
• Any amount in excess of the member’s available LTA will suffer an LTA excess lump-sum tax charge of 55%.If the fund is designated to provide a lump sum outside of the two year window:
• The payment will be subject to tax at the recipient’s margin rate of income tax
• There is no test against the member’s remaining LTA.
Death of the member occurs aged 75 or older • The payment will be subject to tax at the recipient’s margin rate of income tax• There is no test against the member’s remaining LTA.

Beneficiary, Dependant, Nominee, Successor… What’s the difference?

You need to understand the differences between the three types of beneficiary when someone flexibly accesses their pension. A beneficiary will be able to receive a pension income from a deceased member’s fund. If the beneficiary does not fall into one of the below, they will be unable to receive death benefits from a pension.

– Someone who was a dependant of the original scheme member at time of death.
– Could be a spouse, civil partner, child under age 23, or older child who was dependant due to disability.

– Anyone nominated by the member before death.

– Anyone nominated by a dependant, nominee or successor to receive any remaining benefits.
– No limit on number of successors

Click here is you want some really useful talking books that help you to learn on the go.

Good luck with preparing for your R04 exam.