Monthly Archives:October 2018

R01 exam

CII R01 exam: a student’s view

If you are sitting the CII R01 exam, the best way to know ‘what it’s all about’ is to learn from other students who have sat the exam.  Here is Matthew’s story….

Hi my name is Matthew. I have been fortunate enough to work in the financial industry for some time, mainly dealing with large corporate companies but not retail clients. So, you could say this is all new to me. I recently passed the CII R01 exam first time and here are some of the key things I learned.

CII R01 Exam – Reading the question slowly can gain you valuable time.

As you can imagine the wording of the question needs you to have a complete understanding of the subject matter. Often with multiple choice questions you get the feeling that two of the answers are possibly correct. I cannot stress enough, READ THE QUESTION AT LEAST TWICE. Every word used in R01 questions is carefully chosen for a specific reason. By slowly reading the questions I found it easier to think of an answer – prior to then reading the multiple-choice answers. By spending more time on the question, it minimised my time pondering the correct answer. Practice this and try for yourself at home, it really does save time.

The final 13 questions in the CII R01 exam are multiple-response questions. So, the answer will be 2 or more of the 5 or 6 available options. You only score a mark on these multiple response questions IF you get each of the correct answers. No more, no less. A good score on these questions can really make the difference between you passing or failing. As mentioned earlier, reading the questions several times prior to reading the answers really helped me, especially under exam pressure.

Scoring at least 50% on these final 13 questions is a good result.

Look at the R01 syllabus

The link to the CII 2023/24 syllabus can be found here.

Why bother looking at it? The answer is that every chapter of the CII study text will have a different number of questions in the exam. In other words, some areas are tested more than others. My tip is to focus your time where the marks are.

Studying for the CII R01 exam.

I used the CII text, RevisionMate Knowledge Checker practice questions, and the audiobook. I found the audio material particularly useful filling those gaps whilst travelling, and once downloaded you can study for short bursts anytime anywhere.


Click here for other tips on revision material.

Click here for details of the R01 audio book.

R01: advice v information.

Here is the first of two technical areas I’ll look at. Increasing the financial capability of the UK population is important to both the government and the FCA. Better educated clients make more informed choices and not everyone will seek financial advice from an adviser. To provide more guidance and information, various initiatives have been rolled-out. These include The National Strategy for Financial Capability and The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) which provides Pension Wise and MoneyHelper. Both of these offer impartial free guidance and information to anyone that seeks it. It is certainly worth knowing what they offer.

R01: State benefits.

My second technical area is State Benefits. This might be worth one or two questions in an exam and everyone hates these! Don’t bother trying to remember the monetary amounts of each benefit. It seems to be more about who would be eligible for each benefit and some of the KEY elements of them. Here are some of the points that I though were most likely to be tested in this area:

  • Child benefit. Paid to dependent children under age 16 (or 20 if in full time education or training). Benefit reduced where a parent’s income is between £50 – £60,000 per annum so is not paid above £60k. Non-taxable.
  • Child tax credits.  These are paid by HMRC, not DWP. They are paid to low-income families where a parent(s) work and are means-tested and non-taxable.
  • Bereavement Support Payment. £3,500 paid on the death of a spouse/civil partner if receiving child benefit or pregnant if claimed within 3 months followed by 18 monthly payments of £350. If not receiving child benefit or pregnant, the figures are £2,500 and £100.
  • Support for mortgage interest (SMI). You may need to know the criteria for receiving this: interest only paid on mortgage amounts of £100k (or £200k depending on age), and a waiting period of 39 weeks for those claiming income-related benefits. This is now paid as a loan and is repayable, not a benefit.
  • Job seekers allowance. This is the main unemployment benefit, i.e. it’s paid to someone who able to work and is seeking work. Means-tested and non-taxable.
  • Disability benefits. These are paid to the disabled who are unable to work (or only able to do limited work). For example, attendance allowance (over age 65), disability living allowance and ESA (below age 65). Because these are for the disabled, there are paid based on need, not ability to pay. They are not taxable and are not means-tested.

Details current as a July 2023.

I hope you have found these specific parts of the R01 useful.

Good luck, Matthew.


Found it useful hearing from a student? Click here for another.