R0 exam technique and study hub

R0 exam technique and study hub

Most people who are unsuccessful in an exam will still be within 5% of the pass mark

In many cases, those that are successful just answer the questions better, or know a little bit more. The margin for error is so small that we’ve produced dedicated materials to help you in this important area.

To pass your R0 CII exam first time, you need to consider two elements:

  1. What you do before the exam, i.e. how much and how effective your exam study is
  2. What you do in the exam,  i.e. how good your exam technique is

Few people like exam study and even fewer like re-sitting exams so this exam technique and study hub is here to help you with both areas.

What you do before your R0 exam

CII R0 exams typically require between 50 and 60 hours of study per unit. Unfortunately, most people will need this amount of study and if you are new to the profession, you might even need longer. There are no easy short cuts when you are sitting A-level exams like most of the R0 subjects. But there’s still plenty of scope for working smarter, not harder.

Here are seven tips on how to approach your R0 exam preparation:

  1. Look at the syllabus and the learning objectives for the R0 exam you are sitting. This is important because the exam questions are based on the syllabus, not the study text. Importantly, it also shows how many questions there are for each learning outcome. These are NOT spread equally so some areas of the syllabus attract more questions than other parts.
  2. Complete the CII exam guide at least twice under exam conditions. These are supplied as part of your CII exam enrolment on RevisionMate.  They are the nearest thing you will find to the exam itself, short of sitting the exam.
  3. Make a plan. Think about how much study you can commit to, and how best to fit this study in around your work and other commitments.
  4. Use a variety of study methods. Our audio material is ideal for learning on the go. 
    Read through elements of the CII study text. Unless you are new to the subject, just focus on the areas you don’t know. Reading the study text from cover to cover will not work for most people. Look at the questions within the text and the useful end of chapter summaries. You learn by doing so write memory cards, summary notes, link the information to client scenarios – in fact, do anything that involves you actively doing something with the new information.
  5. Use the RevisionMate practice questions. These are again part of the standard enrolment package that is provided on the CII’s RevisionMate. They are based on each chapter of the CII study text and they’re intended to help you check you’ve remember what you’ve read. These are similar to the standard expected in the actual exam so make sure you use them. 
  6. Familiarise yourself with the tax tables provided in the exam. A lot of information is provided in the exam for you such as the main allowances, tax rates and social security benefits.  So be sure you know what is given to you in the exam – you’ll have enough to remember without making it harder for yourself!
  7. Make sure your study is effective. It isn’t just about the hours you put into studying.  People learn in different ways so learn what works for you. See the link below to help you.

We’ve joined forces with the learning experts – Genius Material. Click on the image for a free 23 minute video on how to make your revision more effective.

In addition, click on the other images to access our invaluable advice on how you can make your study hours count for specific R0 exams.

Genius Material

What you do in the R0 exam

With a multiple choice R0 exam, exam technique is usually less of a factor than with written exams. Having said that, people will still lose marks through poor exam technique so here are our seven golden tips:

  1. Make sure you read the question at least twice before attempting to answer. It sounds so basic doesn’t it?  But from past experience, we know that most candidates will answer one or more questions incorrectly just because they didn’t read it carefully. Remember that you will be expected to use the information that is given in some way. It is not provided to just ‘pad out’ the question.
  2. Use a process of elimination. In most multiple-choice questions, one or more answers can be quickly discounted. This means that even if you don’t know the correct answer, you can perhaps reduce the odds to a 50:50 guess. As marks aren’t taken away, why wouldn’t you?
  3. Flag’em up. The exam system enables you to flag up a question and return to it. If in doubt, flag it up but don’t forget to return to it to double-check your answer.
  4. Pay attention to words in bold type and words in capital letters. Negative words will always be in bold capital letters.  For example, which of the following is NOT a feature of….? As this type of question means that the incorrect answer is actually true, another way of approaching this type of question is to ask yourself this: ‘What are the features…?’ and you should end up with the answer you want.
  5. Do not spend too long on any one question.  In the exam, you have just over one minute per question. This is particularly important with R03 where you will feel under time pressure. So that you ensure that you keep an eye on the time, you may find it helpful to remember that you should complete around 13 questions every 15 minutes.
  6. Answer every question. Marks are NOT lost for incorrect answers so even if it is a guess, why wouldn’t you.
  7. Decide in advance the order you will answer the questions in. This probably needs a little explanation. R01, R02, R03, and R04 all have multiple response questions at the end of the paper. You may wish to work through all of the questions methodically answering each one in turn but this means you get to the multiple-response questions (these have more than one correct answer) when your brain is most frazzled. So you could start with answering the multiple-response questions first. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer but use your practice pre-exam to know what works best for you.

Of course, there are other areas to look as well and you can explore these further by clicking on the following images:

R01 exam

R01 – a student’s point of view