R01 exam: how to pass

cii r01

R01 exam: how to pass

The CII’s R01 exam, Financial Services, Regulation and Ethics, has a current pass rate of 69%.

The exam has 100 questions, and you have 2 hours to complete it. 87 questions are single-response questions that only need one answer. 13 of the 100 are pesky multiple-response question that require more than one answer. These are much harder to answer.

10 tips to help you pass R01 first time

Here are 10 tips to make sure you pass the exam first time – or at least make it more likely!

  1. Put in the hard yards. The CII recommend around 60 hours of study and most people will, unfortunately, need this and perhaps more. Why? Because R01 covers a really broad syllabus ranging from an overview of the savings, investment and pension products, to social security benefits and legal aspects like LPAs. The main focus is, of course, regulation and this isn’t most people’s idea of fun!
  2. Work smarter, not harder. It’s not just about how much study you do, but it’s also about the quality of your study. Most people learn best by ‘doing stuff’, rather than just reading (which is passive). For example, use highlighter pens, write summary notes and use the CII online RevisionMate practice questions. You might also use our audio material so that you can learn on the go.
  3. Focus on chapters 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the CII R01 study text.  The R01 exam questions are not allocated equally across each chapter in the study text. So if time is short, why wouldn’t you focus on the chapters that are most heavily examined? These four chapters not only account for all of the tricky multiple response questions (which will require a greater level of understanding), but also over half the overall questions in the R01 exam.  In other words, you are likely to fail R01 without a decent grasp of this content on the FCA and it’s rules.
  4. Focus on the content you don’t know. You are likely to be familiar with at least some of the content. As few people will read the study text from cover to cover, focus your reading on the bits you are unfamiliar with. Why? The fact is that some knowledge goes a long way. Even if you don’t know the answer to a question, a little knowledge will help you to eliminate one or more of the incorrect answers. This leads me on to the next tip.
  5. Guess! Questions in R01 are marked positively so if you guess and get it wrong, you don’t lose anything. If you get it right then, bingo, one mark closer to the pass mark. Use a process of elimination to reduce the likely number of options but if in doubt, guess!
  6. Read the exam questions twice. Trust me, if the question gives you information, you’ll need to use it somehow. The CII doesn’t give information to just ‘pad out’ a question. So read the question twice and ask yourself: ‘how do they expect me to use this information?’.
  7. Practice, practice, practice. There really is no substitute for answering R01 practice questions such as the CII Knowledge Checker Questions on RevisionMate. You get these as part of your exam entry package on enrolment and enrolment plus. Start using these early on in your preparation. Most people learn from their mistakes – so make lots of them during your prep so you don’t make them in the exam.  Don’t leave practice questions until just before you sit the R01 exam.
  8. Complete the R01 CII exam guide at least twice. Time pressure and lack of knowledge are likely to be the biggest issues for many people. Do your practice runs under exam condition so you get a feel about what it’ll be like in the exam. The CII exam guide is the best guide there is as to what your actual exam will look like. Click the link below.
  9. Have a plan on how to approach sitting the exam. For example, the multiple response questions are the last 13 questions in the exam. You might decide to answer these first while your brain is still clear. Remember to flag questions that you aren’t 100% sure of and build in time to return to revisit these at the end of the exam.
  10. Be kind to yourself when studying. Studying for 20-30 minute bursts is great – focus on 3-4 key topics and then have a break. Few people like studying so reward yourself with treats on a regular basis.

R01 resources

Click here for our FREE R01 practice question

Click here for a student’s point of view on R01

Click here for the CII FREE exam guide

Be prepared. Good preparation leads to success. If you want to know how you can learn on the go and fit it in around everything else, click here for details.

Until the next time

Ian Patterson

Ex-examiner and author of the current CII study texts: CF8, J07, and AF6

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