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Five top tips for R0 exam success – part 2

Some notes from a student who passed his CII R0 exams

In my last blog, I started looking at my 5 key tips on how to achieve R0 exam success. These are lessons that I learned the hard way and I share with you so you might not do the same! I covered three of the top tips in my previous blog:

One – Make a plan
Two – Get your work/life balance right
Three – Mix up revision techniques

If you want to read these tips first, click here

So here I go with my final two tips that will help you on your journey to R0 exam success…

Tip Four – Broad Ideas

• Most people are looking to do as little revision as they feel they can get away with. Get used to picking up the broad ideas.
• Examiners don’t usually ask you a question where the answer is a single line on page 187 in the book, for example.
• As you well know, the amount of content within each R0 study text is vast. This means that the exam will often test your knowledge of general ideas. So concentrate on understanding the concepts within each chapter as much as the specific detail.
• This is not to say you should skim over parts of the book. Relying, for example, on just a summary of the key conetent of each chapter in a study text is unlikely to be enough. It might be if you have a few years of experience, but it wasn’t enough for me.

Tip Five – Revision Questions

• I have touched upon this in both Tip One and Three, but I really can’t emphasis enough the importance of doing practice questions.  The CII RevisionMate questions – the one’s that you get online when you purchase the CII study text, were a good test. Most people do these at the end of their study. I was encouraged to use them at the start (or perhaps after I had skim read a chapter) and this really worked. It reinforced what I did know and identified what I didn’t. I then used the CII study text as a reference tool rather than reading it from cover to cover.
• What I found useful was to do a past paper, mark it myself, and then go through the paper again, making notes on every question I got wrong.
• I would always aim to have 5 or 6 practice exams, and do each 2 or 3 times; repetition is key, as it not only forces knowledge to stick in your memory, but also use it as a way to identify areas which require more work.  The CII RevisionMate questions were very useful but perhaps a little harder than those in the actual exam.

I hope that these help you to pass your exam first time.

Sam Patterson


Five top tips for R0 exam success – part 1

Notes from a student who passed his CII R0 exams

Before I begin sharing some tips that helped me pass my R0 exams, I thought it’s only fair if I briefly introduce myself. Well to start, I’m 23 years old, studied Geography at university and I took a job at a wealth management firm two months after graduating. I really had no prior knowledge of financial services and had to complete my R0 Exam studies whilst holding down a full time job working as a para-planner. I have five main tips that helped me to get through my R0 exams and I’ll cover the first three here, and the remaining two in the next blog.

If you want to know the current pass rates for each R0 exam, click here and scroll down the page it takes you to.

Tip One – Make a plan

• This is the most obvious tip for any exam, but despite this it is a tip I’ve usual ignored throughout my education.
• It is essential when studying, particularly whilst working full-time. Make a plan and stick to it!
• Only you will know what the correct plan is, as only you will know how much work you can do a day without switching off. Only you will know what works for you, and what doesn’t. Success is as much about how effective your study as it is how much you do.
• Create a plan that allows you to work at your own pace, and get your exam booked as soon as you have created your revision plan. Once you have an exam date booked, it’s a real motivator to get you revising!

Tip Two – Work/life balance

• Drawing from personal experience, I felt I could do more revision than I actually could. This resulted in me feeling stressed outside of work, made me more stressed at work and ultimately led to me failing a couple of exams.
• My advice would be give yourself Friday nights off and make sure you continue with any sports and hobbies.
• Revising is important and necessary, but it should not become your life. If you are filled with dread and anxiety every time you open up that revision book, you are fighting an uphill battle. In most cases, it will mean you won’t pass.

Tip Three – Mix up revision techniques

• This is a good way of not becoming bored whilst revising.
• Conventional methods of revising include highlighting, note taking, creating spider diagrams, using flip cards, and doing past questions.
• Two slightly different revision techniques I found useful was listening to Audio revision material, which helped me learn in a more informal setting whilst driving to work. Click here if you are interested in more details
• The other revision technique I found incredibly helpful was when people asked me questions, just going through the textbook and finding something to test me on.
• A colleague, a friend or anyone could do this, but this really helped me. Quite simply I don’t like to get things wrong. So if I get things wrong I remember it, and that’s what revision is all about. Make as many mistakes as you can before the actual R0 exam!

In the next blog, I’ll cover the remaining two tips.

Click here for part 2

Sam Patterson