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cii r01

R01 exam: how to pass

The CII’s R01 exam, Financial Services, Regulation and Ethics, has a current pass rate of 68%.

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 books 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

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.

r01 exam

R01 exam – free practice questions

Are you revising for the CII’s R01 exam? Know someone who is? Then read on…..!

We’ve put together 10 single-response multiple choice questions for you as a taster of what you can expect in the R01 exam.

We’ve helped over 6,000 people prepare for the CII R0 exams over the past 12 months (1st August 2022 to the 31st July 2023). We don’t sell multiple choice questions but we are here to help as much as we can with your R01 exam.

What we do offer is unique R01 MP3 audio material. This provides around 4 hours of dedicated R01 material that enables you to fit your study around your business and social life – not the other way around.  Click here for further details.

Now, onto these practice questions. See how well you do on these R01 exam style questions. You’ll find the answers at the end.

R01 questions

These questions are based on the 2023/24 tax year. Here goes……..

1. Which body sets interest rates in the UK and what is its inflation target?

a) The Treasury; 2% CPI

b) The Treasury; 2% RPI

c) The Monetary Policy Committee; 2% CPI

d) The Monetary Policy Committee; 2% RPI

2. Mohammed is concerned about how he would cope financially in the event of long term sickness. Which type of insurance policy is MOST likely to satisfy this need?

a) Accident sickness and unemployment insurance

b) Mortgage payment protection

c) Private medical insurance

d) Income protection insurance

3. John and Janet owned a property as tenants in common. On Janet’s death:

a) the entire property would pass straight to John as surviving joint owner

b) her children would automatically become legal owners of the full property

c) her share of the property forms part of her estate and is distributed accordingly

d) her share of the property would be held in trust for her adult children

4. A ‘directive’ is a form of EU legislation. This requires Member States to implement the directive:

a) to achieve a set outcome, but how this is achieved is left to each State

b) in its entirety with no discretion about how it is implemented

c) by introducing high level principle-based regulation that underpin the directive

d) only if they choose to do so

5. Which regulator is charged with ensuring that competition between businesses is a benefit to customers and the economy as a whole?

a) The Office of Fair Trading

b) Competition Commission

c) The Prudential Regulation Authority

d) Competition and Markets Authority

6. If a firm of financial advisers has been granted a Part 4A permission by the FCA, the organisation can now:

a) act as a Designated Professional Body

b) proceed to appoint some Appointed Representatives

c) undertake the regulated activities applied for

d) advise on a whole of market basis only

7. How much notice does the Financial Conduct Authority need to give before conducting an enforcement visit on a regulated firm?

a) None

b) 3 working days

c) 5 working days

d) 7 working days

8. Smith and Wesson are insurance brokers who also undertake mortgage and investment advice. Which conduct of business rule book(s) will they need to comply with?

a) ICOBS only

b) COBS and MCOB only

c) COBS, ICOBS and MCOB only

d) BCOBS, MCOB and ICOBS only

9. Under S.19 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, it is an offence for someone to carry out a regulated activity unless they are:

a) authorised or exempt

b) recognised by a Designated Professional Body

c) recognised by a relevant professional body

d) licensed under the Consumer Credit Act

10. George is in the process of applying to be a financial adviser with a UK bank. Under the certification regime, who will decide that George is competent and suitable for this role?

a) The CII

b) The Financial Conduct Authority

c) His employer

d) The Prudential Regulation Authority

R01 Resources

Here are some other tips and information you might find useful:

R01 exam: the 5 myths. Click here

R01 exam: three technical areas you should know. Click here 

Five top tips for R0 exam success – part 1. Click here

For more details on R01, see the CII website. Click here

Answers: 1: C; 2: D; 3: C; 4: A; 5: D; 6: C; 7: A; 8: C; 9: A; 10: C.

Remember, good preparation is the key. Until the next time

Ian Patterson

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