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R06 exam

Preparing for the CII’s R06 exam

If you are looking to sit the CII’s R06 in the future, what can you do now to prepare for the exam?  This question might sound a little strange  for an exam that is based on case studies that are issued 2 weeks before the exam. Let me explain.  Your preparation for the R06 exam should be split into two parts:

  1. What you do BEFORE the R06 case studies are issued; and
  2. What you do AFTER the case studies are issued.

The R06 exam case studies

When you receive the two case studies and you know the client’s circumstances, sensibly this is when you’re hard works starts. These will indicate any potential areas of technical complexity that you might need to read up on. For example, if the case study says: ‘…and Tom is interested to know more about how his save-as-you-earn scheme works’, don’t be surprised if there is a question on SAYE in the exam. There is a reason why the case studies are issued before the exam – it allows you to revise any of the more technically demanding areas in advance.

The case studies also typically include between 3 and 5 financial aims for each of the two client case studies. Look at these financial aims and the information provided in the case study. Analyse what they have got and haven’t got. Each case study typically has a ‘fact find’ question so the information that you haven’t been given is just as important as the information you have.

With R06, your knowledge of financial planning solutions is only half the story. Exam technique is just as important with R06. The examiners will test your planning skills across four main areas:

  1. Fact finding
  2. Analysing the clients needs
  3. Making recommendations; and
  4. Review meetings

You’ll need to understand what the examiners are asking and it is very easy (ask anyone who has previously failed R06) to put down the right answer to the wrong question. Very few people leave an R06 exam thinking they have failed it yet just under a third will.

In a nutshell, if you are going to fail R06, it will probably be as a result of your technique (rather than your knowledge).

Preparation before the case studies are issued

Given what I’ve just said, many people will feel uncomfortable if they leave everything until 2 weeks before the exam. So what can you do beforehand?

The CII study text

You will automatically get the CII study text as part of the CII’s ‘enrolment package’ (via RevisionMate).This is a very useful reference source. But it’s only part of the story – it doesn’t show what the exam is about and the types of question it uses. So don’t just read the study text!

CII past papers

Like any exam, looking at past exam papers is the perfect preparation.  You will get loads of these when you enrol for your exam (via RevisionMate). Take time to look at them. In particular, look at:

  • the recurring types of question that the examiners use;
  • how the answers are set out and the use of bullet points; and
  • the way answers link back to the client’s circumstances.

We recommend that you complete at least one exam under ‘exam conditions’ before the case studies are issued. This means sitting down with the case study and questions, and answering them WITHOUT having previously looked at the answers.  Work on ‘a mark a minute’ so if you only have 30 minutes available, only do 30 minutes worth of marks (each question will clearly state the marks available).

R06 exam MP3 material

If you are active or spend a lot of time travelling, commuting or at the gym, our R06 exam MP3 material enables you to learn on the go. If you want to know how the R06 exam has tested the key technical areas in the past, this is for you.  It includes our own tried and tested acronyms that will help you to structure your answers to pass R06. In other words, this will give you the essential knowledge and R06 technique that you need to know.  Click here for further details.

To access the CII website to enrol for the exam, click here.

Be prepared and be successful. Until the next time.

Ian Patterson

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