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preparing for a CII R0 exam

When preparing for a CII R0 exam, what can you learn from the England football team?

Today is the 5th July 2021. Whatever happens in the remainder of the 2020 European Cup, it’s already been a good competition for the England football team.

We even managed to beat Germany. Dare I believe that we will cope well with penalties this time around if we need to? It feels like a different England side and, in many ways, it is. Forget about the youthfulness of the side or the formation used by the manager. The real difference is the team’s mindset and their preparedness.

There are some lessons here for anyone who is preparing for a CII R0 exam.

England taking penalties: the history

When it comes to England and penalty shoot-outs, it usually ends in tears. Before England defeated Colombia on penalties to reach the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup, England hadn’t won a shoot-out at a major tournament since 1996. They had never won a penalty shoot-out at a World Cup. Despite winning against Colombia, England still have the worst penalty record in senior world football. They have lost three out of four World Cup penalty shoot-outs.

Despite this awful record, there is a widely reported fact that would make any England football fan incandescent with rage. Most of the England teams historically did not practice taking penalties. Apparently they aren’t worth it because it’s impossible to replicate the pressure they face in a real game.

England taking penalties: what’s different this time?

Gareth Southgate has put an end to this nonsense. He has selected players and insisted that they practice taking penalties. To make it as realistic as possible, this practice takes place at the end of the normal practice session when the players are most tired. After all, in the real thing, you won’t usually go to penalties unless you’ve been running around for at least 120 minutes and are tired. In addition to this, all the players now have a routine. So even when under the greatest of pressure, they are able to replicate what they do on the practice ground.

You only have to look at Harry Kane to see how he holds the ball and carefully places the ball on the penalty spot. He then picks non-existent mud out of his studs, adjusts his left sock, takes three steps back, picks a spot, and then scores. All of this is fully rehearsed, practised, and perfectly executed (at least up until now!).

Finally, all of the England penalty takers have apparently been psychologically profiled to see how they stand up under the pressures of a penalty shootout. All in all, he hasn’t left anything to chance – and so far it’s worked.

What about preparing for a CII R0 exam?

What can we learn from this when preparing for a CII R0 exam? The simple message from the England football team is that success starts on the practice ground. When sitting a R0 exam, your practice pitch is what you do when you are studying. So you have to get this right and not leave anything to chance.

Whether you are sitting R01, R02, R03, R04 or R05, you will need to successfully answer enough multiple-choice questions to pass. It is a surprise to me that so many people who sit these R0 exams don’t do enough of this. They either leave exam practice until the last minute (when they feel they are fully prepared), or don’t practice at all. The danger is that this is preparing to fail.

Preparing for a CII R0 exam: what do we suggest?

  • If you already have some industry experience on the subject that you are sitting, then sit the CII exam guide at the start of your revision. Whether you are sitting R01, R02, R03, R04 or R05, you will get the exam guide when you enrol for your exam. Sitting this at the start of your revision might be a painful experience, but it gets you used to the style of the exam. It will reinforce what you know and identify where the gaps in your knowledge are.
  • Sit this exam paper again around a week away from your exam sitting. This makes sure you sit the CII exam guide at least twice. There is nothing else that is available that is likely to be as close to the standard in the actual exam that you will sit.
  • In addition, most people will also automatically get access to the CII RevisionMate multiple-choice Knowledge Checker questions. Although these are intended to test your learning, these aren’t a million miles away from exam standard. So make sure that you use them.
  • Make sure you attempt as many other additional practice questions as you can. These can be purchased from various training providers. Additional question packs are also available from the CII for R01, R02, R03, R04, and R05 for a relatively small additional cost. In our opinion, these are well worth the money.

The emphasis here is the need to complete practice questions under exam conditions. You might have noticed that nowhere, so far, have I talked about reading the study text from cover to cover. I accept that somebody with relatively limited experience of a R0 exam subject matter may need to read some of the study text first. For everyone else, we believe that the best way to prepare for the R0 exam is to practice as many questions as you can (using the study guide as a reference source to understand where mistakes have been made).

As the England football team have found, success is about investing time in what really matters. Success in your exam will be driven by not only how hard you work, but how effective it is. Practice makes perfect – and its surprising how many teams that practice hard manage to win things. The same applies to the R0 exams….

Click here for a link to our unique audio material (only to be listened to when the football isn’t on!).

Prepare well and be successful.

Ian Patterson

Ex-examiner and author of the study texts for CF8, J07 and AF6.

cii r0 exam support

CII R0 exam study support

So, you want to sit a CII R0 exam? But what study options are there and what do they include? We’ll have a look at these questions now.

The CII options

When it comes to studying for an exam, everyone will have their own preferred way to study. We all tend to have our own preferences and the CII options reflect this. If you enter R01 – 6 inc, you have three main  options:

  1. enrolment‘; or
  2. enrolment plus‘; or
  3. ‘assessment only’ (this means just the exam).

It is also possible to select the ‘enrolment‘ or ‘assessment only’ options and choose from a menu of additional revision aids that suit your needs.

These options are available for R01, R02, R03, R04, R05 and R06 (although there are some small differences between the study options for some subjects). For example with R06, you can purchase a case-study specific video that covers the potential technical content of the exam once the case studies have been issued.

The detail

When you want to sit an R0 exam, you will have to choose one of the three main options to get your exam entry. They also include the study text for the exam as a eBook (or a paper book at an additional cost), updates to these, an exam guide (which is a specimen exam paper), and use of RevisionMate which is an on-line resource.  More about RevisonMate later.

You’ve now paid to enter the exam – and got a host of additional valuable support as well. So why would you want to pay extra for enrolment plus?  Well, in addition to the material I’ve just mentioned, you also get the following with R01 to 5:

  • knowledge checker questions – this consists of up to six practice exam papers (depending on the subject); and
  • MP3 audio material – these are audiobooks that last 4-6 hours that help you to learn on the go; and
  • e-learn interactive tutorial – interactive learning; and
  • digital key facts booklet – a summary of the key points from the study material.

Perhaps not surprisingly, this top of the range option offers the widest range of study options and at a heavily discounted price.

If you decided not to go for enrolment plus, and just go for the ‘enrolment‘ option instead, you would then have the ability to just add the additional study options that you require. These can all be purchased separately.  Most are included in enrolment plus anyway with two main exceptions.


We often find that the CII’s on-line RevisonMate is a bit overlooked by people sitting their R0 exams. You automatically get access to it when you enrol for the exam.  If you want to access the e-book option of the study text, that’s where you’ll find it.  It offers:

  • a student discussion forum chat room which enables you to share common queries;
  • an exam guide;
  • a study planner and study tips;
  • ‘end of chapter’ practice questions for your R0 exam to ensure you can apply what you have learned.

We believe this is a valuable study resource – and one which is perhaps a little undervalued in terms of what it can provide.


If you want to take a look at the CII R01 page and what it all costs, click here

If you want our tips on how to pass the CII R0 exams first time (we also offer tips for the other key R0 exams), click here

If you want to hear from a student their top tips on how to pass an R0 exam, click here

Until the next time

Ian Patterson

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