Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start on your qualifications journey – Do you start off easy with financial protection? Or jump into the deep end and try out taxation? Ever wondered what is the easiest way to get through the R0 exams to get your diploma? Well, so have we!

Firstly, think about the order you plan to take the exams in. It may not be the order you initially expect.

R01 lays the foundation for financial services knowledge. It’s an introduction to the world of acronyms, regulations and a whole lot of jargon that can be actually incredibly overwhelming if you haven’t worked with it all before. This exam also has a relatively stable pass rate, currently being 69%. That’s a great indicator of how people find it, and is excellent considering the amount of knowledge you have to take in and comprehend in order to pass. Our advice would be to start there, get the basics covered and then move on to the more specific units.

Once you have completed R01, you might think it logical to start studying for R02 (Investment principles and risk) – but that is not necessarily the case. R05 (Protection) might, surprisingly be a good choice to sit next. Why?

  1. It has the highest pass rate (78% in 2021).
  2. If you already work in the industry, you will probably have a fair understanding of the content required.

Once you have the R01 and R05 out of the way, you’ll have a better idea of how the exam systems work, how the CII phrases questions and what type of answers they’re looking for. You’ll also have got better at answering these types of questions under a time restraint.

So, what next? We would suggest R03 as a good bet, but let us clarify, we know it’s a hard exam. It has one of the lowest pass rates. However, the information and examples that you will study as part of R03 (Personal taxation) will actually be useful for the remaining three exams.

Once you jump that hurdle, think about R02 – Investment principles and risk. It will be beneficial to have gained an understanding in investments and risk ratings and so on before moving on to R04 (Pensions). R02 has a healthy pass rate (at 65% currently) and depending on where you work in the business, you may already be familiar with a lot of the requirements.

When it comes to R04, again we know that this has the reputation of being one of the hardest exams. This has one of the lowest pass rates alongside R03 (57% in 2021), but don’t let that put you off – you may already have knowledge in this aspect of financial services, and you’ll certainly have a lot of CII exam practice under your belt! Go into the study and revision with a positive attitude and you may be surprised with the results.

Finally – no matter which order you do the first five exams, you cannot really have a huge amount of flexibility when you sit the R06 exam. This is only available four times a year, so you have to make sure you are ready for it at the right time. This is the longest exam at three hours and is really the application of all the knowledge that you have learnt before. It’s all about case studies and ensuring that you properly understand how to formulate the right advice based on the situations given. Providing you have gone through the journey of the R0 exams, and you have had plenty of practice with old CII case studies you will be one of the 74% of people that pass with flying colours.

The journey to the diploma is a personal one – you may feel more confident in some subjects than others. Just take your time. Always ensure you read the question properly. Maybe twice or three times, just to ensure that you are actually responding to the question that’s written. Above all make sure you have support, great stationery to use for revision and don’t worry. You’ll get there!