Doing CII exams 'in order'?

I'm at the beginning of my exam journey and have recently gained R01 and LP2 to attain my Certificate in Financial Services. This is a stepping stone because I failed R02 twice and have lost confidence in my ability to pass the exams.

My question is - did you sit the RO papers in order? Is there any merit in sitting them this way?

My goal is to complete R02+3 and J09 (Certificate in Paraplanning) asap but my supervisor is insisting that I sit the papers in order and won't allow me to 'deviate' by sitting any other papers. As the company is funding my studies I can't really protest but I am not sure such a rigid path is best?

Thanks for listening, any advice or support is welcome.


  • JonaJona Member
    I sat them in order for no other reason than that was the order they were listed in.

    I would say 6 needs to be sat last, but the others could be done in any order.  I would have thought there is merit in perhaps sitting those you are more au fait with first as a confidence booster and to help you get into the CII "mindset" for those later exams you may perhaps find harder.
  • Hello!

    I think a sensible order depends a lot on your personal situation, but I can't see any reason why your supervisor would insist on 1-6, unless you mean the "deviation" as in taking J09?

    Personally, I also did R01 first (though in hindsight I'm not sure I'd recommend that!) and only switched R03/R04 to do the pensions first because I wanted to up my knowledge in that area asap and I was already pretty comfortable with tax. I personally found it reassuring to do a couple of "easier" ones for me (tax and protection) before R06, but if R02 is a stickler for you then I'd consider doing that just before R06 so that it's fresh in your mind?

    What is your timeframe for completing the Diploma? If you intend to take your time with it, then perhaps there is an argument for the certificate in paraplanning as an interim qualification, but if you want to do some more exams quickly anyway then it might be more beneficial for you to just plough on through and do all the R0s.

    I hope this helps!
  • PedroPedro Member
    Hi there

    I personally kept the order as per the numbers, except doing R05 before R04 as I waited for the post-simplification syllabus to be released.

    I don't think the order particularly matters, but given that you've likely done lots of work on R02 you might want to perhaps keep on that path rather than have to revisit it again in the future (it's a pretty big, dry textbook as I recall!).

    I'd probably turn it back and ask what seems to be the hurdle with R02, particularly as you've admitted you need a confidence boost:
    • Is it one particular knowledge area or a little bit of everything?
    • Is it the exam technique (do you need more question practice?)
    • Is it something else you can pinpoint, like your revision techniques?
    You don't have to answer these, but just to get you thinking (no doubt you've thought about it a lot already).

    When I did these I bought the practice questions from the CII - I think there were about 300 per pack, and just familiarised myself with the question style relentlessly, and then used the wrong answers to pinpoint specific areas to revisit.  You can also get free mocks through the Aviva adviser academy, or use Brand FT or Wizard for other support.

    I appreciate you've probably heard this all before, but I just know how dry these exams are, and you may well be closer than you think - it may be the little extra to get you the R02 pass now will be less than having to come back to it in a year or so.

    Good luck!
  • Hello, i'd agree with all that has been said above, but i'd suggest looking at R05 and getting that out of the way as if you need a confidence booster, this exam has the highest pass rate of all R0 exams (at around the high 70's). R05 can be done as a standalone exam as it doesn't really correspond with the others, whereas R02 and R03 are quite closely interlinked in my opinion.

    If you're looking to the future and becoming chartered too then maybe look at R04 in August/September time when the new AF7 exam comes out in October? 

    Late to the party but looking to launch a new platform due diligence tool and consultancy business later this year - watch this space and feel free to message if you would like any initial info.

  • @Rebecca_Tuck ;
    Thanks for your reply. The deviation so far has been the LP2 paper. But I meant that the focus is R01-3 +  J09. they want me to get my Certificate in Paraplanning then work towards my Diploma so in their mind i shouldn't be doing any other exams until i've completed that.

    What's a realistic timeframe for achieving Diploma? Assuming i pass the exams first time. To get to this point has been almost 2 years!
  • @Pedro ;

    I was only 10 marks away from a pass the second time i sat R02. I think the problem was that i underestimated how confusing the wording of the questions can be. I'd been safely passing all the mock papers and online tests so was feeling pretty good but then in the exam i couldn't replicate that. 

    I had almost no support from anyone and I perhaps need a bit more 'hands on' revision help. I'm based in the north of Scotland and attending any kind of event means a lot of travel :( 

    The thought of sitting R02 again makes me want to weep. 
  • JonaJona Member
    Support wise, it might be worth buying a bunch of past papers / test to look at.

    As you say it seems the CII like to make the question wording as confusing as possible and I, like you, think a lot of their questions are ambiguous to say the least.

    Doing past tests / papers will help you get into the groove in trying to fathom out what they are actually getting at.
  • I'd order the exams as best fits the type of work you do. So if you don't deal with protection much, do that later. Better to get experience of the exams in the areas where the syllabus has a daily practical application. Then, when you are studying a syllabus that you don't use much, you exam technique will be better
  • Also, if you have a desire to be an adviser then I can understand why the diploma is the focus of the sponsor. However, if you intend to remain as a paraplanner for some time then you could challenge that. Or, perhaps ask them to reimburse you for J09 if you self-fund and pass it while you are doing the R papers? It's a good companion distance based qualification that should compliment the regulated diploma well. 
  • RalfosRalfos Member
    You need to get on with Expert Pensions/Brand training by the sounds of it. I couldnt imagine how difficult it would be to try and sit exams without a pointer
  • @WoollyDragon How did you get on with R02, I have my second attempt at it next month.

  • ParaPParaP Member

    Hi, I didn't do them in order.

    I did R05 first as it is the easiest of the 6 being a level 3 exam, I left RO2 until last before R06 because I had failed CF2 twice which had knocked my confidence. I passed R02 on the 2nd attempt but the AF4 on first attempt! So you do get use to exams i promise!

    Biggest tip i could give for R02 would be to use the first 10-15 minutes of the time you have for the tutorial to write all the formulas onto the scrap paper. This helped me to not then get confused with the pressure of the timer once the exam started.

    Good luck

  • I'm not doing them in order. I sat all the CF exams (not in order!), then R05 to complete my Certificate. Then I took R01, R06 and just done R04. I thought R01 would be good to get out of the way. I used Wizard Training for R06 and passed comfortably - I guess I had a bit of background from the CF exams already though. I have a background in pensions, so it made sense to me to do R04 next... Now wondering whether to do R03, or skip it and do J09.

  • ParaP your advice to write the formulas down in the pre 15 mins is amazing! Thank you :) I totally wish I’d thought of that with R02 I did pass but I had to just guess a couple I could probably have done but ran out of proper time for this would have helped. I will remember for future calculation heavy exams. Just passed r03 this morning so am wondered whether to do r04 next because I think pensions will be both most interesting (and I probably have most knowledge)or get protection out of the way because it might be easy and dull. I’m leaving r06 until last as since I don’t currently work in the industry and I think doing that one last let’s me use all the content more effectively.
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