What is the best order to sit the CII R0 exams?

CII R0 exams

What is the best order to sit the CII R0 exams?

The CII R0 exams – so which exams should I sit first? This is a common question that we get from our customers.  As there isn’t a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer, here are some of the things you should consider.

Many people will work through the CII R0 exams in the order implied by the FCA/CII, i.e. R01, R02, R03, R04, R05 and R06. There is nothing inheritantly wrong with this but we do find that:

  1. It is easier to learn when we are able to relate to the subject matter. So if you work for a company where you are heavily involved in protection, for example, you will probably find it easier to start with R05 as this is what you are most familiar with.
  2. Each of the subjects present different challenges. For example with R01, for most people it’s staying awake! R02 has a high proportion of the harder multiple response questions. R03 asks you to do a lot of work in an exam of 60 minutes so time is likely to be an issue. R06 is only sat four times a year so timing is a constraint. As R06 is a written exam, it is also more of a test of technique rather than knowledge. So if you get your head around the technique and purchase some exam specific learning material, limited knowledge needn’t  be an issue.
  3. Some exam combinations work well together. For example, R02 and R03 both require knowledge of direct and indirect investments. You might as well use this before you forget it.

So with all of this in mind, what do we think is the best combo for most people? Not everyone will agree with this but we believe a good structure for the CII R0 exams is as follows:

  • R05 – Financial protection (10 credits)
  • R01 – Financial services, regulation and ethics (20 credits)
  • R03 – Personal taxation (10 credits)
  • R02 – Investment principles and Risk (20 credits)
  • R04 –  Pensions and retirement planning (10 credits)

R06 or Financial planning practice (30 credits) should be completed at a relatively early stage when it fits into your schedule. If you leave it to last and you fail, then it could take 3-4 months to complete it and get the results before then having to re-sit it. This isn’t great news for anyone, but especially those who are working towards being a CF30/investment adviser where they cannot be deemed competent until they have all of the level 4 R0 exams.


Click here to access the CII syllabus for R01, R02, R03, R04 and R05

Fancy learning on the go? Click here for details

Until the next time.

The Diploma Doctor

Marie Patterson
Ian Patterson