R06 Financial Planning Practice – September 2021 | What to include in your study plan

R06 Financial Planning Practice – September 2021 | What to include in your study plan

By Luiza Todd | 15 July 2021

How can you give yourself the best chance of an R06 exam pass?

The keyboards have just about cooled down on the July sitting of the R06 financial planning practice exam that took place on the 6th July. The questions have been revealed, answered to the best ability by candidates, and submitted – now all we can do is wait until results day on the 13th August. Which will be here before we know it…

There is no easy, quick way to give yourself the best chance of an R06 exam pass. It takes a lot of time, effort, energy, and practise to nail this sucker! Too many times BTS have heard this ‘it’s easy’ phrase trotted out in relation to the financial planning practice exam.

It ain’t easy – trust our 18 years in the business of supporting regulated exams. We have seen too many candidates having multiple goes at this exam, coming up short and ‘deferring’ their success.

Why do candidates ‘defer their success’ in relation to the R06 exam?

There are many potential reasons for ‘deferred’ R06 success. Some candidates only start serious exam study when a case study analysis is released by one of the market providers (BTS included), with two weeks to go to the exam. This is generally taking a bit risk with your chances of success as it’s not really enough time (unless you are very fortunate).

There could be other reasons such as panicking in the exam, external family and life factors can also play a part. The R06 exam is very different to its predecessors R01 to R05. With these exams you have the answer in front of you – if you don’t know the answer you can, if all else fails, simply ‘ip, dip, sky blue’ and hope for the best (though BTS don’t recommend this approach!)

With the R06 exam that’s not an option. You have the questions, currently onscreen, with a lovely blank space beneath them. You must get down enough suitable answers for the marks available. In the July exams many of the questions came with hefty marks – up to 15 per question. That, in itself, can psychologically put you off as you mentally start to panic at how you can possibly come up with so many answers for the big marks available.

When is the time to start your R06 revision?

The answer to that is simple. If you are sitting the September exam you should be starting your revision now.

Revision should start with working through an R06 study guide. The BTS guide takes you through a number of practice case studies so that you can start practising the right question answering techniques that are essential for an exam pass. One of the common reasons candidates struggle with an R06 pass is that they do not answer the question being asked. This is common feedback from the R06 examiner in their comments.

You can type an entire essay but if you have not answered the question being asked the marks scored are likely to be low. The BTS study guide gets you practising different question styles, and thinking about the methodology behind answering each one.

Step 1: The BTS study guide

An exam pass is not about learning possible questions and answers. It’s about looking at each question, identifying the key words and planning your answers – before you type a thing.

Any candidate sitting September’s exam should take a look at the BTS R06 study guide – you can download a free sample here in the BTS shop. It’s an essential first step to an exam pass.

It also contains a refresh of generic key knowledge such as the different protection products (pretty much always come up – it was family income benefit in July) and collective investment types (another dead cert for the exam, we had OEICs in the July exam).

Step 2: Past papers

The next stage is to complete, in exam conditions, and self-mark as many past R06 papers as you can get your hands on (BTS can help with this).

It’s one thing learning the right question answering techniques, it’s quite another putting them into practise. Putting yourself under exam time pressures as well is a good thing. You start to see that it’s not easy to get some decent quality answers down, that relate to the question being asked! Looking at a model answer and thinking ‘I know all those answers’ is a completely different thing to analysing the question correctly live and getting quality stuff down when all you have is a blank gap in front of you.

By attempting past exams, you will also notice some familiarity in the question styles that are set by the R06 examiner. Such as ‘what additional information would you require?’, ‘what factors would you take into account’? and ‘what areas would you cover in a review’? These question types are what BTS call your bankers as you can practise and hone your style with these to ensure you nail these marks in the exam. Doing so will give a good base of marks to start with.

The more past exams you can do the better…

What else can help in this stage?

You can pre-order the BTS September case studies analysis. This gives you access to all the questions and answers we produced for the July R06 exam (only one question topic that we did not cover in our analysis came up in the exam – not a bad result!). This pre-order gives you an e-Learning programme to work through with around 84 different questions and answers, but also some one-page crib sheets to revise possible generic technical areas.

You can include this in your key practising of exam question answering techniques. After each question in this analysis, you get ‘BTS Hints and Tips’ on how to approach different question styles. And best of all you will also receive access to the September case study analysis as soon as we have completed it (usually the Tuesday after the Friday release date, which is 7th September for this sitting)

Step 3: Tackling the case studies

This is when the actual case studies have been released. By now you hopefully have:

  • a good idea of the question answering techniques to use.
  • a strategy which is not to just dive in and start typing but,
  • to identify key words and plan how you will answer the question.
  • improved base knowledge on R06 core subject such as protection policies.

Now you start the work on the actual two case studies. Either sign up for a BTS two-day R06 workshop (we can’t fit it into one day!) or order the BTS R06 analysis (if you have not already done so as part of your revision so far).

What’s the BTS R06 workshop like?

It’s not like other R0 workshops – this is very interactive with you completing possible exam questions live and talking about your answers in a group environment. And if that’s not your bag don’t sign up for it!

But the workshop is more than that – a core part is discussing the methodology behind each question’s answers. How can we get from that question to those answers? This is one of the key techniques we work on with you.

We also discuss and cover off any specific technical areas relating to the two exam case studies. For the July exam, this included how flexi access drawdown works (question on this came up), the reasons someone can be classed as vulnerable and how to deal with this (question came up) and how a discounted gift trust works and its benefits (question came up).

An R06 exam pass is not about learning questions and answers!!!

What is the BTS R06 analysis like?

As we have already mentioned, the BTS R06 analysis is in the form of an e-Learning programme. It gives you access to two things:

  • The previous exam sitting’s analysis (so currently July 2021)
  • The current analysis (so September 2021)

The aim of the BTS R06 e-Learning is that you can see the questions first, have a go yourself live, and then reveal our suggested answers to self-mark your efforts. The point being you carry on practising the question analysis techniques you first learnt in the BTS R06 study guide, and the methodology that is so key for an exam pass.

Why do all this work and R06 preparation?

The R06 exam can only be sat 4 times a year. If you ‘defer success’ then you have to wait for the next sitting to come around – it’s not like R01 to R05 where you can literally book a resit within the week. And that’s a real pain!

You are also not level 4 qualified without bagging an exam pass, and no Statement of Professional Standing (SPS) can be applied for. Business pressures can start to come into play – your employer may start to question why you are not achieving an R06 pass. And that’s the last thing you need.

Get in touch with BTS – we can help (but not do all the work for you lol!)

Don't just take our word for it...

"After starting my career just over a year ago at True Potential LLP I can now happily state I've now passed R06 and I am now level 4 qualified. A special thank you to Bespoke Training Solutions Ltd and Luiza Todd FPFS CFP for their classes, books and app all which helped me immensely".

Alexander Grange Dip PFS | True Potential | May 2021

"Just a very quick message to let you know I got my R06 result just now and it’s a pass so now I’ve got the Diploma! There is absolutely no way I could have done that without you. Thank you so, so much for all your time energy and optimism. I was rather deflated when I failed it first time around because I didn’t understand why. It was therefore very encouraging when I started with you and the BTS team and realised where I had fallen short in terms of exam technique, and how to beat the CII at their own game!"

Frederick Hervey-Bathurst DipPFS | Trainee Financial Adviser | May 2021

"8 months, 6 exam, endless hours of study after work/ home schooling etc and I've officially completed my diploma. Special thanks to Bespoke Training Solutions Ltd Luiza Todd FPFS CFP for the fantastic support and study guides all the way through."

Shelley McMillan DipPFS | Mortgage & Protection Adviser | May 2021

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How to pass R06