The CII have just released the pass-rates for the 2016 R0 exam sitting. As expected, they make disappointing reading, particularly considering the wide range of exam support on offer out there in the market. The CII have just released the pass-rates for the 2016 R0 exam sitting. As expected, they make disappointing reading, particularly considering the wide range of exam support on offer out there in the market.

It’s worth looking at each R0 subject in the context of what BTS have learned from our discussions with past candidates…

The R0 with the highest pass-rate is, unsurprisingly R06: Financial planning practice, with 73.23%.

Students attempting R06 can attend workshops where the actual exam case studies have been analysed and practice questions and answers produced. So, why is this pass-rate not higher?

One answer could be that individuals are relying too heavily on someone else doing the work to produce a ‘model answer ‘for them. This means that they don’t get the chance to do much analysis or preparation themselves, and we all know that we remember things much better if we learn it ‘internally’, in our own learning style. Sometimes the pain of ‘real’ learning embeds the information in a way that we can recall more easily.

Moving on from the highest pass-rate, it may be no surprise to learn that the R0 with the lowest pass-rate is R03! Here we have an exam that asks the exam-sitter to complete 50 questions within an hour, and quite a few can be maths based.

So, the poor R03 sitter is constantly stressing about ‘time remaining’ as well as interpreting and answering the questions, which in themselves are difficult enough. Time management and ‘getting the most marks in the shortest time’ can be key here.

The next lowest pass-rate is for R04: Pensions and retirement planning. So, what is so tough about the pensions exam? Well… where to start?

Anyone sitting R04 needs to know about a wide variety of current pensions areas – plus, all the old pre-2016/17 rules can’t be forgotten about. We often see questions in relation to pre-2016 state pension rules, pre and post alignment periods, carry back and other such lovely subjects.  R04 is definitely an exam where ‘knowledge is power’, but… how to gain and retain that knowledge?

That leaves us with the ‘in betweeners’ in terms of pass rates – R01, R02 and R05.

R05: Financial protection, has a 72.11% pass-rate. Considering this is a level 3 exam with no multi-response questions involved it is surprising that results are not a lot better than this.

We often we hear the phrase ‘R05 is easy’ as people mistake ‘level 3’ for ‘no or little work required’. If it was easy the pass-rate would not be 72.11% but much closer to 100%.

Underestimate R05 at your peril; after all, we are still having to factor in challenging question styles, double negatives and so on.

The R01: Financial services, regulation and ethics exam is a difficult ‘entry-level’ exam to the Regulated Diploma. The 2016 pass-rate of 57.01% is no great surprise.

Individuals sitting R01 must have a wide level of knowledge across many areas to have any chance of a pass. Just look at chapter 2 as an example. It’s massive; covering a broad range of different products, investments, taxes and DWP benefits before you even start looking at regulation and ethics. If you can’t bring this information to life as part of your study it makes remembering the detail even harder.

Lastly, we have R02: Investment principles and risk, with a pass-rate of 57.92%. The good thing is that you get two hours to compete the 100 questions. The no-so-good is the high level of multi-response questions in this exam: 28 at the last count.

What can help? BTS offer a range of options to help you achieve level 4, including our own study guides, designed to be an alternative to the CII version, quarterly open workshops that you can sign up for and attend (subject to minimum numbers) and one to one training.

You can find out about all these options on our website at Please get in touch with us and let BTS demonstrate how you can improve on these pass-rates.