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R01: How to prepare and what to expect on the day

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A first-hand account of sitting the new R01 exam

What is R01?

The CII have recently launched the new R01 exam; Financial Services, Regulation and Ethics, a new module contributing to the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning.  Amongst those taking the first sitting of this exam at the end of July was Dean Scott, a Chartered Financial Planner and trainer at Verridian Financial Services Training.  Dean and Verridian will soon be offering a range of training and revision sessions and materials to support those preparing for this exam, including brand new interactive Virtual Classroom sessions:

For more details on the Virtual Classroom series, please email

How to prepare and what to expect on the day

Here we quiz Dean on his views and opinions of this new exam.

1.      How does preparation for the new R01 exam differ from the J0s?

Dean: “As there are no calculations involved in the R01 module, it’s all about ‘learning’ the material and then being able to apply it to real scenarios, rather than just listing out, for instance, the rules of taxation.  This makes it a far more life-like and practical situation to work through.”

2.      How much study time do you think is necessary to put in ahead of this exam?

Dean: “I recommend around 60 hours if you did your CF1 in the distant past. A lot of the material has changed since 2000 and is at a much ‘deeper level’.”

3.      What happened on the day? 

Dean: “I arrived early at the exam centre for a little last minute revision, and then I registered at 9.25am for a 9.30am start. The invigilator read out his instructions, and then I logged into their system with my CII PIN and a password that I’d been given at registration.”

4.      Is the computer interface easy to use?

Dean: “Its fine, you just click with the mouse as you would any other computer system.  There is a 10 minute tutorial prior to the exam starting which you can use if you want to.  This gives a full demonstration of the system, but don’t worry, this 10 minutes does not eat into your two hours of exam time!  You can of course just skip the demonstration if you are used to online exams.”

5.      Can you go back and correct earlier answers if you realise you made a mistake?

Dean: “Yes - there is a review function available to review both answered and unanswered questions which I found useful once I had finished a question, just to check my answers.”

6.      Do you need to do any calculations?  If so, are you given some paper to do your workings on?

Dean: “In this particular exam, the only basic calculations were to work out how much a particular family could contribute to all their ISA allowances, and also the maximum compensation a client would receive on their bank deposits under the FSCS rules.  However, the other R0 exams are likely to be very different, where lots more technical calculations could be required.  Fortunately, paper is on hand to help with your calculations.”

7.      Did you have enough time to answer all the questions, or did you have to rush through them?

Dean: “The time went quickly, but I finished after 90 minutes.  During the multiple choice section I hadn’t seen the question numbers and so found it quite difficult to gauge where I was until I started the ‘multi response’ section (in which at least 2 of the answers are correct out of a list of 5 or 6 options) .  At that point I knew that I had 13 questions remaining!”

The CII says: “The question numbers are shown for every question, in the bottom left corner. As Dean correctly points out, candidates can use the exam tutorial for 10 minutes to get used to the system before launching the exam.  Q3 of the simulation says that the question number is always at the bottom on the left. You can find a simulation of the online tests on the CII’s website:

8.      Do you get your results straight away? 

Dean: “Upon clicking complete you receive a provisional result; fortunately mine was a pass. Then the invigilator printed a copy for me which stated how I performed against the 11 ‘learning outcomes’.  It also indicated that my official result will be sent to me within seven working days. You do not receive your actual mark on the day, just the percentage scored against each learning outcome.”

9.      Were your results what you were expecting?

Dean: “Going through the exam I made a mark on rough paper where I was 100% sure of my answer. This amounted to 50% at the end, so I realised I needed a further 15% to secure a pass, so I was ‘reasonably’ confident I had passed.”

10.  What would be your top tips for preparing for this exam?

Dean: “There are a number of things those preparing to take the R01 exam could do to help in their preparation.  Some of the techniques that I utilised include:

  • Study all of the text and syllabus as questions were often asked on obscure parts.
  • The multi response questions were the most challenging; if I were to do the exam again I would attempt these first of all.
  • Weight your study time with reference to the learning outcome weightings, i.e. there are only between two and six questions for chapter eight, but always 25-29 questions on chapter five!
  • If you are not certain of the answer at the initial first look, move on and come back to it at the review as your subconscious may help you out as time goes on.
  • Attend a revision course.  This will help focus your efforts and gain knowledge from professionals and colleagues alike.
  • Relieve some of the pressure by booking your exam only once you feel ready. Only seven days notice is needed!
  • Read the question! Watch out for the negative questions.
  • For the multi response questions it states that ALL 13 questions have more than one correct answer, so you are looking for two, three, four or even five correct answers to each question.”

11.  What are your final thoughts on the R01 exam?

Dean: “My final comment would be that if R01 is a ‘taster’ of what lies ahead, multiple choice questions are not an easier option!  A lot more of the syllabus can be tested, perhaps even ALL of it, and the way that the questions are asked can be different, such as the use of negative questions.”

Dean Scott APFS, BSc. Hons

Chartered Financial Planner

Dean is one of Verridian’s principle trainers, having joined the RDR training programme from the outset.  He has over 10 years training experience within the regulated financial services sector, with a background of a degree in mathematics at Liverpool University.  Having worked alongside companies such as Barclays and RBS over the last 13 years, Dean’s roots within financial services started in the home service environment with Royal London Insurance.  Dean has recently obtained Chartered Financial Planner status from the CII, having passed all relevant exams during 2009.

Dean is heavily involved with the CII, performing duties which include training for the major banks, such as HSBC, marking exams and writing questions for diploma units.  Over the past two years Dean has developed extensive knowledge in respect of RDR with the aim to try to map this to the training of delegates, ensuring they are completing the right units in the right way.  This also ensures that there is commercial payback in terms of transferring the learning in to the delegate’s role in order to develop their business and gain a financial payback for the investment.

Dean constantly strives to deliver his personal goal of ‘beating’ the national CII pass rates by a minimum of 50%, and his results support this.  On top of this, the training Dean delivers continues to receive overwhelmingly positive feedback, with 89% of delegates saying their technical knowledge had improved after attending a course, and 90% feeling more confident about passing the exam as a result. Here is a collection of recent comments from course delegates:

“A brilliant day that has improved my chances of success tremendously.  I would happily attend further training.”

“An excellent day. Well worth the time and money.”

“Very good – a great day training!”

“Good content and good preparation for the exam.”

Verridian is a leading provider of technical training and revision courses and materials to the financial services industry.  Please

visit for more information.

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Readers' comments (18)

  • I'd be worried about receiving training from someone who was only '100% sure' of 50% of the answers....sounds like the rest was guesswork!

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  • Having seen Dean in action on a training day via Verridian I feel I must comment. Dean is a first class trainer and really does now his stuff and how to get It accross so it sticks in plain simple terms . Cant recommend him highly enough if you are looking to go on a course to get through the exams !!

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  • It is refreshing that Dean has been honest in his evaluation of the RO1 examination. I have been reading my RO1 book for around 50 hours and still need at least half again, it has changed so much since 1997 when I passed FPC3.
    Sam how many pepole do you know that is that confident they know 100%, Honesty is a great attribute.

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  • I normally only start revising 3 days before the exam. Nothing focuses the mind like a bit of pressure.

    It hasn't failed me yet! Should be a breeze

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  • Nice advertorial.

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  • I must say i agree with dean on the marking on a piece of paper in columns how you feel the question was and whether you were sure of the answer/ unsure or had no idea.

    It gives you a little more confidence to actually press the submit button at the end.

    I sat RO1 on the 4th of August and passed no problem.

    However i have just received my RO4 and RO2 books through yesterday and they are another level to RO1 but i would definitely still recommend this route to anyone for the Diploma as appose to the IFS route or just solely doing JO examinations.


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  • I have recently had a R06 study day with Dean and then subsequently sat the exam. Dean was fantastic and most of the questions he predicted would come up did. He certainly knows his stuff. Thanks Dean for helping well worth every penny.

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  • For those who sat the exams (RO1) do you think all the answers can be found in the book or do you think that some of it is down to experience of industry?

    Just a bit nervous as my exam is soon

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  • Dominic Green's remark's that he would difinitely not take the IFS etc route? I have not embarked on the R0's however friends & peers have and I applaud their desire to get on with things, for my own part I have completed first two stages of IFS Diploma course, (another 1997 FPC dinosaur), and can only express from personal experience that I have really enjoyed the demands it has placed upon me.....unless you make your misgivings heard Dom I think any route to being RDR ready earlier should be endorsed!

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  • Hi, every1 , I'm just starting my ro1 .. Any good tips on wat to buy...

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