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How to Pass the CII R01: Exam Standard Questions

What is the best way to use specimen exam questions in your R0 Study Plan?

Following on from our previous article, How to Pass the CII R01: What makes R01 such a tricky exam? this article looks at the best way to use mock exams and specimen questions as part of a candidate’s preparation for the CII R0 exams.

Practising exam standard questions is a key part of the BTS STEP approach, so here are our top recommendations for using specimen questions to ace the R01 exam paper.

How to pass the CII R01 Exam Standard Questions
How to Pass the CII R01 Exam standard questions

How to use specimen questions

Knowledge checks

Specimen questions are a great way to check your knowledge and understanding as you work through the chapters of your study guide. They provide an opportunity to check whether you can apply what you have read and will highlight any gaps in your knowledge. Ask yourself how confident you feel in your answers. This will give you an indication of how secure your knowledge is in that area. Not feeling confident in your answer? Go back and have another look at the material. Spotting your weaknesses ahead of the exam will help to focus your study time on the areas you need to improve most.

Practise deciphering multiple choice questions (MCQs)

CII MCQs can be worded in a way that is tricky to decipher. Sometimes it can feel like all the answer choices could be right. Or none of them!

The BTS e-Learning modules use standard exam-style questions throughout the learning. These are designed to mirror the style of questions used by the CII, for example, the MCQ below asks for the best product for a client’s needs and is designed to get you to think about the most suitable product in a list where more than one could be applicable.


BTS exam questions always include a rationale like the one below, to explain the reasons for the correct answer. This can really help candidates understand where they went wrong.

Amanda Ford is Managing Director at Tenet Financial Services, the group’s franchise route for self-employed advisers. 


Prepare for multi-response questions

The final 13 questions on the R01 paper ask for multi-response answers. This means there could be two or three correct answers amongst the options, or even a question where all the options are correct, although this is rare. Multi-response questions are described by some candidates as the hardest questions on the paper. 

The following example of a multi-response question taken from the BTS R01 e-Learning specimen exam shows how the answer options can sometimes contain distractors. Distractors are designed to make the candidate doubt themselves. Cover up the answer underneath and have a go at answering this one:

How to Pass the CII R01 Exam standard questions
How to Pass the CII R01 Exam standard questions

The answer to the above is…

…A, D & E . Many candidates would have put B as correct too, yet there is no maximum time for holding data on a living person.

Full mock exams

Completing a full specimen exam paper will give you a good idea of what the exam experience will be like. Challenge yourself to sit the paper under timed, exam-conditions to replicate the real thing as closely as possible. How is your time management? What is your strategy for dealing with questions you don’t know the answer to? Having a plan ahead of the real sitting will help to reduce exam nerves.

BTS include a full specimen exam paper in the back of the R01 study guide and another completely different specimen exam at the end of the R01 e-Learning module. The specimen exams in the digital study guide and the e-Learning module have the added benefit of being able to replicate the CII online exam experience. Functions including flagging questions for later and a grid to navigate through the questions give a similar experience to the system used by candidates sitting online R0 exams.


Choosing your materials – how exam standard are they?

When candidates who have previously failed R01 contact BTS for support, a common theme is that the real exam questions were, in their own words, much trickier than the practice questions they had used to prepare.

Some practice questions on offer in the market are much easier than the real thing, so candidates get a real shock in the exam. Unfortunately, not all practise questions on the market reflect the standard in the actual exam. 

The BTS question developers sit the R0 exams every year to keep our materials fit for purpose. The BTS Study Buddy App contains hundreds of exam standard questions to practise in the weeks leading up to the exam. All are as close to the exam standard as we can possibly get them.

Practise as many exam standard questions with the BTS App as you can to avoid a nasty shock in the exam.

Don’t just take our word for it…

“I found the convenience of Study Buddy on my phone was a real boon. What I actually did was to write down the questions that I failed and for each one put a learning point below.
As I’m sure you can understand I was immensely relieved having pressed the submit button to more or less instantly receive a Pass notification. Thank you very much indeed for your help.”

Angus Mackenzie | Acumen Financial Planning | February 2022

“Using the BTS study guides for all my CII examinations has provided with me all-round comprehensive knowledge across the R0 units which has allowed me to pass my exams first time. I have tried using other providers but felt that BTS support materials give a much broader knowledge base from which to sit the exam. The exams have asked questions which are not always 100% in the syllabus, however with the subject matter within the BTS study guides these have provided me knowledge around the style of questions asked by the examining body. I have as a result passed R01 to R05 units first time.

The BTS app R0 study buddy is an invaluable tool for practising exam style questions when preparing for the exam. It allows you to complete timed exams mirroring the actual exam experiences and also trains your mind to cope with the format of the questions asked (which can be very wordy and tricky!) If any topic within one of the R01 to R05 units is proving particularly difficult the BTs eLearning programmes or a one-to-one session can help explain the subject matter and clear any issues with a more one to one, focused style of learning. In summary BTS have a vast array of R01 to R06 learning support options. These have helped me massively in passing my exams first time. Thank you BTS!”

Alan Buchan | Trainee Financial Adviser | August 2021 


View Our R01 Exam overview/toolkit to purchase any R01 Study support including Study Guides, e-Learning modules, online workshops and study buddy. 

Find out more in depth help and advise to structure your R01 studies by viewing our R01 Study Plan.

Chat with other R01 candidates in the dedicated BTS R01 online forum room to help keep up to date , find out any new information and gain help and advise from others.

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