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Is there a Right Order to sit the R0 Exams in?

One of the most common FAQs received by the BTS business support team is, do I have to sit my R0 exams in a set order?

It might surprise a lot of new candidates to learn that the answer is no, there is no set order in which you have to complete the units. So, what does a new candidates do from there? How do you determine which order to sit the exams? Much depends on the candidate’s previous background, the base knowledge that they have to begin with, and the study route they wish to take.

The R0 exam journey

Studying for the CII Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning really is a personal journey. As the Diploma is very often studied alongside employment, and sometimes as a second career, students come from a diverse and vast range of backgrounds.

Sitting the exams in numerical order may work well for one candidate, and not so well for another.

is there a right order to sit the R0 exams in?

What order do BTS recommend our candidates attempt the R0 exams in?

Luiza Todd, BTS Director, recently talked to Professional Paraplanner magazine about the perennial question of which order to sit the exams in. Read her full article here.

is there a right order to sit the R0 exams in?
is there a right order to sit the R0 exams in?

How do I decide the right order for me?

It helps to know a little bit about what each exam entails.

  • R01 Financial services regulation and ethics 
    This unit enables candidates to achieve a broad understanding of the financial services industry, with a focus on regulation, legislation, and the Code of Ethics. Giving an overview of the industry, this is a good introductory module meaning R01 is often the first unit sat by Diploma candidates.
  • R02 Investment principles and risk
    The unit develops key knowledge of different investment products so you can apply the investment advice process effectively. There is quite a bit of overlap between R02 and R03, so these two make ideal companions to be studied in close succession. We often find candidates are more successful attempting R03 first, followed by R02.
  • R03 Personal taxation
    Tax is relevant to all aspects of financial planning. The aim of this unit is to ensure candidates understand the UK tax system and can apply it to different financial advice scenarios. Again, the close cross-over with the R02 syllabus makes studying R03 either immediately before or soon after R02 a good strategy.
  • R04 Pensions and retirement planning
    This unit will enable candidates to identify and analyse relevant pension and retirement planning considerations when they are delivering financial advice. It is often the penultimate exam attempted by candidates, and an absolute must before attempting R06.
  • R05 Financial protection
    Protection lies at the core of all financial planning considerations, so this important unit equips candidates with the knowledge they need to identify risks and work with clients to implement the right protection solutions for them. As a level 3 unit, this exam is often sat earlier in the Diploma journey.
  • R06 Financial planning practice
    This unit brings together all the knowledge gained throughout the previous modules so it can make sense to do this one last. Candidates are expected to apply what they know to case studies to test the practical application of the technical knowledge they have learned.


Check out the information on our What are the R0 Exams pages to find out more about each exam and read the real-life candidate journeys from some of BTS’ past students.

Where can you get advice?

If you would like to discuss your study options with someone, the BTS support team are on hand to talk through your options.

We talk to candidates every day to help them make decisions on their route through the R0 exams.

We can help you put together a personal study plan, with a range of different study options to suit different timescales and learner styles. Get in touch to start your journey.


Browse all R0 Exams, including an overview of each and exam resources BTS supply to help you pass your R0 exams.

Find out more in depth help and advise to structure your R0 studies by viewing our R01, R02, R03, R04, R05 and R06 Study Plans.

Chat with other R0 Diploma candidates in the dedicated BTS R01, R02, R03, R04, R05 and R06 online forum rooms to help keep up to date , find out any new information and gain help and advise from others.

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