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R05 – How to Prepare & Pass

‘Word on the street’ says that R05 is easy, but is it?

A tricky, level three unit

The CII R05 financial protection is a level three unit worth 10 credits and has a market reputation as being easy. We would suggest you don’t underestimate it as R05 questions can be really tricky.  And having sat the exam recently (BTS designers sit the R0 exams annually) we can tell you that ‘easy’ was not the first word that sprang to mind going through the experience. We were surprised at the number of tax questions in the R05 exam – one such question was technical in the extreme. So again, underestimate this unit at your peril.

How to Prepare and Pass R05

Taxing questions

Lots of questions come up about tax – so qualifying, non qualifying, onshore, offshore and inheritance tax to name a few areas. You need to know the taxation of premiums and proceeds across the different individual and employer sponsored policies. You are unlikely to get lots of calculations, a few for certain but not many.

R05 national pass rates and how they are calculated

The national pass rate for R05 in 2021 was 78%, so the highest ranked within the suite of the R0s. This is a level three exam though, which is why it is only an hour long, with 50 questions to answer, with all of these questions being standard multiple choice questions.

Exam Recommended study hours Credits Pass mark National pass rate (2021)
R01 Financial services, regulation and ethics 60 20 65% 69%
R02 Investment principles and risk 60 20 65% 65%
R03 Personal taxation 50 10 65% 57%
R04 Pensions and retirement planning 50 10 65% 57%
R05 Financial protection 50 10 70% 78%
R06 Financial planning practice 100 30 55% 74%

The 2021 national pass rates quoted in the table above, published by the CII, show the percentage of candidates who passed the exam during the year, calculated by dividing the number of passes by the number of sittings. This doesn’t tell you whether the sitting was the candidate’s first sitting or a resit. What is does tell you is, of all the sittings in each year, approximately a quarter of candidates fail this exam. BTS work with many candidates who have previously failed the exam before reaching out for support.

R05 – How to Prepare & Pass

Plan of attack – look at the learning outcomes

Start by looking at the learning outcomes, which ones are the most heavily weighted, and how can you adjust your studying time accordingly.

For example, L04 which covers the different types of life assurance options, how they are set up, underwriting and claims and trusts (this one is a very long LO and deserves you attention!) Then look at L05 which is the one that most candidates find the trickiest. Start by looking at qualifying and non qualifying policies and their rules, then inheritance tax and how it works.

You are then left with the different sickness products available, finishing off with a lovely round up on DWP benefits.

The R05 unit is well passable on a first attempt, with a focused study plan and BTS materials and support!

To maximise success in regulated exams, BTS follow a simple model, based on our proven STEP Approach:

BTS STEP Approach


Find out more in depth help and advise to structure your R05 studies by viewing our R05 Study Plan.

View Our R05 Exam overview/toolkit to purchase any R05 Study support including Study Guides, e-Learning modules, online workshops and study buddy. 

Chat with other R05 candidates in the dedicated BTS R05 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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