Natalie Dawes, Candidate Support & Business Development Adviser at BTS, covers some of the frequently asked questions about the R06 exam.
The R06 exam is one of my favourite exams. I guess that’s an easy thing to say when you’ve got it under your belt. I genuinely feel though, that it was ‘up there’ when I was working towards attaining my DipPFS.
Why? It’s an opportunity to showcase what you can do. To get all of the knowledge you’ve built up across the other units and apply it.
It is a very different style of examination though, to that of the other R0s, which generally means candidates have many questions.
There’s definitely a trend in the questions we are asked around the more generic aspects of R06. So we thought we would share our top ten:
Q: How do we access the case studies?
A: The CII release the exam case studies two and a half weeks before the exam sitting, usually on the Friday morning. You can access them via the CII website, on their supporting exam documents page, here: Supporting exam documents (cii.co.uk).
Please make sure you do this, don’t wait to be notified by the CII that they are available – maximise the time that you have with them!
Q: When should I start my R06 revision?
A: As soon as possible. The CII recommend 100 hours of study for this exam. Do not wait until the case studies are released to start your preparations.
In the weeks and months leading up to this date, focus your energies on the study guide, past papers, examiners comments, revising weaker technical areas.
The last couple of weeks before the exam, you’ll want to be focussing on your case studies. You can access our comprehensive R06 study plan via the BTS Careers Zone to guide you with your own planning as well as understand more about the support that is available to you.
Q: Can we use bullet points to answer questions in the exam?
A: Yes, we encourage you to do so. The word processor in the exam is quite basic though so you’ll need to use dashes instead.
Make sure you visit the exam familiarisation on the CII website to have a look at the exam system for written exams, so you don’t waste time in your exam getting to grips with the system. You can access the familiarisation test here: Exam familiarisation for on-screen written exams by remote invigilation (cii.co.uk)
Q: Would you still get marks if you put down two different solutions to a question?
A: Some question stems will require you to answer with different/multiple solutions, albeit avoid contradictory answers as this may show the examiner that you are not sure.
Plan your answers and have courage in what you are writing. Avoid using language such ‘The clients could’ and replace with more confident wording such as ‘I recommend’.
Q: Do the examiners want to see workings of any calculations?
A: It does depend on the question stem. Generally, rather than write out a calculation, you’ll likely be asked to describe the process of a calculation or explain the steps of a calculation.
Therefore, showing your working will naturally fall into this because you have to clearly write down what each step is. Always try to do these steps in order too, firstly to make sure you don’t miss anything and secondly to show the examiner you know what you are doing – makes for easier marking too!
Q: If a question asks us to list a certain amount of right answers (i.e. ‘list five advantages and five disadvantages of….’), do we only list five of each, or should we write as many as we can think of?
A: Using the example given, the question will normally show the marks available as 10, meaning you’d want to get down at least five advantages and five disadvantages.
Always write down more if you can, to maximise your chances of obtaining full marks. It’s a positively marked exam so you won’t be penalised for incorrect answers.
Q: In the CII examination guide, the model answers consist of very brief bullet points, not sentences. Should we be expanding these rather than just the short bullet points?
A: For a level four exam, which this is, you will not be expected to go into great depth. Having said that, the length of your answer really depends on the question stem.
For example, with an ‘explain’ question, you are expected to make your point, then explain it – this will make for a longer response than other question stems such as ‘list’ questions. Definitely quality over quantity.
Q: How long should we spend on each question?
A: One mark per minute is a great strategy. Using a 20-mark question as an example, don’t spend longer than 20 minutes on it. You’ll find that your ‘response rate’ to writing down another answer slows, with the more you have managed to get down.
If you feel yourself pondering or having to dig really deep for further answers, move onto the next question, you can always come back to the question later.
Q: Is there anywhere we can view past papers?
A: The CII have a handful of papers (they call them examination guides) available to download on the R06 page, you can find them here: Financial Planning Practice (R06) (ciigroup.org)
These examination guides include examiners notes, model answers and the full specimen paper for you to have a go at. These are all really useful tools for your R06 preparation, so get your hands on as many as possible to help you understand where candidates have done well, where they’ve fallen short, the examiner’s idea of a good answer and the sorts of questions that come up.
BTS have many more exam guides that we can send you if you need more than those available on the CII website – just give us a shout.
Q: Are the case studies worth the same number of marks and what’s the minimum number of marks per question?
A: There are 150 marks available on the R06 paper – split over the two case studies as best as is possible. Sometimes this will be evenly split, other times it will be slightly outside of this.
In terms of min/max marks per questions – this is impossible to answer with having no idea what will come up. Sometimes questions carry heavy marks such as 20, other times it’ll be 6. It really depends on the subject matter and question stem. Use the ‘one mark per minute rule’ to guide you.
I hope you’ve found our top ten questions on all things R06 useful. We are always happy to chat to candidates about exams (obviously!) so if you have any further questions, do get in touch.
View Our R06 Exam overview/toolkit to purchase any R06 Study support including Study Guides, e-Learning modules, online workshops and study buddy.
Find out more in depth help and advise to structure your R06 studies by viewing our R06 Study Plan.
Chat with other R06 candidates in the dedicated BTS R06 online forum room to help keep up to date , find out any new information and gain help and advise from others.