My R06 Experience – Part 2
Last updated on August 3rd, 2023 at 7:31 am
You may have read in the first part of this series that in September I took the R06 Financial Planning Practice exam. As an experienced member of the Brand Financial Training team and working with exam resources all the time, it still surprises me how much you can learn from taking the exams and putting yourself in the candidate’s shoes. In last week’s article, I talked you through my experience with the remote invigilation system. This week, I am focusing on the exam itself and provide some pointers for future R06 candidates.
This article is correct as at 13 December 2022.
Written by Ann Mora
September 2022’s R06 Exam Sitting
You may like to have a look at the exam guide for September’s sitting. You can find them here.
All in all, the exam was pretty standard for R06. There were two fact-finding questions and two review questions – a total of 38 points on offer here. Focused revision and lots of practice on these types of questions means they are not only relatively easy marks to pick up but quick ones too!
Some of the technical subjects cropped up that were clearly indicated in the case studies, so that was also good news; however, I felt it was the wording of the questions that was the trickiest part of this particular exam.
Answer the Question Being Asked
I was fairly confident in answering most of the questions as they were as we had expected with the same layout that we had used in our R06 analysis. However, the one question that I did find particularly challenging was in relation to Tom and Sara’s gifting to their grandchildren. Not that the question itself was difficult, but I had convinced myself before the exam that transferring the OEICs to the discretionary trust to gift to the grandchildren would be examined, and that’s how I started to answer the question. This is a great example of why it’s so important to read and re-read the question!
When I had finished putting all the key points down, I took a step back and finally re-read the question. My heart sank as it became clear that the examiner was not looking for the best way of gifting to the grandchildren but the most tax-efficient way of using the OEICs to gift to the children – this required a very, very different answer to the one I had just written down. So I frantically spent the next 12 minutes or so changing my answer. This was clearly not a question about trusts but about maximising tax efficiency of the OEIC for gifts.
This question illustrated to me the importance of reading and re-reading a question and answering the question that is in front of you in the exam – not the one you are expecting. I won’t be making that mistake again!
I was surprised that, given I felt I had answered most of the questions quite quickly other than the blip on the OEIC question, I filled up the three hours easily and, in all honesty, could have probably done with an extra few minutes to fully check all my answers. So be prepared for time constraints. If you are getting bogged down trying to think of the last 2 or 3 points, move on to the next question where you may be able to pick up quicker wins and come back to it later.
The PSI system does allow you to ‘Flag’ questions to highlight those that are a priority to go back to; although personally, I like to go back through and check through all of my answers. I had planned to leave half an hour to do this (although I only had about 20 minutes in the end) as I often find having a second look at the question allows me to check I have interpreted it correctly and to ensure I haven’t inadvertently left out the odd word or written a sentence that made little sense! I flagged those where I felt I was a couple of points short and went back and checked those questions first.
State the Obvious
One thing I noticed when I started checking through my answers was that there were a few very obvious points I hadn’t included in my answers the first time around. In most cases, this was the simple things like stating the clients are in good health or just pulling information from the case studies – so obvious in fact, I nearly missed them.
So do write down the obvious even if that is just a case of repeating wording from the case studies – if you think it’s relevant write it down!
All in all, the exam itself was as to be expected and feedback from customers who had purchased our analysis was very positive and we had a very high pass rate for September’s sitting of 82%. Because of the structure of this exam, it’s all too easy to think you can revise the exact answers before the exam, perhaps by simply memorising what we provide in our analysis of the case studies. In all honesty, for some questions, you would get away with that, but you MUST be prepared for the questions that will be worded differently to what you are expecting and change your answers as needed. Over the past, our analysis has always correctly predicted the vast majority of the areas that have come up in the exam, but unfortunately, some candidates trip up by not understanding the content. If you don’t understand the content, then you will struggle to interpret the question and apply the content from our analysis to the exact questions in the exam, in other words,
- ensure you have a good overall knowledge of R02, R03, R04 and R05
- take the time to study all the technical areas highlighted in the case studies
- practise answering typical R06 questions e.g., reviews, fact-finding, and factors questions
- practise answering questions that may come up based on the case studies
- thoroughly absorb and understand our analysis that we release prior to the exam
- devote some time to exam technique
- prepare for the online sitting itself
then you will be in the best possible position to pass R06 and achieve the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning.
You can find out how our analysis for the R06 September 2022 sitting stacked up to the exam itself by looking at our review here.
Grab the resources you need!
If you’re studying for your CII R06 exam, and you’re wanting to feel more confident on exam day, grab our free taster analysis to try out one of Brand Financial Training’s resources for yourself. Click the link to download the R06 case study analysis taster now!