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R03 Exam: Personal Taxation

R03 Exam: Personal Taxation

What to Expect from the R03 Exam

The Chartered Insurance Institute R03 exam is a level 4 exam, it is one of the six units that make up the CII Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning, which is the benchmark qualification for financial advisers.

The R03 exam is deemed by many candidates to be the hardest of the R0 multiple choice question (MCQ) exams and this is reflected in the fact that R03 has had the lowest pass rate over the past few years. One of the main reasons sighted is the time pressure, the exam is just 60 minutes and has 50 questions, of which 11 are multiple-response questions which are generally harder and more time consuming than the 1 answer from 4 options questions. The exam questions also include a some calculations which can also be time consuming and lead to simple mistakes being made – often because of the tricky way the question is worded.

Top tips

Practise for the exam with mock papers under exam conditions. This will give you get a feel for timings and give vital practise at the calculations. Mock exams will also ensure you are familiar with the style of questions likely to be asked.


The objective of the R03 exam, Personal Taxation, is to equip the candidate with the knowledge to advise on all relevant aspects of the UK tax system. The exam syllabus covers the role and relevance of tax in the financial affairs of individuals and trusts. Successful candidates should be able to demonstrate an ability to advise on National Insurance Contributions, including liability of employers, employees, voluntary payments and self-employed contribution levels; Income Tax; Capital Gains Tax; Inheritance Tax; residence and domicile rules; UK tax compliance, including PAYE (Pay As You Earn), self-assessment, tax returns and tax evasion and avoidance issues; stamp duty reserve tax and stamp duty land tax; Value-Added Tax (VAT); and Corporation Tax.

Exam components

The R03 exam, is worth 10 credits, is an hour-long, and is an online exam consisting of 50 multiple choice questions. The nominal pass mark is 65% and upon completion candidates receive an immediate notification of the result. A formal letter confirming the result is then sent within seven working days..

Standard Costs

Costs for sitting the R03 exam can be found on the CII website, with a reduced rate available for members of The Chartered Insurance Institute.


Due to the difficulty of the exam and feedback from our customers regarding the CII study text, Brand Financial Training have developed a more user-friendly R03 study text – an alternative to the CII study text. Click here for a free taster:

We also have mock exam papers and calculation workbooks which are highly regarded by candidates as essential for study and revision for the R03 exam. Click below for more information of these and our other R03 resources.

Information in this article is correct as at November 2020