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What to Expect from the CII R02 Remote Exam

What to Expect from the CII R02 Remote Exam

So after many years as a member of the Brand Financial Training team, working closely with all the resources, today I sat the R02 exam as a first-time user of the CII remote examining system.  Read on to gain an insight into what the R02 remote exam experience is like. 

Written by Jane Alford

I had taken the exam 10 years ago when it was first introduced so thought it was time to sit it again.  I was actually as nervous about using the system – and the potential for it to go wrong – as I was about the actual exam!

Exam Preparation

For preparation, I had used the Brand Financial Training mock papers and calculation workbook all of which represent the style of questioning and scope of the syllabus extremely well. As for the system, I had looked at the remote testing information the evening before so knew there were various things I would have to do before I could start the exam, and I understood too that if I left it too late, then I might not get them done in time and then I wouldn’t even be able to take it.

Before the Exam

So like a nervous child waiting to start a new school, I signed in a whole hour before the 12 o’clock allotted start time – only to be told I couldn’t log in until 30 minutes before!  That meant hopping around the house trying to find things to do to keep me busy… not wishing to go near the book, firstly because last-minute cramming makes me anxious, and secondly, I had hidden it well away from my office in fear of it being spotted by the invigilator – or, as I soon learned, they are called ‘the proctor’ in America (the IT is American).

Eventually, I was allowed to log in.

One of the first things I had to do was pose for a photo… and even had the opportunity to have it re-taken if it had caught me wrong. Even in exam conditions, it seems there’s room for vanity. I then had to pick up my laptop and carry it around the room – hopefully aiming the camera at the appropriate bits my proctor needed to see. I then had to pick up my keyboard and my mouse mat at the same time as holding my laptop to show that there were no sneaky notes written under them of the various formulas I had been mumbling out loud in my sleep for days. Note to self: next time, ensure any leads not absolutely necessary are removed from the laptop – also ensure the floor is clear of random items of office paraphernalia. Potential tripping hazards do not add to the sense of calm and focus needed just before a 2-hour exam.

Then it was time to prove who I was – I waved my passport at the camera, and then I had to retrieve the ready-and-waiting mirror and hope I was aiming it correctly for my proctor to get a good view of my actual laptop.

You’re allowed two blank pieces of paper (with the CII support phone number on one of them just in case you’re one of those poor people who do suffer at the hands of technology). Although there is a scientific calculator available in the system, I was also allowed the company of my old and very faithful CASIO. Once I’d showed these to the anonymous person behind the webcam, I was ready to go.

Just like the old centre-based system, you get the opportunity to practise using the system with a few questions before you start the actual exam.  You also get the opportunity to do this in the days between entering and taking the exam so, as I had already done that, I was off.

Here's what you can expect when you take the CII R02 exam remotely. Click To Tweet


Challenging Questions to Start

The exam started with questions that seemed harder than the ones on the exam guide, but maybe that was exam nerves. Even so, I flagged a few tricky ones to come back to later in order to get to some comfortable quick wins.

Tables Galore

Be warned, the R02 examiner does like a table!  Be prepared to be given tables of information from product information, to client information, to how assets correlate.  These types of questions do take me longer than others, so it is a great relief when a question takes just a matter of seconds to answer, leaving a bit of extra time in the bag for those that do take some thinking about.

Time flies

Two hours seems like a long time, but it’s surprising how quickly it goes. Time flies when you’re having fun and equally when you’re not, it seems. I hadn’t quite got to question 50 when I noticed that I had less than an hour to go!

It is so worth keeping a very keen eye on the timer; you really don’t want to be running out of time, especially when you get to the 28 multi-response questions.  With regard to these questions, it felt to me as if mostly there were only two correct answers – I don’t remember any five answer options – and only once or twice did I think that three options were correct (which is in line with the exam guide).

Time’s up

At the end of the exam, my proctor asked me (or I should say sent me a chat message) to rip up my notes in front of the webcam, and then our 2-hour friendship was over.

The pass or fail result is given on the screen immediately, and I didn’t have to wait long at all before receiving an email from the CII giving me the link to my actual result, which I am pleased to report was a pass!  Here, you can see your score along with a list of the learning outcomes with a percentage score next to them of how well you did (or not).

Remote exams are convenient

All in all, I found the experience a good one; I didn’t have to drive an hour to my local exam centre hoping the traffic would be kind enough for me to get there on time. And once I’d finished, all I had to do was wander to my kitchen and reach for the fizz (I mean make a celebratory cup of tea… it was only 2 pm after all). There were no car parking charges and no hot commute home.  Equally though, no chance to meet other delegates to chat to before or after, but this for me is a price worth paying for the convenience.


One last thing – some of the pre-amble notes tell you not to talk – or even whisper – yet I found myself a couple of times reading the question out loud and then thinking aloud the possible answers.  No one jumped out of my screen to tell me off so I am very grateful for that; it’s a habit that I would find very hard to break.

Grab the resources you need!

If you’re studying for your CII R02 exam, and you want to feel confident as you walk into the exam room, grab our free taster to try out one of Brand Financial Training’s resources for yourself.  Click the link to download the R02 calculation workbook taster now!

Click here to download our free calculation workbook taster for CII R02