R08 Exam guidance and useful information

R08 Exam guidance and useful information

February 7, 2017 5:13 pm

About the R08 Exam

Our R08 learning programme is can be accessed via our courses pages on this website – here is some useful information taken from our exam guide on the R08 learning programme.

The R08 exam (Pensions Update) forms part of the Diploma in financial planning and upon successful completion will give you 10 credits at diploma level.

You have one hour for the examination and there are a total of 45 questions – 40 standard multiple choice across the first five areas of the syllabus and a further 5 questions focused on a single case study, though even here there is only one right answer for each question. This is great news – there are none of those horrible ‘multiple response’ questions that cause so many problems in some of the other RO exams.

You can take the exam at any one of a number of test centres around the country and largely at a time to suit you since it is computer based and run often.

The pass mark is set at 65% and this would only vary if there were to be a problem with a question, for instance. This means that you need to be looking to achieve a score of at least 29 out of 45 in order to get the pass.

R08 Syllabus Breakdown

The exam is based on the below syllabus. As you can see, two of the areas attract significantly more marks than the others (areas one and four). These two areas alone account for 56% of the available marks – almost enough to pass.

Learning Outcome Number of questions
1.     Explain the changes to the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) tax regime introduced by the Taxation of Pensions act 2014 11
2.     Explain the new legislative, reporting and compliance requirements arising from the pension reforms 5
3.     Explain the main changes in the rules for members transferring their benefits 5
4.     Explain the changes to pension income options 14
5.     Explain the changes that will be made to State pension provision from 6th April 2016 5
6.     Analyse the key factors that should be taken into account when advising a client how to derive an income in retirement 5

One thing that is worth noting is that the actual number of questions per syllabus area can vary slightly. You might not, for instance, get exactly 11 questions in area 1 – but it will be in that ball park.

The exam is testing your understanding of what has changed in the world of pensions. The assumed knowledge before entering the exam is RO4 / JO4 or an advanced equivalent. If you don’t have a good knowledge of the old regime, you may find it slightly harder to answer some of the questions about the new situation but the trade-off is that you won’t be tested on the vast body of ‘status quo’ pensions knowledge – just what has changed!

Planning your study for R08 – Pensions Update

As we’ve seen, there are 6 learning outcomes in this exam – each with different marks allocated to it. What the syllabus doesn’t show, however, is the amount of overlap between some of the areas. Much of the basic information around drawing benefits (syllabus area 4), for example, is also relevant to an understanding of the changes that have taken place (syllabus area 1). For this reason, it wouldn’t make much sense to tackle the content in a simple linear fashion.

We’ve built this course to help you cover the content in the most logical manner – this means that the first two weeks will cover syllabus area one and four between them, but not necessarily splitting content out into ‘syllabus one material’ and ‘syllabus four material’.

This week, you should prepare what you need for your study and have a think about how you can fit the extra work into your busy schedule. Some learners prefer to come in to the office early and do an hour every morning, others prefer to break it up into smaller chunks and fit it in throughout the day but you have to find out what works for you. Whichever approach works best for you, you are going to need to set aside enough time to get the work done. Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail, after all….

If you haven’t already booked the exam, now is the time to book it. Booking costs £138 for members (£185 for non-members) and includes a copy of the CII study book which might help you to expand on any areas of our training you’d like to understand in more detail. Once that date is in the diary, things are going to become a bit more urgent in your mind and action will surely follow!

 Study Plan for R08 – Pensions Update

We would recommend treating this as a five-week endeavour. We have four weeks of training for you, leaving you the last week for consolidation and revision before the big day. As part of our structured study plan, rather than just giving you a book and expecting you to read it and learn, we will be providing an interactive and structured journey to help you through your studies.

The four modules break down like this:


Week Topic
1 Changes to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) tax regime and changes to pension income options – Part one
2 Changes to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) tax regime and changes to pension income options – Part two
3 Compliance and transfers
4 State pension, analysis and advice
5 Your own revision time…

Good luck with your study!

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