Studying for a qualification can sometimes look pretty daunting,
especially if you've been out of formal education for a while.
But there's no need to worry about making the right choices, the
study time or the exams. If you plan properly, and take advantage
of all the support the CII has to offer, your journey should be a
1. Choose the qualification that's right for you
There's a broad range of qualifications to choose from; whether
you are, or intend to become, a financial or mortgage adviser, or
you work in an administrative, technical or sales support role, for
example paraplanning or life and pensions administration.
To find out more about the range of qualifications on offer, and
which is right for you, use your mouse to hover-over the
qualifications listed on the qualifications main page.
2. Become a member and enjoy special benefits
Joining the PFS/CII gives you an advantage by creating a
platform for your study.
It also gives you privileged access to technical information,
online technical dictionaries and additional reference material
building on the core qualification study texts. You also get
discounts on study materials and exam entry.
Membership also supports you in your working life - visit our Personal Finance
Society website to find out more.
3. Your past qualifications can count
If you hold a degree or professional qualification in a relevant
subject, for example, accounting, business or law, you could
receive credits that count towards completion of the existing
Diploma and Advanced Diploma qualifications.
In doing so, you'll avoid duplicating learning already completed
and obtain your CII qualification more quickly. Visit the
CII recognition of prior
learning section for more information.
4. Consider all options when selecting exam units
Every qualification requires completion of a number of different
units, each covering a specific topic.
In the case of the Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Financial
Planning and Certificate in Life and Pensions, you can self-select
units according to your sector specialism and career
All other financial services qualifications require you to
complete a specified combination of units - we suggest these are
completed in a sequential order as frequently each unit builds
knowledge drawing on the preceding unit.
You can find out about the available units by selecting your
chosen qualification on the qualifications main page.
5. Create a programme to fit your study style
You can make studying simpler by selecting the learning and
revision materials that best suit you. The right choice of learning
materials can make a big difference.
For example, attending a CII Face-to-Face revision course can
improve your chances of first time exam success by as much as 50%.
Get the inside track on your chosen qualification page on this
6. Be an effective learner
Follow some simple steps and you'll stand the best chances of
- Formulate a realistic study plan and stick to it
- Don't cram, study a little and often
- Understand your subject by knowing the unit syllabus inside
- Use a blend of learning and revision materials to improve
understanding and recall.
7. Take exams when you're ready
The Certificate-level and Diploma in Regulated Financial
Planning 'R0' exams are typically offered throughout the year, so
pick your choice of time and location.
Diploma 'J0' exams and Advanced Diploma exams are available
twice yearly in April and October. Get the dates for your diary on
each qualification page on this website.