5 tips for finding the right support for R0 exams

10 February 2021

There are a growing number of companies offering help with exams in the financial services market. How do you ensure you select the one that is right for you and the exam(s) you are taking? In the first of a series of articles for Professional Paraplanner, Luiza Todd, director, Bespoke Training Solutions offers five tips.

Never has the need for technically qualified advisers and paraplanners been greater. The global pandemic, affecting both individuals and businesses, has shown the vulnerabilities of our health and financial wellbeing.

It has served also to highlight the need to attract more individuals into the financial services profession and to ensure they have the relevant financial qualifications and, more importantly, a good technical grounding to allow them to support clients in difficult times – in or out of a pandemic.

There is so much choice in the R0 candidate support marketplace; much more than they used to be. Every day there seems to be another new provider setting themselves up as an ‘exam expert’ or ‘specialist’. So, how can you tell who has real experience, and who is good value for the money you are paying? Who will help you pass your R0 exams, ideally first time? Who could be a waste of your hard-earned cash?

Here are our five top tips for you before diving in feet and wallet/purse first.

1. Don’t assume the relevant examining body will provide the best learning materials for their exams.

If you think about this logically, what incentive is there for an examining body to make sure their materials are the best out there? Many candidates will buy the body’s materials initially because they ‘assume’ they must be the most ‘fit for purpose’ as they are written by the exam provider.

2. Remember that you don’t have to buy materials from the examining body.

You have the option to sit the R0 exams standalone, but this option will not be at the top of the examining body’s webpage. Instead, you find terms such as ‘enrolment’ and ‘enrolment plus’ as the default options. You need to decipher these terms to make sure you are buying what you want to buy.

Candidates have the right to choose materials that suit their needs, and not be guided down a path that suggests they have no choice.

We have a record of championing this for candidates and the Competition and Markets Authority tend to agree with us on that

3. How long has the provider been in the R0 support market?

Exam experience cannot be bought, it has to be long standing and earned. It comes from the coal face of having the passed both the R0 exams and other more advanced versions to give deeper exam knowledge. It involves regularly resitting the R0s, constant tweaking of materials to keep them ‘exam style’ and the invaluable experience of supporting hundreds of thousands of candidates going through the regulated exam journey day in day out

4. It’s easy to say you are an expert.

Sitting the exams once is not enough. Look at the technical qualifications of a company and its team. A provider’s competence is achieved through their own exam experiences and that of the candidates that they support. How long have the firm been in this market? Who are their experts? Ask the provider you are considering this question and see what they say

5. Do they receive candidate endorsements on social media?

This is a real sign of an expert and of a company that is delivering on their website promises.

Don’t rely on any company who tells you how great they are, and that includes BTS! What do real life candidates say? Do you see feedback on social media that comes from candidates themselves? If you don’t, then ask yourself why not?

If a company are as good as they say they are then feedback will regularly appear on social media – both good and also the odd not so good (it is human nature if things don’t go as planned to look for someone else to blame).

Everyone can cherry pick good reviews for their website (BTS included) but it’s nigh on impossible to control social media. This is the true test of the mettle of a professed R0 exam expert.

Whether you are looking for a provider to support your team towards their diploma qualification, or someone to help you on your own journey, a key part of your success is selecting the right partner for you.

Every regulated support provider (again we include ourselves) should be ready to be measured against these standards.

Professional Paraplanner