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R02 Investment principles and risk

Investment principles and risk is one of the six core units that make up the CII Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning. It accounts for 20 of the 100 credits that are needed. That makes it one of the ‘meatiest’ units in the diploma suite.

The CII describe R02 as a subject that “develops your knowledge and understanding of investment products and the application of the investment advice process.” This recognises the fact that a robust knowledge of the various investment products available in the marketplace is key when advising clients.

The investment principles covered in R02, spill over into R03, 4, 5 and 6, so can be considered part of the base knowledge needed in order for the subjects covered in the other R0s to make sense.

Many candidates find the R02 a tough exam to crack because it covers a wide range of investment topics that they might never have studied before. 

The R02 exam is two hours long and there are 100 questions to answer; 72 standard multiple-choice questions and 28 multi-response questions.

Exam format: 2-hour multiple choice exam

Exam Recommended Study Hours Credits Nominal pass mark
R02 60 hours 20 65%
Exam R02
Recommended Study Hours 60 hours
Credits 20
Nominal pass mark 65%

What are the challenges with the R02 unit?

The first thing to say is that many of the questions in R02 may be asking you about a particular subject, for example OEICs, but the answer options often include elements that relate to other investments, such as Investment Bonds.

So, in order to answer the question on the OEIC you have to be clear that features such as ‘the 5% rule’ or ‘top-slicing’ apply to Bonds, not OEICS.

This means that each question could actually be testing application of knowledge from more than one learning outcome.

Add to this the fact that many candidates find the CII question wording tricky to decipher, and the result is often that it feels like more than one of the answer choices could be right! That’s because subjects such as ‘risk’ and ‘most appropriate solution’ are not black and white. Investing is full of grey areas.

You also need to be ready for the fact that the R02 exam questions will feel wordier than you expect. They are notoriously full of extra text that may not be relevant to the question being asked or are fundamental in being able to identify the right answer!

As we mentioned, R02 has a wide syllabus, so candidates need to make sure that they don’t spend too much of their study effort on one subject at the expense of others. You can pass R02 if you forget a few of the more detailed facts around a particular subject, but your base knowledge must be solid as a rock.

National pass rates in 2020 were around 64%.

BTS R02 Study Toolkit

To help you to build your R02 study plan and pass first time, we have put together a range of study and training options in our BTS R02 Study Toolkit. Toolkits contain several options to suit different candidate needs and preferences. These include printed and digital resources, e-Learning modules, workshops, and practice question banks.

BTS Toolkits for R01 to R05 all follow the same approach: the STEP model. BTS have found over the years that this leads to the best exam results for candidates. This approach and the options within our BTS Toolkits are tried and tested on tens of thousands of learners over our long record of regulated exam support. As a result, BTS have a first-class market reputation for R0 support.

Our mission is clear:


The R02 syllabus is wide, and the BTS R02 study guide doesn’t cut any corners. It is a complete replacement for the examining body textbook but is written in a different way.

You will find that the guide is crammed with graphics and examples, so that you can build your knowledge step-by-step. BTS study guides always keep an eye on how we can bring the subject matter to life as much as is humanly possible! You’ll also get exam relevant content and questions, with a thread of BTS humour thrown in for good measure; anything that can help you remember the subject.


BTS R02 training receives fantastic feedback, as you can see from the testimonials below.

BTS Associate facilitators are skilled at bringing key subjects to life through examples, visuals and exam style practice questions. They will paint pictures to help unravel the technical details of the various investments so that you understand them and can then apply that understanding to exam questions.

group of people sat down with a trainer facilitating in the foreground

Click here to access the current schedule of R02 support workshops.


BTS e-Learning is ideal for individuals who learn best using visual, online and interactive tools. It allows you to work through your R02 studies at your own pace, with the BTS team behind you all the way. The BTS R02 e-Learning module covers the most heavily weighted R02 learning outcomes, including…

L01 which is all about the different asset classes and some alternative investments.  L06 which examines the various collectives and investment products. L07 covering the advice process, and L08 focussing in the investment planning principles.

You can dip in and out of the eLearning as and when you have some study time.


The BTS R0 Study Buddy app replicates the CII exam standard as closely as possible. There are two volumes of R02 questions available for purchase – each giving you 400 questions to practice on. BTS designers sit the R02 exam every year, and train tens of thousands of students. All this experience is packed into our App questions.

The exam itself will still feel a bit harder, after all you are in an exam with all those associated nerves, but the App will make sure you have experience is applying your knowledge to different styles of exam questions.

A photograph of a tablet on a desk with the study buddy app on the screen

Find out more about how the Study Buddy app can help you and how to purchase it on your device

What sort of feedback do BTS receive on our R02 support?

"I passed my R02 exam today with 94% and I can’t thank you and BTS enough. I used the past paper questions and the similarity to the exam questions today was amazing, all so relevant and at the exact difficulty level."

Max Green | Graduate Financial Adviser | May 2021

"The next exam passed today!! R02 investment principles & risk. What a great start to the weekend! Only 2 left!! Thank you to Bespoke Training Solutions for the training course that focused my studies before the exam."

Prue Ockenden | Mortgage Adviser | April 2021

BTS R02 Learner Journeys

Click on the profiles below to find out how recent BTS candidates achieved their R02 success:

Insights, help and advice for R02

Below, you will find a range of recent articles providing insights, help and advice for this R0, we hope you find these useful. Remember if you have any questions on your journey feel free to get in touch with the BTS support team.

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