R02 Exam guide and useful information

About the R02 Exam

The R02 (Investment principles and risk) exam forms part of the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning and upon successful completion will give you 20 credits at diploma level.

The exam itself is a two-hour computer based multiple choice exam held at test centres throughout the country. As the exam is computer based, you can sit it on a date of your choosing throughout the year providing more flexibility to accommodate your studies. The exam format consists of 100 questions – 72 standard format with only one correct answer and 28 multiple-response where more than one answer will be correct.

The pass mark is in the region of 65% and as this is a computer based test rather than a written test it is unlikely that there will be much deviation from this unless a question is subsequently found to be invalid.

The following guidance has been taken from our R02 learning programme.

R02 Syllabus Breakdown

The exam is based on 9 learning outcomes with varying emphasis given to each section. The approximate split of marks is as follows, although this can vary up or down slightly depending on your specific exam:


Learning Outcome Expected number of exam questions
1.      Analyse the characteristics, inherent risks, behaviour and correlation of asset classes 17 standard format / 11 multiple response
2.      Understand the macro-economic environment and its impact on asset classes 6 standard format
3.      Understand the merits and limitations of the main investment theories 7 standard format
4.      Apply the principles of the time value of money 3 standard format
5.      Analyse and explain the nature and impact of the main types of risk on investment performance 5 standard format
6.      Analyse the characteristics, inherent risks and relevant tax considerations of investment products 15 standard format / 7 multiple response
7.      Apply the investment advice process 11 standard format
8.      Understand the principles of investment planning 8 standard format
9.      Analyse the performance of investments 10 multiple response


As you can see, syllabus areas one and six represent half of the available marks between them, with the other half of the marks split between the other seven areas. This will necessarily mean more time needs to be spent on these areas. The good news is that these areas will give you a good understanding of some of the principles that will appear in other areas – for instance understanding investment products (area 6) will help you with the investment advice process (area 7).

Planning your study for R02 – Investment principles and risk

As noted above, there are 9 learning outcomes for the R02 exam, with different weight and emphasis applied to each. This will provide a useful guide to the time that needs to be spent on the different areas. For instance, since the ‘time value of money’ covers only three questions, there is little benefit in spending a quarter of your study time learning this inside and out.  The study plan has been built around spending the right amount of time on each of the learning outcomes to help you get the most out of your study time.

The learning material has been split up into four weekly chunks which will guide you through the syllabus and prepare you for the exam.

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. One thing that is clear though, is that it will be a reasonable commitment of your time, and if you fail to plan it properly you are planning to fail the exam.

You might also want to get some stationery together like a pad of paper for your own notes and workings, and a highlighter to allow you to pick out key pieces of information and of course, a calculator. Remember that you are allowed to take a financial calculator into the examination (as long as it isn’t capable of being programmed to hold formulae) and these are useful for a number of the exams as well as working with customers in real life. This will certainly gift you the three marks for the time value of money!

It is also worthwhile familiarising yourself with the learning portal, and the ways in which you can contact the tutors if you have questions or require any technical assistance.

Study Plan for R02 – Investment principles and risk

The R02 study schedule is split into a four-week learning programme. We would recommend that you allow yourself around a week after the programme finishes to consolidate your learning, practice taking some examinations and revise. This means that you should leave yourself around 5 weeks from starting the programme, to taking the exam.

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.

We have broken the key learning outcomes down into various areas that will be rolled out over the 4-week study schedule for you to study as you go. The learning modules don’t fit totally with the four learning outcomes but instead with the underlying knowledge you will need for the exam.  The learning materials will include written summaries of the material covered in the form of a study guide that you can print off and read through. As well as this and alongside the specific learning material, you will find other useful documents such exercises that will help with your study.

The learning schedule for the R02 exam has been broken up into weekly sessions, and it is recommended that you complete each weekly module and learning within the week. You should find that there is just about the right amount of material for one week’s study and if you have time before the next week starts it is a good idea to consolidate your learning rather than trying to jump ahead to the next module.

The modules break down as follows:

  • Week one is entirely given over to syllabus area one – a quarter of the marks in the exam sit here and it will give a great foundation for what follows.
  • In week two we will cover a number of smaller areas: the macro-economic environment, investment theories, time value of money and risk
  • Week three is once again devoted to a single syllabus area – this time looking at investment products.
  • The final module will sweep up what is left, looking at the investment advice process, principles of investment planning and the analysis of investment performance.

Everyone learns in their own way and you will need to find the way that works for you but some tips you might consider include:

  • If you are someone who is very visual – read the material and then draw out ‘mind maps’ or ‘spider charts’ to put the information into visual form
  • Try to tie new material to things you already know – it is often easier to understand something if you can relate it to something similar you already understand
  • If something just won’t stick in your mind – try something ridiculous! Take your child’s favourite teddy bear, put it in a chair and explain that difficult concept to the bear! You won’t struggle to remember how daft it felt and you’ll often remember the concept as a result
  • If you have no visual memory and think in words – put concepts into stories. Make them crazy and memorable.
  • Try setting concepts to the tunes of your favourite songs. We have a great memory for song lyrics for a reason – the music helps us remember.

Above all – make sure you do the work. If you don’t work, you won’t get the results. Good luck and we’ll see you in module one…


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