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Comparing the CII Investment Exams

Comparing the CII Investment Exams

The CII investment exams at diploma level are R02 Investment principles and risk, J10 Discretionary investment management and J12 Securities advice and dealing.  We will ignore J11 Wrap and platform services, as it is being withdrawn in April, but read on for a comparison of the three exams.


It’s not going to come as a surprise to hear that there is a fair amount of crossover in the syllabus with these three exams; although, there is more detail in J10 and J12 than there is in R02.

Each of the three exams covers: asset classes, investment advice, portfolio construction, investment ratios and analysis, and investment performance and reviews.

J12 is the newest exam out of the three, and in this syllabus, you will see areas of investment not tested in the other two – for example, depositary receipts in the equities section, much more detail on warrants and foreign exchange.  The dealing, settlement, and clearing chapters are of course only relevant to the J12 module, but much of the rest of the syllabus is covered elsewhere, so if you have already completed R02 or the J10 exam, then J12 seems a natural progression with not too much extra studying needed.   The J12 manual is well written and interesting; further insight into how trading actually works and happens on the stock exchange can be enlightening to students with no previous knowledge in this area.  If you’ve ever wondered what a ‘dark pool’ is, then J12 is for you!

Here is a comparison of the three CII investment exams. Click To Tweet


In this table, we compare the three exams:

Learning Outcomes
Method of Assessment
Exam Length
Nominal Pass Mark
Current Pass Rate
Further Qualification
R02 Level 49 learning outcomes

Study hours recommended: 60
72 MCQ
28 MRQ
Total: 100
2 hours2065%60%
J10 Level 415 learning outcomes

Study hours recommended: 80
70 MCQ
4 CS x 5 MRQ
Total: 90
2 hours2065%86%Level 4 Certificate in Discretionary Investment Management

Requires pass in: R01 and J10
J12 Level 46 learning outcomes

Study hours recommended: 70
60 MCQ
3 CS x 5 MCQ
Total: 75
2 hours2065%75%Level 4 Certificate in Securities Advice and Dealing

Requires pass in: R01, R02, R03 and J12

MCQ = multi-choice question
MRQ = multi-response question
CS = case study

Grab the resources you need!

If you plan to sit the CII J12 exam, and you’re wondering how you’ll manage to pull off a pass on exam day, grab our free taster to try out one of Brand Financial Training’s mock exam papers for yourself.  Click the link to download the J12 mock exam taster now!

Click here to download our free taster mock paper for CII J12


Alternatively, you can download the taster for J10 or R02 if either of those exams is in your future.