Gardening Course

About the RHS (level 2) Certificate in Horticulture

Preparing for the RHS (level 2) Certificate in Horticulture

On completing this Diploma course, many of our students choose to sit the RHS (level 2) Certificate in Horticulture exam. This gives them an extra qualification for little extra effort, since the contents of this course are based on the RHS syllabus.

What is the 'RHS (level 2) Certificate in Horticulture'?

Its full title is 'The Royal Horticultural Society (level 2) Certificate in Horticulture Examination.' That's a bit of a mouthful. So people call it the 'RHS (level 2) award' for short.

Started in 1893, it's the main qualification for professional and dedicated horticulturalists who wish to have their horticultural knowledge formally assessed.

The RHS (level 2) Certificate in Horticulture is also the qualification for those who wish to embark on a career in horticulture.

The exam is growing ever more popular. The number of people taking it has doubled in the last five years.

The world's most respected horticultural qualification

The 'RHS (level 2) award' is probably the oldest and most respected horticultural qualification in the world.

Those who pass the exam join an elite group of proficient horticulturists. They're the ones who know all that's worth knowing about horticulture. Passing the RHS exam demonstrates your understanding of the subject.

About the RHS exam

The examination consists of two 1½ hour written papers, comprising 30 short answer questions in Paper 1 and three traditional structured questions from Paper 2. The questions are designed to test candidates' basic understanding of scientific principles including their relationship and application to horticultural skills and practices.

Unfortunately, the RHS exam takes place only once a year, in March. The closing date for entries is three months earlier.

Your tutor will prepare you thoroughly for the exam. We also provide you with the registration form.

Sitting the exam in the UK

In the UK alone, there are over 150 centres. For a list of exam locations in the UK, click here.

If you aren't near a centre, read the next section. Use the advice below to get a local college to let you sit the exam.

Students in the US, Canada, and other countries outside the UK.

You can sit the examination anywhere in the world. Here's what to do.

Ask the RHS to send (or email) you an application form along with an Exceptional Supervision Form.

This should be completed by you and your examination supervisor, who should be a local school/college or professional person used to examination procedures.

The Examination Supervisor should complete part of the form to say they have agreed to supervise the examination, and we know where to send the examination materials.

After the examination you or the examination supervisor should return the completed scripts to the Examinations Office.

So if you live outside the UK, and you'd like to sit the exam, ask your local college if they will let you sit the RHS (level 2) Certificate in Horticulture. Then ask the RHS for the form, which you should give to your college. For a form, contact the RHS at

If you have any queries about this, please contact us at

Why study for the RHS exam with the Blackford Centre?

By studying with us, you maximize your chances of success. As you work through the course, your tutor will systematically identify and help you overcome any areas of weakness.

Remember that you can take as long as you like to complete the course. Unlike other organizations, we set no time limit.

Do I have to sit the RHS exam?

No. Many people are content to study without sitting the exam. We provide the Blackford Centre's Diploma to everyone who successfully completes the course.

You don't have to decide now whether to sit the exam.

And you can change your mind at any time. Many students embark on the course without being sure whether they'll sit the exam.

More info

RHS website