External candidates: where can you sit your exam?

An external candidate is someone who enters for RHS exams through an RHS approved centre but is not enrolled as a student there

As an external candidate you might be studying for an RHS qualification by distance learning or you might be self-taught.

RHS Wisley Venue

We appreciate it can be stressful finding a centre to sit RHS Examinations, so to ease the pressure we are hosting Level 2 and Level 3 exams at the beautiful RHS Garden Wisley.

RHS Wisley lies between Cobham and Ripley, in Surrey, just a few minutes drive from Junction 10 on the M25.

University of Bath Venue 

The University of Bath venue is located in Claverton Down (BA2 7AY). All bookings for this venue must be made through RHS Qualifications.

How do I apply?

Applying to sit exams at RHS Wisley or the University of Bath is extremely easy. To check availability and obtain an application form email the RHS Qualifications team.  

Please note emailing an application form does not guarantee you a place; your place is only confirmed once you have received a confirmation email from the RHS. Due to demand we are unable to hold places.  

Email the qualifications team

Exam centre availability

Spaces are limited and fill up fast. They are on a first come first served basis, therefore we strongly recommend you apply as soon as possible and in advance of the closing date to avoid payment of late fees.

Check the closing dates for all 2021 exam entries (137kB pdf)

Read our external candidate FAQs (484kB pdf) to find answers to the questions we get asked the most about our venue. 


There is a £35 administration fee per candidate, per day in addition to the following examination unit entry cost: 

  • Level 2 - £19 per unit
  • Level 3 - £29 per unit

Examination fees must be paid in full and we will only be able to confirm your entry once payment is received. 

Payments can be made online using Worldpay, a secure online payment system, or by cheque. Once we have received your application we will send a link to Worldpay with the necessary transaction details for you to make the payment online. Further details regarding payment options can be found in our external candidate FAQs (484kB pdf) document. 

Other centres that accept external candidates

If RHS Garden Wisley is not within easy reach, you may sit your exams at one of our approved centres.

Below is a general list of RHS approved centres that have notified us that they're willing to accept external candidates.

For administration purposes, please be aware that some centres may require examination entries earlier than the RHS advertised date. To ensure you submit your application on time, please check with the centre.    

To check availability, fees and register for the exam, you will need to contact the centre directly using the details on our approved centre page.

East of England

West East Midlands

Manea School of Gardening, March B.E.S.T in Horticulture Group, The Academy of Practical Horticulture Limited, Coventry
Shuttleworth College, Bedfordshire Brooksby Melton College, Leicestershire
The Beth Chatto Gardens Ltd, Elmstead Market Derbyshire Adult and Community Education Service, Middleton by Wirksworth
Writtle University College, Chelmsford Hartlebury Castle, Worcestershire
North West Moulton College, Northamptonshire
Cheadle & Marple 6th Form College, Stockport Northamptonshire County Council, Northampton
Ness Botanic Garden, Ness OnSite Training UK, Lamport
Ordsall Hall & Gardens, Salford OnSite Training UK, Wellingborough
Reaseheath College, Cheshire Roots to Fruits
South East & London North East Yorkshire & Humber
B.E.S.T. in Horticulture Group, North Moreton Askham Bryan College, York
Berkshire College of Agriculture, Maidenhead Craven College, Skipton
Hever Castle and Gardens, Edenbridge Shipley College, West Yorkshire
Plumpton College, Brighton South West
Ireland Horticultural Correspondence College, Holsworthy
National Learning Network (Bantry only) Scotland
Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
  Threave Gardens, Dumfries and Galloway

If you are unable to find a school or college at which to sit your exam, you may still wish to contact other RHS approved centres in your local area as the exams officer may still be able to accept you.

Image credits: My Gre Exam Preparation

RHS qualifications

Where can I sit RHS exams?
Take your RHS exams at RHS Garden Wisley or find an alternative exam centre near you.  
Registrations are now open!

Find out more

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