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BT prep Material: primary or supplementary?

Thread starter #1
I'm looking to prepare for FRM Part I in Nov 14 and trying to figure out the study material I should be using.

I read elsewhere that BT provides useful material, excellent Q bank and a vibrant community. So it looks like a natural choice I should go with. However I'd like to find out how did successful people prepare for Part I exam and what prep material they used.

My background is in engineering (so not too bad in maths) and have decent understanding of finance market overall (though not much in risk management). I'm in full time employment. So I'm looking to find prep material with strong focus on actual exam questions.

Ideally I'd want only one prep provider who can teach me all the concepts I need from relatively basic to the level needed to pass the exam. I read elsewhere that books that GARP recommends should better be used as "reference" material as they are not exam focussed. However BT on it's website says that "BT notes Notes are not intended to teach all of the material for the first time". So my guess is many of you may have used some other books/courses to develop basic understanding then used BT notes for review purpose. Or are there people who think BT material on itself is elaborate enough to be a "primary" source for preparation? If not, what other books did you use?



New Member
Hi Sandeep_j, I was in the same situation: engineering background and working full-time, but I do work with risk management. I read Schweser books and worked on all BT's questions/exams. Passed level 1 on first quartile across all areas. Looking back, I see Schweser as totally unnecessary - it actually didnt have many important things... Focusing only on BT should be more than enough. Just make sure you read the entire material and do as many mock exams/questions as possible. Good luck!
Thread starter #3
Hello EO,

Thanks for sharing your experience. So what was your "primary" source of preparation? Schweser or any other books or did you learn all the basics on the job? Yes, in deed, BT's questions and exams are well regarded but one has to have basic understanding of the subject matter.

That's the dilemma for me as apparently BT's study notes are meant more for review purpose only. I haven't read yet but that's what they say on this website. A friend kindly lent me a couple of Schweser notes. I'm going through them at the moment. Ideally as I mentioned I would want to focus on some material that I'd be using as primary source.

In your opinion can BT study notes be used as primary course material?


New Member
If I had infinite time, I would have focused on the underlying books... But that's not realistic. My favorite mix is GARP's books + BT. You could probably do this if you started today (4.5 months to the exam). The less time you have, the more you would have to give up on GARP's book and focus on more summarized sources: Schweser for instance. But the one thing you should not skip is BT's exams and questions. I did Schweser + BT because I studied for 3 months and I didn't have time to go over GARP's books. Obviously, this is based on my own experience and it will be different for every individual...
I read through all 4 GARP books first finished them about the first week of april. Left me about a month of Reviewing BT's notes and practice questions. During that time I had wished I spent less time reading the textbooks and more time on BT. I passed Part I but I would reccommend spending your time now up until the exam on BT reviewing their study notes (great summary of the readings in my opinion. cuts out the unncessary fluff) and going through their practice questions and participating in the forums weekly questions. Good luck!
Everyone learns differently. However - the most time efficient way to pass for me was to skip the GARP curriculum completely - and use BT's practice questions as the starting point. Whenever I came across a new concept (which was obviously most of the time - especially in the beginning) - I'd read up on it in the BT Study Notes.

I think it's important to interact with the concepts that are studied. Whenever you come across something you don't understand - write down a question to yourself in "diary" form. Later on - revisit your questions and answer them. Also - follow the BT forum - ask questions and reply to others'.

Videos could work for some people - but I skipped them since i figured I'd fall asleep if i sat down in a cozy chair listening to a lecture.

I passed both levels I & II on the first attempt.
Thread starter #8
Thanks guys for sharing your experiences. So what I gather is "in an ideal world" using GARP books as primary source is useful but for exam focussed folks (like me!) the best way is to jump on BT's questions as soon as possible, using BT's notes to pick up new concepts along the way and go to GARP books only if one has to (or better still use BT's forum for discussion).

Of course as Mad_Mac pointed, everyone learns differently and I'll find out whether this works for me or not.
Thread starter #9
Regarding GARP books, they are not cheap and GARP charges a lot for delivery! I was talking to a chap who passed FRM in 2007 and he said he used Philippe Jorion's Financial Risk Manager Handbook and it helped him a lot.

So the question is, do we really have to buy GARP recommended books for that year? Or can some book like one mentioned above be helpful if we need help in understanding concepts? It may not include 'latest' questions/topics for that year but that's what David and BT's team relentlessly do us. So the new topics will come up in BT's review notes and questions.

Any comments?