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Exam Day Tips

Nicole Seaman

Chief Admin Officer
Staff member
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For all of you who are taking the FRM exam on Saturday, here are some tips that I found for exam day! All of these were written by candidates who already took the exam. Feel free to add some of your own tips that you think could be helpful! I hope this helps to ease some of your exam day stress!!! ;)
  • You don’t need to arrive at the test center a full hour early; half-an-hour is adequate. *HOWEVER*, they actually WILL lock you out if you’re not there 15 minutes before the start time.
  • The answer sheet uses a carbon copy system that no-one has told you about. Don’t let this throw you, just follow the instructions, and keep in mind that you can’t erase your answer in the conventional way.
  • Don’t panic! There will be some questions that almost no candidate can solve: GARP writes a hard exam. You can get 30%+ of the questions wrong and still pass.
  • Work fast and don’t get bogged down. For FRM1, you need to maintain a pace of 25 questions per hour.
  • Check your progress either every 25 questions or every hour. If the first 25 questions take more than an hour, you are moving too slow.
  • Take snacks and drinks. Put the snacks in your pocket for your break.
  • Take a break halfway through the exam; 4 hours is too long to sit. Eat your snack and drink your drink on the way to the bathroom.
  • DON’T wait until the last few minutes to fill in all your answers on the bubble sheet.
  • Take a pair of ear plugs to the exam. You never know how noisy it is in the site.
  • Get at least 6 hours of sleep the night before. Tension could make it difficult, but you must try.
  • When doing mock exams the days just before the exam, try doing them for whole 4 hours, not 4 sittings of 25 Qs each or so. In the real exam, the prolonged sitting itself could be a challenge.
  • Wear comfortable outfits and shoes.
  • Don’t skip questions if one of them gives you trouble, but if you have to, don’t move on to next page of questions before you’re sure you marked answers to all questions of previous page.
  • When marking the bubbles, double check it’s the question number you want to fill, especially if you skipped questions on that page. You could end up marking two bubbles for a single question and leaving one unmarked, losing marks for both questions. Worse even, if you move forward without looking at question numbers, you could mismark ALL questions from that point on.
  • Do NOT forget your calculator and make sure that you check the GARP website to be sure that it is an approved calculator.
  • Visit the site before exam day. For one thing, ask proctors how many people are registered for the exam. This makes a difference in the time before door-closing that you must arrive at. For another, see where your seat is located relative to the room doors, this you need to know how much time it takes you to leave the room to drink then get back.
 
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frmexam

New Member
Thanks Nicole and Shakti
Good luck to all.. expecting the exam to be brutal.
Tensed as I did not do lot of practice questions.. 24 hrs to go!! revised most topics so have some comfort. Curious to know how others are doing.
Appearing for Part II
 

kevinyuen

New Member
Subscriber
Nicole, can you please elaborate on the statement below?
  • The answer sheet uses a carbon copy system that no-one has told you about. Don’t let this throw you, just follow the instructions, and keep in mind that you can’t erase your answer in the conventional way.
 
@kevinyuen
When you sit for the exam you will be given an exam booklet that contains questions and an answer sheet where you need to mark with HB/Soft lead pencils. Now the weird thing that GARP does with the answer sheet is that there is an identical answer sheet attached to it (which I remember correctly you are not supposed to tear)
So when you mark an answer in the Answer sheet it gets carbon copied to the second answer sheet attached to it. That's why you are not supposed to erase you answer but instead mark a second bubble and write the option (A, B, C,D) in the box adjacent to the bubbles

Does that clarify? Don't worry your proctor will do the necessary explanations but it can be unnerving to see the Carbon-copy system employed if you're taking Level 1

Make sure you follow instructions and don't separate the answer sheet (it will be written as instruction)

Hope this helps. All the best. I am sitting for L2 :)

Uzi
 

kevinyuen

New Member
Subscriber
@kevinyuen
When you sit for the exam you will be given an exam booklet that contains questions and an answer sheet where you need to mark with HB/Soft lead pencils. Now the weird thing that GARP does with the answer sheet is that there is an identical answer sheet attached to it (which I remember correctly you are not supposed to tear)
So when you mark an answer in the Answer sheet it gets carbon copied to the second answer sheet attached to it. That's why you are not supposed to erase you answer but instead mark a second bubble and write the option (A, B, C,D) in the box adjacent to the bubbles

Does that clarify? Don't worry your proctor will do the necessary explanations but it can be unnerving to see the Carbon-copy system employed if you're taking Level 1

Make sure you follow instructions and don't separate the answer sheet (it will be written as instruction)

Hope this helps. All the best. I am sitting for L2 :)

Uzi

Thanks for the clarification, that helps a lot. As you mentioned, I'm sure the proctor will make it very clear tomorrow. It just seems unusual that they would not make it easier to change your answer, especially if you want to guess for now and then revisit the question later if you have the time.
 

Natalia13

New Member
Subscriber
I would like to add my couple cents for girls. Do not defer the exam if you are pregnant. I worried that with my six month belly I will not be able to sit for four hours. I remembered P1 and how my back was killing me after sitting on the metallic chair for so long. I even went to see if GARP has some special requests arrangements which they do but the deadline was August 31 which I missed. All I needed was a pillow for my back, but there was no reference if you can bring one to the exam room. Only line that personal items should be stored underneath of your chair. So, I did bring a pillow and was allowed to use it which helped a lot. A kicking baby and tough P2 questions were fun, but I am glad I did not defer the exam. Limit your liquid consumption the prior day and the day of the exam and you will be fine.
 

Sidewinder

Member
Subscriber
Hi

I have a short question which I haven't seen answered anywhere. Okay, you´re getting some pencils from GARP but what about blank papers to do some calculations or transformations. Are they going to be provided?

Thanks for a briefly explanation.

Regards, Alex
 

ShaktiRathore

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Hi
Yes the question booklet will itself contain blank pages to do all your calculations and other rough work. No other extra blank sheets are provided as far as i know.
Thanks
 
Hi @David Harper CFA FRM,

I hope you're doing well. The date of the May exam is around the corner and I would like your expert advice.

So, assuming the day of the exam, what would you suggest to be more efficient, practical, on the below topics.

  1. Based on what I've read you receive a booklet and an answer sheet with the globes to fill/mark the answer. What would be your approach for the filling of the answers, should we fill the answer on individual basis or should we write the answer on the booklet and just fill all the answers, say 30 mins before the exam session ends?
  2. Assuming you encounter a question you are not sure of the answer at that precise moment, would you leave the answer empty and come back later or make a 'leap of faith-type' of answer with the objective of leaving nothing empty.
Please note, these are the two main topics in which I believe I could potentially lose a lot of time, but any further suggestions would be deeply appreciated.

P.S. I know each and everyone will have their own technique/suggestion and that's the objective of this thread, just to hear what do you think would be appropriate to do on that day.

Thank you!
-Roberto
 

Nicole Seaman

Chief Admin Officer
Staff member
Subscriber
Hi @David Harper CFA FRM,

I hope you're doing well. The date of the May exam is around the corner and I would like your expert advice.

So, assuming the day of the exam, what would you suggest to be more efficient, practical, on the below topics.
  1. Based on what I've read you receive a booklet and an answer sheet with the globes to fill/mark the answer. What would be your approach for the filling of the answers, should we fill the answer on individual basis or should we write the answer on the booklet and just fill all the answers, say 30 mins before the exam session ends?
  2. Assuming you encounter a question you are not sure of the answer at that precise moment, would you leave the answer empty and come back later or make a 'leap of faith-type' of answer with the objective of leaving nothing empty.
Please note, these are the two main topics in which I believe I could potentially lose a lot of time, but any further suggestions would be deeply appreciated.

P.S. I know each and everyone will have their own technique/suggestion and that's the objective of this thread, just to hear what do you think would be appropriate to do on that day.

Thank you!
-Roberto
Hello @Roberto Hernández

Please note that I moved your post here to this thread that already discusses exam day tips and advice. You may find an answer to your questions here or by using the search feature in the forum also :)

Thank you,

Nicole
 

emilioalzamora1

Well-Known Member
My advice, not chronologically (which helped me for both Part's of the exam):

Skim through all the questions first (the whole booklet) and see which ones you can answer more easily than the topics you are not so at ease with.

I would work hour after hour and see that you manage/answer a certain proportion (out of 100 for Part I (approx 25 questions) or 80 for Part II (approx 20 questions)) for each hour and leave let's say at minimum!!! 30 min at the end (it takes at least 20 minutes to properly fill the boxes with the pencil!) and go over alll the questions again and see whether you can improve sth. here and there. My suggestion: don't mess around with the answer sheet after each question. Double-check your answer in the booklet with the answer sheet twice!

You can spend some significant (disproportionate) time with certain questions if you have at least a clue how to get to the right answer but if you have no idea at all, then simply make a good guess.
 
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chintanudeshi

New Member
@emilioalzamora1 Your advise is helpful. I have one question around your below mentioned comment:

"30 min at the end (it takes at least 20 minutes to properly fill the boxes with the pencil!)"

Do you think it would be advisable to work out all the problems for 3.5 hrs in the question booklet and spend last 30 minutes to fill in all bubbles on the answer sheet? I know that, if the candidate takes this approach, he/she would surely have the luxury to edit their responses before they populate them on their final answer sheet.

Thanks!

Regards,
C
 

emilioalzamora1

Well-Known Member
Yes, I would follow your cited (my) approach:

"30 min at the end (it takes at least 20 minutes to properly fill the boxes with the pencil!)"

I never even looked at the answer booklet 35-30 minutes before the end because you need every single minute to tackle the questions. But do remember that in order to populate 100 fields you need some time!
At best, you will have 10 minutes left to have a think about 3-5 questions and perhaps make a change (if really needed). The biggest mistake you can make is when you stop solving questions 15 minutes before the end because you then will run of time and perhaps make stupid mistakes with the population of the fields. Even if you have the right answers in your booklet, they don't count as long as you don't fill the fields.

 
I would like to advice against this Chintan, u may loose your nerve and mark incorrectly in last 20 mins. Rather, mark when u do them, that way you are sure ur marking the correct ans with the desired option. In question book u can always put star against unsure questions
 

David Harper CFA FRM

David Harper CFA FRM
Staff member
Subscriber
I would just like to add my support for @emilioalzamora1 's advice to "Skim through all the questions first (the whole booklet)" etc ... I think that's good advice in general for tests (and I've taken many test ;)) but it's especially relevant to the FRM. We know from feedback that almost regardless of your level of preparation, some questions will appear to be very difficult. This is not a friendly exam to perfectionists. There may be (will be?) some questions that are not worth too much of your time. You don't need to answer all of the questions correctly to pass, not even close. So, for me, that last thing you want to do is suck up too much time on one question (in an exam that gives equal weight to all questions, despite the weighted allocation of questions across topics). Thanks,
 

berrymucho

Member
I found that the ability to parse the questions effectively is very important during the exam. For instance, for every question before I'd start reading, I'd jump to the bottom of the paragraph to find out what is actually being asked. The description may use several long sentences involving VaR, options, Basel that make your mind bounce around and in the end you see that they just ask for a confidence interval... I felt much better then reading the full paragraph and spot which elements are red herrings... I found this approach especially useful for vignette-type questions with scenarios introduced over a full page of text: check out the associated questions first!
 
Thank you @emilioalzamora1 and @David Harper CFA FRM for your response on this.

Apart from skimming throughout the whole booklet which makes quite a lot of sense, David what are your thoughts on the approach to respond/fill the answer sheet? Emilio suggested to answer on the booklet and save time at the end to fill the answer sheet based on the booklet responses, which I think I mostly agree with, nonetheless and based on your experience and knowledge, what would be your approach here? Fill once answered or answer in the booklet and fill at the end?

Thanks,
-Roberto
 

David Harper CFA FRM

David Harper CFA FRM
Staff member
Subscriber
@Roberto Hernández I happen to agree with both of those suggestions by @emilioalzamora1 . Personally, I can't imagine not skimming; it alleviates some small sense of the unknown/uncertainty. I like to skim to identify the toughest tranche that I might consider expendable, but will leave for any "luxury time" I might or might not have at the end. (Because the FRM is not for perfectionists, skimming supports trimming off the toughest questions to be skipped and saved for last). With respect to population of the answer sheet, i can imagine styles may vary, but I'm the same here, too. I don't like the "cognitive load" of switching back and forth between working problems and fiddling with the answer sheet, I like a "clean run" at the answer sheet when it's my exclusive mental focus, if that makes sense. Thanks,
 
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