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FAQ Before Exam Finding BT questions very tough

sgrgpt

New Member
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Thread starter #1
Hi, I've just started studying for FRM Part 1 and was planning to refer the core curriculum for the main content and BT questions for practice.

But after completing Chapter 1 : Banks from the core curriculum when I tried to solve the BT question bank for that chapter, I found it very tough, unmanageable to be honest. I felt like I was solving questions for a whole different chapter.

So my question is :

1) Is this normal?

2) What is the level of difficulty going to be in the actual examination?

Thanks in advance.
 

Nicole Seaman

Chief Admin Officer
Staff member
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#2
Hi, I've just started studying for FRM Part 1 and was planning to refer the core curriculum for the main content and BT questions for practice.

But after completing Chapter 1 : Banks from the core curriculum when I tried to solve the BT question bank for that chapter, I found it very tough, unmanageable to be honest. I felt like I was solving questions for a whole different chapter.

So my question is :

1) Is this normal?

2) What is the level of difficulty going to be in the actual examination?

Thanks in advance.
Hello @sgrgpt

The Bionic Turtle practice questions have always been a bit more difficult than the GARP practice questions. This is intentional, as we want to make sure that our members understand the concepts in-depth and that they are not just memorizing them for the exam. We've provided a detailed overview of our practice questions here: https://www.bionicturtle.com/bt-faq/what-do-the-question-sets-include/. Here are a couple of paragraphs from that page:

"Our (Bionic Turtle’s) questions are known for their detail and, often, for their high level of difficulty. Preparing for the exam with questions that are too easy is a common mistake; a common complaint heard on feedback forums. If you prepare with questions that are too easy, the exam will be frustrating. But our customers never say our questions are too easy!
We scale the questions from average to difficult; some questions are very difficult. This tends to help our customers prepare effectively. However, many of the questions do require more time than the exam. So we do recommend you take practice questions in two ways: first, spend most of your time working questions without regard to the clock. Let yourself practice concepts and drill methods. Learn the material before adding the time component. Second, as the exam nears, then add the timer and shift to our Mock Exams (which tend to employ questions that are nearer to the exam difficult level)."​

As you will see in the forum, David provides daily support for any questions that our members have regarding the FRM concepts. There is over a decade of FRM discussion here in the forum and David has answered thousands of member questions in-depth. The forum link for every practice question is located on the answer pages of the practice question set PDF in the study planner. If you have difficulty understanding how to solve a specific practice question or just need general help understanding the concepts, you can refer to those links, where there is most likely a great deal of discussion that will help you.

The following forum thread is also very helpful in creating a study plan that will work for you: https://www.bionicturtle.com/forum/threads/study-plan-guide.8670/. One of the most common comments that I have seen is that it may be difficult to completely understand the concepts after reading through the study notes once or twice. It sounds like you are relying on only the GARP materials before trying to solve our practice questions. In my honest opinion, the GARP materials alone are not going to help you to pass the exam. I highly recommend that you use our study notes. Many people choose to read through the study notes, watch the associated instructional video, and then attempt the practice questions. Whatever your study plan may be, the BT team is always here to help answer your questions and guide you through your FRM studies.

I hope this helps!
 

sgrgpt

New Member
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Thread starter #3
Thanks @Nicole Seaman for prompt and detailed reply. It seems like I need to rethink my study strategy. Will surely go through the study plan guide thread mentioned above.

Thanks again.
 

Sixcarbs

Active Member
Subscriber
#4
Hi, I've just started studying for FRM Part 1 and was planning to refer the core curriculum for the main content and BT questions for practice.

But after completing Chapter 1 : Banks from the core curriculum when I tried to solve the BT question bank for that chapter, I found it very tough, unmanageable to be honest. I felt like I was solving questions for a whole different chapter.

So my question is :

1) Is this normal?

2) What is the level of difficulty going to be in the actual examination?

Thanks in advance.
Work through the BT questions. The exam will seem like a walk in the park.

The BT questions make you really think, but once you understand them you really understand the subject.
 

sgrgpt

New Member
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Thread starter #5
@Sixcarbs That seems to be the general consensus from everyone.

But, I have one reservation, maybe @Nicole Seaman @David Harper CFA FRM you guys can also chime in on this.

Given that for FRM Part 1 GARP has issued its own curriculum starting this year, can they ask questions from outside the content covered in their material?
 

David Harper CFA FRM

David Harper CFA FRM
Staff member
Subscriber
#6
Hi @sgrgpt I think it's a profound question. From my perspective, I don't see how they can avoid it given the status of the Part 1 material. First, please note that GARP gives itself utter leeway by anchoring on "broad knowledge points."

But there can be different interpretaiont of "outside the content covered in their material," wouldn't you agree? A concept can me mentioned in passing, but without sufficient depth to handle a question, and yet be argued to be "in the material." If the bar is lowered to the question along the lines of--is the concept mentioned or discussed, at all?--then it might meet your strict criteria but would be insufficient for a candidate. Can I rephrase your question to the following: what (is) are the problems with the current Part 1 readings?
  1. The first problem is the number and nature of basic errors (I started a thread here but have more to add when i get a chance https://www.bionicturtle.com/forum/...rps-2020-frm-material.23011/page-2#post-81380 ). For example, sure the material covers ES and HS VaR, but first GARP needs to fix its mistakes in those concepts! Another example: this morning, I noticed that they incorrectly (or imprecisely) defined effective duration and dollar duration. Uggh (I can't tell you how much it frustrates me: we've been teaching and feeding back to GARP about duration concepts for over a decade). This is more fundamental than "is it covered." Yes ES and HS VaR are in the current Part 1 material, but first let's get it edited it for rigor and consistency (including with the FRM history).
  2. The second problem, to my original point, is that a lot of the LO concepts are superficially covered in the new material. One of my clearer examples is the new Exotic options reading. Are they all listed? Yes. But after reading (eg) the short qualitative discussion on Barrier options, are you good to go on barrier options? I doubt it. The original Hull is much better if only because you get illustrated examples. Illustrated examples make a huge difference. On the reddit thread, somebody said the new material was shorter and therefore better. My reply was: it's shorter mostly because a lot of illustrated examples are gone. For many of us, this is a really important difference.
As evidence, I would point to GARP's EOC Questions. As usual GARP includes a caveat "The following questions are intended to help candidates understand the material. They are not actual FRM exam questions." These EOC questions do reference the material. However, they are not exam-level question, many of them are way below exam level. :( Don't get me wrong, I think they are helpful for the first pass. But the new EOC Q&A are symptomatic of a problem. Hopefully you can see how, in response to your question, I can manage to justify a "yes, on a superficial level," (for most but technically not even all!) but the more relevant question is, "How does the P1 material need to improve so that it could be sufficient, on a standalone basis, in order to prepare for the exam?" I suppose EPPs like us should be happy: Part 1 has shifted from standalone sufficiency to (IMO) clearly insufficient as a standalone. Last year, you did not absolutely need EPP help for Part 1, if you were willing to be diligent in the self-study of the assignments. I don't see how you can say that this year. I absolutely predict higher EPP penetration rates in Part 1 (controlling for the virus, of course) due to this. However, in truth, I'm not really happy about this. My first preference is quality and rigor in the syllabus (as I think of myself more as an advocate for the syllabus and candidate experience), if for no other reason that (i) it's important for all of us to have clear expectations about what is expected on the exam but (ii) we are supposed to be leading the profession such that our definitions and concepts should have rigor behind them and be useful in actual work practice. I hope that's helpful ...
 
#7
@Sixcarbs That seems to be the general consensus from everyone.

But, I have one reservation, maybe @Nicole Seaman @David Harper CFA FRM you guys can also chime in on this.

Given that for FRM Part 1 GARP has issued its own curriculum starting this year, can they ask questions from outside the content covered in their material?
@David Harper has already answered your query. However, I would like to add one point. You should also be prepared for non-calculation based (theoretical) questions for FRM exam. GARP asks lot of non-calculation based (theoretical) questions and they are equally tough, if not more.
 

jan_science17

New Member
Subscriber
#9
Refreshing this thread.

I’ve started my preparation for part I and currently in Quants. At first, I honestly feel discourage as I coudn’t answer some of the practice questions. But whenever I correctly answer a question, I am really over the moon and feeling proud of myself .

I know this is gonna be a long journey for me as I will encounter more difficult topics. But I am not afraid to climb those mountains. I will not give up! I know I can do it!

I will persevere like a TURTLE — slowly, steady but surely.

Keep safe everyone!
 
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