What's new

FRM 1&2 Nov 2011 advice please


New Member
Hi guys,

I am preparing for the upcoming June CFA Lv2 right now.I would like to register for the Nov FRM exam while I am still in the study mood. I was told there were lot of similar topics in CFA and FRM 1. Therefore, I am wondering if I should get over with FRM in one day. It might be tough for me to prepare for both FRM2 and CFA Lv3 next Spring.

About my background, I have a 2007 business degree with concentration in accounting (never interested in a professional accounting designation, ended up getting a CFP for work in 2008) ; I work with a major bank in business lending and some financial planning for entrepreneurs. I look forward to a career change with CFA and FRM. Because of my academic background, I was solely relying on Schweser for my CFA L1 and passed with all section >70% with under 50 hrs of studies. So far I've spent about 100 hrs on Schweser CFA L2 and I'm feeling fairly prepared. Usually, I am pretty good at studying by reading myself. Therefore, I felt Schweser notes worked perfectly for me. I do not like to go to lectures (even in univ) or watching videos, because I find I can read myself at a faster pace.

Based on my research, BT prep is better than Schweser for FRM. However, BT relies more on videos and has fairly condensed notes. I do not want to waste time and money on the official handbook and coursepack. I want to reply on the prep material exclusively. Will BT notes and question bank be sufficient, in terms of LOSs, difficulty & question variety? Or Schweser notes would be better for reading?

Thank you very much for your help!


I think the basic difference between CFA and FRM is that, the CFA covers more topics than the FRM does, however the FRM is deeper (conceptually), and others can correct me here if I'm wrong. For CFA, I know people prefer Schweser, because they have been doing it for quite some time and they are good.

However, for FRM I'd strictly advice you against Schweser.

Let me tell you about my personal exp.
Sat for Nov2010 and I did only Schweser. I could solve the Schweser problems easily, I did not even need pencil/paper. I was very happy and confident. Guess what happened on the exam day? I got a surprise. The exam problems were way above the level of Schweser. The real test in FRM has two parts - a) conceptual and b) the skill to solve relatively difficult problems faster. Now I have been a BT member for the last 5 months, and I know I have improved a lot. The things that worked for me are David's question sets (they are quite difficult and if you solve them you can match or better the actual exam), the sreadsheets (which you can definitely simulate, helped me to grab the concepts, and join the loose ends) and the forum where people post problems they found difficult. David's materials are for last minute lookup. The webinars are also good.

I'm not a big fan of videos either, but before getting into the materials, I played them once so that I roughly knew what was going on.

Don't know about the handbook, but it might be a good idea to go through the actual materials. This time they tested 30% theory (as someone said) which could come from any part of the materials.

So BT or Schweser for FRM? definitely BT, anyday.

Hope this helps.



I would agree Schweser for CFA and BT for FRM. Schweser is better for the CFA from what I saw, but I found their material severely lacking for the FRM (not to mention they are much more expensive). It is a little hard not to have books to read, but you get used to it. Sounds like you are not having too much trouble with the CFA because of what you studied and when you are taking the exam. There is some overlap between the CFA and FRM, but the FRM is much more in-depth and does cover less material. It is much more mathematically challenging as well.

Let me warn you, the FRM Level 1 was MUCH more challenging than any of the CFA exams in my mind. I passed all three CFA exams in the minimum time required fairly easily (even if I didn't always feel confident coming out). Your CFA Level 1 scores were slightly better than my own. I think you can probably do it, but do NOT underestimate the FRM Level 1. When I finished the exam, I said afterwards that I would have rather taken the CFA Level 1, 2, and 3 exams on consecutive days instead of taking the FRM Level 1 again.

I finished the CFA Level with a migraine in the afternoon and still passed, but at the end of the FRM felt even worse (not due to health). So to recap, I would definitely suggest BT for the FRM, I think you can do both (but it would require a lot of work), and do NOT underestimate the FRM Level 1 exam (it is on a completely different level from any of the CFA exams). FRM Level 2 has quite a bit of material to cover as well, but it is not nearly as challenging as Level 1. Truthfully I would not sit for both Level 1 and 2 at the same time. Best of luck to you.
I did Schweser only for L1 and BT/Schweser combo for L2.

Schweser's practice exams are not hard enough especially for L1. But the study notes are concise and well organized, and the Qbank and Practice exams are really nice to have even if they aren't hard enough. Its easy and convienent to access and generally makes dealing with the whole thing a lot easier.

The original texts are long and tough to deal with - I ordered them but just read Schweser instead. I think its tough to do BT only and not do the reading, especially for L1. And if you are going to do the reading, then Schweser keeps you on track easily.

I agree with braxxus 100% on L1. My advice would be to do the Schweser/BT combo. Schweser for the readings and BT for the more in depth understanding, practice questions and test taking strategy. But BT for all its accolades on the practice questions does NOT have any full practice exams, or a well organized format. Its website could definitely be setup better and look more professional. Schweser kind of paves the way for you in that regard.

If you look at the L1 material and find it all review (esp if you have a serioussStat/math background), then go ahead and try for both, but if not then unless they make L1 easier its a flat out ball buster, toughest exam I ever saw.


New Member
Thank you so much, guys! I think I will rely on BT and the handbook...It is too costly to buy both BT and Schewser notes.
I think what I am going to do is to register both exams for now and see how the studies go.. Worst case, I'd just write Lv1 and defer the Lv2 to May 2012. It is great that BT allows for a full year access.


New Member
I agree with braxxus and tafreel --- i passed FRM Part I -- basically due to prior knowledge of quants as a maths grduate , and in banking for long, Part II -- I did not get through in first attempt, but May 2011 was very easy mainly due

a) BT
b) Core readings --- I read all the core readings.
c) Jorion's VAR book and FRM Handbook of Jorion.
To write Part II of FRM -- U need a thorough understanding of the subject.

But I find CFA is the ultimate certification in terms of practical utility.


There is some overlap between the CFA and FRM, but they are for different if related sort of positions. It really depends what you want to do as far as which is more relevent. The CFA has had very little application for my job, I did it mostly because it is well known and could be used to improve a resume. The FRM in my case is much more relevent.

I have not found the CFA to be of much utility to me, but again it all depends what position you work in. I deal with risk management, so the FRM is much more suitable and practical for me. I guess that subram probably deals with investments more himself. I do some prepayment modeling and transfer pricing calculations.


@Braxxus, agreed....

@Subram, Yes, CFA is the ultimate certification if you are in investments, and also the CFA netweork comprises of 90,000 certified professionals, and that is one of the biggest advantage of CFA.... From that angle, FRM being a very fresh and relatively young certification, looses the edge, but it is well known among risk professionals and fast catching up... With more and more demand for risk managers after the meltdown, you can only expect to see its rising demand...

On a different note, most people who complete the FRM, go for CFA as their next target.... I think that makes your profile more complete... Some even stretch their limits to do an MFE to gain the quant edge...
Hi All,

I have very recently joined this forum. I am an engineering grad with no/very little knowledge in finance. I am trying to find out if I can either do CFA/FRM. Some of my colleagues say that FRM will be a lot more easier for people with engineering background.

Above all, will 4 months suffice for a beginner like me. It would be great if any of you can advise me regarding this.

@RS, You can do both .... The CFA is more syllabus (however slightly mathematically less challenging than FRM part 1).... Engineering background is a plus...

If you are full time student, 4 months may be enough... However, if you are working, it might be less since you do not have any prior exposure...
Hello - I want to buy the FRM 1 and 2 package. In the checkout window, I could not see Amex as a payment option. My firm is paying for me, and requires me to use my Amex corporate card to make the payment. Could you please offer some suggestions on how I can buy the product using my Amex card? Thanks.


I used my AMEX by paying through Paypal. Just have to set up AMEX as a payment source through paypal. It worked for me. Hope that helps.
Hi Alankar,

Thanks a lot for your advice. Yes, I am a working professional who is trying to gain some domain knowledge in finance. Very keen on pursuing a career in Finance. thanks again for your reply.