#### brunnim

##### New Member

**Overview and Caveats**

While the FRM exams are still fresh in my mind I wanted to put some words together which summarizes my experience and hopefully provides some color to future candidates. Each candidate will study and experience the program in a different way, so this is by no means an intended guide or lecture, merely a summary of my experience which hopefully will have some use.

For reference I undertook the Nov 2013 Part I exam and the May 2014 Part II exam. I had been working in the financial industry for 3 years prior to taking the exams.

**Knowledge required to take FRM qualification**

Do you need to have studied Maths at higher levels (high school) or University to pass the FRM exam?

Answer: NO! When I first looked at the FRM AIMS I was overwhelmed by the number of mathematical topics. This was my biggest fear- my math skills are not up to scratch! I have not studied mathematics in detail since I was 16! I studied Business at University which involved some basic statistical techniques and probability theory, but nothing else. If you are able to rearrange equations, understand basic mathematical symbols and generally work a calculator you can pass these exams. FRM does not require you to derive and continually calculate complex equations. The FRM books contain a number of equations and derivations that are not required for the actual exam and can essentially be ignored. What is challenging is learning the mere

**quantity**of equations, what is actually in them is not overly complex! I really feel people overestimate the level of math skills you require to undertake this exam. Yes you can’t do the exam if you have zero math knowledge but undertaking some basic mathematical primer courses will put you in good stead to study. Don’t forget that you will learn many of the concepts gradually along the way.

Do you need to have a detailed understanding of banking and risk management prior to studying?

Answer: Absolutely not! If you have a basic understanding of how banks and trading works then this will give you a good platform to study. Understanding the basics of credit, market and operational risk will also give you a good base knowledge for studying. This is what you are taking FRM for, to learn these topics so you are not expected to already be proficient in understanding the industry and topics.

**Amount of studying and study ethic**

**Study hours-**

Don’t think that you can “wing” it with FRM. Sometimes I would just cram study for certain University exams 2 weeks before. Don’t make that mistake with FRM. If you put the time in to study, you will get the results. There is no magical way to skip parts or cram in studying in a month and pass the exam. Take the time to study. I spent at least 200-300 hours studying for each part.

Given this, my advice is to start reviewing the material as early as possible. You can register 6 months prior to the exam and BT gives you a year of access so why not start early. There is no harm in being prepared. The worst thing you can do is just leave it all till 2 months before the exam. Start early and you have flexibility.

**Study ethic-**

There are plenty of useful articles on the forum for the method of study, but ultimately you know the way you study best. It was hugely tempting to just forget about studying for a while, go away on that weekend, just have a “few” beers with mates, but being disciplined is key, especially if you are taking the exam whilst in a full time job. The key bonus to being disciplined and dedicating study time is that you save more money because you are in the office or at home.. money that you can generously spend when you pass the exam!

**Maximizing the value of Bionic Turtle**

The FRM books are overwhelming if used as a sole source of learning. BT offers excellent summary notes and videos that cement the course AIMS. It’s clear to me that I could not have passed FRM without BT. BT has beefed up their notes in recent years as well so arguably you could potentially just rely solely on BT and not even bother buying the official FRM books (I seldom used them in both parts).

However it is worth noting one thing with regards to maximizing the value of Bionic Turtle. The GARP committee will refresh the AIMS on an annual basis at the start of the year. This can sometimes result in 10-25% of the material changing. Unfortunately this means that the BT team must refresh their notes as well. Obviously this does not happen instantaneously and although the BT team makes every effort to produce material, candidates that like to be well prepared may find they don’t have all the available notes for the May exam adequately in advance for studying. The simple solution here is

**if you want to maximize the value of the BT material, take the exam in November**. The AIMS don’t change between May and Nov and in most cases all the BT material will be published for the at least 6 months prior to the Nov exam.

**Overall Value of FRM**

If anyone is having thoughts about taking the FRM exam and its value to a role in finance/risk I really urge you to take it. I was quite skeptical of the quotes I saw on the GARP website promoting the value of FRM, however now I have taken it I can honestly say my knowledge of financial topics has grown exponentially and I can really see it taking affect already in my work. If you are interested in working in any role that is linked to trading or active risk management, FRM is your baby.

I welcome others to reply to pass on their experiences to future candidates