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Is it worthwhile to pass the FRM before attempting the CFA?


New Member
Hello everyone,

I was wondering if it would be useful to clear both parts of the FRM exam prior to attempting the CFA so as to benefit from any overlap between the curriculum of the two?

I am under the impression that FRM deals with fewer topics than the CFA, but in greater depth. So, if there is some overlap , it would be a nice way to get my hands dirty with some of the CFA material beforehand.

Also, I am starting my MS Finance next year ( the uni has a program partnership with CFA ) and will look to get an internship after the first year of my degree, so will having already cleared the FRM exams bring any tangible benefit or will it be nothing more than ink on paper when applying for an internship?

Looking forward to some great insights.



New Member
Hello there KS29,

From my experience (passed cfa and frm level 1) I can say that the amount of overlap between CFA and FRM (at least for the first exam) is minimal. I'd say the only overlap comes from asset classes (fixed income, derivatives, etc) in which FRM goes much deeper than CFA. CFA on the other hand focuses a lot more on accounting (FRA, Corp fin, etc) and gives you a basic understanding of asset classes.

Is it better to do the FRM before the CFA? Maybe! Depends on your background and also when you plan to do the exams. FRM will definitly give you an edge when it comes to understanding fixed income, options and other derivatives but you will not prepare you for FRA, economy and all the other hard parts in the CFA curriculum.

I would say go with what best fits your schedule!

Hope that helps,



New Member
@KS29 , I would like to share my own experience with you . I started FRM after CFA and completed the exam last session . To start with FRM is a tougher examination than CFA given the depth of selected areas in FRM and the math content involved . To be honest with you , I would have felt FRM even more harder if I have not done CFA before FRM. Although, the level of overlap is limited between both the courses , I believe doing CFA before FRM gives you greater understanding of FRM material . " if I say CFA as an ocean , FRM is the deep end of the selected parts in the ocean . Please note that you don't necessarily need to do CFA before FRM , it's just that you have to have some background to do FRM - it could be CFA or something finance related , if u already have some background in Finance or work experience in finance or risk that would be enough to start FRM. Finally , even if you don't have any of the above , u still can start FRM , if you are willing to put in some additional hours on FRM materials . One way to get be on top of everything is, read bionic turtle materials at least once completely and do BT questions , these are the only questions , which bring about actual exam toughness . Note that neither GARP mock exam questions nor Schweser questions mimic or even come close to the actual exam toughness . One more thing be an active member in this forum. @David Harper CFA FRM CIPM and Nicole Manley are doing a great job and make maximum use of it . Good luck with your MS Finance as well!
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New Member
agree with the above posts, my experience - passed FRM part1 and CFA L2, preparing both both next levels
feel FRM is tougher than CFA in terms of the depth of the knowledge, CFA is broader


Well-Known Member
Yes its definitely worthwhile to pursue cfa after frm.While frm gives you risk as well as some general perspective of finance cfa on the other hand is a broader perspective on finance. I would say whatever you learned in frm will help you give headstart in many topics as well aa develop a aptitude for finance which would be helpful in ur cfa studies. Confidence and knowledge you would be carrying from frm would certainly be helpful in ur cfa.