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Exam Feedback May 2016 Part 1 & Part 2 Exam Feedback

Nicole Seaman

Director of FRM Operations
Staff member
This is an extreme summary of themes based on the abundant feedback we received on the May exams. Those threads can be found here:
  1. Part 1 at https://www.bionicturtle.com/forum/threads/may-2016-part-1-exam-feedback.9609
  2. Part 2 at https://www.bionicturtle.com/forum/threads/may-2016-part-2-exam-feedback.9610/

Part 1

  • Much more difficult and more theoretical than expected
  • First 50 questions were not too bad
  • Questions 51 to 100 more difficult and time consuming with questions 50-75 being the most difficult
  • Exam was very very qualitative, but the quantitative questions were complicated and time consuming
  • GARP practice exams were not close to the difficulty of the actual exam
  • Candidates spent 300 to 500 hours on exam prep
  • Most questions required thinking outside the box
  • "There was simply not enough time to do questions with 3 or 4 steps involved"
  • Many stated they made the mistake of relying only on GARP books, which did not help them to prepare enough at all.
  • "I was able to tackle a lot of quant problems only because I practiced BT. Other prep provider's materials don't even come close in terms of difficulty level offered on the exam."
  • "If you read only key concepts, you might not be able to handle tricky questions (e.g. Someone might just memorize the equations and hope he can easily solve the problems... which is completely wrong). But If you really deeply understand the details (e.g. how the formula is derived), you can better handle the tricky one."
Part 2
  • Exam was both qualitative and quantitative
  • Tricky and difficult with nothing being straight forward
  • Too many numerical, and quite a few lengthy ones. Epecially MVars and Comp Vars. The numbers were too huge to calculate on the calculator.
  • Many questions had too many variables provided int he question, than actually required for solving the numerical.
  • Much harder than all practice exams
  • They loved CDS - One should know everything related to them. In particular about PD and Spreads
  • Several questions on VaRs (Calculation heavy)
  • Felt like half the test was on CVA
  • Each question was basically an essay, making time management essential.
  • Quite a few ran out of time and had to guess and fill in answers without looking at the questions
  • The qualitative questions had often 2 answers that could both be largely correct (so the issue was identifying the MOST correct)
  • "This was a lot harder than Level 1 and much more difficult than GARP practice exams. More on par with BT practice questions. Some topics tested that didn't feature large in the material at all. The qualitative questions were also difficult, often testing several concepts within a single question, so if you didn't know exactly, you had to guess. Math was hard and calculations required long and not straight-forward. A tough exam!"
  • "I scored between 80 and 90 % at all mock and previous practice exams, however I have the feeling I failed this exam. I used another prep provider: well structured but far too easy Qbank questions. And BT : more summarized but more deep questions that make you really understand the topics (especially the quantitative ones), for what I am very thankful."
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