Director of FRM Operations
Jotted down some thoughts........
First of all I am so relieved to pass with decent quartiles (Credit 1, Market 1, Op 2, Risk Mgmt 1, Current Issues 3).
Preparation time: 5 Months (average weekday run rate of 3 hours, weekend 6 hours per day)
The amount of material is OVERWHELMING. So start ASAP.
1. BT material
2. David’s Youtube Channel
3. BT Forum
4. Occasional reference to books. I had soft copy of several books – esp. Gregory, Malz, Hull Meisnner, Tuckman came in handy
5. Focused google search
6. Schweser Q bank – was decent for beginning / occasional reference
7. EduPristine videos – not exam/BT quality but good to cover high level understanding
Study Strategy- “Old fashioned hard work; Peak at the right time”
Part 2 was one of the toughest exams I have given. Number of topics and amount of material to read, understand and retain is torturous. Unfortunately you cannot wing it. I had moderate background on finance. Part 1 was the most finance I have studied. So, I read the whole material cover to cover 4 times. BT Questions set at least 2 times.
During the earlier stages of the preparation - Read all the BT material (did not attempt the questions). Kept AIMs on one side always. Read EACH WORD of the AIM, underline “describe” vs “calculate”. I could only grasp 40% or less. In earlier stages, easy material such as Edu pristine / Schweser books is helpful with some basic / foundational stuff. Do not get stuck, park the topics and keep moving ahead. Several times when you re-visit the topic, all falls in place beautifully, aha moment. I didn’t make a lot of notes in early stage prep. I attempted easy questions here – Schweser Q bank.
After 1 or 2 read (at this point there was 2 months to go for exam) when you have reasonable understanding, start cracking BT questions, starting jotting notes/create mind maps. These notes are priceless, you will need them in last two weeks so badly. Even at this stage I only had 60-70% understanding of the subject. But repeat this cycle until last 2 weeks for exam. This stage was only and only BT for me, with occasional read from the book chapter. I did not revise any Part 1 notes.
Take off from work for at least 2 weeks before exam. This really helps. You have to peak at right time. Last 2 weeks also comprises of portions that you need to rote memorize. Yes, there are formulas (e.g. netting factor) that you need to memorize. I ended up revising using all the printouts and revisiting my notes again and again. One cool trick for quick revision is to “Play David’s videos at 1.5x speed ! J”. You would fall in love with David’s voice! Kidding, but really helped to quickly go through the content.
Participate in forum. Topic search in BT is EXTREMELY helpful. It is highly likely that the doubt you have would have been asked by someone else in past.
Physical Environment (this may differ from person to person, but I am just jotting down what worked for me)
· Print all docs – Though I started by reading soft copies, but then I almost ended printing all the BT notes / relevant chapters from book and stacked them section wise (5 stacks)
· KEEP PRINTOUT OF AIMS/Learning Objective list side BY Side ALWAYS ! Read the AIMs, carefully, go back and forth as you are reading the material
· Have some key formulas / bullet points in post-it or stuck up right-in-front-of your eyes.
· Having all the material accessible in physical form around my study table was very conducive study environment.
About Part 2 2016 exam:
Exam was tough. Several questions were from AIMs that had passing mention of the topic. The trend so far had been that Part 2 is qualitative, but 2016 Part 2 was a good mix of qualitative and quantitative. There were questions from remote corner, hence please don’t leave out any topic. With only 80- questions against 200+ topics, stakes are high. After Part 1 I was confident that I will clear, but for Part 2, I was not so confident. I believe the cutoff would be low.
This exam really tested my patience…put me in frustration zone. Esp. for working professionals. With work pressure and little available time in weekdays and weekends, all goes into prep. I worked really really hard (maybe I am the dumber one), but I was so overwhelmed that it took me a lot of effort to get reasonable grip and control on the syllabus.
But amongst all a HUGE THANK YOU TO DAVID. We have all bought services but this is different….this is much more than transactional…. Very rarely we come across people who are so humble, balanced and giving. Sir, your commitment towards your profession has touched my soul, has inspired me. I wish I can sometime meet you in person and express my gratitude. You are best teacher ever…….. @David Harper CFA FRM
First, on behalf of BT, I want to thank you for the kind words you have spoken about David. He is truly an amazing educator and puts his heart and soul into Bionic Turtle! Also, thank you for writing such a detailed study strategy! This is so helpful to those who are looking for tips on how to best study for the exam. I am going to copy your study plan over to a thread in the forum where other members have written detailed study plans because this is so helpful!