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Exam Feedback October 2020 Part 1 Exam Feedback

Nicole Seaman

Director of FRM Operations
Staff member
Subscriber
We hope that everyone did well on the FRM Part 1 exam on Saturday! :) We would love to hear any feedback that you have about the exam. How did it go? Did you encounter unexpected questions? How was the experience with all of the new COVID rules? Thank you in advance for any feedback you can provide!

Update: The pass rate for the Part 1 October exam is 44%

Update on October Exam Results

In case there is any confusion as to when the October exam results are being released, this is on the GARP website. It shows that the results will now be released on December 4th. As stated in one of my posts above, trying to figure out if something on the website means that you passed or failed is not accurate. I do not recommend relying on anything you might find when logged into your GARP account until the official results are released. The hacks and tricks have been tried for a number of years, and they are not accurate. They just cause more stress for everyone. The glitches on the GARP website happen every year right before the results are released. :/

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badbunny

Member
Subscriber
Hey everyone!

I believe the exam was fairly achievable, I manage to do +28 questions per hour and felt that the exercises were straightforward if you were able to get the tricky part on the question.

The difficulty was considerable bellow BT practice exercises which made the exam look easy to me. There was no single question that wasn’t represented on BT practice exercises.

Aiming for +80 correct answers. Thanks a lot to Bionic Turtle team.
 
Was only able to attempt around 90 questions , theory questions were pretty long reading and answers as well . Most of them had to around 2 possible answers .
Lot of questions regarding Forward prices , tricky part was few were with continuous and few with annual compounding .
had red book .
hopefully cutoff is not too high.

GARP 2020 mock paper seemed relatively easy when compared to the actual paper .
 

nc27

Member
Subscriber
Hey everyone!

I believe the exam was fairly achievable, I manage to do +28 questions per hour and felt that the exercises were straightforward if you were able to get the tricky part on the question.

The difficulty was considerable bellow BT practice exercises which made the exam look easy to me. There was no single question that wasn’t represented on BT practice exercises.

Aiming for +80 correct answers. Thanks a lot to Bionic Turtle team.


I fully agree on this statement, I have read that the exam was very hard, no enough time and so on... Frankly I believe if one put the time (really, not just 2 or 3 months of light study) 1) you crush the exam 2) you learn above and beyond what is represented in the learning objectives. Risks are taken if you learn from other prep providers (schewser awful practice questions quality for example or wiley as another example).

Another point, if you read EVERY source that appear in the learning objectives and you do practice questions, the exam is easy (but yes it takes time and dedication).
 

czet

New Member
Subscriber
I also thought it was achievable. I finished my first round through the questions in 3 hours and had 1 hour remaining to go back to questions where I wasn't sure. Also to me the text questions were the trickiest part of the exam where I often thought that 2 answers might be true. For most quant questions I felt like I knew what I needed to do and spotted the pitfalls (variance vs volatility, different compunding, only use convexity and dismiss delta etc). Overall I have a good feeling about the exam. But I agree, this is nothing you can easily pass by spending just 2-3 months of light study - it's definitely more of a long term commitment, especially if you need to squeeze the learning sessions in while you work full time and have other commitments as well. The difficulty doesn't come from the content itself but from the amount of stuff you have to memorize. If I pass I'll aim to do part 2 in Nov/Dec 2021 - for me personally the time until May seems too short to properly prepare.

As for prep I did: I learned mostly with the official GARP books+questions, watched the BT videos, and then for the intense learning before the exam I focused on the topic review exercises from BT plus of course practice exams from GARP and BT. Overall the BT questions are much closer to the exam than the questions in the GARP books, though I think the GARP questions are good to understand the content while working through the books. I also had access to Kaplan materials but barely used them after realising that the books and questions contain many errors and simply don't cover the difficult parts in the FRM.

Regarding the organisation of the exam (I took the exam in Germany):
Candidates were split into two different hotels, so I can only comment for one, but there the room was prepared for roughly 50 candiates while only ~25 showed up. And other than previously stated, no GARP masks have been distributed, and there was no communication about that in any way. I was glad that I wore a comfortable mask that day. Also, the glasses haven't been checked but instead we were asked to show the inside of our masks.
 

Hamam

Member
Subscriber
Hey Everyone,
First of all I would like to thank the team at bionic turtle, truly genuine individuals who put in 100% literally to help you as much as possible. It literally feels like your in a classroom where you get as much attention as possible to genuinely pass the exam. If there was an award for best global customer service bionic turtle would definitely be my pick and I recommend it for any aspiring candidate.

In terms of the exam I felt like GARP did a good job in making the paper fair. It was exactly what you would expect in an exam with this type of prestige. If you put in the hours and dedication it is attainable. If you didn’t there’s no way you’d pass the exam or even come close. It needs hard work, dedication & sacrifice.

I felt the GARP practice paper prepared you to think in a way you’d need in the exam. I actually think some of the questions on the practice paper were relatively more lengthier(quantitative questions) but the theory questions were much less sophisticated than the actual exam. The actual exam was much trickier than the practice paper but the practice paper is a must do. I would recommend going through the learning objective of the paper.
Bionic turtle question gives you the ability to think in the required manner and gives you the tools to think through those questions that are difficult. It was very seldom you get a straight forward question but once you’ve understood the underlying curve ball in the question they are solvable.
Again I thank GARP and bionic turtle for the experience.
In terms of my specific performance I managed to get through the entire paper but definitely had to skip at least 12 questions either because I couldn’t get the final answer or because it took me to long to decipher the question. Theory questions were tricky and with the quantitative questions it was either you know it or you don’t.
 

Erik

New Member
While it’s impossible for 100 questions to fully cover the breadth of topics presented in the readings, I felt that the actual exam failed to strive for that goal. The formulae required (in some questions, not all) were quite obscure, and certainly not highlighted in the readings. Some of the theoretical questions were almost subjectively worded. I think GARP focused a bit too much on the finer details, rather than trying to assess our working knowledge.
 

malhotsu

New Member
Exam was too lengthy, i was only able to complete around 90 questions, too much stress on finer details. there were questions on calculating mean and standard deviation - seriously?? Does anyone do that in real world with so many sophisticated tools around, so u can imagine the kind of details they tried to test in with theory(non numerical) questions.Exam was basically not practical
 
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Eustice_Langham

Active Member
Was only able to attempt around 90 questions , theory questions were pretty long reading and answers as well . Most of them had to around 2 possible answers .
Lot of questions regarding Forward prices , tricky part was few were with continuous and few with annual compounding .
had red book .
hopefully cutoff is not too high.

GARP 2020 mock paper seemed relatively easy when compared to the actual paper .
Agree, I also noticed that some questions on the 2020 GARP practice paper were replicated on the exam
 

Eustice_Langham

Active Member
I fully agree on this statement, I have read that the exam was very hard, no enough time and so on... Frankly I believe if one put the time (really, not just 2 or 3 months of light study) 1) you crush the exam 2) you learn above and beyond what is represented in the learning objectives. Risks are taken if you learn from other prep providers (schewser awful practice questions quality for example or wiley as another example).

Another point, if you read EVERY source that appear in the learning objectives and you do practice questions, the exam is easy (but yes it takes time and dedication).
Well you said, if you have time...alot of people dont. The exam was long indeed and some parts were very nuanced..I recall the binomial option question, it was odd that you were given the combinations.
 

Eustice_Langham

Active Member
Exam was too lengthy, i was only able to complete around 90 questions, too much stress on finer details. there were questions on calculating mean and standard deviation - seriously?? Does anyone do that in real world with so much sophisticated tools present, do u can imagine the kind of details they tried to sig in with subjective (non numerical) questions.Exam was basically bot practical
I used my calculator for that, but when inputting the data my TI started to retain the old data....
 

Eustice_Langham

Active Member
Where to begin...the exam was long but not so long that it meant that I couldn't finish. My strategy was to if I couldn't immediately pick the issue, then I moved on to another question. The BSM question I spent too long but got it right in the end as I was not treating the dividend correctly, the question provided Nd1, but also said the dividend was included....and the only way that I could get an answer near the one of the choices was to PV the dividend and reduce So accordingly. Some I guessed, but I always thought that I could exclude 2 of the choices. The number of probability questions surprised me as well, eg Bayes, Conditional, Poisson etc. At the end there were some very long faces leaving the hall. I sat in Hong Kong and for those who scheduled to sit the exam in November last year, then May of this year, now October it is very hard to stay focussed, quite unfair actually. I also hear the syllabus will be changing next year as well.
 

Eustice_Langham

Active Member
I also thought it was achievable. I finished my first round through the questions in 3 hours and had 1 hour remaining to go back to questions where I wasn't sure. Also to me the text questions were the trickiest part of the exam where I often thought that 2 answers might be true. For most quant questions I felt like I knew what I needed to do and spotted the pitfalls (variance vs volatility, different compunding, only use convexity and dismiss delta etc). Overall I have a good feeling about the exam. But I agree, this is nothing you can easily pass by spending just 2-3 months of light study - it's definitely more of a long term commitment, especially if you need to squeeze the learning sessions in while you work full time and have other commitments as well. The difficulty doesn't come from the content itself but from the amount of stuff you have to memorize. If I pass I'll aim to do part 2 in Nov/Dec 2021 - for me personally the time until May seems too short to properly prepare.

As for prep I did: I learned mostly with the official GARP books+questions, watched the BT videos, and then for the intense learning before the exam I focused on the topic review exercises from BT plus of course practice exams from GARP and BT. Overall the BT questions are much closer to the exam than the questions in the GARP books, though I think the GARP questions are good to understand the content while working through the books. I also had access to Kaplan materials but barely used them after realising that the books and questions contain many errors and simply don't cover the difficult parts in the FRM.

Regarding the organisation of the exam (I took the exam in Germany):
Candidates were split into two different hotels, so I can only comment for one, but there the room was prepared for roughly 50 candiates while only ~25 showed up. And other than previously stated, no GARP masks have been distributed, and there was no communication about that in any way. I was glad that I wore a comfortable mask that day. Also, the glasses haven't been checked but instead we were asked to show the inside of our masks.
I thought that some of the GARP practice exam questions were on par with what was on the exam..with one of two questions on the practice paper also on the real exam as well. But to pass you need to do practice exams with GARP material, so you understand the layout. I was surprised that in HK I would say 1/2 to 2/3 (at most) people showed up for the exam.
 

maartenvdz

New Member
Subscriber
I thought the exam was tough. I was constantly fighting against time and had to randomly guess 5 questions. Quite a few others seemed to have 2 answers that made sense. By that I got the impression that our skills to make judgement calls were tested. Also, some of the calculations resulted in numbers that were a bit off compared to the answers. Also after repeating a few times. So I lost time on that.

The fact that some people didn’t show up (same in Singapore) does that improve the chances of the people that did show up ?
 

Eustice_Langham

Active Member
I thought the exam was tough. I was constantly fighting against time and had to randomly guess 5 questions. Quite a few others seemed to have 2 answers that made sense. By that I got the impression that our skills to make judgement calls were tested. Also, some of the calculations resulted in numbers that were a bit off compared to the answers. Also after repeating a few times. So I lost time on that.

The fact that some people didn’t show up (same in Singapore) does that improve the chances of the people that did show up ?
Good question...I expect that a number of people have given the delays reassigned priorities and this may well be the reason for "no shows". Does this help for sitting candidates to pass, I really dont know.
 

czet

New Member
Subscriber
Exam was too lengthy, i was only able to complete around 90 questions, too much stress on finer details. there were questions on calculating mean and standard deviation - seriously?? Does anyone do that in real world with so many sophisticated tools around, so u can imagine the kind of details they tried to test in with theory(non numerical) questions.Exam was basically not practical
Yeah also thought the question wasn't practical, but very doable since there were only a hand full of data points. I think around 6? Definitely less than 10. So definitely nothing that should be a big problem, even if calculating manually you could get the response quickly.

The only question in that exercise was whether to calculate the SD by dividing by n or n-1. I went for n-1 since it's a sample standard deviation. Oh and also not forgetting to take the square root.
 

Hamam

Member
Subscriber
@Ullaskarkera, GARP never publishes this information. However, we will be evaluated based on a collective group I believe. We are basically competing against each other from my understanding.
 
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