Trying to make the early reg deadline - please help

Discussion in 'About FRM' started by Jsmith887, Jul 31, 2012.

  1. Jsmith887

    Jsmith887 New Member


    I just signed up on the BT forum. I am in interested in pursuing the FRM designation; however I have a few questions for the veterans of this site. I have been searching forums online (Analyst Forum, Wall Street Oasis, and other Google searches), but I have been unable to find up to date answers. I must admit I haven't searched BT in depth.

    Some background info: I am a CFA Level 3 Candidate (using CFAI materials and Schweser) and a CAIA Level 2 Candidate (used Schweser for Level 1; will use UpperMark for Level 2). I have 3 years PE experience and I studied Finance in college. I took CFA Level 1 in December, CAIA Level 1 in March, and CFA Level 2 in June. I plan on taking CAIA Level 2 in March 2013 and CFA Level 3 in June 2013.


    1) How difficult is the FRM compared to the CFA / CAIA? I know that FRM is more quantitative and more narrow focus, but I would like more info in terms of commitment and difficulty of topic areas.

    2) As a follow-up question to the one above, how difficult is sitting for both exams in 1 day?

    3) What is the best study package for both parts of the exam? A lot of people point to BT as the best provider, but I may consider getting Schweser or any other materials as well, if you recommend it. Also, please specify for BT, what Tier level I should get.

    I am trying to gauge if I have a shot of passing both parts in November if I start studying next week. My job hours will be 7-7 more or less every day, but like for the CFA and CAIA, I am able to study 4 hours a day efficiently.

    Thank you in advance for your time and help.
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  2. qin841121

    qin841121 Member

    I pass cfa l3. Frm 1&2 is like cfa 2&3 together. Passed both level of frm in a day

    One thing is that u dun need to be really good as passing rate is high
  3. troubleshooter

    troubleshooter Active Member

    1. Difficulty level between FRM and CFA is about the same. But as qin pointed out, FRM is definitely easier to pass due to higher pass rate. Part 1 is more quantitative than part 2 but CFA (excluding Level III) and FRM most likely have the same quantitavite coverage.
    2. Sitting for both leve I and II in one day is probably a better idea. I did not do it that way but all my colleagues who did actually passed both exams. I would recommend both in one day.
    3. GARP readings are the best if you have a lot of spare time. Unfortunately, most of us don't have that luxury. Bionic Turtle videos are the best to get the road map. For 90% of the exam, the videos are sufficient provided you have a good finance background. For the rest 10%, you could use any source, eg., Schweser. But Schweser does not do well with certain topics. I don't really think you need to be expert in all the topics to pass but if you wanted the deeper coverage on these topics, I think you will have to go for GARP readings. But I would recommend Bionic Turtle Videos and Schweser notes. That is really more than sufficient to pass as long as you do all the Schweser and GARP Sample Test. You could supplement that with Bionic Turtel sample test and Schweser Q-Bank.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Jsmith887

    Jsmith887 New Member

    Thank you for replying. Very helpful.

    As a follow-up - troubleshooter: did your colleagues get good scores overall? Also, how much do scores actually matter? Has anyone heard of employers (maybe hedge funds?) asking for scores?

    Thank you for your recommendation on study providers. What Tier level of BT should I get? This site is not easy to follow-up (I am using Schweser as a reference).
  5. troubleshooter

    troubleshooter Active Member

    Based on my experience (and that of my colleagues), passing is all that matters. I have never been asked details of my scores in CFA or FRM. Most of the employers would not.

    Back when I used BT as my primary source, there was not tiered membership. But you should be able to find what you need to know by looking at this thread:

    Maybe David/Suzanne could add links in the homepage of the site linking to the information that the potential buyers will be interested in. A wizard type presentation might help the potential buyers with their decision to sign up. Such presentation can also be useful once a customer signs up to show them how they can make best use of the site. Just a thought...

    Best of luck...
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Aleksander Hansen

    Aleksander Hansen Well-Known Member

    I would highly recommend Bionic Turtle as a resource:
    1) the videos gives you a good overview of the material you need to know, and David provides some insights into what concepts he considers more relevant/more likely to be tested based on past experience. That can be valuable as it gives you a hint as to what to focus on, as well as what you might consider spending less time on.

    2) the study notes are great, and if you have done CFA I & II some of the material will be familiar.
    The study notes cuts to the chase, focusing on the key points, concepts and formulas.

    Contrast this with the GARP readings where some authors pontificate about a topic [that is often irrelevant in practice] page after page after page. This is common when academics write about their main research interests, but is unhelpful to anyone but the 7 people who share their passion for that particular topic.

    3) The practice questions from Bionic Turtle blows the competition away and will give you the depth and breadth of understanding needed to pass. Others, like schweser and the GARP practice exams are like a joke.

    4) the forum and the response time is phenomenal. The explanations given are lucid and of high quality.

    With your work hours I would consider taking the P1 & P2 exam on separate days, since if you don't pass P1 but pass P2, you have to do both over. That way you are sure to pass, without needing to stress out. If you spend 4 hours efficiently a day, it should definitely be doable, but there's a trade-off, and only you know what would be best given your situation. My impression is that there is less chit-chat on the FRM than on the CFA, so just reading about something without doing some serious exercises is probably not the best of ideas.
    • Like Like x 2
  7. Aleksander Hansen

    Aleksander Hansen Well-Known Member

    That is not a valid inference which can be drawn. It's analogous to saying Chicago and New York are roughly the same size, but since the average salary in NY is higher you are more likely to get rich by moving there.
  8. ShaktiRathore

    ShaktiRathore Well-Known Member

    Yeah I agree with Aleksander . Yes we cannot compare apples with oranges. While FRM is related to risk related field while CFA is altogether different cup of tea with focus on investments.Then comparing them on difficulty level is not fair. Many people say CFA has only 3 options while FRM has 4 options so FRM is difficult while others say CFA has long exam time and syllabus so CFA is difficult. This is utter nonsense. One should go to the certification on which he or she feels he can do better. CFA has larger curricullum and more exams does not make it difficult than FRM or FRM more emphasis on technicality does not make it difficult than CFA.After all its your choice which one you call as difficult and let me tell you the opinions varies when we compare difficulties of these exams.
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  9. Hend Abuenein

    Hend Abuenein Active Member

    This thread has been interesting to me because I'm collecting information about CFA. And a few of you have mentioned that in comparison to FRM, CFA has lower passing rates.
    Would someone please share a bit more about this? How low are the passing rates? And how are the passing scores set?

    To separate the two subjects, I would really appreciate it if you could place your replies to my question in this thread :

    Thanks in advance.
  10. troubleshooter

    troubleshooter Active Member

    Having done both CFA and FRM, I stand by my earlier statement that CFA is much more rigorous and difficult to pass than FRM. I put in significantly more hours studying for CFA than FRM and I felt I did much better in CFA than FRM exams, yet my results in FRM has been way better than CFA. FRM is an easier test because:
    1. The focus here is mainly on risk management.
    2. The course content is much less compared to CFA.
    3. Pass rate must be higher.

    I make this statement with a qualification though. "More difficulut" does not mean "better". It really depends on your career aspirations.

    You can only compare the two exams if you have done both. I welcome those who have done both CFA and FRM to share their experiences...
    • Like Like x 2
  11. Jsmith887

    Jsmith887 New Member


    Thank youf or your responses. What should my study plan be? I placed an order for Schweser notes. Can I rely soley on the readings and the BT for everything else? Or do I need to purchase the official GARP readings as well?


  12. Jsmith887

    Jsmith887 New Member

    BTW - against my better judgement, I signed up for part I and part II. I figured cramming in March CAIA Level 2, May FRM Level 2, and June CFA Level 3 was too much.

    If you guys could give me a solid and detailed study plan, I would appreciate the help. As I said before, I purchased the Schweser notes and will be ordering BT (videos and questions?) as well

    FYI for CFA this is what I did for each section
    1. Read Schweser and takes notes on relevant sections
    2. Schweser Video
    3. End of chapter questions
    4. Practice questions from Bank

    Went through this twice and then did mocks and reviews towards the end. Thoughts?
  13. ShaktiRathore

    ShaktiRathore Well-Known Member

    I would recommend for schweser as well as BT's notes and videos as I see David has great depth of experience and knowledge.I would had definitely purchased his notes/videos. Just follow the study plan. I don't think you require anything else besides these for your preparation. This is enough. Please go through all the formulas several times so that they become clear to you before the exams.I prepared a special formula sheet for myself during the prep for the exam. It helped me a great deal during the exams.

    thanks and best wishes
    • Like Like x 1
  14. ABFRM

    ABFRM Member

    @ troubleshooter
    check out the following link.....

    by David Harper who cleared not only one CFA , FRM but CIPM too.

    Even if it of 2007 it is still relevant in this contexts.

    I think it will answer ur questions.

    I am also agree to the point that passing rate is high but u have to take a look at the analysis then it will show that lots of them were repeaters :).
    Does not make any sense to demean any exam whether it is CFA or FRM....
    • Like Like x 1
  15. troubleshooter

    troubleshooter Active Member

    "Demean" is a strong word. I found FRM to be really easy to pass compared to CFA. Both in terms of difficulty and time commtment required, FRM is less demanding. You may find it the other way round and I will not accuse you of "demeaning" CFA. At the end of the day, it's all subjective. Further, CFA curriculum design is much better than FRM which at times frustrates with the ridiculous repetitions/misplacements of AIMs. And let's talk about the exams. I found 3 stupid errors in FRM Level 1 exam questions and 2 in FRM Level 2. CFA exam questions were flawless. It not only reflects CFA exams are much more mature than FRM exams, but also shows that CFAI takes it much more seriously in terms of quality control than GARP. GARP has a long way to go especially in QAing of their curriculum and exam questions. You are welcome to take CFA and present your own subjective analysis...
  16. Jsmith887

    Jsmith887 New Member

    Thanks for your input guys.

    Troubleshooter. Could you explain how you approached the test? What was your study plan in detail?

    Best regards,

  17. troubleshooter

    troubleshooter Active Member

    I guess there is no perfect method or approach for these tests but some are better than the others. Ideally, you will buy GARP reading materials, read/understand them and retain all that in your head. But that is not only practically impossible, it is also very very time consuming to go through the massive volume of reading materials.

    Needless to say, for each test, I would begin by reading the AIMs published by GARP to familiarise myself with what it is that I need to learn for the test.

    Level I:
    I had a lot of free time at hand when I prepared for Level I. Therefore, I got GARP prescribed readings and subscribed to Bionic Turtle videos. I first watched the videos, which gave me a very good roadmap and context to the exam. For 80-90 percent of the exam questions, these videos were enough. Then I went through GARP material, but it did not take long for me to realize that my retention rate of the readings was not quite impressive. I created my own bullet point notes over bionic turtle summary printouts. This contained all important formulae, graphs and bullet point notes. These turned out to be the most important material for me just before the exams. I went through them about 3-4 times in the week leading to the exam and it covered most of the exam questions. Also about 1-2 weeks before exams, I did GARP practice, BT Practice exam, Schweser practice exams and Schweser Q-Bank. Throught my preparation, BT forum was a very good resource as well. I spent 5-6 months preparing.

    Level II
    For Level II, I did not have much time to prepare. So GARP notes were out of question. I focussed mainly on Schweser. Schweser notes were mostly decent but at least 5 topics were pretty badly written (4 topics on liquidity risk and 1 topic on return alpha). I guess I was okay as I've been working at risk management for a few years now. Added my own notes, formulaes to the topic summary of Schweser notes, which again turned out to be the most imporatat leading up to the exam. I used BT forum and other information here. The article on Merton Model and other worked out examples by David was quite helpful. Thanks David... I practiced with GARP, Schweser pracitce exams and Schweser Q-Bank. Time spent preparing was about 2-2.5 months.

    Just adding one more item I thought is worth mentioning. Basel coverage in Schweser is not really that great either. At times, it is actually quite confusing. I did a lot of research in the internet to understand some issues. BT notes/videos most likely does justice to it but I have not seen/watched them, so cannot be sure. Someone who did is welcome to provide further feedback here..

    Best of luck....:)
  18. David Harper CFA FRM

    David Harper CFA FRM David Harper CFA FRM (test) Staff Member

    Troubleshooter, thank you for a very helpful sharing of your method! Suzanne Evans, I think we should include this link in FAQ?

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