How Long Does it Take to Complete FRM®?

Every year, tens of thousands of candidates begin their journey toward earning the coveted Financial Risk Manager (FRM) designation – a certification that is completed in two parts with the issuance by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP®). Candidates who successfully earn the designation can self-refer as a “Certified FRM.” This professional risk management designation provides trust because it suggests a financial risk manager who has the background and skills to understand risks associated with market, credit, operational, investment, and transaction-oriented environments.

Preparing for the FRM is different for every candidate. GARP requires a candidate to pass the FRM Exam Part I, followed by the FRM Exam Part II, which must be passed by the end of the fourth year after passing the first part. While some may still refer to the old ”Levels”, GARP switched to “Parts” in 2010. In addition to passing both exam Parts, candidates must submit evidence of relevant, full-time work experience that spans two years (see below).

FRM® Study Plan

On average, a candidate might spend from 200 to 400 hours studying for each part of the exam, with an average study time of 250 to 275 hours. However, there is an important reason that this average may not match your experience: the FRM requires the application of quantitative methods throughout the syllabus. This is a strong signal in the job market: recruiters realize that Certified FRMs have demonstrated their financial numeracy, and they also know the FRM exam is among the most difficult in finance. For example, the FRM paired with the CFA is a uniquely strong differentiator. What does this imply for your own planning process? If you already arrive with basic quantitative proficiency (see published practice questions to self-assess), then this average is probably a good indicator for you. On the other hand, if you need to refresh the quantitative methods that underlie basic applications (or learn them for the very first time), then plan to spend at least 325 or 350 hours. If you are a “poet” (as they say In business school) who is not comfortable with quantitative methods and you are taking the FRM to orient yourself to financial mathematics for the first time, please understand you might require 500 hours (But do not be discouraged: some of the most satisfied Certified FRMs took the long way to introduce themselves to the wonderful world of quantitative finance!). This means with dedicated, daily study time, it may take half a year to a year (if not longer) to effectively prepare for both parts of the exam.

Fortunately, candidates have resources available that will help them prioritize their time through effective study plans so they can find an efficient structure that keeps them on track and outlines the most important concepts. Bionic Turtle, a community-driven, success-oriented FRM Exam preparatory provider has the resources that help candidates pass, which include:

Both prep courses contain the following:

  • Integrated, efficient study notes.
  • 4,000+ organized and prioritized practice questions.
  • Instructional videos that focus on content necessary for review.
  • Code-formatted exclusive learning spreadsheets.
  • 70,000+ member strong community forum for discussion and problem-solving.

Develop your FRM Exam study plan by leveraging a study planner for each part of the exam. This comes with a portal of information, such as a study calendar to utilize your resources so you have a pre-determined syllabus that allows you to focus on the curriculum.

How Long to Study for FRM® Level 1?

Prior to selecting a study plan, it’s important to define a timeline ahead of the FRM Exam, which will begin with Part I. This will give you enough time to allocate 275 hours (or more), focusing on the core areas of this part of the exam such as foundations of risk management, quantitative analysis, financial markets and products, and variation and risk models.

Upcoming FRM Level 1 Exam dates for 2022 include:

  • August 2022
    • August 6, 2022
    • Registration: (Early) April 1 – July 31, 2022
    • Schedule window: April 1 – July 31, 2022
  • November 2022
    • November 5-18, 2022
    • Registration: (Early) May 1 – July 31, 2022; (Standard) August 1 – September 30, 2022
    • Schedule window: May 1 – October 21, 2022

Once you have registered and scheduled your FRM Exam Part I and chosen a study package, you should begin working through your chosen syllabus, following the plan that leads up to your exam date. The basic package is the best choice for independent learners who have a strong understanding of risk management concepts and only need essential information from question sets, study notes, interactive mock exams, and minimal access to the Bionic Turtle forum to be successful. The advanced syllabus will focus on those same resources, however, supplemental materials and extra resources such as instructional videos, interactive quizzes, and full forum access and support. Finally, a candidate who follows the professional syllabus adds focus review videos and learning spreadsheets to their resource repertoire to be fully prepared.

Preparation for FRM Level 1 may be an opportune time to begin to add relevant financial risk management work experience. This is a requirement for FRM certification, which is discussed in further detail, below.

FRM® Part II Study Plan

Preparing to pass the FRM Exam Part II should follow a similar format as Level 1. Schedule your study preparation ahead of the exam with 275 hours (or more) to complete the syllabus and develop comprehensive skills to cover Part II topics which include market risk measurement and management, credit risk measurement and management, operational risk and resiliency, liquidity and treasury risk measurement and management, risk management and investment management, and current issues in financial markets.

FRM Level II Exam dates are:

  • November 2022
    • November 19-25, 2022
    • Registration: (Early) May 1 – July 31, 2022; (Standard) August 1 – September 30, 2022
    • Schedule window: May 1 – October 21, 2022

A rigorous study plan for the FRM Exam Level 2 will again include following a syllabus with Basic, Advanced, or Professional resources, depending on your needs. A couple of tips: spend time discovering the intent behind Bionic Turtle’s question bank, which focuses on the most important concepts. For example, rote memorization of answers will not be helpful, as the 80-question exam section drives concepts and relationships, so it’s not always necessary to know an exact formula. The second tip is to spend time preparing with questions on the interactive mock exams that are harder than what is on the actual FRM Exam Part II. This will help you “over-prepare” so you will be comfortable answering questions for each concept.

FRM® Pass Rates

The two sections of the FRM Exam have different pass rates, and a higher ratio of candidates generally pass FRM Part II than FRM Part I. According to GARP, the latest FRM Part I and Part II pass rates from November and December were 45% and 63%, respectively. Rates have stayed largely the same since 2019, but late 2021’s pass rates were slightly higher than May of 2021 which registered 43% for FRM Exam Level 1 and 59% for FRM Exam Level 2. The FRM is different than the CFA. The CFA, like many exams, employs a so-called “modified Angoff” method that theoretically maintains a constant competency standard across different years; consequently, the CFA pass rate has occasionally plunged due to specific cohort performance (namely, the effects of COVID). The FRM essentially manages to a sophisticated curve. While this has disadvantages, the pass rates have rarely varied more than +/- 6.0% from their long-term averages: ~46% for Part 1 and ~57% for Part 2.

Bionic Turtle resources are curated so candidates can pass the FRM Exam sections the first time. These are tools that go above and beyond standard prep materials because they are designed in consultation with those who have followed the programs, taken the exam, and exam professionals who have previously helped create questions and topics.

FRM® Certification Requirements

As mentioned, earning an FRM designation with certification will require both examination and work experience completion.

Once you have passed the FRM Exam Level II, you will be required to submit two years of relevant, full-time financial risk management work experience within five years of passing. According to GARP, this can include the experience of up to 10 years prior to passing both parts of the exam. Relevant experience is defined as work where “the identification, measurement, monitoring, or management of risk is a meaningful part of the job’s responsibility.” Some of the experience may be secured in positions that deal with risk analysis, trading, portfolio management, and more.

After passing the exam and having work experience approved, individuals will be designated as FRM with a certification to be used professionally. Those who do not submit two years of relevant, full-time experience in the allotted time frame must re-enroll, pay FRM fees, and retake both parts of the FRM Exam.

FRM® Fees

The FRM designation is a professional investment and one that is worth the time, energy, and dedication to earn. Bionic Turtle offers FRM Exam prep courses and resources at competitive rates for as little as $349. For the exam sections themselves, GARP requires varying fee payments. For example, a new candidate that registers early for the FRM Exam Part I may enroll and take the exam for $1,000, which includes the enrollment and exam fee. Standard registration costs $1,200. However, a returning candidate may only be required to pay the exam fee of $600 for early registration or $800 for standard. For the FRM Exam Part II, all candidates will be required to pay a fee of $600 (early registration) or $800 (standard registration).

FRM® Frequently Asked Questions

Is 2 Months Enough for FRM®?

Because each section of the FRM exam has a recommended study time of 200 hours at minimum, it is generally not recommended to sit for either Level 1 or Level 2 of the exam in less than half a year. Additionally, the costs of the exam and the rigorous study syllabus of FRM Exam prep materials should be followed in full. Finally, two years of relevant work experience are required in addition to passing the exam, though, the experience can be added prior to passing. This means that two months will not be enough time for most candidates to earn their FRM certification.

Is FRM® Difficult to Pass?

The FRM Exam is not easy and it takes disciplined preparation to comprehend the many concepts covered in both Part I and Part II. There are candidates who will fail FRM Level 1 and pass it after another attempt. More people, on average, pass FRM Level 2. The latest pass rates from December of 2021 were 45% passed for FRM Part I and 63% for FRM Part II. However, those who prepare with an organized, effective study plan from Bionic Turtle have the resources to pass the FRM Exam the first time. Thousands of candidates have found success, thanks to the rigorous practice exams, interactive community forum, and professional guidance.

Can FRM® be Cleared in 3 Months?

It can never be said that it is impossible to clear at least part of the FRM certification process in three months, but it is better to dedicate close to a year or longer. Preparation for the FRM Exam Part I and FRM Exam Part II will take around half a year for each section, if using a professional study course and sitting for the exam itself. Additionally, two years of relevant financial risk work experience must be completed to receive certification.

Earn Your FRM® Designation with Bionic Turtle

With in-depth information that is organized and collected to be used at your fingertips, you will have the resources necessary to pass your FRM Exam and earn certification. Prepare to pass and earn your FRM designation with Bionic Turtle! Receive the tools you need to pass the first time by selecting a study package for FRM Exam Part I or FRM Exam Part II.