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FRM Level 1 -- Schweser vs. BT (redux)

Hi All,

I know, I know…  

This topic has been raised a few times in the past.  But, in reading through all of the previous posts on this topic, there seems to be a difference of opinion with regard to the “appropriate” study materials for Level I of the FRM.  (yes, I know that “appropriate” is subjective)

Some people claim that Schweser is enough to pass Level I and that Bionic Turtle is overkill.  Other people claim that Schweser is not enough and that Bionic Turtle is the only way to go.  The difference of opinion could be due to factors such as prior risk management experience, when the exam was taken, length of time committed to studying, etc, etc.

I’d like to hear from people who took the Level I exam in 2013, 2014 or 2015 (because I believe that Schweser’s materials were not that great prior to 2013).  I’d like to understand the pros and cons of using either Schweser or Bionic Turtle.

What are your thoughts on this topic, please?  Thanks to all in advance!

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You only want views from those who sat in 2014? I sat in November 2015 but I’ll give you my thoughts anyway…

I got both Schweser and Bionic Turtle material to study with, along with the official GARP text books (which may have been overkill but there you go).

To sum up briefly, the GARP material is dry as hell, and contains next to no practice questions. The chapters have been selected for use from various textbooks and read very much like a more academic/textbook style as you would expect. Looking back, reading them did provide benefit no doubt, but for many I would assume they would be tough to get through. There are lots of derivations and space afforded to material that just will not be tested in the exam. If you have time on your hands, or if there are any concepts that you just can not seem to get your head around using a 3rd party provider material, then these GARP books are good for going back and getting an indepth explanation. I have OCD so I tend to NEED to read the official material for whatever exam I’m doing to feel like I’ve done “enough” but for $240 I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether they are worth your money. You certainly don’t NEED to read them to pass the exam.

With regards to the Schweser vs BT debate, you’ll get people who say Schweser was enough and BT is overkill, and you’ll get people who say that Schweser left them ill prepared and BT is the only way to go. Personally I found the Schweser material much easier to read, and would page through the material if I wanted an “easy” study session. The BT material is a little more sparse but much more technical and rigorous. To be honest, because I read all of the official GARP textbooks I spent most of my time after that actually doing practice questions rather than just rereading the material again and again.

I put in around 230 hours of work in total and hammered every single one of BTs practice questions at least twice. They have around 2000 questions for part 1 so yeah….lets just say I did quite a few practice questions. By the end I would say that I was scoring around 90% on their question bank, with a few of the more difficult questions just out of reach. I did all their mocks, along with the GARP mocks and was scoring between 65-80% on the BT mocks and around 80-95% on the GARP mocks. The Schweser end of chapter questions were an absolute joke to be honest so I don’t even count them as “study”.

When it came to the actual exam, I found it quite easy to be honest…I walked out 100% sure I absolutely smashed it. Being able to do those BT practice questions set me up for the win, no doubt. The exam was a notch below the BT questions in terms of difficultly I’d say. So the difference between Schweser and BT in my opinion is that if you go the BT route, and you can end up nailing all their practice questions, you will have no problems in the real exam. Nailing the Schweser questions means nothing….nothing at all.

For that reason alone, I would say hands down, choose BT over Schweser. If you can do BT, you can smash the exam.

My take, read from Schweser and attempt questions from BT. BT videos a must watch. BT will demotivate you and that is really helpful, demotivation much prior to exam is always a plus.

For Part II:

anandmishra453 wrote:

My take, read from Schweser and attempt questions from BT.

Im doing this.

anandmishra453 wrote:

BT videos a must watch.

I might do this.

All part 1 exam takers in this forum should be thankful to S666 for his generosity for sharing exam secrets. This information is very rare and not easily available and also very useful for one to prepare for the exam. After completion most will automatically focus on the next level rather than divulging how he completes the exam.

John267 wrote:

All part 1 exam takers in this forum should be thankful to S666 for his generosity for sharing exam secrets. This information is very rare and not easily available and also very useful for one to prepare for the exam. After completion most will automatically focus on the next level rather than divulging how he completes the exam.

No problemo :D - happy to try to help where I can :D

Thanks for the honest review mate. Just a few questions if I may please

  1. Whch of the pricing packages did you chose? The Baisc, Advanced or Professional?
  2. How long before the exam did you start? The reason I ask is becasue I work fulltime and most days are 12+ hours. I was keen on giving the exam in November but have a feeling that it would be too ambitious. Have started reading the GARP texbook (which I think is poorly written in my poinion as they seem to talk in circles). In about 4 weeks I have not finished the foundation boook. A big factor is because getting home after a long day, it takes ages to finish even like 5 pages. 
  3. Did you do the 1 & 2 together or spread them out? 

Many thanks

M

Sorry the q’s were for S666

Thanks for the honest review mate. Just a few questions if I may please

  1. Which of the pricing packages did you chose? The Basic, Advanced or Professional?
  2. How long before the exam did you start? The reason I ask is because I work fulltime and most days are 12+ hours. I was keen on giving the exam in November but have a feeling that it would be too ambitious. Have started reading the GARP text book (which I think is poorly written in my opinion as they seem to talk in circles). In about 4 weeks I have not finished the foundation book. A big factor is because getting home after a long day, it takes ages to finish even like 5 pages. 
  3. Did you do the 1 & 2 together or spread them out? 

Many thanks

M