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My experience conquering FRM Part II

I managed to pass FRM Part II in the November 2018 diet, and is glad to share with all of you here my revision strategy.

My background:

Work full time in the investment/corporate finance industry with 60+ hours a week

Passed FRM Part I in Nov 2015

The first thing that intrigues you is probably the 3-year gap between part I and part II. As a matter of fact, I enrolled part II for both Nov 17 and May 18 diets but I didn’t even show up for the exam thanks to my demanding boss. I really could not commit sufficient time for Part II’s revision. Finally, though, I set my mind to get myself FRM certified in 2018 as I couldn’t stand how long this had been dragging on.

Since the workload in my work position is so demanding, the only feasible revision time would be weekends and annual leaves. Tragically I had only 7 days annual leave balance in 2018 when I signed up for Part II (the rest is spent on CFA LII). This is quite inadequate since I spent even two weeks full time studying for FRM Part I, with Schweser notes, and resulted in 1212. As you may aware, the syllabus of Part II is way broader than Part I, so I formulated a plan to make the pass happen.

I started revision two months prior to the exam during my weekends. Usually I did an intense 8-to-10-hour revision on either Saturday or Sunday. Last but obviously not least, I took one and a half week off from work right before the exam.

I passed with 32113.

Throughout the two-month struggle with thousands of pages of materials, I wanted to share with you my comments and experience with different preparation sources.

FRM Official Textbook:

Rating: N/A

No comment as I have never read a single comma from it.

Schweser:

Rating: 3/5 (For Part II)

Their notes are highly organized, but I gave it up after the first/second weekend of study. In my opinion, you might get through Part I with it. But, their part II notes assumed you consumed certain level of part I knowledge. Since I did Part I 3 years ago, I had spun wheels for days on their first few readings and yielded no results. That being said, you should try spending couple hours with it before you move to other options with a price tag.

Wiley:

Rating: 3.5/5

I purchased their silver package right after the frustration with Schweser as quite some people have been vouching for Christian Cooper on the internet. I ordered their textbooks as well. My first reaction when the parcel arrived at my door is their feather-like weight. I thought Wiley has made a mistake by sending me an empty box. I then opened it and found two textbooks sitting neatly inside. I was so surprised and amazed how Christian Cooper condensed the five horrendous modules into two books.

The books are written in conversational form of English – more or less close to my writing style, so it is a big contrast to FRM’s official textbook apart from its bulkiness. But unfortunately, I gave it up AGAIN.

Christian Cooper is a knowledgeable lecturer who articulates abstract concepts with real life examples. He could efficiently teach you the whole syllabus within the shortest possible time – hence the “ “ book, but again, to fully understand it, a certain precedent knowledge is required. For people like me who passed part I ages ago or people who passed part I by “luck”, I would recommend against it. But in contrast, if you are in a passing streak, go ahead and enroll Wiley. I am sure it is going to save you a lot of time. Besides, their practice question database is a champ. As long as you manage to clear them with a thorough grasp of the contact, it’s almost a sure pass as those questions are much more difficult than the actual exam.

Bionic Turtle:

Rating: 4.5/5

BT is awesome.

BT is the third and the last material I used for my FRM Part II exam. It comprises lecture slides and course videos.

As you may all know, FRM is highly quantitative. David Harper, the founder and lecturer of BT, magically transforms difficult mathematical concepts to easily understandable stuff. The only down side about it is their quantities of their video – there is a bit too much and might spend you too much time. That being said, with two months of studies, I cleared all the videos and left with time for mock papers.

If you find it difficult understanding operational risk, then I highly recommend you to check out David’s videos. According to their forum, almost all subscribers got a “1” in the operational risk categories.

You should also try watching David’s sample video on youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rcg0l2WmOv0&list=PLCBifSfCnx3sormazeHQr5G9etDITYStF

Most of them are quite stale but it is still a good reference.

This might sound stupid but I found David’s voice and that cute turtle logo so calming. I am not a fan of cartoon plus I am almost 30. But every time when I was so frustrated by the overwhelming exam content, I found the smiling thumb-up turtle encouraging.

I also attach some useful reference links here.

Feel free to inbox me if you have any questions. I am pleased to help.

Make sure you’re exam-ready - FRM 2019 Gold Course features all-new Calculations Videos

Thanks….can you share FRM L2 material @jainpiyush07@gmail.com

Hey Beckham, thank you for the feedback. I do want to correct one point on the length. The full set is 6 volumes long and clocks in around 1900 pages this year I think. (my 2019 printed copy hasn’t arrived yet)

The printed practice questions are far more important than the online questions because I write these very differently. I rarely will just say “B” is correct and move on. I explain why the others are incorrect, try to connect dots to other material because GARP will rarely ask questions from a single learning objective. This is especially the case in part II. Very often they will cross with some other part of the curriculum. 

SO…please, please make sure you pay attention to the printed practice questions. I actually don’t consider them to be different than study notes in importance