FRM Part 1 November 2012 - All I have to say

I used Schweser and felt great going into the Part 1 exam. Left the exam room with an entirely different feeling…I have the CFA and the CAIA designations, and I have to say, this is the best that I have felt prepared for any of these exams, and the worst I have felt upon completing.

Any other observations or experiences? I’m looking to commiserate with others!

agreed…I took part 2 in the afternoon and felt much better going in than coming out. I am quite unsure about what this means-a few people even completed early so please don’t judge by my experience!

I had a similar experience; I used Shwesser and left the FRM1 exam feeling like I had gotten completely owned. In the end it turned out that I not only passed, but had scored top quartile in each section. The moral of the story is that GARP exams are demoralizing, but don’t despair.

Thanks for your feedback, Butterfly. Wendy, you sharing your experiences makes me feel somewhat better, although of course there are myriad variables which can differ for different candidates. Still, I’m happy to see that I’m not the only person in the world that felt like his stomach dropped out after leaving that room. Oh well, at least me and Butterfly only have to wait a month and a half for the results…

actually i felt quite good coming out rather than going in… because finally it was all over… and the fact that i had very less expectations from myself for this exam made this quite good :slight_smile: cant say same about part 2 though…went in and came out with same expression…guilt of under preparation.

Well, Chintan, I am happy to hear of at least one person who felt good about Level I this go-around. I myself only sat for Level I this time around (if I pass, I’ll wrap up Level II in May). Working full-time in a demanding investment management job is not the ideal prep scenario for two levels in one shot, but I have high regard for those who can get it done. For me, the joint probability of needing to pass both in one sitting felt like leaving money on the table if, for instance, one were to do well enough to pass the Level II but fail Level I. They’d need to retake both and that seems like a terrible proposition. In any event, it sounds like you feel good enough about Level I where if your feelings are accurate, you would at worst need to re-take only one exam.

Do you guys know if the passing rate is based on number of candidates who sat for the test or who registered for the test? I was amazed by how many people showed up for the test at my center. only 60% of the registered candidate!

Not sure, Singh, but I would assume that it is based on how many candidates actually took the exam. I too was shocked to see many empty chairs in the exam room with exam booklets having to be recollected from the empty seats. I have the sense that there are a lot of young candidates who are doing this and don’t respect the process and the difficulty – many are still in college and I suspect that they are approaching this test with the same cavalier attitude that they would for any regular mid-term exam administered by their local college professor. Myself, I don’t understand how you can spend the money, spend any amount of time at all studying, and then not show up.

On that note, I have to say that I was surprised to see somebody turned away from the exam…she showed up at 7:50am. Is it terrible that I thought to myself, “good for GARP to take that piece seriously. This person should have more respect for this exam and show up on time, as detailed in the instructions.” ?

Pass rates for all of these kinds of exams (FRM, CFA, etc) are based on the number of candidates that actually took the exam, rather than the number that registered.

Destroyer . I have to agree with you, went in feeling great after having put in a significant amount of work only to leave thinking I have spent a lot of time and money and doubt I am going to have much to show for it. It was as though they were trying to catch you with most of the questions. Felt like you had to pick up at least 2 attempts to trick you in each question to know you had addressed it properly.I suppose comfort could be taken in that if you did arrive at one of the answers they provided after picking up their attempts to trip you up ,you could be reasonably happy with your selection. What this did mean for me anyway is that I spent a lot of time checking and rechecking each answer I provided only to run out of time when it came to the last 4 questions of the paper. The 70% required to pass does seem to be a bridge too far at this stage

i felt the same as destroyer and john. Felt as I got stunned after coming out of part 1 exam. I studied with Schweser and FRM sample exams. I am not so sure why GARP would make their practice test so easy and make you think that you could go to exam and pass this thing with flying color. Actual exam was not even come close to the practice exams. probably 10 times more difficult than their practice exams. most of the questions make you think twice about your answer choices. a lot of “gotcha” type of questions.

John and Gangsta, you guys bring up good points. Many of these questions this year really DID feel like “gotcha” questions. Using Schweser (and spending a ton of time studying in the months before the exam), I felt like I had the vast 90% of the subject matter under complete control…the problem was that it seemed GARP had tested primarily on that peripheral 10% of material. Gangsta’s point about the easiness of the 2012 FRM Practice Exam from GARP is spot on – I skated through that with relative ease and felt pretty good about my exam prospects as a result. For good measure, I also did their 2011 and 2010 practice exams. All of them, I scored very well only to see the trick-question type questions on the actual exam.

Agreed; GARP should fix this. They’ve been doing the same thing for years… GARP provides very easy questions to candidates as sample questions, and then the actual FRM exam is vastly more difficult.

On the other hand, I fould the two exams in the Shwesser FRM practice exam book to be Almost of the same difficulty as the actual FRM exam.

I strongly disagree. What would you consider peripheral?

Feel free to mention specific questions/topics; GARP, unlike CFAI, does not mind. (Someone correct me if I’m wrong.)

Fix what?

Everyone can see the samples --> most people will understimate the difficulty of the exam --> more test-takers --> lower pass rates and more popularity for GARP, ie. the best of both worlds.

I don’t think it’s helpful for GARP to publish sample questions that are overly simple; this is likely to cause candidates to study less than they otherwise would.

Anything that GARP could do to encourage candidates to take the FRM exam more-seriously would only benefit the designation.

I can agree with that, but the list of things GARP needs to do if they want to be taken seriously is a mile long. First, their website is quite possibly the worst site on the Internet and 50% of the time it doesn’t even work. The bundled reading materials are unorganized, haphazard and include question sets but no corresponding answer keys. They mistakenly sent candidates’ personal information to the incorrect recipients on a wide scale several months ago.

I’m generally a forgiving person but most every point of contact with GARP is extremely unprofessional and marks an inexcusable level of either apathy or incompetence.

well for what its worth,

As a candiate, I rely on GARP practice exam to gauge my understanding and to expect difficulty, style, format of the actual exam. I did the same with all three levels of CFA practice exams.

why would garp tell us to spend 1.5 hr for 25 practice questions? I mean, in the real test , you have to finish 100 questions in 4 hrs. Its hard to understand their justification of giving us 90 minutes. One could argue that 2010 practice test contained 40 questions and still gave us 90 minutes to solve. But i am still confuse why they decide to cut to 25 questions and still gave us 90 minutes to solve.

This is just one example.

I didn’t see anything in the Code of Conduct regarding disclosure of exam questions; however the examination pages are individually marked with “Confidential”. You might want to err on the side of caution here and not publicly disclose the content of the exam.

I agree that there are too few practice questions. A suggestion of 1.5 hours for 25 questions is just silly, especially since fatigue inevitably develops after a few hours. (It’s much harder doing 100 questions in 4 hours, than 25 questions in 1 hour.) More representative questions from GARP would be much appreciated.

BTW, GARP is fairly responsive through the email address. It might be worth it to provide them with some constructive feedback. I sent in my feedback regarding how answers are corrected on the Scantron sheet.

Ernest, nobody will be disclosing anything here to Orang3eph. He or she is entitled to their opinion. To be clear to Orang3eph about what I meant by “peripheral,” I was referring to the context by which most candidates of other professional designations tend to triage their studying - in any body of knowledge like this, it is extremely difficult to have full command of all topics across the spectrum coming in, so you try to get a picture of what the “most likely” topics will be and get a good understanding of those so that you are “likely” to have had exposure to enough topics where you will pass. What I’m saying is that it SEEMED like the kinds of topics many candidates would spend a little bit of time on compared to the rest of the material - simply because the volume covered in the source material itself was disproportionately small - were front and center for a large part of the exam.

In my former life, I freelanced as a writer and instructor for a certain well-known CFA prep program, so I can tell you that this concept of “peripheral material” is not pulled from thin air. The assessments have to be made regarding topic coverage deemed more or less important as the third-party prep providers seek to create a streamlined, summarized product for their customers.