FRM Part 2 May -- My Love/Hate Relationship with Schweser

So the exam was dreadful. Pretty much everything that Schweser would characterize as “low probability of being on the exam,” was on the exam. Of the tens of formulas I knew cold going in, I would honestly say that I used perhaps 2 or 3 of them, tops.

I ran a post like this after Level 1 and got all disgusted, but then of course upon learning that I passed, my hindsight vision kicked in and then I began to think Schweser was ok after all. I won’t get fooled three times if I don’t make Part 2 this go-around.

Bionic Turtle’s questions are VASTLY more representative than Schweser’s, not only when it comes to difficulty, but (and this is important), more specifically, the actual types of questions they will ask. When you read Schweser, you develop your little mental map of how Schweser sees Part 2, and everything makes sense and you’re doing ok on the practice exams, and so you think, “I’m ready to kill this exam.” But then you see the exam and you wonder what you were studying for when you spent all of those hours reading the Schweser books, because it certainly wasn’t the FRM Part 2 exam that you now see before you.

The problem with Bionic Turtle is that the design of their website and product cohesion is, frankly, sh!t. It seems like the materials are all over the place, not in one document, and clearly they are understaffed. Because of this, it is all too easy to get lured in by the shiny covers, holograms and stock photos of successful financial professionals that are all provided by the Schweser product. The trouble, of course, is that the books may as well contain blank pages – they would be of equivalent use on the exam.

I don’t know what the answer is for somebody coming in new and asking “Schweser or BT?” What I can say is, I would pretty much be using strictly BT if I had to do it over again (and I hope I don’t), but there are other factors at play (i.e., I’ve already had broad AIM exposure now, the BT folks will actually be able to complete the 2013 product by November’s exam, etc.). I had access to BT but, because the usability wasn’t the greatest, I didn’t spend enough time reviewing their version of the FRM Part 2 world. HUGE mistake.

Of course, if I learn in July that I passed, I will probably develop amnesia and say that Schweser seemed to do the trick for me.

My feelings exactly Destroyer. I used BT & Schweser for L1 last November and came away knowing using BT allowed me to pass and Schweser was of little value. For this test, I really had to rely on Schweser simply due to the lack of time I could commit. Bad move…I don’t think I made it.

Yeah, srogz, I’m definitely feeling anxiety about that Part 2 exam. I hope we both made it.

The thing that aggravates me about Schweser (and, in all fairness, this really only applies to the FRM since their CFA and CAIA products are truly excellent), is that they spend a lot of time apologizing for the difficulty level of the material, where BT makes no such apologies. The material is what it is and sometimes you cannot simply reduce the dimensionality of the material and still have it be of use for candidates.

I suspect that most FRM candidates that are attracted to this type of exam understand this and are obviously willing to tackle difficult subject matter. The easiness of the Schweser test bank, largely due to avoiding the really difficult stuff, can give a false sense of confidence.

For BT, if they had like 2 or 3 other people working at David’s level, I feel like they would be putting out an overall superior product (I would say the number one things are they need to consider a printed product, some version of a “Secret Sauce” type book, and mainly, to put all of the questions in test bank form). The problem is that the poor guy gets bogged down on the forums answering random questions from people like it’s a professor’s office hours.

Conversely, if Schweser decided that the economic scale was worth it, they could hire someone willing to go as deep as BT on that material; all of the production infrastructure is there.

Yup. Agreeing with you again. David is excellent but for me, the site could use some organization. Having said all this, I’m really not making excuses and it doesn’t sound like you are either. I could’ve done much more in terms of digging deeper so if I didn’t clear it, I’ll just need to do that for November. Good luck to you.

Hey guys,

I note most people seem to be using third party prep providers.

Is it really necessary?

I only used the curriculum in my CFA studies and I am loathe to fork out for additional material.

Is the FRM material insufficient on its own?


I think it comes down to the time that the candidate has available. I agree that third-party prep providers are the second best option ideally, but when one works a demanding, full-time job and has family obligations, long commute in the car, etc., etc., I believe that there is value added from a third-party provider in that it organizes the material in a way that allows you to better understand, while studying, exactly the AIM/LOS sections you are trying to master for the exam. It’s just an organization tool for studying, I think, given that source materials are pulled from myriad books and articles.

Having said that, this is how a third-prep provider should work, but, as I earlier noted, the FRM providers are not the best and each have pros/cons – I think for some reason the CFA and CAIA bodies of knowledge either lend themselves better to the format and/or have been more perfected over the years.

But it really comes down to your preferred method of study and the available time you have to study. If I had unlimited time, I too would prefer to just do the source material.

For CFA, they force you to buy the book regardless of using them or not.

For FRM, you are own your own to obtain all the materials (various text books and articles).

So for FRM, you do need to factor in the additional cost on top of your exam fees unless if you are planning on borrowing it from someone or library.

As DOW described, it was a tough exam. I saw many peoples coming of the test center confused and puzzled. I was one of them. Bionic turlte would have been a better choice but timing was an issue for me. Seems as FRM writes very complex questions. I hope I dont have to take it again. Good luck guys.

You too gangsta, good luck. That test was ugly this year.

Here’s where it gets trucky in my opinion.

Schweser is great for the high level, getting warmed up with the material. The questions at the end of each book and the practice exams are not bad. No they don’t match up with the complexity of the exam questions but they’re pretty good.

BT - Great for sample questions and a deeper dive into the material. It would be tough for me to use BT exclusively simply because they don’t organize AIM by AIM.

GARP books, most people I speak with have trouble with them. You don’t get practice questions, formula sheets…

I’d go Schweser basic package (good Lord, I should sue for paying for the videos) and BT basic package.

Oh man, you said it. Those videos are TERRIBLE. These guys are always saying, “don’t worry about this equation,” and so on. Then they just breeze through and read the bullets. It’s like, seriously?

Fully agreed, the direct readings are superior. For CFA I used Schweser for level 1 and that didn’t work. Issue with FRM books is that they are lacking exercises. In addition, the quality of the FRM books is not always as good as the CFA readings. For additional exercised I use BT.

Hey guys,

I note most people seem to be using third party prep providers.

Is it really necessary?

I only used the curriculum in my CFA studies and I am loathe to fork out for additional material.

Is the FRM material insufficient on its own?



Thank for the feedback.

So, seems I will defintely need third-party for test exercises.

And BT appears to be the way to go.

Good luck all.

My feedback is a few days late, but I thought I will share it anyway.

I felt ok about the exam for a little while, untill I reviewed all the questions and realized that I had to guess quite a few. Overall, I thought most questions were covered in Schweser, I would say there were probably about 10-15 that I had not seen in Schweser practice exams or Q Bank. However, there were maybe another 10-15, that I had seen onle once or twice while doing the practice questions on Schweser and hence did not have enough practice on those questions. I have tried using BT before, but as Destroyer and other people mentioned before, BT is not very user friendly.

In short, I would prefer to be more confident coming out of the exam but now I am in doubt and anxious…hopefully, all the effort and pressure is worth it for everyone here, that we all pass and get big raises :slight_smile:

**Forgot to add that I also used GARP books for a few topics where I felt schweser was not sufficient, they were good for understanding the material, but don’t present with practice questions.

My personal opinion is that Schweser is sufficient to make you "pass " FRM exams.I am not in favour of BT mainly because it has some really difficult questions that can demotivate anyone,on top of that you will encounter hardly 10-15 questions in real FRM exams that are comparable to BT questions.I had just 2 months time to prepare for both levels of FRM exams last year so i only prepared using schweser .Did i pass the exams??YES but with average quantiles.

Bionic Turtle is the best in term of video, forum and practice questions. David really has extraordinary approach in FRM training. In fact, I refererred to some of his videos in CFA exam. However, the forum is not very well organized. Schweser materials are rubbish in FRM. The concepts are vaguely explained. If you want comprehensive and structured reading materials then go for PRM handbook.

Bottom line, if you just want to pass FRM exam. Schweser notes alone may be sufficient. If you want to pass FRM with some confidence, Schweser notes and Bionic Turtle videos & questions. If you really want to apply your knowledge in reality, Bionic Turtle + PRM handbook.

"P RM " handbook ? not " F RM hanbook ? I know P RM is another certificate for risk management, but can the " P RM" handbook be used for " F RM" exam ? Please kindly give me your advice in more detail ! Thanks !

My opinion is that Schweser regard themselves as the market leader for FRM materials, and so they don’t try particularly hard. Their ‘study guides’ are rubbish - mostly badly-precied versions of the GARP handbooks. I lost count of the number of errata that I posted to Scheweser - covering both study guides and the Q bank.

In one case, I found an error in Schweser, which I traced back to an error in the FRM material. The original error had been noted by the original publisher, and posted online in a list of errata. Is it too much to expect FRM and Schweser to pick up on this stuff?

I fail to see why Schweser take it upon themselves to preci the GARP books - many of the referenced materials are pretty poor and contradictory. For the CFA, my impression is that they produce high quality, stand-alone material - would it be so difficult to do the same for the FRM??

Presumably a lot of people who study (&pass?) FRM actually rely heavily on their CFA work, which means that Schweser’s notes get ignored.

I passed with little over a months effort. Used knoweledgevarsity videos complemented by core readings. Ratan did a really good job compared to the overrated BT and Schweser. He will go through the toughest section of the curriculum and make it sound easy and obvious.

I have a feeling the people who write the exams look what’s in Scheweser just to stick it to candidates.