Getting >70% on mock/pratice exams?

Is anyone able to score over 70% (or better, 75%) on any mock exams or practice exams they’ve tried? If so, could you please share: 1. Your score (e.g. 70%? 75%?) 2. What mock exams you are referring to (e.g. Schweser? CFAI? Other?) 3. Best part… your success factors (e.g. read the books 5 times? did all the Q-bank questions? etc. etc.)

I’m asking because I’d like to get an idea (and let everyone get an idea) of what the people who do well do well at, and I heard CFAI claimed that nobody has ever failed an exam if they scored 70% or above.

Thanks for your input!

I only did one mock so far but got about 76-78% on both morning and afternoon. Was actually skimming the questions and didn’t put too much effort into reading the vignettes. Completely guessed on swap and FRA valuation questions b/c didn’t bother memorizing those equations yet.

I attribute this score to 2 factors:

  1. That particular exam was light on complicated Equity and FRA concepts. I think that if i got tested on some other sections, it could have brought down my score by 5%. I think that 1 more week of work and some concentration on equity will help me solidify that 5% and even get some extra.

  2. My study method ->> My method is cut up into multiple phases. Each becomes shorter as i move along. Started studying in beg Feb, averaged 3 hours per day. and have 3 weeks off starting friday.

Phase 1 - For each chapter i would watch schweser videos, hi-light the video slides, read each CFAI Chapter, Hi-light what the video slides ommitted, and do EOC questions. (Length - 3 Months)

Phase 2 - Read and try to memorize as much as possible from the hi-lighted video slides + what i highlighted in the CFAI books and do general skimming and understanding. (Length - 1 Month)

Phase 3 - Redoo all EOC questions (~7 days) Am midway through this phase.

Phase 4 - 7 or 8 Practice Exams/Mocks (~7 days)

Phase 5 - Focused review: Read all EOC summaries, read FRA Note, Equity Notes, Ethics Notes, + read formulas, read up on weaknesses, look at questions i got wrong in past mocks. (~7 days)


I have a handy 2 page list of the topics which i’m weak in and i try to review them towards the end if i have time.

Schweser Practice Exams

Exam 1(morning) 68%

Exam 1(afternoon) 77%

Exam 2(morning) 78%

Read through all the schweser material. Watched all the online classes. Went to one of the 3 day review seminars. Now I’m just working problems, going back and working on weak areas. Haven’t opened the CFAI books. Will work on end of chapter problems and finish all Schweser practice exams by D-day.

I think what has helped me is to really understand the essence of most of these concepts. I am trying not to memorize too many formulas. Of course, there’s no intuition behind how to caclulate an F test, but I believe the key for us to pass is: 1) work smart; 2) work problems 3) do not panic

and if I can add one last thing about preparation…on Friday, june 1st, go get a massage, watch a movie, get distracted, have some sex( be careful not to overdo this one and end up staying up late).

On exam day…get there early and observe! watch how people dress, how exam proctors work, how the room is set up, where the restrooms are…own that place! That place is yours and you are in command! Wear something warm…be careful with too much coffee. However, don’t let your confidence turn into arrogance. Make sure you’re being careful and dilligent when reading your exam questions. If you put in the hours and worked smart, babe…you will pass this Thaang!

Now lets get back to work.

Btw, i realized that although i’m scoring well on the practice exams, there are tons of minutiae that i forget and that looks new when you review it.

What i’ve realized is that if you’re strong in most of the material, you can usually figure out the answers by knowing whic ones are absolutely wrong. I find that the structure of the CFAI questions make you think.

For example: they don’t ask you what are the Black-Scholes assumptions, they have someone make a statement in the vignette and then you are asked if it is right or wrong. Right now, off the top of my head, i cant even think of them by heart, honestly i probably remember 1 of them. But once its in a question context, they are familiar enough for me to know if it`s absolutely wrong or might be right.

CFA Mock (2012, AM): 70%

CFA Mock (2012, PM): 67%

Schweser Exam 1 AM: 72%

Schweser Exam 1 PM: 78%

straightjacket makes some great points. at this point, if you’ve put in the work, it’s all about practice exams - lots of them. if you haven’t put in the work, i’d say it’s still all about practice exams. if you do 8 full practice exams and use the results to narrow your focus to the areas in most need of work, you can make great progress.

in contrast to level 1, you need MANY exams to make sure you have covered the entire material - as straightjacket pointed out, you can do well on one exam, but maybe you got lucky and your weaknesses were not exposed (i’m hoping that hasn’t been the case for me so far, but i’m sure it has been in part!)

62% on mock 1. Studied some more and did the next mock. 76.67% for mock 2. Studied some more and did the next mock. 72.5% for mock 3.

I found that around half the questions I missed where just because I didn’t have the knowledge or I didn’t remember something. The other half were because the question was just tricky or I was just careless. Some questions even now I look at them and I have no idea how the CFAI expected me to see the “trick” behind the question.

I’ve been reading the CFAI books, underlining stuff, doing the EOCQ’s, blue boxes, etc. I have a formula list along with a bunch of notes over peculiar things for section of the textbooks. Any time I make a mistake, I add a note for that mistake to the notes. It’s a nice way to review all the major items.

I’m going to go in-depth into each section again, do another mock, and then probably do some more mocks. Then I’ll take it easy for a week or so until the exam.

It’s useful to take mock exams for no other reason than knowing how to approach the vignettes. If you know what to look for, it saves time.

68% on the 2012 CFAI mock but took that about a month ago. Got 78% last week on the BSAS Mock exam. Taking the 2011 CFAI mock exam this weekend. I don’t buy any materials, just go by CFAI materials given and make my own notes and flashcards and formula sheets to study off of.

After every exam I take I spend atleast 1 week before taking another exam and I make sure to study all my weak areas, making sure I can do all the CFAI EOC Q’s, and making sure I actually understand the material. As was noted above, understanding and recognition is important. I don’t memorize every point, but I am pretty good at recognizing what fits and what doesn’t when presented with choices

  1. Range: 77% to 91%; mean ~82%

  2. 4.5 Schweser exams, i.e. total of 9 sessions

  3. Redommendation: starting early (in August '11); taking detailed notes as you go; once done with first read, review at least 1 topic/day using your notes (usually takes me 40-90 minutes/day); making a list of most difficult concepts and focusing on them; doing as many mocks/practice tests as possible and carefully reviewing mistakes.

I’ve gotten between 65-78 on the exams. the schweser seems harder. also doing BSAS, getting a lot higher scores on there.

Finished the CFAI books a week ago. Doing CFAI EOC Qs now. I find it very useful in remembering and getting the concepts to stick. Plan to finish by mid-week and do Schweser Practice Exams 1 & 2, then CFAI Mock. After that it is all review review review especially FRA and Equity!

Hi b_sea, you seem to be doing very well on practice questions. That’s great! Even if the test was tomorrow, given the good shape you are in, you could probably pass it blind-folded. :slight_smile: May I ask you what you do, and why you are so motivated to achieve a high score on the CFA exam? I’m asking because among all the people I’ve heard about, you are by far the one who started the earliest. (Aug 2011 would be a few days after you heard about your Level 1 results…) That’s be the time an average person spends on at least two levels combined!

I’ve done the first 3 Schweser practice exams, got 53%, 59%, and 69%, respectively. Improvement! And not bad IMO, for somebody who knows absolutely nothing about quant, and nothing about derivatives and PM beyond the basic overarching concepts. I have 5 practice exams left to do, so I’m going to try to get through 2 every week here on out.

Honestly, come June 2, so much of it comes down to luck, including A) what is actually on the test, B) if you manage to guess well on your weak areas, C) if you have a mental breakdown during the test (it happens).

My strategy is to focus on what I know and know well: ethics, FRA, equity, CF, and FI. Econ should be included on that list, but I seem to have a mental block on how to understand exchange rates and everything that goes along with that, so that is what I am trying to tackle right now. If anybody has any hints on that, I’d appreciate it.

@krazykanuck: my scores in Schweser are almost the same; found the 3rd test very easy therefore don’t think it is reflective of the actual test. Not sure, how good the chances are with this score.

and yes, Economics is hard and at this point, counting on luck on this to have only one vignette.

Hi michaelwcao and thanks for your kind words. Basically, I am in the back-office of an IR consulting firm. Coming from a no name school in a third world country, I was lucky to get this job, but it’s not something I want to do for more than 2-3 years, so I am trying to beef up my resume every way I can (eventually I want do actual investment analysis focusing preferably on emerging/frontier markets). I won’t start looking for those jobs until I complete the program, so I am determined to complete it as fast as possible, i.e. without retakes. I guess if my work wasn’t as boring, I wouldn’t be as motivated :slight_smile:

I am using the 2011 Schweser practice exams, so I’m not sure if we’re using the same ones.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t know personally know anybody who has passed Level 2 on the first attempt. They have passed on the 2nd attempt, but it seems to knock people off their feet the first time. Best case scenario, I pass. Worst case scenario, I tried and will see how it goes.

My recommendation would be to not wait too long until you take a CFAI Mock. I just started a more thorough review today but after scoring 80 on the first two Schweser Mocks the last couple weekends, the Hare syndrome took over and I started really shutting it down last couple of weeks. Well, yesterday I took the 2011 CFAI Mock and it woke me up, scored 63. One huge difference I found between Schweser and the CFAI test which I expect to pertain to the actual exam is that the Schweser Mocks allow you to solve most of the answers on intuition and understanding of the concepts alone. I hadn’t reviewed any formulas or touched up on the ticky tack things but was able to logic out a lot of answers I didn’t know. This was not the case in the CFAI mock. You either know it or you don’t and the answer choices aren’t structured so you can easily eliminte 1 option for every question like the Schwesers were. Reviewing the CFAI Mock today and it is giving me a much better direction that the Schwesers as to topics I will need to brush up on, formulas I will need to memorize, etc etc. As others have stated, the CFAI structure/wording is also a bit different and vignettes lengthier, which is not a big deal, but if you show up on test day expecting otherwise and this surprises you, it may not be a pretty picture.

From the most recent Schweser mock 81.5%, others are in the range of 70-80%. I’m satisfied with my results given preparation of 1.5 months. My strategy is to read material once (actually i haven’t even covered some of the topics) and jump to practice exams, you improve as you do them. And read the quicksheet before going to sleep to get know main concepts and formulas really well.

Wow, I keep hearing that the CFAI mocks are much harder than Schweser ones. (I haven’t touched the former, so no opinion.) That’s quite discouraging…

However(!)… I’ve also heard that the actual exams won’t be as tough as the CFAI mocks but would be rather close to Schweser’s level.

I remember feeling that way after I took Level 1 last year. I remember walking out of L1 knowing that I passed because it felt easier than the CFAI mocks I had just taken. But I’ve also heard that Level 2 is an entirely different beast, so I’ll take last year’s memories with a grain of salt.

My information doesn’t come from my own (Level 1) experience, but from people who wrote Level 2 (and passed).

But, if this is true, I’m sure the CFAI mocks are probably still great practice. When you train for a 5K (3-mile) race, you probably want to go run for 8K (5 miles) in your training just to get “over-prepared”.