Help on Answering

I am having lots of trouble with exam strategy. I need to decide how to tackle the questions on exam day. Please excuse my english since I am not native.

I used the 40-50-10 stalla rule for level 1 and worked excelent. Used it in level 2, and I was not so clear as to its utility on item sets. For level 3 it gets me very messy, but I still feel it may help not miss those easy questions. My current test strategy is: 1. Start with Equity, which is usually straightforward, to bank some time. 2. Keep on going from there, quickly read each question, if it appears to take more than half the minutes assigned in the AM session, or take more than 1 minute in the PM, skip it and keep going. I write three buckets on a piece of paper: 1. Easy but long, 2. Hard but doable, 3. Impossible. Each question I skip, I put in one bucket. I usually skip Fixed Income and Derivatives. 3. Do Ethics 4. Go for the Easy-but-long questions. 5. Go for Fixed income and Derivatives. 6. Go for hard-but-doable questions. The rationale is that on the first pass I will have approximately 40% of the exam in the first hour, with easy questions, being extremely careful to only get those right. And with some time banked. Then I can proceed to do those time consuming questions. Problems: On item sets and on essay type questions there is a gain from finishing all questions right away. If I leave a part of a question unanswered, it will take extra time to get some of the context. Sometimes it takes long just to figure out if the question is easy. Finding in the text the section adressed, or the information required in the question may take long, since occasionaly they mess the information a bit. Sometimes I have to go to get context from the beginning of the case. All this messes up the 40-50-10 methodology, and I am getting quite confused and anxious during the mocks. The setup, first pass, should take less than an hour and result in at least 40% of the exam being answered. On reality it is taking 1h:30min, and I am answering approx. 30% of the questions. So it is not really working… I am getting caught up, and not having enough time for the rest of the exam. Should I change strategy altogether? Should I practice more with this strategy to perfect it? What are you guys doing? Do you have other insights… Thanks a lot!

Please help me on this one guys!

You waste time going back to questions. You also waste time reading the full vignette before answering any of the questions. Do all the questions for a given vignette at the same time and don’t go back to it. Read the first question, then hunt in the vignette for the answer. Then do the next one. Don’t read them before looking at the questions. Don’t look back.

I have no idea what the 40-50-10 rule is so I can’t help there.

My plan, although not yet complete, appears to be now anyway, to first just look at the beginning, where it will tell you what part of the curriculum its based from. If it’s something I know well, I will do it first. Or, if it’s something I memorized at 7:30 Saturday morning and will forget by 10, I will do that first. Secondly, there will (most likely) be some sort of an individual and institutional IPS. It will probably be like 15 points for one section, and like 30 for the whole question. Will at least do the IPS portions first. I’m finding that the questions that require an explanation and not so much calculations, are given more time than necessary to write the answer. The calculations tend to take longer, relatively per point. Or maybe I’m just slow with the calculator-ing, or realizing what calculations need to be done. Or most likely both.

I don’t want to miss any of the context by going back and forth between questions and missing an important part to the answer, so I will go from full question to full question after the above is complete. If however, for instance, there is an A B C and D, I may skip over B, and complete the question through D, then go back for maybe 30 seconds to see if I can figure out B, but after that I will skip and hope I end up with time at the end to dissect it.

What I can tell you, is (in my experience), the PM portion won’t take close to 3 hours. However, I still will be doing both the ethics sections and the GIPS section first to bank time, just in case.

The 40-50-10 rule states that aprox. 40% of the questions will be straight forward, 50% will be tough and 10% will be impossible.

So the strategy is to do a first pass just doing that easy 40%, being very careful to get them right. That way you get 40% of the exam + you bank some time.

On a second pass, do the other 50%.

Fill in anything for the other 10%.