How to study/prepare for FRM Part 1?

Hi guys, I’ve signed up for FRM Part 1 in Nov 2017. I have NOT as yet got my study materials…I have a deadline set for myself to get something by July 1 (the date I want to start my preparation).

The three most common I see are: GARP official notes, Schweser notes, and Bionic Turtle notes.

Would it honestly be enough, if say I could get the Schweser notes as my primary source, and refer to the GARP official notes as my secondary source? I also have some books on derivatives/options and statistics from my actuarial science degree in university that I could use (though they’re not really part of the recommended reading material).

How important is it to buy the practice questions/mock exams as well? Is it enough to do the questions/examples presented within the notes? Is it OK to do recent past year practice/mock questions (from 2015 + 2016)?

Generally, I just need some idea on the scope of what I should be focusing on to comfortably ace the paper. I am prepared to put in 300+ hours (roughly two hours a day from July 1 till Nov 18, possibly with more hours on weekends).

Would really, really appreciate some pointers. There is a huge ocean ahead of me, I just need to know where to focus. Once I get that settled, I can prepare for the paper with a clearer frame of mind.


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Schweser plus GARP official notes is exactly what I used and I passed part I in May 2017.

For practice I used Schweser’s QBank (which is part of all the study packages offered by Schweser), Schweser’s two practice exams and Schweser’s end of chapter question. GARP only provided one practice exam. There are no further practice questions provided by GARP. So, it’s completely different to the CFA where you have tons of questions provided by the CFA institute.

I can’t say so much about the time you have to spend for the preparation as this depends on how much experience and knowledge you have. For example all the derivatives and fixed income stuff was quite easy for me due to my experience. But this could be completely different for you. But I’d say if you are willing to spend 300+ hours you should be on the safe side.

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Would doing practice papers from 2015 and 2016 be of any use, or should I strictly stick to 2017 practice papers? I do have some older papers passed on to me…I figure those that are too old will be of little use, but I wonder if it is worth doing those from the recent past at least (i.e. past two years).

2 from schweser and 1 from GARP should be enough provided you understand the material very well . I passed in my second attempt by just practicing 2 mocks and for my first practiced 5 mocks but still failed so better to underdtand the material and practice .

Is it good enough to just read/cover the four major themes in the order they are presented? I.e. read the entire book one, then book two…book four (front to back). Or is there some other recommended strategy?

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As its your first time i would suggest try to complete Quants first then FMP ,VaR and finally do the Foundations . Why foundations in last becaused its very small can be completed soon as you would already gained momentum .Initially if you start with foundation you might take more than required time to complete the book and may get less time for FMP and VaR .

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Ok, so 2 > 3 > 4 > 1? Is the overview knowledge in Topic 1 unnecessary for topics 2/3/4?

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Hi ,

The overview is more of theory so can be taken in the end .

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Alright, I have done Book 1 and Book 2. I actually started off with Book 2, but read Book 1 concurrently, especially during lunch as it’s reading-intensive with some note-taking.

Now that I’m done with both of these, I generally get 3-5 of my answers correct in the end of the chapter questions. My mean must be somewhere around 3.8-4.2…I don’t know. I do the end of the topic questions without looking at the material again. The one topic I did not immediately grasp was the Bayesian Analysis topic. Got kinda lost there.

Anyways, I feel pretty OK thus far. Is this a good omen? Will Book 3 and Book 4 pose any major challenges, or will it be more of the same given that I can manage and cope with stuff so far?

Thats great going :+1: … But i would say concept checkers of schweser are not even of 10% difficulty of what you will face in the exam . Better try to solve BT questions if you can get hand on the material from anywhere . Bayesian analysis is very important concept as it will be useful in valuating options in Book 4 and a sure shot GARP favorite in the exam . In fact , in May 2017 there were 2 questions on this topic so better master it now . I am assuming you have Shweser question bank as well and solving the same . Best of luck !!!

I do have QB, not yet got there yet. But I do not have BT. Would it be absolutely necessary? Are the notes really that bad that you couldn’t get through just doing examples/concept checkers? I took the QB for granted, so thanks for the heads up in that regards.

Yeah when I looked at past year sample papers and some from the GARP official site before I signed up, there was always one question on Bayesian analysis, definitely gonna master it to get one confirmed mark.

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There are people who have cleared only with shweser but most of them will say BT is the only prep provided which matches the difficulty level of the exam , even i felt the same on my first attempt . Past papers and shweser end to end with no loose ends should sail you through.

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Past papers? You mean there are actual past year papers, or just past year practice papers?

practice papers i mean.

In my experience you should be practicing as many mocks and questions you can find. Schweser provides good quality questions, really challenging and up in line to the curriculum. I also use prepsmarter since they have wide variety of questions (I guess more than schweser). I have not tried Bionic because I saw some bad reviews on facebook about them many times so I bought GARP material and prepsmarter package and got schweser notes from a friend for reference.

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I’m interested to give myself a chance but first must prepare coworkers and wife to give me a credit for studying hard again.

Is still possible to take Level 1 and Level 2 at the same day?

You can take them together

And you will nail it

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Fine. Good to know. Thanks!

Hey guys, I’m aware that what I’ll be asking might not be the appropriate for this thread but since it’s been bumped to the top, I’ll ask anyway. I passed L3 CFA this year and I’m thinking of taking the FRM Part 1 Exam in May 2018. I’m currently working as a credit analyst in corporate banking. I’m not a CFA Charterholder yet and I’m still accumulating the experience required and this would take around 2-3 more years. The reason why I’m considering FRM is because the program might be more applicable to my role than CFA.

For those that have taken both CFA and FRM, would you say that pursuing the FRM designation is worth the time and effort? I know that CFA is geared more towards asset management while FRM is geared more towards risk management but is having both redundant? Would having FRM give you the edge in banking?

How would you compare the exam difficulty? Would you say the preparation time required is similar?

And finally, which third party prep material would you recommend? I relied on Schweser for CFA but many people here say it might not be the best prep material for FRM.

Thanks in advance for your input!

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CFA Charterholder here, giving FRM L1 in 2 weeks. While I haven’t even passed L1 yet, happy to give my 2 cents:

Looks to me like FRM is worth pursuing in your case given your role. Materials in FRM already covered in CFA are ca. 33%-40% I believe, most of them in L1. L1 preparation is ca. 66%-75% of preparation for one CFA level, but careful: While the amount of materials is less per level than in one CFA level (particularly CFA L2 with its crazy amount of material covered), question difficulty is generally higher with fewer low-hangig fruit Q’s than in CFA. But on the other hand, correct answer passing percentage seems to be more like 60% rather than the 67-70% in CFA.

L1 should be doable, with much Fixed Income and Derivatives already covered in CFA L2 and L3, but more depth on Quant topics which were covered very superficially in CFA. For L2 I expect less overlap, therefore less advantage for Charterholders, and generally higher difficulty.

In terms of materials, I’m using both Schweser and BT. Schweser summary is quite good, I find it a bit clearer than BT which can get lost in formula derivations/proofs sometimes which are not exam relevant. I was only disappointed with Schweser in Quant - Distributions, which are only covered relatively superficially. Huge issue with Schweser is that its mock exams are too easy, I’ve been told the BT questions - which are significantly trickier - reflect actual exam difficulty better.

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