Practice exam stagnation

I’ve done 9, 120-question Schweser practice exams and scored the following: 65, 63, 67, 62, 68, 68, 67, 64, 67 Average: 65 I’m not sure if I’m learning more and the exams are getting tougher, I’m not retaining as much material and the exams are staying about the same, or a combination of the two. My scores tend to move in the direction of the peer group, but still haven’t had that breakthrough practice exam. I plan on primarily spending time on Ethics, FRA, Equity, and Fixed as I progress towards test day. It’s a little frustrating spending time doing practice questions, then scoring just about the same as I did before and the same as the peer group. Anyone with similar experiences?

Working a lot of practice questions/exams melts the brain. Try to review the questions you got wrong and read/google concepts to fill in your gaps.

Instead of trying to rush taking another 120 question practice test actually look at what concepts you are missing and work examples or looks at examples related to it.

What did you make on the CFA mock? I made a 60% on it and really taking time to iron out the areas I knew I was weak in and the practice test I missed these concept questions. Working these areas out will increase your scores. Don’t wear yourself out working 100s of questions focus on the areas you need too.

The questions in the assessments of each area online within the CFA portal is very useful. I am working those all out and reviewing that then going to hit the Schwesar practice test this week. but, if I am missing questions on concepts I know I don’t know 100% spending 10-30 minutes in these areas could fill in the gaps and add points here and there going forward. That is my personal strategy

Excellent idea, you really hit a few key points on the head, especially rushing through to take 120 questions and practice exams melting the brain. Also, no more practice exams after a full day at work, that’s rough.

I haven’t taken CFAI mock yet, plan on doing it this coming weekend or next.

The exam I took today I’m currently going through, jotting notes, working questions, and hitting areas I need to imrpove upon. I’ll focus on areas with the most room to imrpove my overall score, and should crack the mid-70’s by test day. It’s all about peaking at the right time.


I feel I’ve also had some stagnation. I started off with a 71 3 weeks ago and although I have been getting sporadic high 70s, I feel stagnated at the 75 level.

This is a slightly better situation than yours as I am in the 70s. I think theres a new level you need to reach, by taking a different approach to past papers.

One suggestion is to review every single answer in the latest past paper. Any that you were at all doubtful about, spend 2 days reviewing these LOS in the CFAI books and then attempt another paper 3 days after the first. The reason I say CFAI books is because you already have all the Kaplan knowledge. I did this for diluted EPS and now I (almost) feel confident in it.

Are you guys utilizing the practice assessments in the CFA portal. These questions (I am hoping) are going to be close to the actual exam questions I could see…Schwesar tends to ask in a slighly different format I feel like.

“Instead of trying to rush taking another 120 question practice test actually look at what concepts you are missing and work examples or looks at examples related to it.”

I disagree with the above. I think it is invaluable to be able to sit through 6 hours of testing and “melt” your brain doing so. That is exactly what is going to happen on exam day. Look at marathon runners - they dont just run on an eliptical for 30 minutes and then go out to compete in the boston marathon. I think if you are sitting down for 3 hours at a time and taking mock exams (2 or 3 in day with an hour or so break in between) then you will be able to handle the actual exam - i.e. you will be in test taking shape.

After taking these exams, write down what you miss and hammer down on those concepts for the next several days and then repeat. I have been repeating this the past month or so and noticed my scores have been going up and up, and part of it is just the fact that I can focus/concentrate for 3+ hours at a time without my brain feeling like jello at the end.

Simply taking mock exams will not improve your score. You must dedicate time to review:

A) The questions you got wrong.

B) The questions you guessed on - You should mark your guesses, even if you narrowed it down deductively, the actual exam will not be as condusive to guessing and you should be sure you know an answer, not how to eliminate 2.

C) Read the sections you’re scoring low on and work the blue box examples, weighted by exam weight. For example, if you’re scoring 60% on FRA and 50% on derivatives, review FRA as that is a significantly larger portion of the exam.

Im taking 1 practice exam a week and reviewing concepts, but whatever works for you is good. Managing work and CFA is difficult so I’m trying to just do both.

I think his point was identical to yours-- taking practice exams one after another without sufficient review is fruitless. Sure, you can sit through the exam and not feel fatigued, but you don’t know squat. At least to me, it came off as “don’t waste new mock exams by not reviewing the ones you already took. Take an exam, review it, and go to a new mock exam. Repeat the process.”

I started out studying by working through the CFAI books, then moved to the Schweser QBank and mock exams about a month ago. What I found useful, after doing 3 full mocks and a couple thousand QBank questions, was to go back to the CFAI material and revisiting it.

I just scanned/flipped through the material and read in detail when I saw topics that I have seen tested in the QBank. For me, this took about 2-3 hours per volume (12-18 hours) but my scores improved significantly after doing so.

This is in addition to a lot of the suggestions above (ie, reviewing questions you got wrong and guessed on).

Took another (120 question) practice exam today after a week or so of intense review, scored a 76. Felt good to break through the plateau.

76 should normally be enough to pass. Did my first mock today and scored close to 70. Try to push that to 80%, so I can be sure to pass the exam.

LeChiffre, what activities did you do in your intense review to break the plateau. I feel I have plateaud around 72-75.