How crucial is it to buy the qbank questions? Is there any other alternative?

I believe it is very crucial; you need to do lots of practice questions in some form. On the exam you’ll face some 240 questions at a speed of 1 question every 1.5 minute. One alternative could be to purchase practice exams (from CFA Institute or from e.g. Schweser/Stalla). I did 17 practice exams before taking the Level I exam in June -07 (which is 2040 questions).

wawa: just curious, what did you score on the exam?