Hi all, Do any of you have any tips/tricks to remembering all of the formulas in Quant. Specfically, TVM and test stats for hypothesis testing. Will we be presented with formulas, or are many of the statistical questions on the exam concept based and lighter on calcs?

you can do almost all TVM problems on your calculator. check the LOS, if it doesn’t say “calculate” you don’t have to memorize the formula. a lot of the quant section is based on knowing the concepts.

For the ones you need to remember flash cards.

Having been through the L1 exam, I can tell you some general information. Some of the formulas are just too friggen complex to ever remember, such as the kurtosis and skew calculation. You need to understand the concepts really well, and I believe that’s what the exam is really after. You cannot do this stuff in 90 seconds even if you are an expert. OTOH, and I got this from Schweser and the various practice exams, you really need to remember formulas relating to equity valuation – specifically the continuous DDM formula, DuPont deconstruction, and anything related to TVM. You should memorize anything related to standard error, variance, sample and population standard deviation, etc. Know when the denominator is “n” and when it is “n-1”. People will tell you that the actual exam tests your understanding of the underlying concepts, not the actual execution of lengthy, complex formulas. I believe they are correct. If you do a lot of practice exams in the final month, you will get a good sense of what you need to memorize.

Ditto on Robert’s comment - I think the longer you spend doing practice problems, reading, etc., the more easily it will all come to you. At some point it just started to click. Honestly, for a few of the topics, it wasn’t until I was doing full length practice exams, then drilling down by topic, that I really GOT the stuff.

I completely forgot the DDM calculation when I was doing the initial reading (D/(k-g). It was only when I got relentless questions on the Schweser practice exams that I realized I had to really bone up on this thing. If you’re using Schweser, their practice exams (not the Qbank) are really beneficial. It’s unfortunate that CFAI offers so little in this regard.

Robert (or any of the previous exam takers), your thoughts on the following would be really appreciated. is it true that you don’t need to know the formula (for example for kurtosis or skewness) if the LOS statements don’t have the command word “calculate” Also does the actual CFA exam only ask questions relating to the LOS statements? The reason I ask is because I am using the CFAI texts as my primary learning tool (for readings) and they have so much information that is not mentioned in the LOS. Am i wasting time focusing on those concepts as well? For example I am currently reading about “Point Estimators & Confidence Intervals” the LOS only says “distinguish between point estimates and confidence intervals” it says nothing about the three desirable properties of estimators (which the texts talk about) Should I not worry much about concepts such as these?

I would study all of that. You should definitely be able to compute a confidence interval.

I can’t answer you directly because the institute would nail me on it, however I can share with you some general observations. When I saw the kurtosis and skewness formulas in the text, I was struggling so hard that I wanted to quit the program. The quant instructor in my review class said he had not heard any reports that these calculations were on past exams. If you think about it, it would take so long to lay it out long-hand, that it couldn’t be done in the allotted time, never mind the fact that you don’t have enough space in your booklet to do it. My experience going through lots of mock and practice exams (which were reasonable proxies for the actual exam) is that you need to understand the concepts of skew and kurtosis, but not the actual formulas. Computational work is an important element of the exam, but understanding the underlying concepts is even more important. praj Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Robert (or any of the previous exam takers), your > thoughts on the following would be really > appreciated. > > is it true that you don’t need to know the formula > (for example for kurtosis or skewness) if the LOS > statements don’t have the command word “calculate” > > > Also does the actual CFA exam only ask questions > relating to the LOS statements? The reason I ask > is because I am using the CFAI texts as my primary > learning tool (for readings) and they have so much > information that is not mentioned in the LOS. Am i > wasting time focusing on those concepts as well? > For example I am currently reading about “Point > Estimators & Confidence Intervals” the LOS only > says “distinguish between point estimates and > confidence intervals” it says nothing about the > three desirable properties of estimators (which > the texts talk about) Should I not worry much > about concepts such as these?

Robert, Along the same point, it seems there is almost no calculations/formulas in Econ. Would this be a safe assumption going forward?

I don’t think there are any calculations in economics material anyway. The only item I recall from the actual text were elasticity calculations. From personal experience, we all (that is, those in my review class) found economics very difficult. It’s partly because this was the first text that we studied and the materials weren’t fresh by the time we all took the exam. IMO, the curriculum is not well written nor is it all that easy to understand – especially when you get to factors of production. I, for instance, could never get my mind around elasticity of supply. Again, I think the exam tests you for conceptual knowledge, but you also have to know when a manufacturer would or would not produce one additional unit. Also know consumer and supplier surplus (yuck!). Econonics could have been so much more interesting if the text wasn’t so theoretical.

Robert, Thanks for the quick response. I recently took an Econ class that was almost point-for-point the same as the first 2 readings in the Econ book (I believe it was the same author but there was a lot of calculus involved), so I am not totally new to this stuff, but the class was much less theory and much more calculations, so I am not gonna get a free pass here haha. I am disappointed that it is so much micro and almost all theory. I was hoping for much more about relevant macro-factors like GDP, housing starts, purchasing index, etc. I agree that it could be much more interesting and also much more useful!

Yes, the macro section was really weak, but it was a relief compared to micro econ, which was dry and tedious. The macro text couldn’t properly explain how the Fed increases the money supply, nor why cash in the bank’s vault is excluded from M1. I’m told that L2 delves more deeply into macro econ as well as global issues. I certainly hope it’s more interesting.

Learn the value of the Brain Dump. When I was preparing for the S7 back in 2003, I took the week long crash course. The facilitator taught us tricks and shortcuts. We all practiced “dumping” them on a sheet of paper. So the idea is that the minute the proctors says begin, you “dump” all your formulas and shortcuts on paper and then you have them for reference. For the CFA, you need to be very selective with what you choose to include in your Brain Dump. In my opinion, all TVM, basic financial ratios, and basic statistics formulas should be 100% memorized and NOT included in your brain dump. You really should have more advanced concepts or formulas on your Brain Dump. Personally, I practiced my Brain Dump a lot, even in the car before going in to the exam. When it started, I did my Brain Dump and began taking the test. It was definitely one of those things that you’re rather have and not need than need and not have. Hope this helps. T

Sorry Tony! I am gonna have to disagree with you there. Personally I have no experience with the brain dump, but I have taught a lot of students. What I suggest is that you get enough practice over the course of your study and specially over the last 3-4 weeks to ensure that you are on top of all the formulas. By the end of it, with wnough practice under your belt, you really wont be struggling with them. I agree with Robert about paying attention to the wording of the LOS. For example, the supr complicated formulas in the latter half of Hypothesis testing are not testable. You just need to identify and apply the appropriate test statistic to conduct tests…

Thanks Robert A & beatthecfa for addressing my questions. Appreciate your thoughts and Input.

I think you guys should focus on doing schweser practice exam questions. You keep doing those over and over again in the last month, and the formulas will be at your fingertips. Of course you should try to memorize them independently, but I wouldn’t stress out over it. Keep working persistently and get a good night’s sleep.