Woman sitting for a CFA mock exam to prepare for the CFA Program exam.

Posted by: Kaplan Schweser
Published: August 11, 2020

You’ve put in your 300 hours. You’ve attended the classes, you’ve gotten in some serious question practice, and your books look like they’ve been to war. Now it’s time to put all your hard work to the test (before the test). It’s time to sit for a CFA® mock exam.

There are a lot of “mock” exams on the market. But they’re not all created equal. The most effective CFA mock exams are designed to simulate the actual CFA exam format, difficulty, and length. It should be as close as you can get to sitting for the exam before actually sitting for the exam. The Schweser Mock Exam, for instance, helps candidates in three key ways:

  • You will develop and hone your critical test-taking skills.
  • The exam serves as an indicator of weak areas, so you can focus your final preparations.
  • Because it mimics the pressure of exam day, the mock exam helps you develop familiarity with the testing conditions and gives you the confidence to go into exam day fully prepared.

The appropriate timing for a mock exam is typically a few weeks before you sit for the actual exam. Taking a mock exam too early will not give you an appropriate understanding of how much information you’ll actually retain on exam day. If you take a mock exam too late, you won’t have ample time to improve your performance in identified areas of weakness.

What’s the Difference Between CFA® Practice Questions and a Mock CFA® Exam?

Nearly all CFA exam review providers incorporate practice questions and tests into their curriculum. For instance, Schweser offers the QBank as our question practice. Tools like the QBank are meant to be used throughout your preparation to ensure you have an understanding of what you’ve already studied and are prepared to move to the next topic.

CFA mock exams are designed to assess your mastery of everything you’ll be expected to know and do when you sit for the actual CFA exam. Mock exams are not a substitute for practice questions, and practice questions are not a substitute for mock exams. Both serve their own purpose and have a uniquely prescribed usage. To further confuse the issue, some exam prep providers market practice tests as mock exams. Do your research to ensure you’re getting the product you’re expecting when you purchase a mock exam.

Choosing Between Live and Online Mock Exams

Through partnerships with local CFA societies, Kaplan Schweser offers mock exams in over 100 locations throughout the world. If you can get to one, we encourage you to participate. That being said, we recognize it’s not realistic for all students. And in 2020, due to the novel coronavirus, live exams may not be available for some months. Fortunately, we also offer online mock exams. While you won’t be able to simulate testing room conditions with the online version, an online mock exam will still be comparable in format, difficulty, and length to the actual CFA exam. And since all levels of the CFA exam will be computer-based starting in 2021, the online mock exam will be closer to the real thing.

Not all candidates complete mock exams. But those that do report being much more confident in their knowledge and skills when it came time to sit for the exam. If you’re looking to put an exclamation point on the time that you’ve spent preparing for the exam, a mock exam might provide exactly what you need to cap off your studies.

Before You Decide to Sit for the CFA Exam

Free eBook: Before You Decide to Sit for the CFA® Program Exam

CFA Fundamentals eBook

Free eBook: CFA® Program Fundamentals, 2nd Edition