How to Use a Mock CFA® Exam to Sharpen Your Testing Skills

By: Kaplan Schweser
January 11, 2021
Woman sitting for a CFA mock exam to prepare for the CFA Program exam

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.

What is a Mock CFA Exam?

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 sit for the exam without actually being there. 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 Exam 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 SchweserPro QBank® as our question practice, and our study packages include practice exams that mimic the types and order of questions on the exam. These tools 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 or tests, and practice questions and tests are not a substitute for mock exams. Each has its own purpose and 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. Because all levels of the CFA exam are now computer-based, your mock exam should offer the option of simulating the format of the testing provider’s interface so that you know what to expect when you arrive at the testing center.

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Choosing the Right Mock Exams

Kaplan Schweser offers online CFA mock exams. While you won’t be able to simulate the exact testing room conditions with the online version, our mock exam will help you familiarize yourself with the CBT format. 

This exam also offers a “Sim Mode,” which simulates the interface, format, difficulty, and length of the actual CFA exam from the test provider—helping you develop your test-taking skills, identify your weak areas, and demonstrate your mastery of the CFA Program curriculum.

This mode is timed using the same time limits and built-in breaks of the CFA exam that serve as guidelines so you can replicate exam day as close as possible. Once the timer hits zero, you don’t have to stop the exam, however. You can continue completing the mock exam.

You can flag, skip, and filter questions just like you will be able to do at the testing center. To complete the exam simulation, you must answer all the questions, but your account allows you to submit an incomplete exam so that you can easily get through the entire thing.

Results will be shown in the LMS upon completion. You can also view answer explanations, check your score compared to those of other candidates, and drill deeper into each question with our Mock Exam Tutorial.

Give Yourself an Edge

Not all candidates complete mock exams. But those who do report being much more confident in their knowledge and skills when it came time to sit for the exam. If you want to put an exclamation point on the time that you’ve spent preparing for the CFA exam and give your chances of passing an extra boost, a mock exam is a worthwhile investment.


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