Visual representation of woman searching for most frequently asked questions about FRM Exam

Posted By: Kaplan Schweser
Published: December 27, 2018

If you are considering sitting for the FRM® Exam, you probably have questions. We’ve created this article to answer the most common questions we receive from people who are taking their first steps toward the FRM designation. You’re always welcome to reach out to Schweser’s knowledgeable Student Support team for help as well.

What is the FRM® designation?

FRM is an acronym for Financial Risk Manager. Offered by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP), the FRM certification is recognized as the leading certification for risk managers. Those with the FRM designation are in high demand because of their demonstrated ability to anticipate, respond, and adapt to critical risk issues. The FRM designation lets banks and financial firms know that you take risk management seriously, and your knowledge has been validated by international professional standards.

What is the median salary of a Certified FRM®?

The FRM designation is valued by top employers and recognized globally as the highest standard of achievement in financial risk. As the FRM designation continues to grow, so do its benefits. According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary for financial risk managers in the United States is $101,404. Financial risk analysts earn approximately $56,000. On the top end of the scale are senior financial risk managers or executives, who earn an average of $151,000.

How do I earn the FRM® certification?

To earn the certification, you must take and pass Part I and Part II of the FRM Exam. There are no education or work requirements for taking the exam, but after you pass both parts, you must demonstrate that you’ve had at least two years of full-time work experience in the field of risk. Finance-related vocations are the only ones considered as acceptable work experience. Examples include portfolio management, industry research, trading, and risk consulting.

What is the difference between Parts I and II of the FRM® Exam?

The FRM Exam Part I focuses on the tools used to assess financial risk, and it is always offered in the morning. It has more questions than Part II. Part II focuses on the application of the tools, and it is always offered in the afternoon.

When is the FRM® Exam offered?

Both Part I and Part II are offered in May and November. For example, the 2019 dates are May 18 and November 16. You can take both exams on the same day; however, you will not be scored for Part II if you don’t pass Part I.

What is the format of the FRM® Exam?

Part I and Part II of the FRM Exam are paper-and-pencil, multiple-choice exams; each part is four hours in length. Part I has 100 multiple-choice questions, and Part II has 80.

What topics are covered in the FRM® Exam?

Part I tests your knowledge of the tools used for risk management. The topics and their weights are:

  • Foundations of risk management (20%)
  • Quantitative analysis (20%)
  • Financial markets and products (30%)
  • Valuation and risk models (30%)

The topics of Part II are based on applying the tools tested in Part I and are weighted as follows:

  • Market risk measurement and management (25%)
  • Operational and integrated risk management (25%)
  • Credit risk measurement and management (25%)
  • Risk management and investment management (15%)
  • Current issues in financial markets (10%)

How much time do I need to dedicate to studying for the FRM® Exam?

For each part, you need to study a minimum of 200–240 hours, and you should start studying as soon as you’ve registered. You will be tested on your ability to read a question, analyze it, and apply concepts to it. So cramming in the final weeks before the exam won’t help you. The topics require a type of knowledge that can only be gained over a structured, careful course of study—not last-minute, frantic reviews of core materials. You can learn more about how to study for the exam here.

How hard is the FRM® Exam?

The FRM Exam is very quantitative, and the curriculum takes a lot of time to master. As a result, more people fail Part I than pass it, and barely half of those who take Part II pass it. One reason for this is the variations in the FRM Exam questions. Some are straightforward, others appear straightforward but have a trick to them, and the wording of still others can be confusing. Therefore, there will undoubtedly be questions on the FRM Exam that give you trouble (you can learn how to tackle those here.) Some self-directed and motivated candidates are able to pass both parts of the FRM Exam using a course of self-study, but many use exam prep packages or classes to stay organized and ensure they are prepared for exam day.

What is the FRM® Exam pass rate?

The FRM Exam pass rate is on the decline overall, especially for Part I. Of those who took the exam in 2017, the average pass rate for Part I was 42%, and 53% for Part II. The May 2018 pass rate was 41% for Part I, and 53% for Part II. You can greatly improve your odds of success by learning from other candidates’ experiences and avoiding common study mistakes.

How much does it cost to sit for the FRM® Exam?

The cost to sit for the FRM Exam varies depending on when you register. Enrollment for the FRM Exam requires a one-time enrollment fee of $400 (USD), due when you register for your first Part I FRM Exam, as well as individual exam registration fees, listed here:

  • Early - $350
  • Standard - $475
  • Late - $650

What are the next steps?

Are you ready for the next step? Check out our FRM Exam prep study packagges, designed for all learning styles. Or, learn more about earning the FRM designation here.


Considering earning the FRM designation? Download this free Before You Sit for the FRM® Exam eBook