Two cartoon people solving FRM exam questions in speech balloons - Kaplan Schweser

Posted by: Eric Smith, CFA, FRM
Published: November 24, 2015

Here are 8 tips to keep in mind as you practice working through multiple-choice questions for the FRM® exam.

1. Read the question carefully!

Watch for double negatives like, “Which of the following is least likely a disadvantage…” It is very important to not miss words, or parts of words, by reading too quickly (e.g., reading “most likely” instead of “least likely,” or “advantages” instead of “disadvantages”).

2. For non-numerical questions, read all answer choices.

Don’t just stop when you get to one that sounds right. There may be a better choice.

3. For long questions, dissect the bits of information that are provided.

What information is relevant? What is most specifically related to the question? Often, a wrong answer looks good because it is consistent with information in the question that is actually irrelevant.

4. After you read the question, determine what you think the question is asking.

This can help you filter out extraneous information and focus quickly on appropriate answer choices. Similarly, after you read the question, it is a good idea to formulate your own answer before reading the answer choices. Develop an expectation of what the answer should be. This may make the correct answer sound better to you when you read it.

5. On calculation problems, after you have selected an answer, pause for a moment.

Think about whether the answer makes sense, is the sign of the result correct, or does the direction of change make sense?

6. Do not look for patterns in answers.

Just because the last three questions all had “C” for an answer, do not expect the next answer not to be “C.” There is no reason to expect that GARP has a preference for how many questions are answered with the same letter.

7. Be very sure that you are marking your answer in the right place on the answer sheet.

If you skip questions, be especially careful to check your answers. Obviously, mis-marking can be devastating if you do not catch it right away. Trust your first impressions. You will find that you are often correct.

8. Finally, and probably most importantly, do not lose confidence.

To our knowledge, no one has ever received a perfect score on the FRM Exam. 70% has always been a good approximation of the passing score needed. This means you can miss 30% of the questions and still pass. Even if you have struggled on a few questions, maybe even five or six in a row, do not lose confidence. The worst thing you can do is second-guess yourself. Once you start second-guessing, you will may take longer on every question and start changing correct answers.

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