Tie It All Together: Effective FRM® Exam Review Strategies

By: Kaplan Schweser
April 6, 2021
FRM candidate at his computer completing Final Review for the exam.

If you are a candidate enrolled in the FRM® exam, time can get away from you. An effective review strategy can help. Ideally, the preparation phase of the journey should be finished about three months before your exam day, and the last three weeks before your day, at least, should be set aside for mock exams. Kaplan Schweser, for example, provides two full four-hour mock exams to help candidates practice taking the computer-based test.

In the period after preparation is finished and before mock exams, your study strategy should be: practicing questions and debriefing. For too many candidates, this means taking a quiz of 10 questions for 15 minutes, marking it, and moving on. Don’t make this mistake. When practicing questions, you should spend an average of 90 seconds answering the question. But you should spend significantly more time thoroughly debriefing it.

Debriefing is a Critical FRM Exam Study Strategy

Start your debrief by making sure the questions you got right were correct for the right reasons. Guessing right on exam day is a bonus. Up until then, it’s just another question that you need to review. For all wrong answers and guesses that resulted in a correct answer, it is crucial to find the area of the curriculum that let you down. If it’s a missed calculation, find at least five examples of that type of calculation. 

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If it’s a narrative point, find the explanation in the curriculum and see if it’s an isolated fact, part of a list, or a piece of analysis on a calculation. Isolated facts need learning. Little and often is the best way. Five minutes a day, squeezed in while lining up for your lunchtime burrito, can make a huge difference.

A Better Understanding of How Answers Are Derived Leads to More Correct Answers

Taking this approach to question practice will result in a better understanding of how the answers were derived, and put you in a better position to answer similar questions going forward. If you’re using something like the SchweserPro™ QBank, then you’ve got thousands of questions to attempt to cover the whole syllabus. It’s a big ask to do that, but an effective use of the questions should ensure you cover the majority of every FRM exam topic.

When deciding how much time to allocate to the different topics, each candidate will have strong and weak areas. Dedicate time to each area accordingly, but don’t lose sight of the syllabus weightings. Two topics, Financial Markets and Products and Valuation and Risk Models, are worth more marks on the day of the exam than Quantitative Analysis, for example.

To conclude, set your aim on enhancing your understanding of all the topics through question practice and debrief. You will put yourself in a strong position to hit the mock exams in lay.

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