Time Management During the FRM® Exam

By: Eric Smith, CFA, FRM
January 13, 2021
Tools for FRM exam time management including a calendar, cell phone, notebook, and laptop

Candidates who fail the FRM® Exam often cite time management as their biggest downfall. The following tips will help you manage your time more wisely on exam day.

1. Before the exam, take at least one practice FRM® Exam and time yourself.

This will give you some indication of whether you will have problems on exam day. However, do not let your positive results on practice exams lull you into overconfidence. The stress of exam day, plus possible distractions like noise or a cold exam room, can make a big difference on how fast you work.

2. Have a game plan before you walk into the exam center.

I like the idea of doing short or easy questions first to get going, but I do not recommend skipping around too much as you work through the exam. Skipping back and forth may break your concentration and consume valuable time as you try to figure out what you have and have not answered.

3. Monitor your progress.

During the exam, keep an eye on the time as you work through it. You may deviate some from the average time per question as you work through easier or more difficult questions, but be careful not to let yourself fall too far behind. Note that some test centers may not have clocks, but your exam proctors will notify you of how much time is remaining.

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4. Do easy questions first.

One way to alleviate time pressure is to bank a few minutes by doing easy questions first. Select a question you feel comfortable with, and start there. This strategy will help you gain confidence as you progress through the exam and will also allow you to get ahead with your time allocation. Be very careful if you jump around to make sure you are marking the correct blanks on the answer sheet.

5. Never panic.

Even if you fall behind, panicking will only make things worse. You won’t think clearly, and you’ll miss easy questions. If you need a short break, put your pencil down, and take a few deep breaths. The 30 seconds or so that this takes may very well help you think clearly enough to answer several additional questions correctly.

Managing time can help you pass the FRM exams, along with a great study strategy that includes FRM study materials. Good luck!

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