Nicole Seaman

Director of FRM Operations
Staff member
It would be very helpful to all of the new FRM candidates if they had some guidance on creating a study plan that will work for them. Many of you have already passed one or both parts of the FRM exam, and it would be great if you could post your study plan here in this thread to help those new subscribers! Post your study plan, study tips, number of hours studies and anything else that you think can help them out!

Note: I will be copying current threads over as I find them so we can keep all of the "study plan advice" threads in one area.

Thank you all so much for using Bionic Turtle!! :)

Nicole Seaman

Director of FRM Operations
Staff member
FRM exam and study summary (posted by @brunnim)

Overview and Caveats

While the FRM exams are still fresh in my mind I wanted to put some words together which summarizes my experience and hopefully provides some color to future candidates. Each candidate will study and experience the program in a different way, so this is by no means an intended guide or lecture, merely a summary of my experience which hopefully will have some use.

For reference I undertook the Nov 2013 Part I exam and the May 2014 Part II exam. I had been working in the financial industry for 3 years prior to taking the exams.

Knowledge required to take FRM qualification

Do you need to have studied Maths at higher levels (high school) or University to pass the FRM exam?

Answer: NO! When I first looked at the FRM AIMS I was overwhelmed by the number of mathematical topics. This was my biggest fear- my math skills are not up to scratch! I have not studied mathematics in detail since I was 16! I studied Business at University which involved some basic statistical techniques and probability theory, but nothing else. If you are able to rearrange equations, understand basic mathematical symbols and generally work a calculator you can pass these exams. FRM does not require you to derive and continually calculate complex equations. The FRM books contain a number of equations and derivations that are not required for the actual exam and can essentially be ignored. What is challenging is learning the mere quantity of equations, what is actually in them is not overly complex! I really feel people overestimate the level of math skills you require to undertake this exam. Yes you can’t do the exam if you have zero math knowledge but undertaking some basic mathematical primer courses will put you in good stead to study. Don’t forget that you will learn many of the concepts gradually along the way.

Do you need to have a detailed understanding of banking and risk management prior to studying?

Answer: Absolutely not! If you have a basic understanding of how banks and trading works then this will give you a good platform to study. Understanding the basics of credit, market and operational risk will also give you a good base knowledge for studying. This is what you are taking FRM for, to learn these topics so you are not expected to already be proficient in understanding the industry and topics.

Amount of studying and study ethic

Study hours-

Don’t think that you can “wing” it with FRM. Sometimes I would just cram study for certain University exams 2 weeks before. Don’t make that mistake with FRM. If you put the time in to study, you will get the results. There is no magical way to skip parts or cram in studying in a month and pass the exam. Take the time to study. I spent at least 200-300 hours studying for each part.

Given this, my advice is to start reviewing the material as early as possible. You can register 6 months prior to the exam and BT gives you a year of access so why not start early. There is no harm in being prepared. The worst thing you can do is just leave it all till 2 months before the exam. Start early and you have flexibility.

Study ethic-

There are plenty of useful articles on the forum for the method of study, but ultimately you know the way you study best. It was hugely tempting to just forget about studying for a while, go away on that weekend, just have a “few” beers with mates, but being disciplined is key, especially if you are taking the exam whilst in a full time job. The key bonus to being disciplined and dedicating study time is that you save more money because you are in the office or at home.. money that you can generously spend when you pass the exam! :)

Maximizing the value of Bionic Turtle

The FRM books are overwhelming if used as a sole source of learning. BT offers excellent summary notes and videos that cement the course AIMS. It’s clear to me that I could not have passed FRM without BT. BT has beefed up their notes in recent years as well so arguably you could potentially just rely solely on BT and not even bother buying the official FRM books (I seldom used them in both parts).

However it is worth noting one thing with regards to maximizing the value of Bionic Turtle. The GARP committee will refresh the AIMS on an annual basis at the start of the year. This can sometimes result in 10-25% of the material changing. Unfortunately this means that the BT team must refresh their notes as well. Obviously this does not happen instantaneously and although the BT team makes every effort to produce material, candidates that like to be well prepared may find they don’t have all the available notes for the May exam adequately in advance for studying. The simple solution here is if you want to maximize the value of the BT material, take the exam in November. The AIMS don’t change between May and Nov and in most cases all the BT material will be published for the at least 6 months prior to the Nov exam.

Overall Value of FRM

If anyone is having thoughts about taking the FRM exam and its value to a role in finance/risk I really urge you to take it. I was quite skeptical of the quotes I saw on the GARP website promoting the value of FRM, however now I have taken it I can honestly say my knowledge of financial topics has grown exponentially and I can really see it taking affect already in my work. If you are interested in working in any role that is linked to trading or active risk management, FRM is your baby.

Nicole Seaman

Director of FRM Operations
Staff member
Some FRM Part 2 Study Strategies (posted by @frm_risk)

1. Start early
Everyone says this. Everyone knows this. But not many people actually follow it.

The earlier you start, the better you feel. FRM Part 2 exam is typically very qualitative. FRM Part 1 generally tends to be heavily quantitative. (However, some people posted that the FRM Part 1 November 2014 exam was not very quantitative. Maybe GARP is incorporating feedback from previous test-takers or trying new question types.) Regardless, there are so many topics in FRM Part 2 where it is almost impossible to ask quantitative questions. So it would be safe to assume that there will be a qualitative component in the exam.

Having said that, a lot of questions, in my opinion, had content directly from the FRM books (the core readings). Knowing this, I felt that reading the actual books will make me feel confident. The material is a lot to handle, if you go the hard route: the original books. Starting early gives you enough time to study for the exam.

2. Read the books and use notes/practice questions for review and practice
As mentioned earlier, I read the core readings from the FRM books. Overkill? Maybe. But not reading them was a risk I did not want to take. Notes do their best to "explain" the concepts. BT does this job very well. However, for a qualitative exam, there are bound to be some questions, the answers to which are "direct quotations" from the original books. Notes provide a good summary. Of course, if notes tried to include all the material in detail, they would be longer than the original books and their whole point would be lost.

I read the books and then the notes. Practicing questions is also important. GARP questions tend to be complex and "thought-provoking". Although the likelihood of the same practice question appearing on the actual exam is low, practicing these questions encourages you to "think" and "apply" all the material you read in the books and notes. Additionally, if you struggle with the practice questions, you know that you need to read the material on that topic again.

I did not use Schweser practice questions, but have heard that they aren't really "challenging" or "thought-provoking". BT does a good job with their practice questions, I felt.

Also, we all know that there will be some quantitative problems on the exam. Will you feel confident to read just the theory and solve the problems directly in the exam? I would guess "no". So you need to practice them somewhere! That's where third-party provider practice questions are useful.

Speaking about books, don't be scared of the original books. The readings selected by GARP are (generally) good quality readings; they explain the concepts well, have tables, graphs, diagrams and examples, which help in understanding the material.

Does this mean that it is necessary to read the original books? Are BT notes sufficient? Is just Schweser sufficient?
The answer is: it really depends. I know that doesn't say a lot, but it depends on what sort of questions are asked in the exam, how much of the material do you understand well etc. There are people who passed using only the original readings while others who failed with it. There are people who passed using only BT/Schweser notes and people who failed with just that. There are people who studied books and notes but still failed. And there are very very few (geniuses) who hardly studied anything but still passed.

3. Prepare your own notes
This is a habit I had since I was a kid and I found it helpful for the FRM exam as well.

When studying, I would highlight important points, number points (for example, when the material lists advantages of one VaR method over another, you could bullet/number each point, thereby structuring the material and aiding memorization), and write examples I knew or would add my own reasoning/explanation for understanding the concept on the book itself. My books were filled with all my markings. I also would jot down key points in my notepad.

When reviewing the material, it helped tremendously to have my own notes, in terms of saving time.

When commuting to work (public transportation), I found it helpful to review my notes. I would study till late night and next morning, while going to work, I would review my own notes. It was easier to review from a notepad, rather than carrying the heavy books on my commute and flipping through pages while standing in a moving train.

After watching the entire BT videos, sometimes, I would download BT videos on my phone and watch it at 2x speed (to save time) during review, when commuting to work. Any faster than 2x speed and you cannot properly hear what @David Harper CFA FRM CIPM is trying to say :)

4. Plan to finish the material at least a month before the exam
Plan, at least. You may realize that there are less than four weeks remaining and you still haven't completed the material. That happened with me. But at least planning to finish the material helped me conserve more time at the end.

I had prepared a schedule for myself to study the material. I worked backwards.
For example, if the test is on November 15, I need to finish all material by October 15. I will take 20 days for the Current Issues section. So, by September 25, I should finish the section before that... You get the point. Working backwards helped me realize that I do not have much leeway in my schedule and that helped me to not take too much time-off from studying. It made me realize that I need to study regularly or else I am in trouble.

5. Study regularly
Of course, we all have social obligations and need to relax and enjoy ourselves. But don't forget to study regularly. If you work full-time and have a demanding job (like I do), it might seem difficult to study after work on weekdays; but try to find time to incorporate some studying in your daily routine. This may not be possible if you have family obligations (kids, cooking for family, etc.) but try your best. Studying only on weekends may not give you enough time to complete all the material.

I would take Fridays off from studying, just to enjoy with friends. Oh, and Sunday nights too (thanks to good Sunday night television and had to recharge myself for the coming week). Other than that, I would try to study everyday, with extra studying on weekends.

To make something a "habit", it is said that you need to perform that activity regularly. Studying everyday made it easier for me to not think of it as a huge pain. Yes, it is hard to study when your friends are out enjoying. So, "no", I did not enjoy studying, but I knew it would help me in passing the exam.

6. Study all the material
As David has mentioned in other posts, there is definitely a disproportionate ratio of AIMs to questions. There are a lot more topics that can be tested.

Even with that, sometimes, you will find that some readings are heavily tested, whereas some others are not tested at all. This is bound to happen. The exam may have a snippet of information and then ask 2-3 questions on that information. They could all be from the same reading. What if you had skipped that reading, which now has multiple questions asked?

With just 80 questions on the exam and more than 80 readings, some readings might never get tested. If you skip certain readings and those end up being heavily tested, you may actually end up not knowing the answers to those questions due to lack of knowledge of those topics. Not a wise strategy, in my opinion.

So, study all the material.

7. Prepare your own "quicksheet"/"formula sheet"
Although you may have read the entire material well, in the last few days leading to the exam, you most likely will not have time to read the entire material again. You will need a quick-read guide.

BT publishes its own formula sheet, while Schweser has its Quick Sheet, but I feel preparing your own quicksheet in your own handwriting is useful.

I preferred going into enough detail (not just listing of formulas and main categories, but also brief explanation of each). I tried to keep them to maximum 8 pages for each section. I did not want to have a thick set of 100+ pages to read in the last few days, nor did I want just 6 pages for the entire material, since that seemed very superficial. I wrote in small font to make it feel like a "cheat sheet" and not too much detail. This strategy had helped me a lot in college and I found it helpful for both FRM exams. It was extremely helpful for review.

Many people may feel this is a waste of time and overkill, and that may be true in their case; for me, it was helpful.

8. Try to get time-off from work before the exam
I understand that this may be difficult for a lot of working candidates.

For me, I did not want to stress about working on some presentation/spreadsheets/client-related projects/system failures etc. the couple days before the exam and potentially staying till late working on those issues and not getting enough time to review the material in the last few days before the exam. A week off before the exam is helpful, if you can get it. More than that is extra helpful.

You won't be able to study 16-18 hours every day in those last few weeks, but try as much as you can.

Some people feel you should not study the last few days before the exam, or else you will get more confused and stressed. I feel, if you have studied properly, there will be no confusion; just useful last week review. Sure, you may not want to venture into totally new material, but reviewing what you know already is useful.

9. Feel free to mix it up
Many people study the material book-by-book. I had friends who did this.

But that was boring for me. Reading everything about just Market Risk for weeks can indeed takes its toll.

Mix it up, if you feel like. Go in whichever order you feel like. Obviously, some readings are related and you would want to study them in sequence, but most of the material does not demand this.

Even GARP's official recommended Reading Plan in their "FRM Examination Preparation Handbook" does not go book-by-book.

I must admit, this made it difficult to easily answer "how much material have you covered and how much is left?" For those who study book-wise, they can easily say, for example, "Finished with 2.5 books and xx remaining."

Nicole Seaman

Director of FRM Operations
Staff member
My Thoughts on Part 1 Prep (posted by @beat2015)

1. Make notes/create mind maps
FRM has a lot of concepts and it does sink into your mind really fast (esp. if you have little or no background in finance). I will try to share few of my notes. Pasting paper chart in wall for important formula (say pay-off diagrams) was helpful for me.

2. Revision
Revision is EXTREMELY important. I cannot stress enough. My approach was to finish the first read of entire syllabus really fast, even if I didn't understand each and every concept. Sometimes reading a different chapter gives you clarity about the topic you have parked. Finish AT LEAST 3 cover to cover revisions of all topics.

3. Do not leave any topic
Stakes are very high. Number of questions that come in exam in way less than number of topics in FRM Part 1.The only topic that I left was "Exotic Options". Esp. go through the new topics added in the exam as compared to previous syllabus

4. Get familiar with your calculator
In FRM, the only standard functions plus TVM options are most used. What's really helpful is to get every hands on with STO and RECALL functions in your calculator. It came in very handy to me in the exam.

Study Materials:
  • BT - Notes and Videos PLUS DO NOT FORGET David’s videos on YouTube ( Those are super helpful.
  • Bought Hull – it is good to refer to for few assigned concepts
  • Bought Scheweser - but did not use it at all
  • Referenced the book "Miller-Mathematics and Statistics for Financial Risk Management"
Practice Tests, in chronological order
Edupristine's Practice exam - Questions are plenty, not representative of exam sometimes have error. But it gives excellent practice. Solving several easy questions helps to set the concept. It did help me. Solving easy ones would help you identify your "silly" mistakes. Often times many wrongs in exam are because of silly mistakes.

BT's - Questions are plenty and are representative. One of the best resources. Try to do all questions twice at least.

In the end I felt that I was so scared to fail that I over-prepared. All the best for your preparation.

Nicole Seaman

Director of FRM Operations
Staff member
Posted by @Roshan Ramdas

Please ensure to give a shot at the BT questions as soon as you are done with a chapter. Do not leave this tell the end.

With respect to approaching each chapter -
  1. I would recommend that you first watch the associated BT video. There is a section at the start of each video that highlights the exam relevance which can be very helpful. You shouldn't have any reservation in investing a lot of time on chapters that have been classified as important.
  2. The next step would be to read the GARP material and supplement it once again with BT videos ( when you run into difficult concepts). Note that there are a number of BT videos on YouTube that are absolutely helpful as well.
  3. Step 3 would be to give a shot at the BT questions.
The decision of moving from 1 chapter to the next should purely be a function of how you perform in step 3.

There are topics such as fixed income instruments and derivatives that have chapters in both "Financial Markets and Products" and "Valuation and Risk Models". IMO, doing these chapters as a group may make sense as opposed to completing 1 book at a time.

BT offers study material as well, which can be referred to when the actual GARP readings are difficult to understand.

Set aside 3 to 4 weeks towards the end exclusively for BT questions, BT mock papers and GARP mock papers.

Nicole Seaman

Director of FRM Operations
Staff member
FRM Part 2 Feedback (see original post with many more details posted by @mary_ful)

Following is my schedule
  1. Per day I test daily questions of Blonic Turtle to increase my ability of guessing much tricky qualitative questions prior to work, after all, FRM II questions is not difficult, but too tricky.
  2. Must study 4 huge volumes per page twice before test, whereby much simple qualitative questions you can get.
  3. After studying one chapter of FRM II, I test the same chapter’s BT question set which is very useful.
  4. I can’t full-time study FRM II, so key chapters such as back test, stress test, correlations, related VARs methos…I study all BT’s questions set + spreadsheet+ study notes, otherwise FRM II handbook +BT’s questions set. Noted: MOCK exam not required to exercise if you have no time.
  5. It’s the most thing, prior to the day before FRM exam day, you must sleep 10 hours with a very clear brain to answer. Don’t think anything, just eat and sleep in bed.

Nicole Seaman

Director of FRM Operations
Staff member
Posted by @murrayf
  • If you have no qualification in finance, do not underestimate this exam.
    • It is meant to test even those that have prior knowledge and experience, and the subject matter is very broad.
  • As someone with a full time job and a family, I studied for a year, 427 hours - each and every one logged in a spreadsheet.
  • The scale of material is very intimidating, but keep plodding up the mountain.
    • For me 3-6 hours in the working week and 8 hours in the weekend. Many topics repeat in later Aims.
  • I used the Garp books and read every page.
    • It was useful to have the detailed background, perhaps not necessary for someone with a finance degree.
    • However, perhaps 40% of this is totally not relevant to the exam, and here Bionic Turtle was invaluable in condensing and focusing the aims in their study notes.
    • Having spent many, many hours on YouTube, I'm convinced their videos are the best in the business.
  • One thing I personally found very valuable was to take each formula highlighted in BT and put it in a Word document with a hyperlink to an example which I had worked out and typed up in my own words.
  • Even after all that hard work revising all the Garp material, reading the BT notes, and doing the BT exercises at the end of each topic I would have failed bar one thing - I stopped studying and started preparing for the exam itself 6 weeks early. In total I did 108 hours of revision and mock exams including 40 hours in the last week which I took off work.
I know this all sounds a bit excessive, but if you want one persons opinion about how to pass, this is how I did it. Despite that I do not feel I mastered the material and had no confidence I would pass the exam despite the ultimate result.

So, the exam itself:
  1. It is brutal. You can know the material and still fail as there are so many questions in such a short time (yes, only 4 hours)
  2. Do all the BT questions at the end of each topic. Preferably create your own hit list of basic questions and totally master them.
  3. Buy an approved calculator (on day one) and use it for all your exercises. Do not use a spreadsheet except for additional work. In the exam you will need to be very quick with your calculator (p.s. the maths is not that difficult).
  4. On the plus side, because there is so little time to answer each question, most are not that difficult if you have already done them 10 times before. A significant percentage of questions are repeated in each Garp practice exam, and I assume each actual exam. Get to know what these are and master them.
  5. Aim for 15 questions per half hour. This gives you time to go back to questions you were not sure about, and also you (or at least I) tire after 3 hours and your hit rate goes down. Even so, I ran out of time and randomly guessed the last 6 questions.
  6. The clock is your enemy. Do not get stuck on questions for 10 minutes, it could cost you the exam. After 5 minutes make an educated guess, put a mark in the margin, and come back to it if you can. Chances are you will not have time (did I mention the exam is brutal?). Put yourself under time pressure on mock exams.
  7. Do not assume you will have time for a break or for food. I had some sweets in my pocket and managed to go the distance without leaving the room. Only one person in my exam did.

Nicole Seaman

Director of FRM Operations
Staff member
Posted by @Ryan S

Find a study group
I can’t tell you how much this helps for synergies, sanity, and having fun while learning. But find people that you are compatible with and you will feel good spending a massive amount of time with. Meet them in person, and rely on your gut for the selection of people. It's almost like dating, except for study partners. That may sound weird, but whatever, it's true. And if you can, find people smarter than you, which helped me a lot. I got lucky and found an awesome crew, for part 1 and part 2. These people are now my good friends, hopefully for life. And professionals, a true network. Utilize GARP study group formation event for this. Or just get proactive and find them.

GARP Books
So to begin, I spent little to no time reading GARP books for part 2, except those chapters I found interesting and that applied to my current job (Credit Risk Management at an IB). If you find a topic really interesting, then why not dive into the full readings / chapter? Otherwise focus on the AIMs. For part 1, I spent way too long reading, aka passive studying.

AIM Analysis
Which leads me to a huge part of my part 2 strategy which I did not use in part 1: David and Nicole’s Excel sheet which has all AIMs for the past ~ 6 years. Download and utilize this spreadsheet. It specifies what AIMs are new, old, and the same from previous years. The “Find” tool in Excel will become your best friend. This helped me to not sweat over the past AIMs and questions BT tests on that are no longer applicable and removed from the current AIMs. I can’t tell you enough how much this helped. I strongly believe the AIMs do not lie. I wish I had used this method for part 1.

GARP Order
The order of study topics I followed was using GARP's suggested order (provided on their study prep / guide), which frankly can be a little confusing, but I followed their order nonetheless. I watched each BT video per topic. Sometimes twice. After each respective video, I then went through the relevant BT practice questions. I rarely skipped to the answer of a question without painstakingly trying to solve it on my own. I utilized BT notes along the way. I started BT questions much earlier this time around compared to part 1.

Key Study strategy
When I encountered a question or topic that was particularly difficult and I found myself trying to understand it over one or two hours or more, I would STOP, and write the topic / question on an index card. I would then label that card with the relevant subject and book (i.e. T5 thru T9 for part 2). I would then happily place that card in a nice little pile next to me, to be revisited down the road (be it in a couple days, weeks, or months, depending on the time until exam). We can call this Ryan’s Risk Transfer method. Not to be taken too literally. But really, this “risk transfer” in my brain helped me in a big way to “let go” of the topics that I was stuck on, but that I knew I would revisit again, with the help of a study partner, colleague, or the Forum. It worked wonders for stress relief and minimizing hair loss along the way.

I also created index cards with topics, important formulas, questions, etc. along the way. I cross-referenced the AIM excel sheet to make sure I was not wasting my time over over-doing it. I believe this messy but beautiful stack of cards was a key to my success for both parts. My prize jewels of knowledge, or reminders of the knowledge I lacked and had to revisit. Either way golden. It worked for me, not necessarily for everyone.

After I made it through all topics and chapters using the aforementioned study method, I then started taking on mock exams and Global Topics (yes I saved Global Topics until the last month of studying). It was also at this point I started GARP exams. I did GARP exams mostly before BT mock exams, but they were somewhat mixed.

I also signed up for Kaplan / Schweser as a supplement, but not core to my studies. My company would sponsor me for Kaplan, but not BT (which is a shame), so BT came out of my pocket. Kaplan’s material is good for pure fundamentals but the depth of questions simply does not compare to BT. Some BT questions made me want to pull my hair out, and were a catalyst for many open ended index cards / a.k.a. risk transfers, and in the end, entirely worth the pain and anguish. The power of self discovery or whatever you want to call it. The best thing Kaplan brings to the table, IMO, is their formula sheets, Secret Sauce study guide (easy to carry around), and mock exams. I used their Qbank as well to drill on the basics.

I wish I had started this part earlier, but I also attempted BT Daily Practice questions any chance I could get. Priceless. Unfortunately, I was not able to get through them all. Not enough time.

The last week before exam I took off from work. I completed the mock exams I did not yet complete. I revisited those questions I got wrong on the first attempt (I kept track of them). And I religiously went through my golden stack of index cards, including the risk transfer cards I originally put to the side out of aggravation. I made sure to figure those out.

Last but not least, I invested in a tablet. An Ipad. Without this it would not have been feasible to carry around all of my notes and books. I kept BT videos on there, along with PDFs, mock exams, etc. I also took pictures with my phone of key paragraphs, questions, formulas and then emailed them to myself and flagged them in my inbox. This helped.

I kept 2 whiteboards at my apartment. I often carried the smaller one with me in my bag. Along with my index cards, formula sheets, and of course the ipad.

Other good habits worth mentioning: I played a lot of classical music, while studying. I ate healthy. Meditation twice daily for 20 minutes (TM). Minimized partying and going out as best I could. But sometimes you have to let loose for a night. Be good to yourself.


Active Member

Is there a suggested order for going through the study planner? For the first book, I went through the notes, did the questions, and capped it off with the videos. I also wasn't sure how to use the spreadsheets, other than a cursory glance and assist to answer any quantitative questions I got wrong.


Well-Known Member
My suggestion would be follow the order:
First Videos you get a quick glance as to what is there to study and an overview of the topics and understanding of important topics from David through his voice like a tutor teaching to the class.
Second go to notes and study them thoroughly ,you should give ample time to going through the notes because i think notes are the crux of the BT material.Learn and understand each concpt by yourself.
Thirdly go through the spreadsheets, refer to the notes to understand the material in the spreadsheet if required.Try to insert your own numbers in these sheets and see for yourself how the model or the formula works.
Finally,go through the Questions.Practice as much as you can can.You can practice more than once the questions you are not comfortable with.
So your order for study is: Videos -> notes -> spreadsheets ->Questions


Well-Known Member
I passed 1 with 2112 (if I remember correctly) and I used the following approach. I might add that I take a very long time to prepare as I have 2 very young children (4 and 1). Hence, I am still preparing for part II but I am using the same approach.

1) Reach original reading.
2) Watch corresponding Video for additional insight and/or clarification.
3) Read BT Notes.
4) Complete BT question.
5) Review spreadsheets (if interested in implementation of ideas).
6) After each topic, read the Topic Review and Complete the Topic Review Questions
7) Repeat as necessary

I have an excel spreadsheet that has a column or correct answers (which I hide) and column of my answers and a column that updates to Correct or Incorrect as I type in my answers. After I have completed all questions, I review the ones I missed in depth and then repeat questions until the exam day. I also re-read materials over and over again over the preparation period.

This is definitely NOT the most efficient approach - but I would argue that it definitely helps one to understand that material fairly well.



hi, is there any importance to schweser notes for basics as BT seems to be assuming the candidates understand the basics. may be people who had already passed may be able to comment.


Well-Known Member
I dont think BT notes are not that basic as Schweser notes. BT notes are well explained at the same time they touch the basics. David explains the notes well enough i think so that you understand the topics really well,supplement the notes with videos and the spreadsheets i think makes the notes even more understandable. Schweser notes are detailed (some are unnecessary details) while David notes are to the point they directly hit the concepts to be understood and are important for the exam.David Notes are I think very well written and can be understood even if you read it for the first time. I can tell you after reading both the BT notes and schweser notes(when i gave the exam in 2011-12) that BT notes covers the basics fairly well as compared to the schweser notes ,you get more output in terms of knowledge and skills acquired after giving same amount of efforts to BT notes and the Schweser notes.
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Well-Known Member
I also purchased the Schweser notes before purchasing BT's product as I assumed they would be better (by default) given their domination with the CFA. I couldn't have been more wrong - the schweser product is terrible for the FRM! Absolutely terrible. Just keep preparing with the BT notes.....don't give up.


Well-Known Member
David has mentioned that notes are the constitutes the core readings.He mentions "My program is ideal for those who will (i) try and read most of the core, then (ii) review with video tutorials, then (iii) want to hands-on engage with the other learning tools, etc." "try and read most of the core" would mean that he wants most of the notes to be read as well.
I would advise you to go through the notes as well for which videos are provided(takes videos as supplement rather than addition to notes) as they cover in detail everything that is there in the AIMs.
According to BT order of planner study shall be:Videos --> Notes --> practice questions. So BT do recommend studying notes.
Notes are more comprehensive and detailed than the videos I think,David do cover important concepts in Videos but when i studied notes i do get better understanding of the Videos.Videos alone are not that enough at least for me and i need notes to grasp the whole material.

Nicole Seaman

Director of FRM Operations
Staff member
We have recently had some subscribers ask us if it is advisable for them to take Part 1 and Part 2 of the exam in one sitting. It is difficult for us to give any individual advice on this, as everyone has a different education and background. However, I think that it would be helpful if anyone who has taken both parts on the same day could give some advice on this topic. Please make sure to include details such as your experience, education, number of study hours and study plan as this will help others who are in the same position to make their decision.

Thank you! :)



Well-Known Member
Yes i would advise to sit for the exams separately, when i gave the exam on same day on NOV11,2011 it was very difficult for me doing the preparation for both of them as there are lot of topics to be covered,you would require a lot of time to understand each of them. I gave about 400 hours to both during the preparation but the problem is that you would not get enough time to assimilate thoroughly everything in one go so when you go to the exam center sitting for both the exams you dont feel so confident on either of the parts. Yes in my sitting in one go for both parts did took my enough energy for partI only so that while i was giving part II i was almost lacking energy the result i managed to clear part I but was not able to clear part II which i managed to clear later on July 2012 with good quartiles.
When I reattempted the part II only the second time yes now I was able to give full attention to all the topics of part II now there was only part II as part I was already cleared so i could focus my energy only on part II.
What you get from giving only 1 part at a time is that..
1)you could focus more on one exam there are not 2 things but 1 so focus sharply
2)You could manage enough time to study topics(you would have otherwise invested time in other part had you sitted for both parts) thoroughly so that you end up getting good resuts.
3)You increase chances of a pass because you put more efforts in one particular part so more chances there in.
4)you increase the effort to clear both parts separately and thus better understand both parts.


Well-Known Member
I would also add that I prepared for Part I in 2014....and I tend to read every single resource and much more. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take Part II yet and since it has been so long, I am now finding that I need to review the Part I material as well! Oh well....I really enjoy studying, so it isn't all bad. Still, I want to get this certification off the list so I can move on to the CFA.

That being said, I would suggest taking the parts I and II separately if you really want to understand that material. Further, I would recommend that you maintain your focus following your Part I attempt so that you needn't spend substantial time re-learning part I material!

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New Member
What is the best way to study?

I have been "out of it" for over 10 years. Decided to throw my hat in the ring.

Shall I just study from the BT notes? Or compliment with Schweser?

Opinions! Ideas! Thoughts!


Nicole Seaman

Director of FRM Operations
Staff member
Posted by @GioKe on a different thread

What I (stress on the I) like to do is:

1: Make a plan. Always start from the end and work you way back as the exam date is a concretre timming. For ex: I want to be done all the readings and have all my notes ready min. 21 days prior. But preferably 1 month prior. This gives me a month to hammer on pratice and reivew. (This is mostly where the real learning and memorizing comes to play)

2: Get exposure to the material. This is where Schweswer notes come to play for me I find it gives me more context to the concept and helps me relate to real world application. Dont get caught up on difficult topics here just crush the readings so you know a little bit of everything.

3: Readings complete, time to write some notes. Starting from the most recent book I start to quickly filter though all the material and make quick short notes of headings/ LO's. This is where I try to really learn the quantitave stuff. follow examples closely, skip the jargon ive already read and just really go for the meat of the topics. This may take two weeks of solid grind. This is where BT notes come in handy becuase they do focus on the meat and cut out the jargon.

4: Practice Practice Practice. At this point im within 21 days of the exam so I do all the questions you can. Go over and over the stuff you have issues with, try to really understand the complicated stuff and memorize the easy stuff. This is where I really love BT. The questions are difficult and challenging which is great because it makes you angry, stressed and worried which is great motiviation to keep at it lol.

5: Within the week coming up to the exam this is where you start to have nightmares about formualas and you wake up trying to solve an insolvable problem that doesnt even exist. Just keep doing practice exams, get the timming right, crush questions you know and educated guess on what you dont know and then obviously take note of what you didnt get and review those topics. Learn to cut your losses early, you will not get every question right and thats fine. You just need to do better then ~50% of your peers.

6: Kill it on the exam

7: Get way too wasted, dance like chimp and pay for it the next day.

8: Do it all over again for PArt 2.

Good luck.