Should I Delay My FRM Exam Registration?

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes



The Financial Risk Management (FRM) course is the golden standard for risk professionals around the world. These title holders often have lucrative career options.

It is not only a ticket for higher earnings and promotions but may also help a beginners’ transit into the field of risk analysis and management.

Now here’s the great thing…FRM Exam registration is an open process with no minimum requirements

Whether you have ten or zero years of experience in the field, whether you are still in college or are in another profession altogether, you are qualified to register and sit both exams.

You can register for level 1 and 2 and attempt both exams in the same day. Or, you can enroll for level 1, pass that exam and then register for level 2 in the next cycle.


Reasons to Delay your Registration


1. You need a break after part 1

The amount of preparation that goes into this challenge is huge. For many, it will take at least 300 hours of study, but, some candidates will need more time. 

Level 1 entails four topics, with study materials from GARP and thousands of practice questions from third party providers.

After going through all that, you would want to give yourself a break before you register for level 2. There is a high risk of mental fatigue and the consequential poor performance if you space the two exams too close together.


2. You need time with your family

Family and friends are important. The higher salary and career advancement may lose meaning if these people are not around you. 

In that case, if you need your attention to be on family issues, it may be wise to put off your next registration.

You may also be coming from another professional certification such as CFA, or advanced degree programs that demanded much of your time.

When you spare time for your family, it guarantees that they will be there for you when you begin or resume your studies.


3. You have an opportunity to gain work experience

Relevant work experience is a requirement before anyone gets officially certified by GARP.

Now, you can either wait to get the requisite 2-year work experience in a risk-related field after you pass both exams or go for it now before enrolling.

The experience will be valid, provided ten years hasn’t elapsed before you passed level 2. It’s also possible that having practical experience in the field can help your chances of passing the course.

The tests replicate the intricate risk scenarios that are faced in the real world.

Furthermore, knowing how to link textbook knowledge with practical experiences can give you an edge in the examination room.


4. You need more time to prepare

The risk manager tests require a lot of wide-scope learning. Giving yourself more time to study before you register makes sense, especially if you are going after valuable knowledge to augment your proficiency at work.

If you are indeed interested in mastering the crucial intricacies of the risk of the profession, time is something that you must be willing to invest in.

A full year of preparation allows you to go through all the mandated materials, plus additional information from external providers, such as ourselves.


5. Level 2 needs more time

Level 1 is more about foundation-setting, but things get a bit tougher with level 2 of program. After passing the first hurdle, it might help to take time off and adequately prepare before you sign up for the next round.

You don’t want to risk failure by being fatigued and unsettled. A 4-month break may be what it takes to recharge your mind and body. 

The governing body understands this, and that’s why they conduct testing twice a year in May and November.


6. You can defer for health reasons

There is no doubt that the financial risk manager examinations require heightened mental and physical stamina to crack them. The amount of reading that you will be doing for the course duration will be intense.

Things get even more intense a few weeks before D-day.

Illnesses, both emotional and physical, can interfere with your ability to do well and you must have a plan in place to counter any possible negative effects.

If you miss it this time because of illness, there is room to register for the exam after four months. That will give you more time to recover and renew your commitment to career advancement and personal goals.


7. Experiencing personal issues

Personal problems, including misadventures in your life, may compel you to put everything aside, including your educational studies. 

You may have gone through traumatic events, have lost a loved one, or have been a victim of crime—it’s hard to jump from adversities straight into an examination room.

It would be best to take time off, be with your family, and heal before you go back to pursuing the certification.


8. Unforeseen circumstances at work

Juggling work and studies are part of the challenge when it comes to getting any designation. However, employment-related reasons may lead to poor performance in the exams if you cannot strike the right balance.

Work-related reasons to delay registration may include changes in shifts, long work commutes, or even promotions that significantly increase your responsibilities.


9. Academic circumstances

This is common for candidates that pursue the risk manager designation while still in college. Exam dates may coincide with your college exams or related activities.

In this case, some may opt to wait until graduation or the next registration cycle.

Remember that co-curricular undertakings in college also help top create a well-rounded person. You similarly need time to network with other students and professors.

If pursuing the certification while in college turns you into an anti-social bookworm, you might want to hit pause until after you graduate.


Reasons Not to Delay your Registration


1. GARP has a favorable deferral policy

You shouldn’t fail to register for fear of circumstances. If they do come to pass, the governing body has a deferral policy that you can take advantage of to sit for the exam in the next cycle.

If they don’t come to pass, you will get to do your test and move on.

The rescheduling policy is a one-time offering that allows registrants to sit in the next cycle.

After registration, if anything happens that hinders you from sitting, all you have to do is write to the administrative body, and they will reschedule you.

Beware though, that the postponement process attracts a processing fee. Nonetheless, your registration stays valid; you won’t have to pay again. 

Please note that even for deferrals, GARP works with deadlines, and your request may not be considered after the set time has passed.


2. You can cancel your deferral

The work, health, or academic constraints that you may have worried about may never come to pass. Still, in that case, you can cancel attend the exams even if you have had applied for a deferral.

The only disadvantage is that your deferral fee will not be refundable.


3. Facing a dynamic course

Candidates that need more time to prepare have a compelling reason. Long time preparation immerses you deeper into the concepts, allowing you to better test yourself.

Nevertheless, note that GARP may phase out some of the study materials and topics. Take for instance, the last topic in level 2; “Current Issues in Financial Markets”.

This is a time-sensitive topic that gets regular updates from the professional body, in line with what is happening in the outside financial world.

A lot may change when you delay your next sitting!


4. A sharper mind

Adding this designation to your ‘must-accomplish’ list in college may seem like an overbearing task. The truth is, while in college, you are still in study mode.

Your thoughts are sharp, and you haven’t undergone extreme lifestyle changes.

If you put all your effort into it, you can study for and pass the exams in your first attempt. Things change when you graduate. Family and work engagements can take up most of your time.

It’s not easy balancing work, family, and studies at the same time. That’s why it’s always advisable, for those who can, to take the exams as early as possible.


5. You may forget critical concepts

Many people like to think of level 1 and 2 as two different things; they are not! Level 2 builds on the concepts the first and parts of it are repeated.

If you wait too long to register, chances are you will forget some of the elemental concepts that you previously studied.

You would then be forced to refresh your knowledge, an undertaking that will take up more of your time. The course material is freshest in your mind after attempting the first part.

Even if you desire to have more time to study for part 2, the minute details may fade as time elapses. Exhausted as you might be, you stand a higher chance of cracking the exam if you register early.


6. Early registration gives you more time to study

Early registration for the May exam, for example, often ends on January 31st while late registration ends on April 15thEarly registrants, as is clear to see, get over two months of preparation before having to sit for the exam.

These individuals have made up their minds and have set out to accomplish a goal. Such a mindset will prove valuable in the long run.

This time may allow you to review all the study materials and to internalize essential concepts. Late registrants on the other hand, will not have this time luxury.


7. Exam fees may go up the longer you wait

The FRM course is not a cheap one. Accomplishing the exams to the point of getting certified takes a large amount of expenditure, including the registration fees.

The exam has two parts and consists of ten sections, each with separate study materials. Spending money on this program is a substantial investment for your future.

However, the benefits far outweigh the costs. Perks such as increased opportunities for promotion and a higher salary are compelling enough to register sooner than later. 

Additionally, if you register early enough, you will have the chance to take advantage of early-bird discounts.


8. You may lose motivation

There may be seasonal motivations that drive you to perform well in the first exam. These motivations or objectives may change the longer you wait to register for and sit for your level 2 exam.

Like with everything, the pursuit of your career goals brings tests and trials that dampen your spirit. The faster you overcome them and get them done with it, the better it is for you.

Registering early for your exams puts you on a path for career success. Just be sure to find a model that works well for your work and family and other academic schedules.

We thank you for taking the time to read our guide on FRM Exam Registration. Take a look at our other pieces as well, in addition to downloading our free materials.


Never lose hope,

The QuestionBank Family