Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
Having the Financial Risk Manager certification can play an invaluable role in in your career development, and choosing the best FRM materials will be the foundation in your efforts.
This program offers professionals a chance to sharpen their hard and soft skills in risk management.
Furthermore, you can be part of an exclusive network of risk professionals, get exposed to new ideas and earn higher salaries.
But, because the program is a self-study initiative, your success will very much depend on the help you choose. There are numerous third party providers of study guides and in-person training.
Be that is it may, in the current era of inflated tuition fees and increasing economic constraints, many candidates have to make hard choices when it comes to spending their money.
Below is a guide containing pointers you could consider when selecting external help.
1. Consider your professional or academic background
Coming from banking, risk, or accounting background puts you at an advantageous position. You will be in a position to understand certain concepts without needing detailed explanations.
As a result, you may already have an idea of how the concepts apply to a practical setting in the industry. In light of that, you won’t necessarily need in-person training for the exams.
Most professionals, in this case, would be comfortable using just one simple package.
On the other hand, candidates with no background in finance or economics may need comprehensive materials. Apart from the official books by GARP, you may need one or more third party providers.
The right content, in this case, should draw a connection between textbook concepts and real-life experiences in the financial world.
2. Consider the time at hand
It would certainly be a waste of resources to buy costly books and end up failing to go through them all.
For late registrants, the most crucial thing should be going through many practice questions alongside GARP’s textbooks before the exam.
However, keep in mind that there might be plenty of official GARP content that doesn’t get tested in the exams.
GARP’s textbooks are known to provide in-depth explanations, and thus can also serve as reference source when you are working with third party offerings, such as ours.
3. Get summarized data
No one wants to over-do-it for their exam. Not even with self-imposed goals and the promise of more money at the end of it.
That is because the program, for most people, comes at a point in life when you have to split yourself between work, family and studies. For that reason, consider content that go directly to the point.
Even though the materials need to be summarized, they should not leave you ill-prepared for the exam. They must give you a good workout!
The Financial Risk Manager program is incredibly comprehensive, and using the course outline provided by GARP, one can decide which provisions are shoddy and which ones are detailed.
4. The more, the better
Many professionals find themselves in a rush to acquire several certifications to add to their CV. That is because of the dynamic nature of careers in the financial sector.
The FRM certification is supposed to sharpen your risk management abilities, update your knowledge and expose you to complex scenarios. These perks are only achievable with guides that have MANY questions.
By going through a lot of practice materials, you will be able to build confidence, not only to pass the exams, but also to take on challenging roles in your organization.
Instead of spending on several options, choose a provider that gives access to questions that are of high quality and quantity.
Your preparation strategy should then entail aiming for 90%+ scores in all or most of these questions before the actual exam date.
5. Choose difficult questions
The reason why GARP encourages candidates to get third party materials is to increase their exposure. You risk failing if your provider offers questions that fall below the difficulty levels of the actual exam.
Even if you attempt thousands of questions, it would all be for naught if they are not challenging enough.
Instead of burning the midnight oil on easy practice questions, you can get ready for the exam in the shortest time possible by tackling complex ones.
These will act like pointers, showing you the critical areas that need patching up before exam day.
6. Material content
Before spending money on any material, investigate to ensure that the material has adequate questions on the topics (level 1 or level 2).
Does the provider offer you enough examples to make an informed decision? Practice questions play a critical role of reinforcing what you learn in the review stage.
By self-testing, you will be able to gauge your understanding and brush up on areas of weakness.
Furthermore, it would be impossible to achieve perfect learning if you only focus on GARP’s official data and nothing else. You simply will not be able to measure your level of understanding on any subject matter.
On the other hand, if you only focus on questions and none of the official writings, you will find it challenging to relate methodologies and techniques to real scenarios.
What’s more, the best exercises give detailed rationales on why answers to questions qualify as wrong or right. (Which is exactly what we do here)
7. Get guides that provide clear explanations
The dose of knowledge dished out by your provider should be (relatively) easy to digest. It would be wise to find lessons that furnish you with all the information you need in one go.
You will find that to be incredibly convenient when you are too tired to conduct a Google search for further explanations.
When it comes to the questions, the third providers should explain in detail why an answer is wrong or why it is right.
That’s because of the challenging nature of multiple choice questions and the way GARP plays with words. These comprehensive rationales will sharpen your ability to choose the right answers in the actual exam.
8. Proper materials can indicate progress
The course, just like many other professional courses, will cover a lot in a brief period. Without a proper plan, you might waste time in one area and leave other critical areas untouched.
The right planner should come with a comprehensive planner. Study planners will help you to keep track of topics covered, milestones accomplished and the pending subjects versus the remaining time.
These markers will help you to allocate your time properly. Avoid those resources that do not come with a planner or are extremely ‘light’.
9. The best will mirror GARP
GARP updates their content each year to align the program with the latest changes in the industry. The primary factor to consider when buying guides is, therefore, its relevance.
Purchase information from a provider showing regular updates of their content in line with GARP’s program changes as well as one that is actively uploading non-paid content.
Steer clear of websites that don’t elaborate on anything and simply are trying to push you to click that buy button.
Risk management is a discipline that keeps evolving and therefore spending a fortune on outdated content is counterproductive.
In a short time, GARP may do away with some types of questions and add new ones to reflect the industry needs or trends. Your success in the exam, therefore, rests on your ability to find materials that reflect these changes.
10. Developed through years of research
GARP engages a big team of researchers, professionals, regulators, and academics in the field of financial risk when creating the exam.
Similarly, when looking for aids, you should find those that have been created through expert collaboration and have a track history.
A small third party provider may not have the extensive resources necessary to develop comprehensive course content and practice questions. Similarly, it takes significant resources to update the content regularly.
The ideal third party provider should have an extensive amount of experience in the niche. Long time experience indicates a provider’s reliability and dedication in supporting candidates.
So much is at risk when you stake your certification on a new provider.
11. The right ones contain accurate information
It sounds like an obvious point, but many guides out there may have incomplete, outdated or simply wrong information. One way to know that you are dealing with a reputable provider is assessing their credentials.
You must investigate the frequency at which they update their site’s info. And see if they are a properly registered entity!
12. The best will address critical areas
Not everyone has the same academic background or work experience. The right help should highlight the essential areas for when you have previous knowledge in the discipline, or when you are doing selective reading to save time.
The decision to label some topics as more critical should be based on feedback from past candidates and other similar surveys.
This aspect will enable you to direct your attention to where it is needed the most. You will, therefore, be more effectively and absorb the most without wasting too much time on what might be irrelevant.
13. Your information should be well organized
Introductory outlines can play a great part in your ability to understand what is being presented. The content should help you get the big picture in a nutshell, before diving in to explore the details.
Study materials that contain a comprehensive introduction for each topic are always easy to understand. Information that is laid out haphazardly will kill your morale.
When you struggle to connect concepts, your process will end up being miserable and ineffective.
Even for guides that have all the needed information, disorderly structuring should be an automatic disqualification.
14. Get content that is clearly worded and refined
Time is usually a crucial factor during exam preparation. Your guides should enable fast learning by using proper sentence structures and easy to understand phrases.
Because there is so much to cover in the FRM course, easy readability and clear organization of ideas can make a big difference. The ideal materials contain content that is systematically structured.
Clear and refined content will also be easy to remember.
This certification is harder only for the lonely scholar. You can obtain extra efficiency by engaging your friends in groups or when acquiring guides.
Ask your friend’s opinions either online and offline and find out about their experience with a particular provider.
Someone in your circle might also have a copy of the book you need. And you can avoid unnecessary costs when you borrow or rent. In some instances, they might only need to scan a few pages to help with a particular problem.
16. Aim for mixed info
Various third party providers will offer different things. Some will have: an array of books, questions, video lectures or interactive tutorials.
Mixing your schedule with a wide range of content formats and providers can enhance your retention capabilities.
Scientific research shows that when you learn through videos, you use a large portion of your brain’s processing power.
This may lead to a deeper understanding of the subject and a higher recalling capacity.
So, what’s our summary?
The key to success in your exams is finding the right FRM materials. Your guides should be comprehensive, accurate, up-to-date, and well-structured.
It is also advisable to find resources that have detailed explanations and clear summaries. Endless practice questions to test your understanding is also critical.
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