Interpreting Your FRM Results

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes


What do my FRM results really mean?

Gaining accreditation only comes after you have firmly secured your FRM results. It takes months of preparation to pass your exams and attain this globally recognized endorsement.

Yes, the examination results are ‘pass’ or ‘fail’, but understanding where exactly you stand in each segment will be a tremendous benefit.

This post brings to light everything you need to know about your GARP results.


Should I analyze?

After passing their test, most persons might not care about the sectional details of their results. However, if you got a failing mark and wish to retake the exam, it would help to know how well you performed in each section.

This information will help you to direct your study effort where it’s most needed when you retake the exam.

While GARP won’t provide exact details of your scores, this is where using practice questions come in handy. You can easily self-test all your efforts and have an idea of where your strong and weak points are.

This is especially true when you are transitioning from level 1 to level 2.

It can be a big help to know which areas you narrowly passed so you can work on such areas of weakness during your level 2 preparations.

That is because the second stage of the course builds on some of the concepts introduced in level 1.


What is a quartile range in the results?

The quartile definition in each covers a 25% vertical range. Your score can fall anywhere in that range.

The 1st quartile is 75%, which indicates an excellent score and typically indicates a pass. On the other hand, the 3rd and 4th quartiles are 25% and 0 respectively, and they mean a fail.

It is also essential to know that all the subject areas are not equally weighted, and that affects scoring.

(Of course, if you perform well in lesser-weighted subject areas and badly in the larger-weighted topics, you will likely end up with a fail for your overall outcome). The weightings are as follows:


Part 1 Breakdown

  • Quantitative Analysis 20%
  • Foundations of Risk Management 20%
  • Financial Markets and Products 30%
  • Valuation and Risk Models 30%


Part 2 Breakdown

  • Market Risk Measurement and Management 20%
  • Credit Risk Measurement and Management 20%
  • Operational Risk and Resiliency 20%
  • Liquidity and Treasury Risk Measurement 15%
  • Risk Management and the Investment Management 15%
  • Current Issues in Financial Markets 10%


Should I give up if I got failing results?

This course is a challenging one and its tests will not be a walkover. Some who pass do so narrowly!

Often times, students believe that the exam content and what’s delivered through the text books or other preparation materials are not always in sync.

Even after months of preparation, it’s possible to return with a ‘fail’ as opposed to the much-anticipated ‘pass’. Nevertheless, poor results should NEVER dissuade you from getting up, dusting off and trying again.

A failing grade must not be the end of the line for you. Reflect on what you are comfortable with and what is giving you issues when going through your books.


Should I re-take my exam?

Even after receiving unexpectedly disappointing results, be mindful that GARP offers all candidates the chance to re-sit the examination.

All you have to do is register again for the second, third, or 4th re-sit. In each of these cases, you will not be required to pay the enrollment fee. You will only pay the exam registration fee.

However, after four years, if you still want to retake any of the level or level 2 exams after your first trial, you will have to enroll again.

Yes, your resolve will be repeatedly tested, but remember that greatness lies in the amount of times you get up, not knocked down.


Stay focused on your long term goals

Failure is a natural part of the journey in attaining any great goal. It’s unpleasant, but that shouldn’t blind your vision.

If you genuinely love the field of financial risk management, you will find a way to move past your failure and try again.

Remember why you sat for the exam in the first instance. Think your career advancement goals, and your financial or self-fulfillment ambitions. There is so much the certification can do to help you achieve those goals.

Therefore, we say try again…and again. Do not stop until the job is completely done.


Practice to improve

If you had access to see the full breakdown of your results, it would be easy to pin-point what exactly went wrong. Unfortunately, this isn’t possible with GARP’s current policies.

So, you need to self-test and evaluate your own preparedness.

The syllabus is a great overall guide but you need to focus on practice questions tests when you take (or retake) the test.

Remember, the examinations test theoretical aspects as well as your ability to apply your knowledge in real-world scenarios. A ‘fail’ mark in the exam, therefore, doesn’t mean that you aren’t capable.

More practice might simply be all that you need to turn things around.


Preparing for the next round

After self-testing with our extremely difficult questions, you will be better able to see which areas are negatively impacting your results.

Knowing this, you can then target your weak areas more before your next exam.

The good thing is that, if you register for a retake within the same year, there is high chance you’ll still remember much of the concepts from your previous preparation.

As a result, you’ll only need to brush up on your areas of weakness to ace the exam on your retake.


External factors affecting your results

By the time you walk out of the test room, your gut feelings will be giving an indication of what your final FRM results would be. Yes, even before the results come out, one can tell that they are going to score poorly.

That is especially the case if you encountered psychological or physical distractions in the room.

It could have been something as simple as failing to take breakfast in the morning, not being able to sleep the night before, or experiencing nervousness before your test.

Break down these external factors that hindered your success and see how you can make things better next time.

Learn from the experience and leverage it for a better score when you retake the exam.


Knowledge, practice and experience

In an ideal world, your exam results would be a straight measurement of your knowledge and understanding of a given subject matter. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case in our complex real-world setting.

Several things can play hobs with your success in the Financial Risk Manager exam, even after adequate preparation. These include health issues, problems with your family or boss, or exam day anxiety among many other things.

In that case, just because you returned poor grades in one case, it doesn’t mean that you couldn’t qualify to be a certified specialist.

Trust us, your knowledge and experience will surface if you maintain composure and retake the exam. So, don’t interpret a failed exam to mean you are a loser.


Building your support network

This advancement promises greener pastures after passing the exam and obtaining the certification. However, things may not go as planned and the road may be a bit rocky.

Rest assured, even after failing, you can still have a great job and a good life going on. Appreciate that and prepare for a rebound.

The lovely thing is that your support network is already there for you. So, be straight with them and tell them, your action plan.

Network members include family, friends, and colleagues that understand your motivations and ambitions. These are the individuals who won’t mock you for having failed outcome.

Tell them the truth, and assure yourself that success won’t slip between your fingers again. You will become a Financial Risk Manager!


Is there an advantage in re-taking the exam?

Yes! Contrary to popular belief, you do have an advantage in re-taking your exams. Remember, failure is part of life.

It doesn’t matter how many times you fail, but whether you pick yourself up and try again. This is what really counts. Register for the next round and start revising as early as you can.

Take into considerations the lessons you have learned from the previous test. This is one of you biggest advantages if you got a poor result the previous time around. 

Practice more and avoid all kinds of physical and psychological distractions. When the next exam day arrives, go with confidence.

Things will work out. Your experience in the past exam will work in your favor.


Alternatives to the certification

Failing results don’t mean you should ‘jump ship’ to another certification or degree program. In financial risk management, endorsement by GARP is the gold standard qualification.

There are no other high ranking alternatives! In the field of finance, you may have options such as the MBA, MSC Finance, or other certification courses.

However, these programs are expensive, they take much longer to accomplish, and some of them are just as tough as the FRM exams. So, why not just give the course your all?


Don’t stop studying after passing

Your level 1 results were great. You passed it and you are over the moon. But wait…

Even after passing the level 1 exams, you have level 2 exams waiting. If you slack off in your studies or become over-confident, you might end up with a fail in part 2.

Be prudent and analyze your self-test results to find out your areas of weakness. You can then watch out for those sore points as you prepare for level 2.


Your revision technique might need an upgrade

After getting your test results, take time to reflect on possible reasons why you didn’t perform well.

Review your internal and external study materials and find out exactly what you need to improve on for success in the next sitting.

It could be that you need to focus more on difficult practice questions to better your chances and possibly start reviewing earlier.


The next exam might be tougher

The difficulty level is not exactly constant. The test might be bearable for the November session but unforgiving in the May period. There is no way of predicting this, so you’ll simply have to prepare well in advance.

If you are seeking to better your results, then rigorous preparation will be your only answer.


In the end

Your level 1 results can be a major defining point in your professional life. These results determine whether you proceed to the next level and go on to get your certification or whether you need to retake the test.

We would like to end this post by reminding you of just a few things:

  • Failing your examination does not make you a failure.
  • Many have experienced failure and have not let it stop them.
  • Adequate and early preparation will be key

We sincerely wish you all the best in your upcoming examinations and hope that our free materials will help you overcome any challenge in that test room!


One step at a time,

The QuestionBank Family