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CFA Exam Tips: Tips for cracking FRA

March 4, 2015
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1. Outline your syllabus: So you know what you are up against! Tabulate your readings topic-wise. Keep ticking and input the dates as you finish reading topics. It will give you confidence as more topics are covered and also help you manage time more efficiently. For example, you could make use of something like this –

FRA Syllabus

2. Identify your weakness area in FRA: Increase # of readings for it. In FRA most initial readings form the base for further topics. For example, unless you are clear about ratios, impact of changes in inventories and depreciation on them can’t be cracked.

3. This one’s for the non finance people. Keep track of the multiple alternative uses of similar words in a “Accountancy Thesaurus” For example, ‘Amortization’ is used in reference to intangible assets, discount/premium on bond issue & pension liabilities.

4. Using the imagination is considered to be one of the best ways of remembering. Eg. Use your imagination of a factory warehouse for understanding inventory valuation methods

5. Visual representation also helps in understanding. A pictorial depiction of a Profit and Loss account & Revenue recognition methods is given below. Develop more of such on your own to help remember the concepts easily.

Visual Representation of topics in FRA

6. Nail the logic: Logic will never desert you. So even if you can’t recall the formula in the exam, you can crack the question using logic. Formulas may be used for saving time but don’t depend only on memorized formulas for the exam.

7. Concise the material: As you finish reading each topic, jot down the key points in one place. This helps in 2 ways – making your own notes has better recall value than simply reading up.

8. Also, you would realize that the entire topic can be captured in a few pages (max 30). It takes an hour to read 30 pages, not more! Imagine recalling the entire FRA syllabus (20% of the exam) in an hour! Use your time to the commute, while waiting for a meeting, etc for maximizing your revisions.

9. Solve as many questions as possible!

10. Test yourself by taking a sample question paper: The first of this must be at least a month before the exam & not a week before the exam. Imagine scoring poorly in the mock test – don’t damage your confidence on the eve of the exam. Leave enough preparatory time to recap the gaps you noticed in the test.

CFA Exam Tips

1. Underline what is asked. CFA institute uses multiple combinations of most likely true/false least likely correct/incorrect. Expect the opposite of the right answer to be amongst the choices presented.

2. While solving a question, write out the formula in the rough sheet. Use the calculator only for computing. It will help you to re-check later and also avoid any mistakes from oversight.

3. Tick/score out every number/data in the question so that you don’t miss any information. Either go with the flow of information presented in the question or write out the formula and look out for the relevant information in the question. Toggling between both may end up missing some information through oversight and wastage of time.


About the Author

Currently a freelance faculty on Accountancy & Finance, Parvathi has been a career banker. With stints in ING & ICICI Bank, she has worked extensively in the Debt Capital Markets & Loan Syndication business. She is proficient in sales & structuring of Loans & other Fixed Income instruments based on analysis of companies’ financials & their funding requirements. A Chartered Accountant by profession, she has also completed certifications like CFA & FRM.


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