I look back with fondness at the simpler days when I was preparing for my FRM Level 1 exam over a decade ago. The pleasantness of that memory can undeniably be attributed to nostalgia though. Because I can assure you that back then, I was a nervous wreck!
The great recession had just hit, and jobs were scarce for business and finance graduates. The economy was crumbling, investment banks were going bust and businesses were becoming increasingly risk averse. Does that situation remind you of something?
History repeats itself and for someone interested in Risk Management, that may just be a good thing.
You see the demand for Risk Managers and Certified FRMs started to skyrocket after the last crisis. Banks, corporations, hedge funds and even governments needed to better manage their risk. And as the current crisis (or the inevitable future ones) unfolds, you can expect a similar trend. Corporate and sovereign balance sheets are stressed, investments are on hold, money is pouring back into safe haven assets like the greenback and bonds. This is the time when Risk Managers thrive and the FRM is the certainly best risk certification for that.
Why do you need an FRM prep course?
When I was in business school, almost everyone interested in finance was taking the CFA or FRM exams to get that extra edge. And almost everyone was using a prep course. It just makes sense for several reasons:
- You save a lot of time as you everything is condescend into nice readable chunks for you. The recommended readings are far too vast and it would take you a lot longer to go through them with and you might lose sight of what is relevant to clear the exam.
- They also make things easy for you. Most of these packages come with beginner friendly instructional videos that ease you in and help you better grasp the topics. The FRM curriculum is not the easiest, so the extra help is appreciated.
- Lastly, they increase your chance of success. By providing you with a laser focused study plan, these prep courses make sure you are focusing on what is important to clear the exam. You also get access to quizzes, mock exams, topic summaries etc. that all come together do better prepare you for the final test.
Taking all these factors into account and my own experience of earning the FRM designation, Bionic Turtle is my top pick. It gives you what you need and at an exceptionally reasonable price point.
1. The Best Course Material
Bionic Turtle has been around for a long while, and they focus exclusively on the FRM exam. This means that they have perfected their course material over the course of the last 15+ years and each iteration is better than the last.
All relevant topics are covered and explained in enough detail to make it suitable for audiences at all skill levels.
2. Great Videos
The video content is where this course really shines. If you are crunched for time, this is the absolute best method to quickly get up to speed. Make sure you buy the right package which includes the videos.
It’s not easy to make educational content binge-worthy (just ask your professor), but I find that BT does come closer than most others on this front. They make extensive use of examples and infographics to get the point across and this also makes the content more digestible.
3. The Forums
One of the best and unique features that you get access to via Bionic Turtle are the forums. And the forums are actually ACTIVE and full of fellow risk busters trying to earn the FRM. You can ask questions here, find motivation, discuss schedules and do all that other stuff with like-minded people which really just acts as a force multiplier.
Looking back at my own career and based on feedback from students, I feel that the proper motivation is a very underrated aspect that students tend to ignore. It can really make or break your career.
4. Interactive Quizzes and Mock Exams
Most people swear by the importance of mock exams to really cement your learning and build confidence before the actual exams. Mock quizzes and exams are certainly an important aspect of reinforcement learning and BT does rather well on this front.
The interactive quizzes are designed to mimic real testing conditions, mostly form a time-pressure standpoint.
5. Value and Pricing
The courses are very reasonably priced for what they offer. I feel the time savings alone makes them a no-brainer at their current price point. Most people taking the FRM already have a job or are in college and are generally pressed for time.
If you don’t have much time left before the exam, then the value of this course increases even further!
Lastly, the difference between clearing the exam or having to appear again next year, can set you back career wise and will obviously have a financial cost associated with it.
Bionic Turtle also offers discounts for low income countries, students, veterans etc. so I suggest you check that out to see if you qualify.
Which package to choose?
Bionic Turtle offers three packages – Basic, advanced and professional. I highly recommend you get at least the advanced package because of the videos as they are indeed the best feature of the course. If you are certain that you don’t need the videos, you can go for basic.
Professional gives you even more videos and learning spreadsheets (Excel or online) which are definitely worth it for advanced users. The additional videos provide a fast-track supplementary review of the course material. While the spreadsheets help enhance quantitative learning for the FRM exam.
Getting the Part 1+2 bundle is also cheaper than getting them separately. I recommend you use that discount and get the bundle because you are going to need this course even more for Level 2. And don’t worry, you will get access to the updated material if any updates are made in the interim.