It’s been awhile since I updated last (as usual). Today I have a large upload to complete to get myself caught up to my current state within the curriculum. I finished corporate finance and derivatives in 3 hard/long days and started FRA about 3 days ago. Previous research on AnalystForums indicated that the Schweser FRA section was not a good study source, but being I choose to give it a shot. Unfortunately, it is deceptively easy for the first 4 – 5 readings, after which you realize that you don’t have fundamentals. So today I completely abandoned Schweser FRA notes for the CFAI book. I still think schweser did a fantastic job with all the other topics, but they really didn’t cover FRA in the same manner. I don’t even know if that a legitimate request for someone with little accounting knowledge. I got through the first two study sessions on Schweser FRA and found no problems until the material started to use a compounding approach at which point I realized I had a very shotty foundation. If this was any other topic, I would likely just plow through the remainder and solidify through problems. However FRA is highly theoretical and not really conceptual at all, not to mention 20% of the exam. I sat down today and whipped through 2 readings, which in retrospect is quite slow for me, but the chapters are also three to four times as large as a typical schweser reading.
I was actually surprised at the level of depth and knowledge I got by proceeding through every page and every line of the CFAI version. Unlike some of the other topics which were dragged on but meaningless definitions and countless examples around the same concept, these chapters felt packed with relevance and just the right amount of examples. After reading through the first two chapters I feel much stronger in quant, with a much broader base to work with. With that said my goal of being done FRA by the 1st will likely be set back. If I had continued on with Schweser I would have been done tomorrow and on to questions day earlier. However simply proceeding through the readings for the sake of entering a review process seemed contradictory to the end result. I had originally planned two weeks for quant and although I don’t think I will take that long in completing, i will likely give myself till may 5th to complete a cumbersome review of the material With that said I am still doing the schweser notes for a more thorough focus after the CFAI readings. Overall I am considering the strategic placement of FRA as my last topic as a strength, not a weakness. I consider this entire process a dedicated review to FRA, the largest component of the level 1 exam. Coming out of this topic I will move on to solidify quant and then some slight revisions to ethics, PM and corporate finance.
If I can nail down the concepts as well as I have been able to today in FRA, I feel very good about the exam. After reviewing all the other sections I feel very confident in economics, ethics, equity, fixed, derivatives, AI and most of PM. With that said I still have a lot of work to do in all those sections, including 2 books of schweser mock exams, CFAI mock exams, ethics tests, emptying 1bank, reading SPH and GIPS again, reading secret sauce and solidifying the formulas through repetition. At this stage in the game a fundamental base in FRA will really help my scores and confidence. I am going to go watch How I met Your Mother (amazing show) and then I will likely be back for a mass upload. In case I decide against this, I likely wont be back until I have another late night “second wind”. Good luck to all who are now well into their review process.