Bionic Turtle FRM Review

Bionic Turtle FRM ReviewRATING: ★★★★★

Bionic Turtle was one of the first FRM preparation providers to instruct with videos and e-learning tools.  Founded by David Harper in 2004, the owner continues to write practice exam questions and tests them out on the world’s most active FRM forum that Bionic Turtle has developed.

The company’s goal is to provide high quality materials at a reasonable price. The study planner, study notes, instructional videos, practice questions and student forum deliver a well-rounded package that prepares you for the FRM exam.

PROS

1. Instructional Videos

bionic turtle videosBionic Turtle’s videos focus on the most important concepts and distill the more complex topics which makes them easier to understand. The FRM requires a high level of quantitative skills. Many concepts are hard to understand without visual demonstrations, so the videos help you comprehend the material better.

Its high quality videos are colorful and well-designed. Complex concepts are explained in a straightforward and clear language, and a yellow “spotlight” that moves over words and concepts helps direct your attention to specific points.

2. Excellent Study Materials

Its study planner helps you create a personalized plan and gives you an easy way to bookmark resources. The study planner is also searchable if you are looking for information about a specific topic. FRM study materials include daily questions, videos, learning spreadsheets, study notes, focus review videos, quizzes, and practice question sets. You can check out the free samples of all materials on the company’s website.

3. Question Bank

The large practice question database contains thousands of practice questions which are continuously updated (often by founder David Harper himself). You can find thousands of questions on the forum, or you can choose the packaged Question Sets that come with the paid courses. Question Sets come in PDF bundles.

4. Huge Community Forum

bionicturtleYou will have ample opportunities to connect with other FRM candidates thanks to the  30,000+ community forum which Bionic Turtle is famous for. The BionicTurtle forum, which has been around for 10 years, includes 3 main sections: The Office, Financial Risk Manager, and FRM Practice Questions. The first two are free to everyone, but the practice questions can only be accessed by subscribers.

The Office area posts announcements and daily practice questions. Financial Risk Manager includes a group of individual forums that cover basic information about FRM and more specific forum domains dedicated to individual components covered on the exam and how they are weighted. The FRM Practice Question Forum (locked until you purchase the course) includes practice questions and solutions.

5. Price

Bionic Turtle is one of the more affordable FRM prep courses. Considering the number of options and time allowed to access the program, Bionic Turtle’s courses offer the best overall value out of the courses we’ve reviewed. You can also go to their discount page to submit a request for an additional discount if you qualify (full-time students, purchased another product from Bionic Turtle or a different company).

6. Access for 1 Year

One of the most attractive features of Bionic Turtle’s platform is that you receive access to materials for a full year. This should be more than enough time if you make a study plan and stick to it. A three-month extension is also available for an additional fee. I highly recommend that you sign up for a Free-Trial to get a first hand look at their study materials.

CONS

 1. No Hard Copy Materials

All study materials are available electronically, and there is no option to buy a hard copy textbook. Materials can be downloaded and printed out, but that can be cumbersome.

2. Does Not Include All GARP Curriculum

Some resources and readings that appear in the GARP curriculum are not covered in Bionic Turtle’s study courses. This is a deliberate choice on the company’s part. Bionic Turtle does not review every reading on the GARP syllabus because the FRM syllabus includes so many concepts that there is no way that every concept will be tested for on the exam. Readings also frequently change from one exam to the next. Bionic Turtle focuses on the most important concepts and practices instead.

Ideal User

bionic turtle frm prepBionic Turtle offers an efficient and effective review course for FRM clients who already have some experience in the field. If you have a lot of experience, Bionic Turtle’s review course may be the only resource required.

However, you may want to use the GARP core books and other study materials in addition to Bionic Turtle, especially if you are looking for a more comprehensive and all-encompassing review that includes all of the suggested readings and concepts. In other words, if you are not as familiar with the topics and lack some experience, you may prefer to supplement Bionic Turtle’s review course with other study aids.

My Suggestion

Students who have enrolled in one of Bionic Turtle’s review courses have high praise for the materials and give the company a lot of credit for helping them pass the FRM exams. The forum is a great resource that you should check out. There is a wealth of information about the exam, study hints, practice questions, and other useful strategies that are sure to cover everything.

The Study Notes and videos are also excellent and really help you focus on the concepts that matter most. I highly recommend this course to anyone who has a good foundation and is serious about passing the FRM exam on their first try!

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Pricing

Basic Course
Price: $249/year for Part 1 or Part 2; $399/year for both Part 1 & Part 2.
Includes: Full Forum Access, Question Sets, and Study Notes.

Advanced Course
Price: $349/year for Part 1 or Part 2; $599/year for both Part 1 & Part 2.
Includes: Full Forum Access, Question Sets, Study Notes, Instructional Videos and Interactive Quizzes.

Professional Course
Price: $449/year for Part 1 or Part 2; $799/year for both Part 1 & Part 2.
Includes: Full Forum Access, Question Sets, Study Notes, Instructional Videos, Interactive Quizzes, Focus Review Videos, and Learning Spreadsheets.

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Best FRM Exam Prep Courses

Best FRM Prep CoursesThe first step to becoming a Financial Risk Manager is finding a high-quality FRM course.

You will be spending dozens of hours studying with it, so it’s critical to find one that matches your personal learning style.

We have reviewed all the major FRM exam prep courses on the market so you don’t have to! The comparison chart below will help you find the FRM study materials that best fit your needs.

FRM Prep Course Comparison Chart


Analyst Prep FRM (Rank: #1)

OVERALL RATING: 

User Friendly: Above anything else, AnalystPrep is dedicated to providing an easy to use online learning platform for all their FRM students. Many of the small annoyances you’d find with other online review courses are absent in their course— sign up with your existing social media accounts and start studying quickly.
Constant Practice: With AnalystPrep’s FRM prep courses, you can generate an unlimited supply of practice tests. Additionally, you’re free to tweak each test to strengthen your knowledge for specific content areas, or focus on content you’ve never covered before.
Forums and Discussion: Have an issue with any of your FRM study materials? AnalystPrep has community forums built into their entire platform; this allows you to leave comments on specific questions or notes and receive helpful replies from fellow students and faculty.
Offline Compatibility: If you don’t want to study while connected to the internet, AnalystPrep has a solution for you. Feel free to convert practice materials from each section into downloadable and printable PDF files. This will let you continue studying for the FRM exam no matter where you are.

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Bionic Turtle FRM (Rank: #2)

Bionic Turtle

OVERALL RATING: 

Study Notes and Instructional Videos: The Study Notes and Videos really help you sift through the often complex quantitative concepts that are tested on the exam. Straightforward explanations and visual demonstrations help you solve practice problems step by step in a way that makes sense.
Extensive Community Forum: Check out the huge forum for answers to all of your FRM questions! You can ask more than 30,000 members to share advice and study tips and browse individual forums. Several areas are open to anyone, but the practice questions area requires a subscription to one of the review courses.
Large Question Bank: The data bank contains thousands of practice questions that will help you prepare thoroughly for the exam. Company founder, David Harper, writes new questions and introduces them to the community forum first, and the test bank is continuously updated to reflect the actual exam.
Access for 12 Months: You will have plenty of time to prepare with Bionic Turtle’s Materials. All course materials are accessible for one year after purchase and it is possible to extend the course by 3 months for an additional fee if necessary.

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Udemy FRM (Rank: #3)

OVERALL RATING: 

Video Lessons: This course relies heavily on video lessons available on-demand. They can be re-watched as many times as you want, so you can use these hundreds of hours of video for as long as you need in order to ensure you truly understand the important aspects of being a FRM.

Lifetime Access: Unlike other companies who limit your time with their course, Udemy wants you to always have access to these materials. This is convenient if you need to brush up on certain topics during your future professional life. And if you ever need to re-certify for any reason, you can use these materials instead of paying a renewal or using a different course.

Mobile Friendly: Udemy’s FRM courses can be completed on any device at any time. Do you prefer to study in short bursts in between other activities? Simply pull your phone out during breaks and watch a couple of videos. For longer sessions, you can sit in front of a computer or tablet.

No Tests: Although Udemy is meant for you to study on your own, it doesn’t include any practice exams to help. Instead, you can complete multiple choice questions found in downloadable PDFs. This is serviceable but far less convenient when compared to AnalystPrep.

Bottom Line: Udemy is an excellent video based study program for the FRM exam. I would highly recommend them if you need a lot of video content to prepare for your test.

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APNA Course FRM (Rank: #4)

apna course frm

OVERALL RATING: 

Full-length Practice Exams: One of the best features of APNA Review is that students get access to 4 full-length practice exams. One of the best way to prepare for an exam is to take a realistic practice test under exam-like conditions. Of the courses we review here, only APNA gives clients that option.
Affordable Price: APNA’s relatively low price tag makes it an ideal supplement to other review materials or great for students who are on a tight budget. For only $180 you will get access to practice exams, several hundred practice questions, instructional videos, a forum, and ebook. Try it for free first by taking advantage of their free demo!
Part 2 Materials Limited: Although the course materials for Part 1 have been available for some time, the Part 2 FRM course was recently released and has only had a few enrolled clients. It includes 11+ videos and 40 lecture topics as compared to 27+ videos and 91 lecture topics for the Part 1 course.
 

Best FRM Exam Prep Courses & Study Materials – 2021 Comparison

FRM Course Company Price
1. Bionic Turtle FRM $599
2. APNA $258

2020 FRM Exam Dates

If your work involves risk management in financial markets, the FRM certification can give your career a boost. Financial Risk Managers are in demand across the world. Banks, financial institutions, and other organizations highly value their skills and knowledge of intricate risk models.

FRM-Exam-Dates

What makes a certified FRM so special? To gain the certification, you need to pass two rigorous exams:

  • FRM Exam Part I: This is offered twice a year. The exam dates are in May and November. It’s always in the morning, and you have four hours to complete it.
  • FRM Exam Part II: Also offered in May and November, the Part II exam is in the afternoon.

Passing the two exams isn’t the only requirement, however. You also have to demonstrate a minimum of two years of full-time work experience in a related field. The approved areas of work include portfolio management, industry research, auditing, and risk consulting.

Is the FRM certification popular? The numbers speak for themselves. Currently, there are more than 58,000 FRMs worldwide. Over the last 20 years, approximately 325,000 candidates have taken the FRM exam.

2020 FRM Exam Dates

Here’s a quick overview of the important dates connected with the 2020 FRM exam. 

May 2020 FRM exam dates

Description Date
Registration for the FRM exam opens Sunday, December 01, 2019
Last date for early registration Friday, January 31, 2020
Last date for standard registration Saturday, February 29, 2020*
Last date for registration Wednesday, April 15, 2020**
Release of Admission Tickets for the exam Friday, May 01, 2020
EXAM DAY Saturday, October 24, 2020***

*February 29, 2020 is also the last date for RAD applications (RAD = Request for Alternative Exam Date.) These are permitted for religious reasons only. 

**Wednesday, April 15, 2020 is also the last date to defer to the next Exam.

***This exam date has been revised due to the COVID-19 crisis.

November 2020 FRM exam dates

Description Date
Registration for the FRM exam opens Friday, May 01, 2020
Last date for early registration Friday, July 31, 2020
Last date for standard registration Monday, August 31, 2020*
Last date for registration Thursday, October 15, 2020**
Release of Admission Tickets for the exam Sunday, November 01, 2020 
EXAM DAY Saturday, November 21, 2020

*August 31, 2020 is also the last date for RAD applications (RAD = Request for Alternative Exam Date.) These are permitted for religious reasons only. 

**October 15, 2020 is also the last date to defer to the next Exam. 

FRM Certification dates

2020 FRM Exam Locations 

The FRM exam is held in dozens of cities across the world. There are exam sites in:

  • Africa
  • Americas
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Oceania

In all, there are over a hundred exam sites for the FRM exam. It’s important to remember that while the cities in which the exam is held remain largely unchanged, the locations within each city may change. 

CFA Deferrals - FRM Exam Locations

Deferrals

What if you register for the FRM exam and then find that you can’t take it? Fortunately, you’re allowed to defer the exam. But there are some rules regarding deferrals that you should know:

  • You can defer the exam only once.
  • Deferral is permitted only to the next exam.
  • Second deferrals are not allowed.
  • Your deferral request must be made within the deferral deadline date. For the May 2020 exam, the deadline is April 15, 2020. For the November 2020 exam, it’s October 15, 2020.
  • Deferral involves a $150 fee. 

Fees, refunds and other important policies

2020 FRM Exam Fees

  FRM Exam Part I FRM Exam Part II
Enrollment fee $400
Early registration fee $425 $350
Standard registration fee $550 $475
Late registration fee $725 $650

The enrollment fee of $400 for the FRM Exam Part I entitles you to the Part I eBooks. However, printed books need to be purchased.

FRM Exam Refunds

The Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP — the body that conducts the FRM exam) does not provide refunds.

Time limit for completing the FRM certification process

Gaining the FRM certification involves passing the Part I exam, the Part II exam, and demonstrating that you have two years of related work experience.

But all three requirements need to be completed within a specific timeframe. 

After you pass the FRM Exam Part I, you have four years to pass Part II. Additionally, you need to get your work experience verified within five years of passing FRM Exam Part II.

FRM-Exam-Results and Grading

2020 FRM Exam Grading

You must remember that there are several rules you need to follow when you appear for the FRM exam. For example, you aren’t allowed to carry any electronics into the exam room; that means laptop computers, smartphones, and smartwatches are banned. 

There are several other stipulations as well. Baggage of any kind isn’t permitted. The list of prohibited items includes laptop bags, pencil cases, and writing instruments.

Here are some other things that you need to take care of when you appear for the FRM exam:

  • Carry a valid identification. Which document will serve the purpose? You can carry your original passport or driving license. Just make sure that it’s valid, current, and bears your photograph. 
  • The calculator you carry must be approved by GARP.
  • When you are in the exam room, don’t open the exam booklet until you are instructed to do so. Similarly, don’t start writing before you’re allowed to. 

What if you violate one of these rules? GARP views these violations seriously. A candidate’s exam may not be graded if he or she breaks one of these rules.

2020 FRM Exam Results

The exam results are released within six weeks of the exam date and are sent by e-mail to each candidate. Candidates will receive a pass/fail notification as well as percentile ranges comparing their results with those of other candidates. Numerical scores aren’t revealed.

The exam results for the 2020 FRM exams will be notified on:

Exam day Exam results will be sent on
May 16, 2020 July 1, 2020
November 21, 2020 January 01, 2021

Frequently Asked Questions About The FRM Exam

How much does FRM exam cost?

There are two fees associated with taking the FRM exam. First is an enrollment fee of $400 that you only need to pay once. After that, you’ll need to pay a registration fee for each level of the exam before you take it. It’s a good idea to register for these exams as soon as possible with plenty of lead time before the exam date, since early registration fees are discounted.

How long is FRM exam?

The FRM exam is made up of two parts: Level 1 and Level 2. Level 1 contains 100 multiple choice questions and has a time limit of four hours. Level 2 has 80 multiple choice questions and also has a four-hour time limit. You can choose to either take each level on different days or schedule both levels on the same day.

Is FRM harder than CFA?

According to GARP, the organization in charge of the FRM exam, approximately 70% of exam takers pass their tests. This is much higher than CPA exam pass rates, which can imply that the FRM exam is easier. However, GARP also states that the exam is equivalent to a Master’s level college education— which means exam takers are required to have more education than they would in order to take the CPA exam.

Can we postpone FRM exam?

In the event of an emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic, GARP will reschedule FRM exam dates to later in the year without requiring you to pay any extra costs. In other cases, you are allowed to defer your exam registration once for free and then pay $150 for each future deferment.

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AnalystPrep FRM & CFA Review

AnalystPrep:

It seems that there’s always some additional task or certification for Financial professionals. Whether you have to pass a certification exam or pursue courses to continue your professional education, finding a place to prepare you for these career milestones can be just as much work as the job you’re trying to pursue.

But where do you start your search? How do you know that you’ve found the best options available to you? Don’t worry, we’ve got a shortcut for you:

Keep reading to learn more about AnalystPrep and their treasure trove of review content.

Overview of AnalystPrep

AnalystPrep is an educational company that strikes a difficult balance of information and accessibility. They do this through technological refinement by creating a high-tech online dashboard, as well as a focus on providing in-depth study materials for different finance-related certifications.

AnalystPrep’s Courses have these features:

  • Dashboard for Tracking Progress
  • Question Bank with Practice Questions
  • Mock Exams
  • Customizable Practice Quizzes
  • Downloadable Notes and Lessons
  • Video Library

What’s Included With AnalystPrep

Personal Dashboard

Log into your user account with AnalystPrep and you’ll see a ton of useful sections and tools to help you succeed. Let’s start with the Dashboard, since it’s essential for accessing the rest of this course.

The Dashboard section of your account clearly displays your current lesson progress and the lessons that you still have to complete. There’s also a breakdown of each subject and a progress bar that updates as you complete materials like lectures and practice tests.

Keep in mind that this dashboard is used for both Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Financial Risk Manager (FRM) exam study materials. Whether you’re enrolled in one, the other, or both, you’ll interact with this exact course dashboard— although it will only display info for one course at a time in order to prevent confusion.

Question Bank with Practice Questions

Looking past your personal Dashboard within your AnalystPrep account, you’ll see a section that’s filled with all the different subjects pertaining to your exam. Click one of these subjects and you’ll see a practice question to help prepare you for the real test.

AnalystPrep pulls these practice questions from a qBank of over 3,000 test questions. When answering them, you also have the choice of rating each question if you “loved” or “hated” it. This helps other students too, since the question bank is updated regularly to replace unpopular questions.

Mock Exams

Once you’re ready to move onto the next step in your CFA or FRM study schedule, you can click on the Mock Exams section of your dashboard. By practicing in this way, aspiring financial professionals can adjust to the format and structure of the exam before test day, relieving any pre-exam jitters.

There are a couple of specific features worth mentioning when it comes to AnalystPrep’s Mock Exams. First, you’re allowed to print out the full exam and/or its answers— allowing you to even more accurately set up conditions at home to simulate your actual test day. Second is that you can compare your results with other students after completing your tests online. This means you’ll know exactly where you stand when compared to your fellow CFA Level 1 or FRM Part 2 test takers.

Customizable Practice Quizzes

You may be thinking, “Aren’t mock exams and practice quizzes essentially the same thing?”

Not exactly. Here’s what makes AnalystPrep’s practice quizzes different: 

AnalystPrep provides you with a section in your login titled Practice. After specifying your chapter and subject of study, you also have the option to filter down the content that you want to review even further with more descriptors. Once you do, this platform will generate a unique practice quiz based on your parameters.

Do you want to include questions you haven’t answered yet? What about questions that you’ve previously answered incorrectly? You can select these criteria, in addition to specifying the amount of questions on each quiz. This is a source of endless review and improvement of trouble areas— an incredibly helpful resource for you to pass your exams.

Downloadable Content

Mobile access is important to many students who like to study on their smartphone or tablet. But what about offline access?

AnalystPrep easily meets the first criteria by supporting mobile devices without the need of a dedicated app. But here’s how it approaches the second criteria:

AnalystPrep’s Notes section has several downloadable files that can be taken with you anywhere. Much like the practice quizzes mentioned earlier, you can even print these items out should you need to take your review somewhere without a solid internet connection. Essentially, this allows you to maximize your studying anytime and anywhere— no more excuses!

Video Content

The last piece that really rounds out this CFA/FRM prep company is their library of video lectures. These are broken down by topics in each chapter and are a great supplement for those who prefer to learn in this way. They’re all taught by Prof. James Forjan, a charismatic and knowledgeable CFA with a PhD level education. Since he’s written several instructional materials relating to financial markets and risk management, you’ll be in the best possible hands when learning from one of his lectures!

AnalystPrep Pricing

Now that you know what AnalystPrep provides, we’re sure you’ll want to know the price. Luckily for you and countless other students, this company provides these quality bundles at prices that are lower than the rest of the industry.

Your price will vary depending on which exam you want to study— as well as which part (or parts) of these multi-part exams you want to cover.

AnalystPrep has a more limited package option for those on a tight budget, but you’re far better off paying a bit more for the higher-priced packages. If you enroll in the middle or top tier package for CFA or FRM, you’re guaranteed access to the question banks, practice tools, video library and study notes for less than a couple hundred dollars. 

Here’s the best part:

Signing up for a premium package will give you unlimited lifetime access to your account. This is a steal considering that AnalystPrep will continue to update your materials with new and relevant information. Ultimately, the total cost is fairly priced at less than $500, and we recommend you choose this option for that reason.

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Pros & Cons

Time to break down the good and the bad with this prep course provider:

  • Pro – Personal Dashboard: Although a simple aspect that most students overlook, AnalystPrep’s personal dashboard feature is extremely impressive. This dashboard will keep you on track with your studies and help guide you along the path to success on exam day.
  • Pro – Question Bank: The Question Bank is a fantastic tool for quick reviews of specific subjects. These sets of over 3,000 questions are great for on the go review in between practice exams.
  • Pro – Practice Exams: AnalystPrep takes Practice Exams to the next level with their mock exams. Within your user account you’ll have the ability to view or print out practice exams as well as their full sets of answers. This is a great review tool for gauging exam readiness and identifying trouble areas.
  • Con – Lack of Personal Instruction: There’s something to be said about things that are classic. For some, there’s no better learning experience than the traditional in-classroom experience. If you’re one of these people, you might want to look elsewhere for your CFA or FRM exam prep.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions? Let’s get you some answers:

When is the next CFA Exam?

The next CFA Exam has been delayed to December of 2020. There will also be a test in February of 2021.

Does AnalystPrep have enrollment qualifications?

In order to enroll with AnalystPrep, you must either be in your last year of college, already have your college degree, or have a total of 4 years of professional working experience.

How long does it take to study for the CFA exam?

According to AnalystPrep’s website, students spend approximately 308 hours preparing for each exam.

Ideal Customer

Here’s our analysis of who would be a good fit with AnalystPrep:

  • If you prefer to work with companies that make the most of modern technology, this is the course for you.
  • If you like customizable practice quizzes, this is the course for you.
  • If you like having the option to print out mock exams and other study materials, this is the course for you.
  • If you’re looking for a more traditional classroom setting, this isn’t the course for you.

Final Recommendation

AnalystPrep’s tech-focused approach to exam review really stands out among other FRM and CFA providers. For the student who wants to take full control of their studying, have up-to-date tracking of their progress, and not have to pay an arm and a leg, there really is no better choice than AnalystPrep!

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