CFA Latest CFA Level 1 Discussions Practice Exams: Partial vs Full-Length

Practice Exams: Partial vs Full-Length

  • This topic has 7 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated Jul-17 by mattyc.
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    • BenBL
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      Hi All –

      First time poster, long time reader!

      I just finished reading the Level 1 Schweser notes (besides Ethics which I’ll finish up by the weekend). Along the way I completed all of the concept checkers and EOC questions in the CFAI books (I felt this helped me leave no stone unturned). I’m trying to plan out my “Review Month” and come up with a strategy for the next 6 weeks. That said, two questions for you experts:

      1. Is it beneficial to take partial mock exams (i.e. either the AM or PM portion), or dive right in and take full-length, 6-hour mock exams?

      My thought was to take half-length mock exams, maybe two per week, for the next three weeks. Then step it up to full length exams over the final three weeks. This would allow me more time to review “rusty” topics earlier in my review phase, and get more “test practice” later on.

      2. Is it better to review “rusty” topics BEFORE taking practice exams?

      It feels like years ago when I last opened up Econ or FRA. Should I go back an brush up on these topics before jumping into mock exams? Or should I bite the bullet and start mocking knowing that I’ll be weaker than I’d like in those areas?

      Any advice is greatly appreciated.

      Good luck, and keep on truckin’!

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hi @BenBL, I expect that you’ll now to be long time poster and reader then? 🙂

      Sounds like you’ve done a solid initial prep and planning for the ‘Review Month’ is a good move.

      Here are my thoughts to your questions:

      1) It’s best to take the practice papers like exam conditions, i.e. in 3 hour blocks. You may start slower with just AM paper one day, PM paper the next day. But the goal is to go for 2 exam papers in one day to simulate exam conditions and focus needed. So yes, our thoughts are along the same lines here.

      2) Nah, you will review the ‘rusty’ topics later anyway since you’ll get them wrong in the papers. Do it later when reviewing where you’ve gone wrong in the papers.

      Hope this helps!

    • Zee Tan
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      @BenBL – welcome!

      3 hour blocks I think are fine to start with but try and move to 6 hours in one day by the time the actual exam looms. Doing the second one takes a lot of effort so a bit of practice helps!

      If it helps your confidence you can do a quick review of ‘rusty’ topics before you start. However the danger here is that you start going back into detail (perhaps after realising you’ve forgotten a lot) and delaying when you start your practice exams even further.

    • Wemi_Pearl007
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      @BenBL At level 1& 2 I always intended to take a full length mock, but time kept getting in the way. I ended up doing the am or pm for 3 or 4 mocks/practice exams. If you have the time, do simulate exam conditions and do a full mock in a day.

      All the best!

    • vincentt
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      For level 1 I think it’s fine to do the whole mock and review them after (or the next day, unless you still have the energy to go through those questions after 6 hours of mock).

      As for level 2, I feel that the issue isn’t about reviewing each question individually but also to understand why you didn’t get it right.

      Could it be that you misread/misunderstood certain parts in the vignette?
      or
      You just haven’t grasp the concept well?

      Hence, I would usually do just 5 item sets and review them immediately, that way I would remember why I choose each answer and the vignette itself well.

      It worked pretty well for me, as long as you try to finish each item set around 15mins (leave 3 mins margin for tougher item set). Of course, pick a method that best suits you.

      Being a perfectionist, I’ve always wanted to review rusty topics before starting the mock so I would score well, but trust me, as you go through those rusty topics you’ll soon realise there’s more to review and you’ll keep going on and on. The best method is exactly what @sophie said, to make the mistake in the mock and when you review them after you’ll remember better.

    • BenBL
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      Thanks all for the comments so far! Very helpful! I was thinking of doing an in-depth review of Econ and FRA before doing my first mock, but now I think im just gonna suck it up and go for it this weekend instead! Maybe I’ll just skim through the Schweser Secret Sauce real quick beforehand?

      Anyone have any tips on the best method of reviewing weak topics after your mock exams? I’m thinking of just building question banks to keep my review “exam-like”.

      Thanks again!

    • Zee Tan
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      @BenBL secret sauce sounds like a good compromise. Good luck and looking forward to your post-exam discussion!

    • mattyc
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      I agree that your first few practice exams should be done in the 3 hour blocks to give you a sense of real conditions and get your brain accustomed to the strain of continuous problem solving for 3 hours. That will give you an idea of which topics you will need to concentrate your review for the next few weeks. I would suggest that after you discover your weak areas, go back and re read those chapters and use a few of the practice exams to only take the questions in those sections. Its important though to leave enough full exams for closer to the exam date to be in full beast mode. Good luck.

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