FRM Exam: Computer-Based Testing From 2021

FRM Exam Computer Based Testing From 2021

By Sophie Macon

Well, COVID-19 has certainly upended the world of exams.

Just like the CFA exams, Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) has just announced last week that FRM exams would also be transitioning to computer-based testing (CBT) in 2021, where Part 1 Nov20 and Part 2 May21 would be the last paper-based FRM exams.

Whether you’re new to FRM designation or an existing candidate, read on to see GARP’s full announcement and our breakdown!

What Has GARP Announced?

Here is the original GARP announcement, the highlights are ours:

GARP Announces 2021 Transition to Computer-Based Testing for FRM Exam

September 16, 2020

To provide candidates with more options as they face the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis, GARP is making several enhancements to the administration of its flagship Financial Risk Manager (FRM®) Exam in 2021. This includes adding more testing windows and transitioning to computer-based testing (CBT) – where candidates take Exams at secure testing sites via computer instead of paper and pencil – for Part I of the Exam starting in May and Part II of the Exam starting in December.

All changes focus on increasing exam scheduling options for FRM candidates while maintaining the high quality that FRMs and the banks, asset managers, regulators, and other prominent institutions that employ them have come to expect from the professional certification.

Changes include:

  • • In addition to the standard historical May and November testing cycles, a new July Exam will be added for Part I to allow for additional scheduling flexibility for FRM candidates. For Part II, Exams will be offered in May (paper and pencil) and December (CBT format).
  • FRM Exams will be given by CBT in 2021, except for the May Part II Exam, which will remain paper and pencil but will transition to CBT in December. This will provide consistency for candidates who completed Part I via that same testing method.
  • Exams will be delivered within windows to accommodate CBT and give candidates more exam scheduling choices and greater flexibility to accommodate their individual schedules. The Exams will be given on:
  • Part I (all CBT)
    • May 8-21
    • July 10-23
    • November 13-26

    Part II
    • May 15 (paper and pencil)
    • December 4-10 (CBT)

  • Registration for the 2021 FRM May and July Exams will begin on December 1, 2020. GARP will offer an early and standard registration window for each exam date.The FRM Exam’s breadth, structure, and length are not being changed. GARP will make only necessary and minor updates to the reading material to ensure the subject matter is timely and best prepares candidates for career advancement. All will be subject to the usual rigorous oversight and review.
  • “While some organizations are changing the foundation of their tests, this transition to CBT will not affect the FRM program’s high standards. GARP commits to unequivocally maintaining the rigor of the FRM Certification program,” said William May, global head of certifications and educational programs at GARP. “The quality of the FRM Certification is second-to-none and remains an excellent career-enhancing offering for those who wish to pursue a career, or get ahead, in risk management.”GARP will publish its 2021 Study Guide and Learning Objectives before Dec. 1, 2020.“In this time of great uncertainty, earning the FRM professional designation is an ideal way for candidates to distinguish themselves,” said Richard Apostolik, president and CEO of GARP. “Risk management is ever-expanding, with areas such as technology, geopolitical, and pandemic risks now posing increasing challenges to businesses and their resilience. Taking the FRM remains the quickest path to gaining an in-depth understanding of these non-financial risks and challenges, as well as further developing your understanding of the more traditional financial risks and their consequences.”​The FRM can be earned more quickly than most other professional certifications for candidates with the requisite knowledge and job experience, especially with the new exam windows.

What Are The Key Points?

Summary GARP's Announcement on FRM CBT computer based exam 2021

1) FRM exams are moving to computer-based testing (CBT) in 2021, starting with Part I

FRM Part 1 will move to CBT starting May21. On the other hand, Part 2 will have one last paper-based exam in May21, before transitioning to CBT starting Dec21.

2) FRM Part 1 will now be offered 3 times a year, whereas Part 2 remains the same at twice a year. Both come with more choices on exam dates within an exam window.

GARP is adding a new exam cycle for Part 1 only in Jul21, in addition to the usual May and November cycle. Part 2’s exam cycle remains the same at twice a year in May and November/December.

Instead of a specific exam date globally, more choices on exam dates are available for candidates within a specific two-week exam window. This helps social distancing and crowd management at the test site, whilst offering more flexibility for candidates.

Here are the latest 2021 FRM Exam dates:

Exam Slots
FRM Part 1 (all CBT)
FRM Part 2
8-21 May21
15th May21 (last paper-based)
10-23 Jul21
Nov / Dec
13-26 Nov21
4-10 Dec21 (CBT)

3) You can register for May21 and Jul21 exams starting 1st December 2020.

​As part of the move to CBT in 2021, candidates will be offered windows of up to 2 weeks for scheduling their exams at a secure test center as opposed to the current single-day testing.

4) Are there any changes to the FRM exam structure, format and/or length?

No. The breadth, structure, and length of the FRM will remain the same as before.

That said, for FRM candidates who would like to defer to 2021 exams (see how to do so in FAQs below), you need to be mindful of the (minor) curriculum changes from 2020 to 2021. GARP will announce these changes before 2021 registration opens on 1st Dec 2020.

5) Testing will still be at test centers, not at home.

FRM exam computer testing will take place at a secure test center. Candidates are required to go to a physical testing center on exam day.

Remote exam testing will not available, i.e. you would not be able to take the test at home.

6) But test centers will likely be a lot more pandemic-friendly.

Candidates will be offered windows of up to 14 days for scheduling their exams, and test centers are likely to be much smaller venues compare to current paper-based exam centers. There is likely to be much, much less candidates per taken exam in each test center, which is great news, social-distancing-wise.

FRM Exam 2021 CBT: Frequently Asked Questions

FRM Exam Computer Based Testing CBT FAQs

With CBT, will the FRM exam fees remain the same for all exam parts?

Unfortunately not. Offering exams via CBT across a broad range of dates increases the administration costs, which is reflected in the increased exam registration fees.

The one-off enrollment fee stays the same at US$400. However, the registration fees have increased for FRM Part 1 and Part 2:

  • Early registration fee is now US$550 per Part;
  • Standard registration fee is now US$750 per Part;
  • There will no longer be a late registration fee from 2021.

With the 2021 exam windows, can candidates reschedule exams?

For 2021 exams, if you would like to move exam dates/times within the current month you’re registered in, you can do this once for free on a first-come, first-serve basis. E.g. changing from 15th to 17th May 2021.

Otherwise, you can move your exam date to a different available month for a deferral fee of US$200.

With CBT, can candidates still take Part 1 and Part 2 on the same day?

Yes, this is still allowable. However, just as before, if you fail Part 1, Part 2 would not be graded.

To do this in 2021, the tricky part is ensuring that you schedule your exam dates properly to allow sufficient time to travel between 2 exam sites, just in case you can’t obtain the same testing location for both exam Parts.

Can existing Oct20 (postponed from May20) or Nov20 candidates choose to defer to 2021?

Generally, an existing (2020) candidate can defer their exam once to the next exam registration. Second deferrals will not be considered.

  • Existing candidates who want to defer to 2021 CBT exams can do so for US$150 latest by 15th Oct 2020.
  • To defer, all you need to do is log in to your GARP account, go to “My Programs” and click on the deferral button.
  • However, given the tight deadline between Oct20 and Nov20 exams, candidates are not allowed to take an exam in October and November. Therefore, Oct20 candidates who want to defer to May21 CBT exams must reach out to GARP at to help with the deferral.

That said, candidates must bear in mind that there will be (minor but necessary) changes between 2020 and 2021’s FRM curriculum. These changes will be announced by GARP before 1st Dec 2020 when the May21 and Jul21 exam registration opens. Candidates who choose to defer their FRM Part 1 exam will receive new eBooks for no additional charge.

We will be updating our related articles and adding more analysis here. What are your thoughts to this big news? Let us know in the comments!

20 thoughts on “FRM Exam: Computer-Based Testing From 2021”

  1. Hi,

    I cleared my FRM Part 1 in November 2018. GARP says we have to clear Part 2 within 4 years. So that makes my exam due in 2022. Meanwhile, multiple attempts were cancelled in India. Will I be allowed further attempts after 2022 due to the cancellations in 2020 and 2021?

    • I believe so, but you’ll have to check your specific situation with GARP directly. Get an email confirmation with whatever they tell you. Good luck!

  2. Hi,
    i have 2 question: first is about ADA form. It’s enough send you the document that i downloaded from the personal dashboard with the sign do it with acrobat reader dc? Second is about the preparation for the exam. I’m studying the 4 books. How is possible testing my preparation like, for example CFA style?

    • Hi Gianluca, it is best to check the ADA application form submission directly with GARP.

      The FRM exams are tested via multiple choice questions, similar to CFA Level 1 and Level 2 (but not Level 3). For more info about what the FRM exam is about, check out our FRM guide.

  3. Is it possible to change the exam location within the same month ?
    What is the deadline for making any changes for July exam?

    • Hi Ruben, we’ve covered your questions in our FRM exam dates article, check out the FAQs.

      To answer your question:
      – You can only reschedule your CBT appointment once after registration.
      – Yes you can change your exam location within the same month, just log into your GARP account, and click the Exam Setup button under “My Programs” to choose your test center.
      – Deadline to change is 8th April for July exams.

      Hope this helps 🙂

  4. Hi,
    Will we be able to use pen/pencil during the exam? Will they provide us empty papers? Because I need to write the things down while solving a question.

    • Hi aoyt, for computer-based exams, any writing instruments such as pens, personal pencils, mechanical pencils, erasers, white-out or correction fluid, tape, highlighters, or rulers are not allowed in the test room.

      However, 2 sheets of scratch paper and a pencil will be provided to every candidate at the start of the exam. These items must be kept on the desk for the duration of the Exam, and collected at the end of the exam by proctors.

      Hope this helps!

  5. When I try to book a date for FRM Part 1 in the Netherlands for July exams, I am getting the following message:
    There are no exam centers or exam sessions available within 100 miles/160 km of your selected location.
    I have tried to contact GARP, via mail, but I haven’t still received a reply..

    • Hi Katerina, sorry for my late response here! Have you heard back from GARP on this yet as I understood they had technical issues last month?

      Let me know if I can help

  6. I had my exam cancelled twice, in November 2020 and January 2021. I am being offered a sitting in May 2021 but I can’t make that date due to work constraints. If i try to move to July sitting I have to pay an extra deferral fee. That doesn’t make sense given I never picked May sitting to begin with. No response from the admin team. Quite appalling to find individuals being penalised through decisions made by the body and a lack of communication from a provider that prides itself on high ethical standards ..

    • Ugh I hear you Youssef, that’s a bummer. It’s a big mess really for all the exam providers who are so used to years of predictable, stable exam cycles to have to deal with this. Any chance you can make May21, and somehow make the work constraints go away? Else it doesn’t seem fair to be charged an extra deferral fee…

  7. There are no seats available for Dublin May 21 attempt. That is strange. GARP has suggested to keep an eye for any released slot.

  8. You need to correct your information, I have reached GARP to postpone y exam well before 15-october-2020 but they simply refused to do so. I did asked them for the payment of deferral fee but they replied that it is not available. I have emailed in September and August. I was postponed from May 2020 to October. “Can existing Oct20 (postponed from May20) or Nov20 candidates choose to defer to 2021? Generally, an existing (2020) candidate can defer their exam once to the next exam registration. Second deferrals will not be considered. Existing candidates who want to defer to 2021 CBT exams can do so for US$150 latest by 15th Oct 2020. To defer, all you need to do is log in to your GARP account, go to “My Programs” and click on the deferral button.

    • Hi AQ, that seems odd, did GARP give any reason? We have had readers successfully requesting a deferral before Oct 15. GARP generally allows only 1 deferral, and I wonder if their system made a mistake if you were postponed from May to October (and considered a deferral itself)? If you have more background to your situation that would be helpful. Which exams did you want to defer to?

      • I was registered for May-2020 which were postponed. When I came to know about my October-2020 schedule, I contacted them in mid august via email. In reply to which they said we are not allowing deferral for October-2020 as the date defer has already passed. Now I’m kind of forced to sit or miss the exam.

        • Hi AQ, I’m sorry to hear that. It seems their COVID-19 policy is a little messy for Oct20 postponed candidates. On their official press release, GARP allowed deferral for Oct20 candidates to Nov20 for free, but this change is allowable during 1-15 April only. However, if you’ve contacted them in August or September, that is early enough and you should have been offered a Late Deferral Form, which if they approve (provided it is a good reason aside from ‘just’ COVID), you will be charged $150. We have had candidates postponing successfully, so it seems like their approval is judged on a subjective basis unfortunately. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. If you do choose to sit for the Oct20 exam, best of luck!


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