CFA Practice Questions

pktkid10's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 654

It's that time of year again, so I'm posting one of the hundreds of CFA questions.

In addition to normal reading, video sessions, etc., I'd assume many are using the q-bank to determine where they're at with respect to being up to speed.

How do these questions stack up compared to the exam itself? When increasing the difficulty settings the questions are exponentially more difficult. Perhaps someone can shed some light on how to properly use the q-bank

Analyst forums has some advice but I'd looking to get some more opinions. Thanks in advance.

Using the CFA Level 1 Questions in the CFA Question Bank

Our users have differing opinions on the usefulness of the CFA question bank. Some feel that it is better to spend your time just memorizing material and some feel that it is important to use these questions to become efficient at answering these types of questions.

Amphipathic:

OP, don't waste your time on qbank. L1 is a straight-up facts-based exam. Just brute force memorize the material and regurgitate it on exam day. Do pay attention to the examples in the text, memorize the methodology. Make sure you are familiar with your financial calculator.

People will point out that doing questions is good because they reinforce the material. My problem with that is two-fold. First, my friends have told me that the practice questions were different than what they see on the exam. Two, its just more efficient (though much more boring) to keep going over the material in your head until its cemented.

I should point out L2 and L3 are completely different types of exams and with those you should do plenty of practicing.

However, user @sharpie19 shared a different perspective.

sharpie19:

For level 1 the format is just brute force doing 1 question every 90 seconds, so you have to be very efficient, so doing as many practice problems before the day of the test is crucial. I like the q-bank because it is really efficient, you have question in front of you and you try to work it out then click a button so you can see the answer and the explanation without having to flip back and forth through an answer key or something. Also if you do nothing but read and memorize methodology you won't be able to interpret questions quickly.

In order of emphasis, save the more important parts closer to the test date (Assuming you're also using schweser):

  1. CFAI mock tests/ Sample Tests
  2. Schweser Mock Exams
  3. CFAI End of Chapter Questions
  4. Schweser Q-Bank
  5. CFAI Blue Box Examples
  6. Remaining Schweser questions in the book

You can check out some video questions below.

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Comments (39)

Mar 17, 2013

The last month or so should just be Q-bank all day every day. Go over your answers, look up what you got wrong if needed, and then do more Q-bank. Also, set it to medium/hard only. No sense going over easy stuff you're going to get right anyways. Except for maybe once near the end.

    • 1
Best Response
Mar 17, 2013

OP, don't waste your time on qbank. L1 is a straight-up facts-based exam. Just brute force memorize the material and regurgitate it on exam day. The cfa material is not rocket science, it's just difficult because there is so much of it. I came from a non-finance background (literally didn't know difference between a stock and bond) and didn't do any end of chapter questions or qbank questions (did one mock exam day before). Do pay attention to the examples in the text, memorize the methodology. Make sure you are familiar with your financial calculator.

People will point out that doing questions is good because they reinforce the material. My problem with that is two-fold. First, my friends have told me that the practice questions were different than what they see on the exam. Two, its just more efficient (though much more boring) to keep going over the material in your head until its cemented.

I should point out L2 and L3 are completely different types of exams and with those you should do plenty of practicing. Good luck.

    • 3
Mar 17, 2013

Thanks, brah

Mar 17, 2013

I'm going to disagree with Amphipathic's advice on Q-Bank. Even if you memorize the methodology it won't necessarily help you answer the questions correctly. For level 1 the format is just brute force doing 1 question every 90 seconds, so you have to be very efficient, so doing as many practice problems before the day of the test is crucial. I like the q-bank because it is really efficient, you have question in front of you and you try to work it out then click a button so you can see the answer and the explanation without having to flip back and forth through an answer key or something. Also if you do nothing but read and memorize methodology you won't be able to interpret questions quickly.

In order of emphasis, save the more important parts closer to the test date (Assuming you're also using schweser):
1. CFAI mock tests/ Sample Tests
2. Schweser Mock Exams
3. CFAI End of Chapter Questions
4. Schweser Q-Bank
5. CFAI Blue Box Examples
6. Remaining Schweser questions in the book

*CFAI material is mind-numbingly boring to read and would not recommend reading it

    • 1
Mar 17, 2013

Depends on level but generally...

Best to worst
1. Practice exams provided by CFAI
2. Schweser Practice Exams
3. QBank (Level 1/2)
4. End of Chapter Prolbems

Given that you have limited number of questions in 1 & 2 Qbank is a pretty good resource.

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Mar 5, 2016

Hello, I have 3 months or so left but I am trying to strategize for the last two months of study with either Qbank or CFAI practice exams. From your post, it looks like practice exams provided by the CFAI are the best resource (there is 1 mock exam provided by the CFAI when I registered). However, I also have access to the Schweser practice exams but NOT the qbank for the LEVEL I exam.

Is it a good investment for me to buy Qbank material for level I or should I stay with CFAI practice exams and schweser practice exams? Note that I have a previous background in accounting and I am currently looking to break into the finance industry (in which case passing the CFA level I would really help),

Thank you,
Ajay Nune

Mar 17, 2013

For L1, you will be fine if you consistently break 70% on a Qbank. Just do intermediate and hard questions, and do 100 at a time. This was more than enough prep for me.

Once I had done a few hundred sets of these, I was able to take kaplan & CFAI mocks pretty easily. The Qbank Intermediate questions are on par with the actual exam difficulty, I thought.

My approach for studying was (1) skim the notes for 2 months, (2) 3 weeks of Qbank pounding, and (3) take a week off work and do a full-length CFAI mock on each of the 5days before the exam.

Mar 18, 2013

The Qbank is decent for L1, but really concentrate on writing practice exams. If you have a weakness in a certain area, use the Qbank to get additional practice questions on that topic. I found it useful when I had some spare moments during the day and wanted to crank out a couple questions.

Mar 18, 2013

From experience...

Q Bank + Schweser notes is all you need for lvl 1.

Lvl 2 and above - need to spend a lot more time doing sample problems in the same format as the exams

Mar 19, 2013

i recommend doing 4-5 schweser practice tests for CFA I and reading the schweser notes to learn the material; use the cfa mock and past cfa exams probably 2-3 weeks before exam date for final studying and you'll be more than fine.

Level 2 is much more involved, and have to sit for that beast in June. Ugh.

Apr 2, 2016

Would you say just reading the Schweser and doing questions would be fine for the level II?

Mar 19, 2013

Much thanks. Game time.

Best of luck to everyone.

Mar 20, 2013

Just a follow up...
For level 1 I was able to get through using just QBank (1k+ easily) and CFAI practice exams.... while only reading 4 year old schweser books. yea.... Passed somewhat ok.

For level 2 I probably did like 500+ QBank and like 8 practice exams (6 schweser, 2 CFAI. Found one from previous year) and the hardest one again (Schweser last year had a REALLY hard practice exam. i forget which one it was). Passed somewhat ok even though I felt my performance for the exam was probably closer to the bottom of my ability range.

Why do these numbers sound so ridiculous for QBank questions? I did 30 each weekday and 60 each day on the weekend for the last month or two with relatively few off days. I used medium + hard difficulty (some people only use hard) and scored pretty consistently at 77%+ before I was comfortable. Focus on a section at a time though.

I strongly recommend doing 1.2k+ questions between practice exams and qbank and EOC at minimum.

Mar 14, 2016

Memorization is not enough, you really need to actually be forced to answer questions. There's a ton of data in learning theory proving practice is far superior than memorization techniques (especially flashcards). Plus, simply by practice you'll be better at answering.

Keep in mind that handling questions is not just knowing the right answer but identifying wrong answers as well. This helps you on questions you are unsure of. If you flat out guess you have a 33% chance of getting them right. If you can eliminate one answer, that's a 50% chance. This can be honed with practice, because it is a skill.

You need to get 168 out of 240 to get a 70% and be sure to pass. There's a lot of variations, but one example could be 102 questions you know (100% right), 120 questions you are able to eliminate a choice (50% right), and 18 questions you flat out guess on (33% right). Obviously you should try to know them all, but you likely will have to make educated guesses on some of them so its good to be prepared.

Qbanks are helpful because you can work in this practice as you study instead of only cramming it in the last week (or night before!). The AdaptPrep question bank is ordered by reading so you can do questions as you go.

For Level II, you can check out AdaptPrep Practice. Unlike the Schweser Qbank, it has actual exam-level item sets (6 questions plus a passage like the actual exam).

Apr 2, 2016

Quick question regarding the CFA L1: does the exam test you for both GAAP & IFRS? i.e. would it ask a question saying what is the cash flow from operations under US GAAP and what is it under IFRS?

  • Financial Rep in Consulting
Apr 2, 2016

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Apr 3, 2016

Thanks a lot for the recommendation. Will do.

Apr 3, 2016

im not downloading this

Apr 3, 2016
blastoise:

im not downloading this

There's nothing to download. I take it one of my hyperlinks is going somewhere funny?

"My caddie's chauffeur informs me that a bank is a place where people put money that isn't properly invested."

Apr 3, 2016

Dude. While it's an interesting idea, honestly, if you can do and understand all of the EOC and Blue Box problems in the actual books as well as any available historical exam/mock questions, and you don't have projectile vomit or violent diarrhea on the day of the test, you would probably have at least a 75% chance of passing.

Apr 3, 2016
Going Concern:

Dude. While it's an interesting idea, honestly, if you can do and understand all of the EOC and Blue Box problems in the actual books as well as any available historical exam/mock questions, and you don't have projectile vomit or violent diarrhea on the day of the test, you would probably have at least a 75% chance of passing.

Touche, but if I study my ass off, and everyone helps build this out, I can have at least a 75% of passing while simultaneously projectile vomiting and crapping myself at the testing center :).

(I have no intention of pooping my pants during the test.... no guarantees on the puking, haha)

"My caddie's chauffeur informs me that a bank is a place where people put money that isn't properly invested."

Apr 3, 2016

I like the idea but problems will come up such as errors and not to mention the time and effort it will take to get this going. I say save your time and grab a q bank from Schweser, Allen or which ever one you fancy.

Apr 3, 2016
Teldar Paper:

I like the idea but problems will come up such as errors and not to mention the time and effort it will take to get this going. I say save your time and grab a q bank from Schweser, Allen or which ever one you fancy.

Oh, I got the qbank from Schweser, and the idea came about from a general frustration I had with their qbank, namely not being able to focus my studying on a particular reading. You can only focus your efforts at the study session level. For level 2 at least, the FRA sessions deal with a lot of nuance and information you'll have to memorize, so think of this effort not so much as a giant qbank meant to compete (per se) with Schweser, but more like digital flashcards we can all share. Or, at least, that's how I'm thinking about it :).

"My caddie's chauffeur informs me that a bank is a place where people put money that isn't properly invested."

Apr 3, 2016

Mike, thanks for posting this! Do you have ample study time? If so, quiz bank is definitely a great idea. If not, I suggest focusing on textbooks questions and samples/mocks.

The Auto Show

Apr 3, 2016
huanleshalemei:

Mike, thanks for posting this! Do you have ample study time? If so, quiz bank is definitely a great idea. If not, I suggest focusing on textbooks questions and samples/mocks.

I have the same amount of study time as most, although I will say that I got started decently early, which is good, but as a result, I'm painfully aware of how much improvement I need to make over the next 9 weeks to pass the monster that is level 2. If making outlines and creating online questions (that, let's face it, are more like flashcards then actual exam level difficulty questions) helps cram all this info into my head, why not share the work? Hopefully, others (either level 1, 2, or 3) will feel the same way!

"My caddie's chauffeur informs me that a bank is a place where people put money that isn't properly invested."

Apr 3, 2016

Seems like a huge waste of time. Schweser Q bank allows you to generate quizzes based on 18 study sessions and you can change the level of question difficulty under advanced options. I started doing mock exams 6 weeks before the exam. How many hours are you targeting?

Apr 3, 2016
junkbondswap:

Seems like a huge waste of time. Schweser Q bank allows you to generate quizzes based on 18 study sessions and you can change the level of question difficulty under advanced options. I started doing mock exams 6 weeks before the exam. How many hours are you targeting?

For level 1 I put in a lot of time, mainly because I hadn't taken any related courses while I was in college. As I'm sure you can imagine, I had a lot of catching up to do. For level 2, I'll probably hit around 300 hours or so, grand total. I have my 2nd mock (out of 7 total) scheduled for this Saturday if that gives you an idea of my progress.

Yes, Schweser qbank lets you generate quizzes based on 18 study session, but the problem I see here is that within those 18 study sessions, there's 56 readings, a pretty big difference. Take for example, multinational operations from level 2 FRA, there is a ton of information and nuances in that section, just getting the differences between the temporal method and the current rate method straight has been pretty challenging.

Obviously, I don't think this is a waste of time, but you're probably more adept with this material than I am (I suspect most of WSO is, haha). However, based on that pass rates for the three CFA exams, it's probably safe to assume that you're the exception, and that most candidates could use additional preparation.

"My caddie's chauffeur informs me that a bank is a place where people put money that isn't properly invested."

Apr 3, 2016

If I recall, FRA is 3 study sessions out of 18 and only 2-3 readings per study session so you can design a quiz that targets only 2-3 reading sections at a time. I agree that the one study session with pensions, multinationals, etc. is a pain but if you do all the EOC questions and a few random 20 question quizzes you should be more than prepared for that section. Good luck.

Apr 3, 2016

Make sure you all know your ethics!! Was at a local CFA function here in Vancouver and one of the guys who writes the questions told us that if you happen to be on the fence and kill the ethics portion you will get bumped to a pass. Some of you may know this but for those of you that don't, study up on those ethics readings!

On a side note, just how much worse is level 2 than 1? Thanks

Apr 3, 2016
Teldar Paper:

Make sure you all know your ethics!! Was at a local CFA function here in Vancouver and one of the guys who writes the questions told us that if you happen to be on the fence and kill the ethics portion you will get bumped to a pass. Some of you may know this but for those of you that don't, study up on those ethics readings!

On a side note, just how much worse is level 2 than 1? Thanks

Absolutely right, in fact, the CFAI is explicit about this, and I believe they call it the "Ethics Bump". In fact, I think if you're on the line, and DON'T do well in Ethics they fail you. It goes both ways.

I passed level 1 last June, and while it took a lot of prep, I never thought it was terribly hard. Level 2 is a damn monster, like the previous poster noted. In short, it's a lot worse.

"My caddie's chauffeur informs me that a bank is a place where people put money that isn't properly invested."

Apr 3, 2016

level 2 is a disaster. pretty much every single person I know that passed (including myself) was almost 100% certain that they failed walking out of the test room saturday evening. luck honestly can play a decent part in it.

Apr 3, 2016

meh

Apr 3, 2016

I guess it will take me more time to put questions and answers and comments in the JavaScript than doing them.

Apr 3, 2016

Schweser, though it would have made more fiscal sense to buy the package a few months ago

Apr 3, 2016
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Apr 3, 2016
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happy to give advice; no asking for referrals please