This isn't my first rodeo and although I've sat for – and passed FAR before, that was two years ago and I didn't take anything for granted this time. All totaled, I probably spent over 100 hours studying and worked 2000+ MCQs. Still, I was surprised, but not overwhelmed by any means with what I encountered today.
For starters, FAR is a mile wide and an inch deep. I expected certain topics to be hit more than others. That didn't happen – it was a little bit of everything. I couldn't tell you one topic that I felt was tested on more than others.
My first testlet was cake. It was easy and the questions were a sentence or two on average – very easy on the eyes and self esteem. I was cruising. I have a terrible habit however of clicking the “next” button or whatever it is and going back to check to see if my answer was still there…or going back and recalculating the numbers again. It's a little obsessive-compulsive thing that I have going, I guess.
The honeymoon was short lived. The second testlet was murder and it was not pleasant. As a jaded veteran of this process, I knew I was doing well, so onward I marched.
Testlet three was pure misery. When I studied, I worked a lot of MCQs over just about every topic and every little exception or gotcha that I encountered, I wrote down in a narrative form that I would understand while reviewing 2 hours prior to my exam. It was this extra effort during my study process that got me through testlet three. It was slow going and difficult. I was also starting to tire about 70 questions in. The final 20 were a grind.
I didn't take any breaks and tried to keep pushing myself as I saw the clock winding down. I stumbled into sim one with 55 minutes left. Not good. I wrote the memo first after briefly holding my breath to see what sim I had inherited. I hit the memo and worked my magic there. The research didn't seem to understand my search terms. I probably would have had better luck using expletives. No dice on the research tab.
I did the tabs in simulation one and moved on to sim two with 20 minutes left. Yikes.
Just like simulation one, it was doable. I calmly knocked out the communication tab, cursed the research tab and didn't look at it and moved to the first answer tab and then crickets…
The instruction tab was very vague and didn't explain what I was supposed to do with tab one. I stared at it for five minutes, baffled, and then realized what I was supposed to do. The only problem was that I had two minutes left. I frantically filled in what I could, but time ran out.
All in all, I'm confident that I passed. I was prepared and I recognized the curveballs that they were throwing at me. Were parts of it frustrating? Absolutely. I felt better prepared for FAR than I was for REG and I worked harder at it. We'll see how this one goes. I have a habit of throwing “hail marys” on exam day, but this was not the case. I worked hard and probably put in 60 hours of studying in the past two weeks and gave it everything I could. I have no regrets.
With the exam fresh in my mind, my one piece of advice is to not sit for the exam unless you have exhaustively studied for FAR and have done it right. They test you on everything and a realistic timetable for studying is around 100 hours, give or take. Some pass with more, some with less. 100 hours seems to be the norm according to people that I know who have also taken it.
For the first time in a long time – I'm doing nothing for a few weeks. I'm assuming that I passed and I feel like that assumption is warranted.
Thank you for reading.