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IFC EXAM from CSI FEEDBACK - Exam Passed Feb 2017

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  • Nov 9th, 2017 1:35 pm
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Newbie
Feb 12, 2017
2 posts

IFC EXAM from CSI FEEDBACK - Exam Passed Feb 2017

To All those who are studying for the IFC Exam,

I just sat and passed the exam in February 2017 and I wanted to warn all those who might not focus on the quantitative aspects of the course. I did the same and was in for a surprise during the exam as it had questions which were way harder than those on the Practice Tests and also many of quantitative nature. The practice tests were simpler in that they mostly depended on a simple understanding of the facts presented in the course. However, the questions on the actual exam were more complex in nature and one could really answer them if one had a solid and thorough understanding of the topics. Many were based on short cases and I think there's less practice for those questions anywhere on the CSI website course materials.

I would highly recommend that you buy the Practice Tests on the CSI website and/or download a free copy from somewhere on some torrent site and do them. But, note that in the exam, you would also need to keep another 15 minutes extra for filling the 100 bubbles correctly on the bubble sheet. So, in the actual exam, you get less than 1.8 minutes per question.

I would highly recommend watching the relevant videos on the "Mark Meldrum" channel on Youtube - he was a savior in many ways and thanks to his exposition, I managed to get through the exam and pass it.

I would also recommend that you focus on all the maths in the Retirement and Taxation chapter as that seems to be a favorite with the examiners. Also, DO NOT skip Alternative Managed Products as there were more than just 3 questions on the exam from that chapter.

Also, please do memorize the formulas and work through the maths as it will really come in handy.

I read the comment below and was not really prepared for the exam till the last week when I realized that just as an insurance mechanism I should really revise the maths and formula and that saved me from failing in the exam.

In Short:
1. DO PLACE SIGNIFICANT EMPHASIS on the MATHS and the FORMULA - I can't stress this enough!
2. DO watch the videos by Mark Meldrum on Youtube (he makes the videos for the CSC exam and so you don't need to watch all of them, but the relevant ones) - the book for IFC is not well written and so the videos act as a really good way to get a deeper understanding of the topics without having to re-read the book several times and hitting your head against the wall.
3. Do not miss the chapter on Alternative managed products

ALL THE BEST!
9 replies
Newbie
Feb 28, 2017
4 posts
3 upvotes
Hey @Zaja2017 ,

First, congrats on getting your credentials! I hope it works out well in the end for you :).

I plan on taking this exam myself soon and since you seem quite knowledgeable in this matter, I was hoping you might be able to share some more details for those who have yet to take it. Please see below for my questions:

1. What type of math was most focused on? For example, is it the sharpe ratio, NAVPU/NAVPS, Gross Product Margin or is it more of a balance between the various formulas in the chapters?

2. When you said the questions were way harder and quantitative in nature, did you mean that they are more or less like case study style of questions rather than simply asking 'what is the official term for this'?

3. I know you said that the practice tests on CSI helped, but did you do anything else to better prepare? For example, was there any other website offering practice exams closer to what you experienced?

4. I looked at Mark Meldrum's videos, they definitely seem more helpful to further accommodate my understanding. But which videos would you say the most focus should be on specifically?

5. Which formulas (again for maths) would you say were the most used on the exam? I am terrible with remembering the more complex formulas.

6. You said we would need to keep an extra 15 minutes for filling out the bubble sheet correctly. Does that mean that there are 2 answer sheets we have to fill out rather than just one multiple choice answer sheet?

I appreciate you taking the time to answer any of these questions that you can. Any further insight I am sure can be beneficial to others here preparing for their IFIC exam as well.

I hope this new credential works out well for you in terms of job prospects.

Thank you,

Monty
Newbie
Feb 28, 2017
4 posts
3 upvotes
I posted this on another forum thread, but I thought to post it on here as well for anyone who is following this thread.

I recently wrote the exam for IFIC and thought to throw my two cents in here. Now I won’t be going into any specifics like what type of questions I got word for word. Also keep in mind that CSI hands out many different exam booklets to students, so the questions I got may differ from the ones you will get.

I’m going to cover what I think is the most important when it comes to your first time giving the IFIC exam.

- Know your formulas. Math is given quite a bit of consideration. So knowing your formulas definitely helps. Plus those formulas can also help you with theory questions such as the Sharpe ratio. When do you get a negative value in the Sharpe ratio? You get it when the riskless assets perform better than the fund’s returns. If you know the formula, you can punch in dummy values and figure it out that way.

- Learn the investor biases and make sure you have a good understanding on them.

- Retirement and taxation was quite a bit of a favorite one of the examiners in my booklet. It would help to know the various retirement options/products as well as taxation discussed in the textbook, especially the spousal RRSP.

- If you have the IFC Check, then practice the crap out of it. Practice the exams, but also the chapter quizzes. Downside of practice exams is that they remain the same and you can eventually memorize the thing. Chapter quizzes on the other hand have several sets of questions that change things up, and keep you on your toes forcing you to rely on your knowledge. So practice it like there is no tomorrow.

- Be aware of various fund performance indicators such as: Quartile rankings, Comparison Universe, Benchmarks and etc.

- Have a good understanding of the suitability principle and applying it in given scenarios so you can deduce the best fund that is a fit for the client off the top of your head.

- Expect tricky questions where they give you two wrong answers, but two answers that closely match one another. Their intention is to trick you with the wording. But if you have a solid understanding of the concepts and good comprehension skills, you should be fine.

- Question difficulty will vary. One question maybe super easy, but the one after that could bump the difficulty up to an eleven. So be prepared for that, stay sharp on your toes.

Those are just a few things I can mention here. Mine was done on a bubble sheet, so I also highly recommend going back to check over your answers and darkening the answers once you are sure so the scanners can pick them up. You have the option to put your answer on the question booklet, but they won’t mark that. You can always put it on there for your own reference to check later. If you do that, do spare yourself enough time to transfer over the answers from the question booklet to the bubble sheet.

Other than that, good luck! Practice lots, eat good food, get to your exam location ahead of time and follow all the rules. If you have done your best in studying, then you can do your best in giving the exam. After all, your best is all that anyone can really ask for :).

For anyone looking to take the exam soon, I hope it works out for you!

~ Monty
Member
Mar 25, 2012
447 posts
56 upvotes
Kelowna
When I wrote it in July 2010, I didn't find that many formulas I didn't know. Luckily, I studied/memorized the ones I easily understood, such as standard deviation, the Sharpe ratio, Current Yield and all of the equity analysis measures and did fine. I never could get "Average Yield to Maturity" and think I only had 1, maybe 2, questions and I scored 85/100, with which I was very happy. ;)

I think I scored 100% on the Ethics, Compliance and Mutual Fund Regulation questions, which made up 20% of the exam, 90-95% on the Alternative Investments and Mutual Fund Structure sections. My weakest sections were the Portfolio Construction and Analysis sections where I scored in the mid 70% range.

I think....as long as you know most of the formulas, you can afford to skip a couple that you just don't get. ;)

Cheers,
Doug
Member
Mar 25, 2012
447 posts
56 upvotes
Kelowna
MontyMason wrote:
Mar 30th, 2017 10:30 pm
I posted this on another forum thread, but I thought to post it on here as well for anyone who is following this thread.

I recently wrote the exam for IFIC and thought to throw my two cents in here. Now I won’t be going into any specifics like what type of questions I got word for word. Also keep in mind that CSI hands out many different exam booklets to students, so the questions I got may differ from the ones you will get.

I’m going to cover what I think is the most important when it comes to your first time giving the IFIC exam.

- Know your formulas. Math is given quite a bit of consideration. So knowing your formulas definitely helps. Plus those formulas can also help you with theory questions such as the Sharpe ratio. When do you get a negative value in the Sharpe ratio? You get it when the riskless assets perform better than the fund’s returns. If you know the formula, you can punch in dummy values and figure it out that way.

- Learn the investor biases and make sure you have a good understanding on them.

- Retirement and taxation was quite a bit of a favorite one of the examiners in my booklet. It would help to know the various retirement options/products as well as taxation discussed in the textbook, especially the spousal RRSP.

- If you have the IFC Check, then practice the crap out of it. Practice the exams, but also the chapter quizzes. Downside of practice exams is that they remain the same and you can eventually memorize the thing. Chapter quizzes on the other hand have several sets of questions that change things up, and keep you on your toes forcing you to rely on your knowledge. So practice it like there is no tomorrow.

- Be aware of various fund performance indicators such as: Quartile rankings, Comparison Universe, Benchmarks and etc.

- Have a good understanding of the suitability principle and applying it in given scenarios so you can deduce the best fund that is a fit for the client off the top of your head.

- Expect tricky questions where they give you two wrong answers, but two answers that closely match one another. Their intention is to trick you with the wording. But if you have a solid understanding of the concepts and good comprehension skills, you should be fine.

- Question difficulty will vary. One question maybe super easy, but the one after that could bump the difficulty up to an eleven. So be prepared for that, stay sharp on your toes.

Those are just a few things I can mention here. Mine was done on a bubble sheet, so I also highly recommend going back to check over your answers and darkening the answers once you are sure so the scanners can pick them up. You have the option to put your answer on the question booklet, but they won’t mark that. You can always put it on there for your own reference to check later. If you do that, do spare yourself enough time to transfer over the answers from the question booklet to the bubble sheet.

Other than that, good luck! Practice lots, eat good food, get to your exam location ahead of time and follow all the rules. If you have done your best in studying, then you can do your best in giving the exam. After all, your best is all that anyone can really ask for :).

For anyone looking to take the exam soon, I hope it works out for you!

~ Monty
Those are all great points, especially the point about the "tricky questions" with close wording. Formulas are definitely important but if you know all of your concepts and have great comprehension skills, you can do fine.

I think I had 3 hours, it took me about 2 hours to write and I used the last half hour to check over my answers and such - I even challenged one of the "case study" questions that I thought was incorrectly calculating the NAVPU of a fund and was worried I'd chosen the wrong one. They wrote back to me a month (or so later) and said that they agreed the question was confusing and perhaps poorly worded and that it'd been removed from future exams but that I'd actually answered the question correctly. ;)
Newbie
Jun 11, 2017
1 posts
HELP PLEASE!

I am really struggling with this exam I wrote already last year and got 54 and then I tried a few months ago and got 58 .There was two sections towards the end I feel like I rushed. This time I re-read the book, wrote notes even spent 150.00 on the see why learning which seems very vague, it does help break so some concepts down such as bonds/interest rates. YTM/shapre ratio and also some acronyms to remember certain things. I do struggle with some of the math formula but the last two exam maybe I had a max of 8- 10 questions math equations which leave me 92- 90% to excel with the everything else. ANYTHING at this point would help. I am attempting this again very soon.. :rolleyes: I did try the youtube channel
  1. any other recommendations /suggestions ?
Thanks in advance! Smiling Face With Open Mouth
Newbie
Feb 28, 2017
4 posts
3 upvotes
@karens09 The SeeWhy Learning exams and quizzes are great to get the fundamentals down. But the actual exam focuses on more than just fundamentals. You have to know the theory, and how to apply it. For this, I found that the exam and chapter quizzes module from CSI really helped. Exams remain the same, but chapter quizzes tend to switch up the question always keeping you on your toes and really testing your knowledge.

For math, focus on the formulas you do know. Some formulas can actually be derived by moving things around from other formulas. So if you can't memorize the exact formula, perhaps you can try studying the way one can derive these formulas. Another way would be to try and understand why a formula is structured as it is. If you know the fundamentals behind it, it can be easier to recall the formulas.

For me personally, I just went really hard at the practice exams and quizzes in the CSI course package. Before the day of my exam, I spent hours on the material. I scheduled the exam for a Monday opening, so I could spend the whole weekend studying.

From what I have heard, apparently CSI gives you an easy exam the first time around, then makes it very hard the second time. For the third and final try, they will give you the easy exam again.

If you don't find that anything you do to study on your own helps, then you may want to look into external help either from a tutor or classes centered around IFIC.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Jan 27, 2004
36687 posts
2545 upvotes
Toronto
I studied for 2 months and got an exact 60% pass on the first try... Maybe I fluked it. Or maybe I studied barely just enough to pass.
All I did was read each chapter, and do the practice questions after each chapter. I didn't purchase and extra material... Just the included practice questions and reading material.
Then before the test I did the exact same thing, except with one of those 'coles notes' versions of the IFIC book... Pretty much summarizes each chapter into bullet points. I did the same exercise...
Read chapter summary, do the practice questions.

One thing I did was review reading material whenever I got a practice question wrong. IT kinda helps reinforce the learning.

I find the key to learning large amounts of material is to reinforce the learning by practice. So ensure you do related practice questions after each chapter that you look over.

Highlight and book mark key learnings within the chapter so you can go back too.

If you still have struggles, you should probably get more practice questions. You can buy these or download them if you know where.
Jr. Member
Dec 14, 2011
181 posts
1 upvote
Toronto
Can anybody tell me if the questions are similar to the practice exam provided by SeeWhy Learning?
Member
Mar 25, 2012
447 posts
56 upvotes
Kelowna
I worked with several staff members, two of whom were Assistant Manager ORAs who were required to take the IFIC course and the BCO course as a condition of their job in order to do MF compliance for the branch and both of them failed more than 5 times. They let it slide in both cases and the Assistant Manager ORA from another branch had to do the MF compliance for our branch. So, if that's true, that the third exam is an easy one again, wow.

I got 85 or 86 percent on the first try. I did 2-3 practice exams the week or two before and reviewed my notes from the end of each chapter but that was the extent of it. Overall, I thought it was pretty easy.

The practice exams I used were prior IFIC exams from 5 years ago or so that were provided by CSI, not some external agency.

Cheers,
Doug

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