How to study CMFAS Exam with minimum time and remember more

How to study CMFAS Exam with minimum time and remember more

How to study CMFAS Exam with minimum time and remember more

Meta description: While some people may call it cramming, most people consider it “studying smart”. In the CMFAS exam, studying smart may just help you pass it. Here’s how.

 

What is CMFAS Examination?

The Capital Markets and Financial Advisory Services or CMFAS Examination is a licensing examination that is required to be taken and passed by representatives in order to boost the integrity of the financial market in Singapore. This is not composed of one big single examination. Rather, it is divided into 2 categories: The Product Knowledge and Analysis and the Rules and Regulations. Each of these categories contains different exam modules. A candidate should choose the relevant module to take in relation to what kind of regulated activity he will be dealing in. The CMFAS Exam Modules for Rules and Regulations cover Module 1A, Module 1B, Module 2A, Module 2B, Module 3, Module 4A, Module 4B, Module 5, and Module 10. On the other hand, the CMFAS Exam modules that cover product knowledge and analysis include Module 6, Module 6A, Module 8, Module 8A, Module 9, and Module 9A.

To summarize, the following are the list of modules for CMFAS Examination:

Module

Name of the CMFAS Exam Module

Module 1A

Rules and Regulations for Dealing in Securities (SGX-ST Members)

Module 1B

Rules and Regulations for Dealing in Securities (Non-SGX-ST Members)

Module 2A

Rules and Regulations for Trading in Futures Contracts (SGX-DT Members)

Module 2B

Rules and Regulations for Trading in Futures Contracts (SMX Members)

Module 3

Rules and Regulations for Fund Management

Module 4A

Rules and Regulations for Advising on Corporate Finance

Module 4B

Rules and Regulations for Advising on Corporate Finance (solely Debt Securities)

Module 5

Rules and Regulations for Financial Advisory Services

Module 6

Securities Products and Analysis

Module 6A

Securities and Future Product Knowledge

Module 8

Collective Investment Schemes

Module 8A

Collective Investment Schemes II

Module 9

Life Insurance and Investment-linked Policies

Module 9A

Life Insurance and Investment-linked Policies II

Module 10

Rules and Regulations for REIT Management, with Product Knowledge and Analysis

Most of the modules provided are for those representatives or candidates who intend to earn a license on a specific regulated activity. Thus, one would have to choose the relevant CMFAS Examination depending on what regulated activity he plans to exercise his financial service on. The common CMFAS Examination modules that most representatives take are the following: Module 1A, Module 1B, Module 2A, Module 2B, Module 3, Module 4A, Module 4B, Module 5, Module 6, Module 6A, and Module 10. These are the modules taken for representatives to be granted license to perform several regulated activities.

What is the format and the style of the CMFAS Examination?

Before one starts navigating on the dynamics of the CMFAS Examination, it is best to know what the format of the exams is. This includes the exam duration and the passing rate. To do so would allow the candidates to have a general idea as to how to go about with their studying pattern.

To summarize, the table illustrates the format and style of each of the modules of the CMFAS Examination:

Exam Modules

Computer-based or Paper-based

How many questions/

Type of Exam

Duration of the Exam

Passing Rate

Module 1A

Computer-Based

100 Multiple Choice Questions

2 hours

75%

Module 1B

Computer-Based

60 Multiple Choice Questions

1 hour and 15 minutes

75%

Module 2A

Computer-Based

100 Multiple Choice Questions

2 hours

75%

Module 2B

Computer-Based

100 Multiple Choice Questions

2 hours

75%

Module 3

Computer-Based

100 Multiple Choice Questions

2 hours

75%

Module 4A

Computer-Based

50 Multiple Choice Questions

75 minutes

75%

Module 4B

Computer-Based

50 Multiple Choice Questions

1 hour and 15 minutes

75%

Module 5

Computer-Based

100 Multiple Choice Questions

2 hours

75%

Module 6

Computer-Based

100 Multiple Choice Questions

2 hours

70%

Module 6A

Computer-Based

75 Multiple Choice Questions

(it includes 30% questions that involve calculations)

2 hours

70%

Module 8

Computer-Based

50 Multiple Choice Questions

1 hour

70%

Module 8A

Computer-Based

50 Multiple Choice Questions

1 hour

70%

Module 9

Computer-Based

100 Multiple Choice Questions

(it includes 20% questions that involve calculations)

2 hours

70%

Module 9A

Computer-Based

100 Multiple Choice Questions

(it includes 20% questions that involve calculations)

2 hours

70%

Module 10

Computer-Based

100 Multiple Choice Questions

2 hours

75%

As shown, the type of exam that these modules provide is all in multiple choice formats. Multiple choice exams are usually objective exams. So, it tests the ability of the test-takers to understand and recognize what they have read. It is less likely to be subject to a grading bias unlike essay types. Thus, since all of them are in multiple choice format, the only thing that a test taker should do is to carefully and thoroughly read especially those essential parts in the study guide which will most likely come out in the exam. Only Modules 6A and 9 include questions that involve calculations- however, they are only in minimal percentage only.

Based on the total items and type of exam of each of the modules, this would also summarize the recommended study time for each of the CMFAS Examination:

Exam Modules

Recommended Study Time

Module 1A

27 hours

Module 1B

19 hours

Module 2A

40 hours

Module 2B

40 hours

Module 3

26 hours

Module 4A

13 hours

Module 4B

13 hours

Module 5

61 hours

Module 6

40 hours

Module 6A

57 hours

Module 8

34 hours

Module 8A

32 hours

Module 9

56 hours

Module 9A

19 hours

Module 10

29 hours

Of course, the hours that has been recommended here as per CMFAS website is still highly dependent on the level of experience, expertise and existing knowledge on the financial backgrounds you have and already possess as set forth in the module’s examination syllabus.

Taking more than one CMFAS Exam

Generally, exams can cause quite a lot of mental stress and pressure. CMFAS modular exams are quite popular in Singapore’s field of capital markets primarily because of its complexity and the level of difficulty that set the benchmark in establishing a highly competitive financial market in Singapore. It is only but fitting and proper to set this exam to test the skills and knowledge of the financial representatives so only the well-versed and the highly-knowledgeable are licensed to perform certain regulated activities.

It is possibly and highly common for representatives to take more than 1 CMFAS examination. In fact, some would take several modules in order to further broaden their license to practice and deal on other regulated activities.

Of course, collaterally, this presents quite a challenge to the representative or the test taker as it can be pretty difficult to focus on more one than CMFAS Examination module. This establishes the need to study CMFAS Exam in a short period while at the same time, being able to absorb enough essential information in the Study Guides sufficient enough to pass or even ace the exams.

Why time is of the essence when studying for the CMFAS exam?

The concept of time can be viewed in two ways here when it comes to studying for the CMFAS exam. First, it has been recommended by some that when it comes to taking the CMFAS exam, there must have enough preparation for it. Some even mention that in order to be ready for the exam, one must allocate at least two months for preparation. This would also involve reading and studying for the modules. This makes time an important element in being able to pass the exam.

However, there is also the second concept of time used here and that is when time doesn’t work on our favor. While preparation is the key to passing any exam, one cannot deny the fact that preparing way ahead of the actual date of the CMFAS exam may be a privilege denied to many. These are the reasons why:

  • Candidates who intend to take the CMFAS Examination are already currently working in their profession.

Unless you are a full-time student, time would be on your side as you have all the time in the world to study. However, most of the candidates who intend to take such exam are already existing representatives and are already working related to the securities market. Taking the time off from work just to prepare enough time for the exam would not be that feasible at all as the demands of his or her work can be overwhelming enough to dedicate enough time for studying alone.

  • Candidates are required in taking the exam so they may be able to expand advising on other additional products.

In addition, one of the reasons why most representatives take the CMFAS Exam is to further expand their license to advice on various securities products. If one intends to hold off work just to allocate enough time to study would defeat the very purpose as to why he wants to take the exam in the first place. It would be impractical to forego work just to dedicate enough time for the exam – after all, the exam is ultimately intended to further develop or improve their work in the securities market.

  • CMFAS Examinations may be subject to revisions and amendments as per Monetary Authority of Singapore or MAS.

Just recently on September 2020, MAS is planning to implement exam changes in CMFAS as provisions on ethics and skills into the existing CMFAS rules and regulations modules are thought of getting included in the syllabus. By the time you are ready to take the exam, there are already new revisions and amendments included that may compel you to review and study on the changes introduced. It is best to take the exams while you can and avoid the hassle, as a candidate, to go through all the studying again for the introduced revisions and amendments.

It is therefore practical and convenient to take the CMFAS Examination right away rather than delay it further for the sake of preparation. Similarly, if one intents to take the exam right way, it is only but fitting to start studying NOW.

Studying hard vs. studying smart

Studying NOW can be down in either of the two methods: you can study hard now or you can study smart now. Which would you choose?

Everyone would agree that when it comes to studying, it may put a lot of stress on you. However, that would depend on how much stress you allow yourself to be soaked into while you study. If you study hard, it can be stressful and time consuming. But if you study smart, it can reduce stress and produce efficient and optimum results.

If you are one of those who intend to take the CMFAS Exam but you feel like your study habits aren’t working well enough for you, maybe it’s about time that you change how you study. Get rid of everything you ever thought of how studying should work. Traditionally, studying works best in a quiet environment or when you are free from “mind-noise”. But this doesn’t work for everybody.

In order to really know how to “study smart”, it is important to recognize that the goal here is to be able to study in a minimum time while being able to learn sufficiently enough as if you have studied for a long period of time. This works best when taking the CMFAS Exam because taking it isn’t the same as taking your usual exams in school where students are given enough days or weeks just to prep and study.

The following important facts will help you learn how to study smart based on your own terms:

  • Reading is not a form of studying.

This is why some people think that studying can be time-consuming because they simply read the entire text without ever understanding. So, after doing so, they go through all over it again once a certain topic hits and they realize they never really understood what they read previously.

To study smart, you don’t need to read your reference materials 2-3 times because it would definitely be time consuming. Instead of merely reading, one should actively engage in the reference materials. This means one should absorb himself in the process of really constructing comprehension and meaning from the text and connect it with your previous or subsequent reading when you are studying a particular module. One must understand the whole examination module in one cohesive thought, and not divided according to chapters because when you take the exam, that is now it works. Multiple choice format exams will grill you on questions that involve principles and concepts all across the chapters in the syllabus. So it is important that you connect them all.

  • It’s okay to “space out”.

Some people may think of studying as a continuous and a non-stop activity. The recommended number of hours of studying each of the modules in the CMFAS Exam as previously stated doesn’t mean that one has to study for an entire period of 40-hours non-stop! That would definitely drain you. And perhaps, that could be the reason why you think studying is really stressful- because you study “hard”.

Now when you study “smart”, there are periods during your study time that you can take a break. Yes, it is good for your brain to take a breather too. Allow yourself to enjoy some intermittent rest for a couple of minutes or so. So, yes, it’s okay to “space out” and not think of our studying. It’s your mind’s way of relaxing.

  • It’s okay to cram.

Common sense dictates that when you study, you have to prepare ahead of time. It may mean allocating a period of 2 weeks just to study for a big exam. CMFAS Exams are a serious deal and this shouldn’t be taken lightly. So, some may think of preparing for weeks to study for the licensing exam.

Again, not all studying are made equal. As mentioned, what works for you may not work for them. So cramming may work for you. When you cram, you study intensely. And when you study intensely, you get more work done with less effort and less time. This keeps you from procrastinating so you will be able to learn everything that you need to in a short span of time. Yes, this is studying smart.

  • Noises can be good and silence can be distracting.

Some people think that studying means going in a quiet place, free from distractions, so you can focus on your studying. But then again, what are the chances that you’ll just end up sleepy instead of really focusing on your studies. This kind of studying hard may end up allowing you to sleep hard. And may I remind, sleeping can a distraction to studying.

But when you study smart, you welcome noises. It keeps your adrenaline pumping to really push forward to study. In fact, most people may be able to concentrate better if there are some background noises.

Studying smart means studying based on how your mind works. We are all built differently and sometimes, what works for us when it comes to studying may not work for others. But either way, this form of studying shouldn’t be as time consuming while at the same time, allows you to absorb everything that you need to learn during your studying. That is also what you call efficient studying.

How to study efficiently

  • Study in milestones.

You don’t have to study everything in one sitting. Allow your brain to rest. This will help you absorb more what you read.

  • Create an environment conducive for studying.

You can have your own small nook where you can study while you listen to your favorite instrumental music.

  • Rest

Your brain works best when it is well rested. Give yourself enough time to sleep and take time to exercise as well.

  • Establish mini goals

Give yourself a time limit to finish a particular topic. This will keep you from dillydallying that may cause further delays when you study.

CMFAS Exam Strategies to help you out

Knowing everything that you need to know about CMFAS Examinations and their modules might not just be enough for some. And we try to help you out as much as we can. The following are some of the most helpful studying strategies that work best when taking the CMFAS Examination. All these would help you study efficiently and well enough for you to pass the exam.

  • You can rely on the CMFAS Study Guides

Even MAS and the CMFAS promote efficient studying. Instead of taking too much time trying to find the books and reference materials for your readings, you will be granted with their Study Guides, each unique per module. This will allow you to focus on the topics that would come up in the exam. You can rely on these Study Guides as your study references so you’d know which external readings you’d like to focus on. Once you have successfully registered for a particular relevant exam, you are authorized to use the Study Guides. And yes, you may still be able to use it until the day of your exam. After which, your access for these materials will be subsequently revoked.

  • Choose self-study or an external training

Again, one should choose what works best for you. You can self-study that is if your mind works best if you do it on your own. Or you can also choose review centers from other external institutions that are not affiliated with the Institute of Banking and Finance if you feel like you can do well with it. If you choose an external training, training costs may have to vary depending on the institution.

  • Read carefully the test questions.

It couldn’t be stressed enough. It is always important to read thoroughly and carefully all the questions. Sometimes the questions can be tricky because they can be designed in such as way that a single word or phrases alone can change the entire concept in the question. Read. Every. Word.

  • Be ready to deal with the multiple-choice questions.

Just because the exam format is in multiple choice doesn’t mean it’s easy. There are certain multiple choice questions that require one answer while there are some that may require multiple correct answers. What is required here is your comprehension what you have learned during your study.

There are also case study questions. Usually, they are being asked in Modules 6 and 6A. These are scenario type questions that will test your knowledge in real life situational problems.

 

If you wish to pursue a career in the field of financial advice in Singapore or you’d like to expand your financial services, this should be your next step and that is taking the CMFAS Exam. Yes, the exam can be tricky and challenging. But with a little help of smart studying, you can study in a minimum time but with maximum results.

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Dario Ford

Dario Ford

Dario is the Senior Customer Success Manager at CMFASExam