The heavy weighting of SIM’s has resulted in altered test taking strategies for many students. I want to outline how you should allocate your time on the FAR MCQ’s.
Most commonly I see students spend too much time on the FAR MCQ’s and then panic during the SIM’s. This is a rookie mistake.
Save Calculation Questions For Last?
One strategy that I’ve noticed in 2017 and 2018 was students were saving the calculation questions for last. Students wanted to ensure that they devoted enough time to the “easy” questions. Guessing on a calculation question “feels better” for most students.
I recommend that students do not try this approach for the FAR exam. Simply take the questions in sequential order. I find that skipping several questions ends up costing you minutes of precious time. You skip around
Limit Time Per Question
You do not want to get bogged down by any one question. If you perform a calculation and your answer does not show up, you can give it one more chance to complete the calculation correctly. However, if after two attempts, you cannot find a matching answer, it is time to move on.
As a benchmark, I would allocate 40 minutes per testlet. Give yourself an overage of 5 minutes. You have 33 questions per testlet which means that you want to average 1:15 per question. You can see how students struggle with the time management. You spend six minutes on one question and your entire strategy is out the window.
Break the Exam Down
I like to break down the FAR exam into 4 parts. Get your time count after the 8th question, 16th question and the 24th question.
After 8th question: 10 minutes
After 16th question: 20 minutes
After 24th question: 30 minutes
This is an easy time management hack to ensure that you have enough time to tackle the FAR SIM’s.
Practice FAR Questions
In order to get a feel for how much time you should allocate to each question, it is advisable to practice with FAR questions. The MCQ’s are still the basis of the FAR exam. You have to learn how to move past a question that is giving you difficulty. The easiest way to learn this skill is by completing hundreds of sample FAR questions.