Why Mock Exams Work for CFA Prep

Why Mock Exams Work for CFA Prep

Article by Chin Yew Kok, Instructor on (Updated on ) in CFA Study Tips

Salt Solutions now offers a free mock CFA® exam to all trial users. Learn why mock exams are important to CFA exam preparation—and why our mock exams are especially great.

When you sign up for a free trial to Salt Solutions, you not only get access to a full topic, including all video lessons, manuals, and our custom quiz builder. You can also access a fully featured mock exam that simulates the real exam experience and gives you a taste of exam day without any stakes attached.

As part of rolling out this free mock exam, we thought we'd explore why mock exams are so important to your CFA® exam preparation!

The importance of mock exams cannot be overstated.

Why are mock exams crucial to CFA preparation?

Some people avoid mock exams due to the internal fear of failure. They think they will perform poorly, so they’d rather focus on relearning the exam material multiple times or work on individual practice problems. Some don’t even realize mock exams exist. The importance of mock exams cannot be overstated, and it is strictly non-optional. They offer three key benefits that you don’t get to reap from other parts of your study process.

1. They sharpen your CFA exam–taking techniques

The CFA exams are more than just knowledge tests. Not only are you required to understand/memorize a vast amount of materials, but you also need to use them to answer tough questions under strict time constraints. Knowing the right strategies to answer exam problems can significantly boost your chance of passing.

For example, exam candidates need to master their time-management skills and learn how to build momentum when solving problems. These can only be achieved when the candidates work through multiple exam papers. Mock exams allow you to focus on the process of honing different exam-taking techniques without worrying about the results.

Mock exams allow you to focus on the process of honing different exam-taking techniques without worrying about the results.

2. They tell you the areas you need to work harder

Not having the right exam-taking strategies is only one of the many roadblocks to passing. Another major reason people fail the CFA exams is knowledge gaps. Besides boosting your understanding of the exam material, mock exams also do a fantastic job of helping you identify your weak areas by forcing you to answer questions from every topic. By recognizing your weaknesses and where you regularly make errors, you can allocate your time and effort more effectively in addressing important issues before it’s too late.

3. They train you to have the right mindset walking into the exam hall

Mock exams allow you to experience the process of preparing yourself mentally for a real challenge that you spent hundreds of hours on. By taking the mock exams under real exam conditions, you will gain a sense of familiarity when sitting for the actual exam. This can help build confidence and concentration because you are trained to cope with immense pressure. Besides, mock exams can help you realize that there will be questions to which you don’t know the answers, and that’s okay.

The fundamental objective is to give enough correct answers to pass, so you must be willing to skip the few very tough questions.

By taking the mock exams under real exam conditions, you will gain a sense of familiarity when sitting for the actual exam.

When should you take a mock exam?

You will likely have access to multiple mock exams through your prep provider (the CFA Institute offers at least one mock exam on their Learning Ecosystem, too!). To maximize the benefit of mock exams, we recommend taking one right after your first run-through of the syllabus or after briefly reviewing the summary of the material. The purpose is to help you find out your strong and weak areas.

Then, you can plan your review time more appropriately. However, it’s advisable that you do not take your mock exams too early because that will defeat their purpose of being an objective gauge of your knowledge level. We generally also recommend saving the CFA Institute Learning Ecosystem mock exams for last because, as the exam and curriculum provider, they will likely best mimic the exam day experience.

What actions should you take after a mock exam?

While it is crucial to take the mock exams, the real work starts after you receive your scores. You need to know how to utilize the feedback from your mock exams to increase your chance of passing. To help you do this, our Salt Solutions system (a phase we call Focus) provides you with detailed analytics on your overall performance on each topic after you finish each mock exam. The system will also run calculations and suggest topics that you should prioritize based on your score, the topic weight, and the length/difficulty of the material.

You will also be given a breakdown of how your performance compares to other candidates so you can get a general sense of how adequate your preparation is!

Our system will run calculations and suggest topics that you should prioritize based on your score, the topic weight, and the length/difficulty of the material.

Why choose Salt Solutions mock exams?

Now let's talk a little more about why Salt Solutions mock exams, in particular, are a great choice for you.

When we design our mock exams, we aim to replicate the experience of taking the real CFA exam as closely as possible. To achieve this, we intentionally studied the actual exam user interface to create an interface that looks and feels like the real thing.

We also focused on wording choice while crafting our own mock exam questions to be consistent with the real exam questions. In terms of difficulty, we mimic the difficulty of the actual exam questions to allow you to have a more realistic expectation of the exam.

Access your free mock exam with a trial account.

The Salt Solutions team is confident that our mock exams can help you form the most accurate expectations of the exam day experience. At the same time, we understand that there are other prep providers out there and that you have a variety of products to choose from. By providing a complete set of mock exams for free, we allow candidates like you to preview the quality we offer at no cost.

If you find the questions and model solutions helpful, you can sign up for a one-month subscription to access our review summary, diagnostic report, and a quiz builder with an extensive question bank to target your weaknesses.

Questions about mock exams?

Reach out to our support team, support@saltsolutions.com, or post in the discussion forums. We’re here to support you on your CFA exam journey!