We each have our own different tools to study for the CFA exams and I would certainly agree that there is no perfect set of tools. We each have our strengths and weaknesses and depending on those, our study plan and the tools that we use will be different. However, I do not think it’s “optional” for someone to consider using a QBank.
What is a QBank?
It’s quite simple. It’s a database of questions that you get access to that covers most of the material in the exam. These questions are very different from doing practice exams. How so? The big thing is that these questions are generally simple, quick and only try to validate one or two concepts. That is very different from doing a multiple set in an exam. If you get one simple question that goes directly to the point, you will be able to test your knowledge. If you can do one question per minute or so, that can give you a detailed and fairly accurate idea of what you do and do not understand in order to help you improve your studying methods, review difficult material, etc.
When To Use It?
I personally use it for most of the studying period with increased use as the exam approaches obviously. The perfect way to use it for me is towards the end when I will spend an entire day on one section of the exam, for example, accounting. What I would do is alternate between studying/reading material and using the QBank. Here is what the day would look like:
Hour #1 – QBank for first chapter
Hour #2 – Studying and reviewing that chapter with special attention on topics that were missed the most during the QBank
Hour #3 – QBank for second chapter
Hour #4 – Studying and reviewing that chapter with special attention on topics that were missed the most during the QBank
That process could be repeated over and over and given the fact that QBanks usually have thousands of questions for each section, it makes it nearly impossible for you to do all of them. And even if you did, you could then redo all of those that you missed. So if I were you, I would fire away.
How Key Is It?
Let’s put it this way. If you gave me the choice of studying with only one of the following, I would choose the QBank.
-Schweser or other summaries
Yes, you read that right; it is the most valuable part of my toolbox in my opinion.