Read Before Buying: Bionic Turtle Review 2021 (FRM Courses)

One of the bigger names in FRM preparation is Bionic Turtle. In this guide, I am going to review Bionic Turtle, both alone, and against competitors such as Schweser, to determine what FRM training course is the best in 2021.

Is the FRM Exam Difficult?
Yes, getting FRM certification is not an easy or quick task. The minimum requirements demand literal years of experience in the industry for you to pass. Since the FRM exam is a big undertaking, I decided to write this review of Bionic Turtle to see if it’s good enough to allow you to pass the FRM exams on your first try.

FRM Exam Timeline

The FRM Exam Timeline

There is a distinct, but relatively simply to understand order that you need to approach the FRM, which is outlined in the FRM timeline. It can be summed up as:

  1. Study & Preparation: 100 to 400 hours (240 hours average) study time to pass the test.
  2. Day 1: The clock starts counting the day that you pass FRM exam Part 1.
  3. 4 Years Later: The deadline to successfully pass the FRM exam Part 2.
  4. 5 Years After Passing Exam 2: Deadline to verify your 2 years of work experience

As you can see from this FRM infographic, if you really want to stretch things out you can prolong your FRM journey upwards of a decade! However, for those who don’t want to spend 10 years on a single certification, I’ve got good news for you:

Using Bionic Turtle‘s FRM courses, you can study and pass both FRM Exam part 1 and part 2 in less than 6 months! The same can be said of the Schweser FRM courses, so which one is better?

Choosing Bionic Turtle VS Kaplan Schweser for FRM Courses?

Let’s get this out of the way, you will pass the FRM exam & acquire the expert financial knowledge that you need using Bionic Turtle or Schweser as long as you put in the studying time and effort needed.

Since both set of courses will get us to our goal of FRM certification, this forced me consider some different questions like:

  1. Which course is most cost effective?
  2. Which course teaches the most information?
  3. Which course provides more supplemental resources??
  4. What course will get me through the FRM fastest?

So to settle the debate between Bionic Turtle and Kaplan Schweser, I’ve done my best to explore both offerings to answer those 4 questions.

What Course Is Most Cost Effective?

Generally you’re not taking FRM Part 1 and 2 back to back, but if the timing is right in the year, you may want to schedule Part 1 in May and Part 2 in November. Using that scenario, lets compare the pricing of both services:

FRM Part 1 & 2 Courses Combined Costs:

Plan Bionic Turtle Kaplan Schweser
Basic / Essential $399 $798
Advanced / Premium $599 $1,198
Professional / Premium Plus $799 $1,598
Overall: 50% Less Expensive 50% More Expensive

There is no doubt that Kaplan Schweser is currently the top name in FRM preparation, but that also comes with a premium cost compared to Bionic Turtle.

With all other things being equal, the fact that Bionic Turtle cost half as much as Schweser is why we recommend Bionic Turtle over Kaplan Schweser. As someone into Financial Risk Management, I’m sure you can clearly see that Bionic Turtle has the edge when it comes to value.

Buying Part 1 & Part 2 Courses Separately:

Obviously most people taking the FRM have a large gap between part 1 and part 2. In the second part of the value proposition review, we’ll examine the pricing of purchasing courses for Part 1 and Part 2 separately.

Plan Bionic Turtle Kaplan Schweser
Basic / Essential $249 $399
Advanced / Premium $349 $599
Professional / Premium Plus $449 $799
Overall: $150 to $350 Less Expensive. $150 to $350 More Expensive.

What Course Teaches the Most Information?

To start with, it should be stated that both services provide all the information you need to pass the FRM exam.

With that said, after having some time using both platforms, it appears that Schweser has slightly more material. However since both services exhaustively cover the FRM exam materials, it doesn’t end up being much of an advantage for Schweser.

What Course Provides More Supplemental Resources?

Hands down, the answer is that Schweser provides more supplemental resources than Bionic Turtle, but these “resources” feel hollow, like they’re just tacked on as a way to regurgitate existing content and make it seem like they’re offering more.

In particular, Schweser has tools that randomizes practice exams from a pool of over 4,000 questions. Realistically, this is comparable to the practice exams that you get from Bionic Turtle, so while Schweser may have this and a few other extra “value added” resources, in practical real-world learning they are both in parity.

One big advantage that Bionic Turtle has is an active community forum that you can join for free. There are literally thousands of topics discussing FRM and an active community. This means you can network, ask specific questions and generally get a response.

What Course Will Get Me Through the FRM Fastest?

Both services not only give you the lessons you need, but also tools that make it easy to keep track of your progress and stay on track.

Not surprisingly, this turned out to be a tough question to answer. I find that Schweser gives me more tools, but Bionic Turtle seems just as information dense, so there is no clear victor here. Officially I’m calling this one a tie/draw.

Advance Your Career By Passing the FRM Exam
Take a proven path to achieving FRM certification with Bionic Turtle’s affordable courses.

Quality of Presentation

9.9 out of 10. Honestly I found Bionic Turtle to be easier to keep track of my progress than Schweser. The information is concisely presented, without any fluff, and it’s organized into bite-sized chunks that get checked off my progress list.

To be specific, both sites give you an interface to keep track of the lessons you’ve taken. It’s just the Schweser’s interface goes too far and gets distracting by presenting too much information, which in turn makes it harder to find the useful information you’re looking for. Theres also too many different tools and checklists on Schweser which makes progress even harder to keep track of.

In contrast, Bionic Turtle has a very minimalist design to the website and the course, which may not look as fancy as Schweser but it is immediately usable and not even slightly confusing to navigate or to keep track of my progress. Bionic Turtle keeps it simple, which is great because I’m just there to learn the FRM material, not to be “impressed” by some over-engineered but ultimately hard to use corporate website.

How Effectively the Course Teaches the Subject

9.9 out of 10. If you’re looking to pass the FRM exam, this course teaches everything you need to know. From the FRM exam question bank, to the video tutorials and practice exams, Bionic Turtle effectively teaches you everything you need to become a certified Financial Risk Manager.

The Bionic Turtle FRM study material is presented in small, bite-sized chunks that are easy to digest. Concepts are introduced gradually and the sections within the course-work are divided into small and manageable chunks. This meant I never got lost, confused or overwhelmed by the material.

One of the best features of Bionic Turtle is free for everyone, which is the community forum. Here, you can ask specific questions and generally get the answers you need. This is because the forum has an active community as well as a wealth of knowledge. They even have practice FRM questions to use.

Value Proposition (Was This Course Worth It?)

9.5 out of 10. Considering Bionic Turtle costs half as much as Schweser while offering courses that are just as effective, you can see why I recommend Bionic Turtle as the no-compromises value option to study for and pass the FRM exam.

What I mean is that both Bionic Turtle and Schweser will help train you to pass the FRM exam. The end result is the same, so why pay more? Especially when you’re paying more for Schweser and getting a worse progress tracking system, more confusing course layouts, and a bunch of useless “value-added” cruft.

Honestly I think the web design team at Schweser need to take a look at what Bionic Turtle are doing, because I find it completely unacceptable to have to click on multiple tabbed interfaces within the Schweser website to accomplish basic tasks. Browsers have tabs for a reason, don’t hide basic stuff behind virtual tabs inside a single web page!

Bionic Turtle has a simple elegance to it’s platform that can only truely be appreciated if you’re forced to use Schweser for any extended amount of time. This makes the value proposition even higher than it normally would be. Sometimes less is more, and this is one of those times.

Bionic Turtle goes above & beyond, providing value in these specific ways:

  • Free Active Community Forum – Learn, discuss & share resources on the most active FRM forum.
  • Over 500 Free YouTube Videos – YouTube videos that cover all sorts of FRM related content.
  • Structured Study Planner – This is their 3rd major revision & it’s simple to use, works great and keeps you on track.
  • Instructional Videos – 67 hours of optional video content that deep dives into every relevant topic.
  • Question Sets – The best sets of mock FRM questions available, these range from intermediate to outright difficult.
  • Interactive Quizzes – Thousands of FRM questions presented in quiz form that signal when you’re ready to take the real FRM exam.
  • Focus Review Videos – More than just a refresher, these deep dives recap everything you’ve previously covered to make sure you retain it before the actual exam.
  • Learning Spreadsheets – Excel workbooks that condense all the important quantative concepts so that you can play with actual numerical values when learning about specific financial topics.

Our Review of the Website Overall

9.0 out of 10. I like the simplicity of using the Bionic Turtle website, especially when compared against the busy looking and harder to use website of Schweser.

I’ve already ranted about that too much in this review, so you get the point. At the end of the day, FRM material is either going to successfully help you pass the exam or not.

Both Schweser and Bionic Turtle will help you towards that goal. While I was initially turned off by the art direction and web design of Bionic Turtle, once I actually started using the platform I realized that since Bionic Turtle only has one job to do (teach FRM) and they do that one job almost perfectly.

The History of Bionic Turtle

12 Years of FRM Training Experience

Bionic Turtle, LLC has focused on FRM exam preparation since it was founded in 2008 by David Harper. Since then Bionic Turtle has continued to supply updated FRM studying material for the annual GARP revisions.

Bionic Turtle YouTube Channel Started in 2008

For over 12 years Bionic Turtle has been uploading videos to YouTube about FRM, with over 500 video published to date. For example, here is an 8 part series on Market Risk (FRM Topic 5):

Free Bionic Turtle FRM Courses

Bionic Turtle allows you to sign up for free. There are actually a number of free FRM resources provided there. Here is a list:

Bionic Turtle FRM Exam Preparation Conclusion

When approaching a difficult certification, the question has to be asked: is it worth it to take the FRM exam? If you intend to work in the banking or financial industries, then yes, the effort is definitely worth it.

To that end, Bionic Turtle offers to guide you from beginner to certified Financial Risk Manager in a cost-effective way. After deep-diving into their offerings, I was impressed by the presentation, which was simple, because the content itself is complicated.

Bionic Turtle does a fantastic job of isolating one concept in a module, teaching you everything you need to know about it, before moving on to the next concept. This insures that you don’t get information overload or learn too many concepts at one time.

Bionic Turtle FRM Courses

From $249

Quality of Presentation


How Effectively the Course Teaches FRM


Value Proposition


Our Review of the Website Overall



  • Costs 50% less than Schweser while being just as good
  • Completely covers the FRM Part 1 & 2
  • Many different options for studying
  • Free Active Forum


  • Video content costs extra
  • Branding seems a little weird, but it's the results that count

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Mangulamas b Cadillo

i need the job because i just stay home doing nothing 😀

Last edited 1 year ago by Mangulamas b Cadillo