SFM is divided into two parts
Attempt theory only if you don’t know any of the practical questions. Also, the theory should never be answered first. Make efforts to first solve a couple of practical questions and then if required you can attempt the theory question.
Refer your class notes or module for basic understanding and then solve Practice Manual (for old course) thoroughly. For New Course, the Institute Material contains limited questions, you need to solve additional questions from reference books, past question papers, and old course Practice Manual (for Similar Chapters). In the first reading, Make efforts to understand all the concepts very clearly and solve different varieties of problems on each concept.
As you keep on solving, mark all the difficult questions and the questions you could not get right in the first time.
At the time of second reading the questions which you were able to solve earlier, just try to think what should be the steps to solve them and try to do only main calculations quickly. For the marked questions (questions not attempted correctly in first reading), written practice is required at least during first revision. During the second and further revisions, try to go through all the questions quickly.
Keep a formula book for revising all the formulae on the last day. Except for a few formulae like option pricing and a few in portfolio management, try to understand all the remaining formulae rather than just learning them as it will greatly help to use the formulae in different problems.
There are two types of chapters: smaller chapters like Mutual Funds, bill discounting etc. which can be asked for maximum 8 marks usually in the exam. These chapters are very easy. If you understand the method well then you can score very well. However, in exam problems like leasing should be solved very quickly as these are very lengthy and require a lot of time.
For part 2 chapters like forex, derivatives, Mergers and Acquisitions, portfolio management etc. very extensive preparation is required as there are a lot of problem types. All chapter questions can be solved quickly in the exam if you have practiced a lot of sums in advance. As far as possible, don’t try to skip any chapter while preparing. Because in SFM, any 1 out of the 4-5 big chapters can come for around 20-25 marks. The Practice Manual (for the old course) is the most important material for preparation. Solving Practice Manual for New course students is also advisable.
You can try solving practice papers if you want to time yourself. However, personally, I did not solve any practice paper for any subject. Just try to solve the sums quickly using pen and paper while revising. Speed becomes an issue only when you don’t do writing practice at the time of revisions.
Avoid just glancing through the solution because you will be under the myth that the problem is very easy. Only when you start solving on your own do you realize about the adjustments which you missed.
Note all such adjustments in the margin with ra ed pen so that during subsequent revisions you can refer those adjustments.
Keep calm. Be alert during the exam. I hope that you pass SFM with flying colours!