Dr. P.V. Viswanath



Economics/Finance on the Web
Student Interest

  Courses / FIN 632  

Frequently Asked Questions, Fall 2013

FIN 632: Introduction to Financial Decision Making


Q. What will the final exam cover?
Ans. The final will cover material from Chapters 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 15 from Bodie, Kane and Marcus. It will be divided into three parts:

  1. Chapter 3 material, which will be relevant for bonus questions only; however, I recommend that you go over that material because its very interesting and you can email me with queries or come by and I can go over your difficulties with you.
  2. Chapter 5-7 and Chapters 9 and 10; for this material, in addition to the textbook chapters, consult my powerpoint slides.
  3. Chapter 15, which builds on Chapter 8 of Ross, Westerfield and Jaffe. For this part, in additon to the textbook chapters, consult my webnotes.

Here are some topics by name under the same headings as above:

  1. The Mechanics of Financial Markets
    1. Types of Orders
    2. Short Sales
    3. Buying on Margin
  2. Risk and Return
    1. Computation of Returns, Expected Returns and Return Volatilities from Probabilistic Scenarios
    2. Estimation of Expected Returns and Volatilities
    3. Risk-Return Relations for Asset Classes and for individual securities
    4. Idiosyncratic and Systematic Risk
    5. CAPM
    6. Estimating CAPM betas
    7. The Fama-French-Carhart Model
    8. Using the Fama-French-Carhart Model
  3. Interest Rates
    1. Treasury Securities
    2. The Term Structure of Interest Rates

Q. Are the exams open book or closed book?
Ans. The midterm and the final exams are closed book; however, you can bring in one 8.5x11 sheet, which can contain only formulas. I am very strict about this. You may write on both sides of the paper.  However, you may not staple several sheets of paper together.  Going through your notes probably cannot make up for the lack of a proper understanding of the material. If you have anything proscribed on your sheet, I will take away the sheet altogether and I may penalize you, as well.

Q. Can I use a calculator during the exams?
Ans: Yes, you may use a calculator during the exams. However, for every problem, you will have to write out the formula that you are using both in symbolic form, as well as with the numbers filled in. If you have done this, you don't have to show your computations. You can simply copy your numerical answer from your calculator. However, if you have not provided the formula in the answer, you may receive no points at all!

The use of computers, PDAs, graphing calculators, phone calculators or other instruments that can communicate and/or are able to store alphanumeric information is strictly prohibited during exams (it is your responsibility to verify whether your calculator is allowed, otherwise you will end up in an exam without a calculator).

Q. Can I do extra work to improve my grade?
Ans. Sorry. I believe that in order to be fair, I have to give every student the same opportunity to do extra work. Obviously, this is not feasible.  However, on occasion I will allow you to resubmit an assignment for grade improvement.

Q. What can I do to check my understanding of the material and to prepare for the exams?
Ans.  Here are some of the things you can do:

  • To prepare for the Quantitative problems part of the exam, you can do the quantitative problems from the end of each chapter.
  • For the media article part of the exam, you can read current newspaper and magazine articles on relevant topics and make up your own questions and articles. The Discussion Group on Blackboard will also be useful, as will the occasional discussions in class based on media articles. You should try to answer the questions at the end of media articles that are posted online.
  • You should read the chapter and try to answer the questions posed on the web under Important Terms and Concepts.
  • You can make an appointment to talk to me.


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