Passing the FTMO challenge is a rite of passage in your trading journey. When you start out in Forex trading, you’ll probably realize that significant gains will only come with a large trading account, and that’s where prop firms come in.
However, prop firm challenges are tough, and they’re designed to push your trading skills to their limits.
I’ve passed the FTMO challenge and other prop firms’ challenges multiple times now, but only after failing multiple times and ending up thousands of dollars in the red.
In this post, I’ll talk about how I passed the FTMO challenge, and how to pass ftmo challenge effectively.
How I passed the FTMO challenge
I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with the financial markets.
My first taste of Forex trading was around 15 years ago. I was immediately sucked in by the potential for massive gains and made every classic newbie mistake.
I hoped a magic robot would make me a millionaire.
Then life got in the way and I stopped trading for some time, and fast forward to 2 years ago when I rediscovered Forex trading and came across funded accounts and FTMO.
The promise of a $50,000 or $100,000 trading account was extremely enticing and I signed up, only to breach the FTMO challenge rules in a couple of days.
The problem? I was making the same mistakes over and over again.
I was not practicing risk management.
I was not being patient.
How I brought my emotions in check
The most important factor that led to me ultimately passing multiple challenges(after failing way too many to admit) is PATIENCE.
Although FTMO challenges are designed to test your trading and risk management, they’re also fairly easy to pass if you wait for the market to come to you.
This is HIGHLY counter-intuitive, since the profit target of 10% in 30 days suggests you should trade as often as possible.
It took lots of tries and thousands of dollars, but when I finally realized that being patient and playing the long game is the way to go, passing the challenge became much easier.
It’s also really tempting to revenge trade when you take a loss, since you’re counting the percentage of your drawdown.
However, revenge trading rarely works, and every time I got into a cycle of revenge trading, I’d end up in a deep drawdown which I was unable to get out of.
I could have gotten out of it had I been patient and followed my trading plan, but I didn’t, because I let my emotions get the best of me.
I used an expert advisor as a crutch
While there’s no expert advisor that can single-handedly pass an FTMO challenge without fail, there are some pretty decent ones out there that you can use as a crutch to help keep your trigger finger in check.
One problem I had was that I had an impulse to enter a trade whenever I sat at the charts, and this led to many poor trading decisions.
This impulse was founded in the fact that I was afraid of wasting a trading day without any progress toward the profit target.
So I decided to use an expert advisor on very conservative risk settings to keep me in the market even when I was away from the charts.
This helped gradually push my account balance up, and it also became an effective way to pull myself out of drawdowns, since the EA would always trade without emotion.
I took profits off the table
I can’t count the number of trades I’ve taken that went well into profit(sometimes 1-2% of my account balance) and then reversed on me before I secured any profits.
In my experience, I’ve found that I can easily take a 0.5-1% trade every single day. When I realized that I should secure profits and stop hoping for every trade to be a home run, my account balance started to creep up.
I started heading towards a successful completion of the challenge.
Keep your wits about you in phase 2 of the evaluation process
Believe it or not, phase 2 is actually more difficult than phase 1. Even though the profit target is half of phase 1 and you have twice as many days, the impulse to jump the gun and pass quickly to get your hands on that sweet, sweet cash is VERY strong.
Keep calm during phase 2 – even more so than you were during phase 1 – and you’ll be able to pass the challenge in no time.
8 tips to pass the FTMO challenge
1. Be honest with yourself about your trading
The first and perhaps most important factor to pass the FTMO challenge is to be honest with yourself about your trading skills and where you are on your trading journey. Are you a profitable trader already?
If not, it’s very unlikely you’ll magically pass a challenge.
Instead, it’s better to start a demo account or a small live account and try to hit the profit target before dumping $350 or more on trying to get a funded trading account.
Sometimes, it’s difficult to simulate real risk on a demo account, so consider opening a small live account with $100 of your own capital and trying to achieve a 10% gain and consistent profits on it.
If you’re able to achieve profits and manage risk, then consider investing some hard-earned money into a challenge.
Remember, once you have a good trading strategy and you’re confident of your trading style, it does not matter how big your account is!
2. Be mindful of FTMO’s trading rules
FTMO makes a good chunk of their revenue from people failing challenges, so the rules are sometimes kind of designed to make you fail. Even experienced traders can sometimes hit the maximum daily loss and end up getting disqualified from the challenge!
You must familiarize yourself with the rules and make sure you don’t end up prematurely failing the challenge.
FTMO actually has very relaxed rules for the challenge, but the rules change once you start trading a live account.
For example, you can trade news events in the challenge phase, but you must not trade within 2 minutes of news releases on a live account.
While failing a challenge is bad, losing an account after passing a challenge is even worse!
Like some other prop trading firms(My Forex Funds, The Funded Trader Program) FTMO also has a minimum trading days requirement. If you take small trades, you’ll most likely hit this requirement before you reach the actual profit target, but if you end up hitting the 10% in less than the minimum days, you’ll have to remember to continue placing small trades to fulfill this requirement.
3. Have a unique profitable trading strategy and plan
Forex trading is all about having a unique, profitable trading strategy and a trading plan that has rules you will follow.
Your trading plan and strategy is your own: you don’t need to use someone elses, but you DO need to create a plan that works for you and that you can follow to the letter.
This will help keep you disciplined and on track to hit the profit targets. The financial market is almost like a casino, so it’s tempting to keep playing in the hopes of a win.
A trading strategy and plan will help you break the casino mindset and put you in a business mindset that will have solid risk management, a reasonable profit target, and a plan to make consistent profits.
One of the most common pitfalls that come from the gambling mindset is holding trades for too long!
You’ll hold a losing trade in the hope that it will turn around and close you in profit, and you’ll hold a winning trade in the hope that it will continue going up!
Instead, the losing trade keeps going further and further against you, and the winning trade turns around closes you out at break even, or worse, in a loss!
4. Will you swing trade or day trade?
Swing trading and day trading are the two most common ways that most retail traders enter the Forex market.
Your trading plan should dictate whether you are swing trading or day trading. If you’re swing trading, you need to hold trades for longer and wait for the market to go your way.
If you’re day trading, you need to close your trades soon!
Essentially, don’t mix the two! It’s unlikely that a day trading setup will turn into a swing trade(unless you’re lucky and it’s one of those days), and if you close swing trades too early as if they were day trades, you’ll miss oout on potential profits.
5. Focus on one or two trades per day
The FTMO challenge has two primary rules regarding losses: the maximum daily loss and the maximum loss.
If you take too many losing trades in one day, you’ll probably hit the maximum daily loss and get yourself disqualified.
Taking too many trades also puts you in a gambling mindset instead of a trading mindset, so you have to remember to keep yourself on track and treat trading as a business, not a casino!
If you as a Forex trader have a rule to only take 1 or 2 trades every day, you’ll make sure to only take good trades and avoid risky or questionable setups.
As surprising as it may sound, the quickest way to reach a profit target is to take fewer trades per day. The more trades you take, the higher your chances are of making a loss!
Focusing on just one to two trades per day is one of the prime pieces of advice I’ve gotten from Raja Banks of WicksDontLie.
6. Aim to get through the entire challenge
10% is quite ambitious as far as profit targets and trading objectives go, so when doing the FTMO challenge, not only are you aiming to reach 10%, you’re also aiming not to hit the drawdown limits before your 30 days are over.
Many people fail challenges within a few days of starting them because they take on too much risk!
If you manage to get through the entire 30 day challenge period and you’re still positive, you can either restart your challenge for free or get a 15-day extension to hit the prescribed trading objectives and get your funded account(s).
7. It’s a marathon, not a sprint
One pitfall that many traders tend to fall victim to is trying to pass the challenge too quickly. This tempts traders to risk more money than necessary and they end up hitting the daily or maximum loss much before the end of the 30 trading days.
To pass the FTMO challenge, take smaller risks and plan on using up a good chunk of the 30 days to reach the target.
For example, if you risk 0.5% per trade with a 1:2 risk-reward ratio, you will hit 10% in 10 trading days. Risking 0.5% is a good amount for day traders, although swing traders will need to risk a little more because they won’t get trades quite as often.
Taking a small loss is much better for your overall trading psychology.
Either way, take it easy and remember: the FTMO challenge(and indeed succeeding prop trading and in the financial market) is a marathon, not a sprint!
8. Take bigger risks towards the end of the challenge
If you’re in profit near the end of the challenge and there are only a couple of trading days left, try using larger risks to reach the target as long as the risk will not put you into a net loss!
For example, if you’re 3% short of the target and you get a good trading setup, risk 1.5% or 2% instead of your regular 1%. This way, you can reach the remainder of the target in a single trade.
If taking more risk is not your thing, you can just take it easy, too: FTMO offers a 15-day extension to continue the challenge and meet the profit target.
Using an FTMO Challenge Passing Service
With the rise in popularity of FTMO and other prop firms, there has also been an increase in businesses that provide a pass FTMO challenge service.
Passing fees usually start at around $300 and depending on the service, can even go up to $1000 for larger accounts.
There’s never any guarantee with any service since the markets are always unpredictable, but the best experience I have had was with FX Challengers. They use a fairly conservative strategy on a low-volatility pair that tends to get good results.
They also have a managed service where you can let them operate your account for a profit-sharing agreement.
For more information, click here (Telegram Link).
There are plenty of other services too, but you’ll have to understand that you’re effectively doubling your risked money. Instead of losing $300 if you fail the challenge, you stand to lose $600 if the challenge-passing service is unable to deliver.
Most services don’t offer a refund if you fail: instead, they’ll offer to continue trying to pass a new challenge for you for free.
Note: Most prop firms have policies that state that using challenge passing services is not permitted, but in theory, there’s no way that they’ll find out.
With a good forex trading strategy and sound money management, you can pass the FTMO challenge and succeed as a prop trader.
With that said, the FTMO challenge is rather difficult to pass, and you may not get through it on your first challenge or even your second challenge.
If you’d like to try the challenge but are not wholly confident of your skills, consider starting with the $10k challenge, as the FTMO 10k challenge fee is nominal compared to the bigger challenges.
That’s OK – as long as you’ve got a solid trading strategy and you’re confident in your abilities, you’ll be able to get through it!