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How To Test Forex Trading Strategies: 3 Key Success Factors

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How To Test Forex Trading Strategies: 3 Key Success Factors

Bài gửi by Admin on Thu Nov 28, 2013 10:09 am

How To Test Forex Trading Strategies: 3 Key Success Factors
By [http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Andrei_Koustov]Andrei Koustov

The Big Picture. What is the best way to test Forex trading strategies? Quick research on this topic shows that the main focus is on testing software. Though it is very important, the software is only a part of the whole picture. In comparison, little attention is paid to the problem of the testing methodology. However it is crucial in getting objective estimates of the quality of the trading strategy.

In classic approach, the goal of testing is to manage the risk and provide numerical estimates of quality. This is achieved by assessing the probabilities of failures, based on the results of carefully selected test scenarios, which are to be run during the available timeframe. We apply these classic principles to Forex strategies' testing, aiming at managing risk by defining the appropriate test strategy and developing test scenarios.

Risk management. Purpose of testing is reducing the risk and impact of possible failures. More testing normally means less risk. The risk can be virtually eliminated for simple systems, when essentially all possible inputs can be tested. For Forex market, the situation is principally different. As the markets are unpredictable, after any amount of testing there will still be an infinite number of "untested inputs". Hence, any successful test is no guarantee of the future performance.

Does this mean Forex strategy testing is completely useless? In our opinion, this question is too theoretical - regardless of the correct answer.

Of course, the aim of reducing risk via testing must remain. However, we can't obviously demand that strategy testing would manage trading risks in all situations. So, we need to revisit definitions of failures and, more importantly, testing success criteria. For example, we can measure success by identifying certain conditions when trading strategies can work with certain probabilities.

Test strategy is another fundamental element of classic testing. Proper strategy ensures balance between risk level and efforts needed to achieve it. Unpredictability of Forex markets makes a test strategy even more important: as we remember, any testing still can't give us 100% test coverage. On the other hand, testing multitudes of strategy parameters against big amounts of market data is already a complex and time-consuming task. So, the test strategy is responsible for selecting essential test scenarios so that the trustworthy quality level can be achieved in reasonable time.

To make risk evaluation easier, we need to simplify. One approach is to evaluate strategy risk independently of market risks. This is in line with the observation that trading strategies fail more often when market behavior changes (high market risk), rather than in "stable" market conditions (low risk). The advantage of such approach is that for the cases of low market uncertainty, we can use all well-known classic testing techniques to get quantifiable quality estimates.

Test scenarios. Classic test scenarios include most common use cases (positive) and most probable anticipated failures (negative). Our approach is in using market patterns as scenarios. Even though the Forex market is unpredictable, patterns can clearly be observed there. Elliot Waves are one of the well-known examples of market patterns. We try to identify the patterns best suited as our test scenarios by analyzing performance of the trading strategies in real market conditions.

For example, trending markets is a positive scenario. All trends are similar in the sense of clear overall market direction, so consequently the market risk is low. Negative scenarios are those where market risks are high - e.g. when the market conditions change, or where trading strategies are observed to consistently fail. The principal quality evaluation criteria for negative scenarios are recognizing them as early as possible and minimizing losses.

For the positive scenarios, main focus of testing is on optimizing the parameters of the trading strategy. For the trending market example above, the test scope consists of the set of the trends of various shapes and sizes, for different timeframes. Each trend is unique - e.g. pullbacks are all of different shape and magnitude. In this case, quality of the strategy is essentially that of algorithm and its implementation. Consequently, such testing provides principally more valuable results than back fitting strategy to the markets on a random time interval.

We will be grateful for any feedback on this article. Please leave your suggestions or opinions at [http://www.forexstrategytester.com]http://www.forexstrategytester.com, where we are publishing the details of our strategy testing and our [http://www.forexstrategytester.com/forex-strategy-testing-software]Forex strategy tester software.

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?How-To-Test-Forex-Trading-Strategies:-3-Key-Success-Factors&id=7913542] How To Test Forex Trading Strategies: 3 Key Success Factors

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