I know overconfidence is the analyst’s downfall and it is probably a little shameless, but .. Continue reading
One of the most common questions I get from new CFA candidates is if it is possible to take the December Level 1 exam and then sit for the Level 2 CFA exam the following June.
To which I reply, “Possible, of course. Recommended, maybe.”
Less than 48 hours to the CFA exam and I thought I would share a little bit of inspiration with you in a video from YouTube and some CFA Jokes.
Even with the change to topic area weights on the CFA exams this year, CFA Ethics and Professional Standards remain extremely important. It is a lot of material but fortunately doesn’t change much from year to year and you’ve got a real opportunity to carry over some points to each exam if you learn it early.
Peeling back the cover on your CFA Level 1 books can be a shock at first. Thousands of pages and hundreds of CFA Level 1 formulas sit in front of you and can seem overwhelming.
Remember the great training montages in the Rocky movies? Where the champ could come back from a defeat to overcome a stronger boxer by just going through three minutes of training set to some kick*#@ music.
One of the most contested questions on the CFA forums is whether the charter, or passing the exams, will help you get a job with CFA Employers.
Candidates will soon be heading to the December exam and questions about CFA Level 1 passing score will follow.
Leading up to the exams, I always wondered if my success on CFA practice questions and mock exams would carry through to the actual test.
Wondering about CFA designation usage? You no doubt remember the huge sigh of relief after finding out you passed the most recent CFA exam or when you finally earned the charter.
CFA Level 1 Jobs – Probably one of the biggest questions on the candidate forums is finding a job after passing the exams or whether having the designation will help them get a job.
CFA Mock exam are some of the most important practice you can do for the CFA exam.
This post is going to offer the most important advice on HOW to study for the Chartered Financial Analyst exams, or really any exam.
CFA Level 2 exam still draws from the same 18 study sessions seen in the level 1 exam but with different topic weights.
As candidates put the exam behind them, their minds turn firmly to using the designation to land that dream CFA Level 1 jobs.
Here we are more than a month after the CFA results and the elation hasn’t worn off for those that passed. Nor has the disappointment gotten any better for the candidates that did not make the cut.
According to the good people at Merriam-Webster, many of you have an addiction. You have, “a compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance.”
One of the most common questions on the Candidates forum is where to find used study resources like condensed notes and tip sheets. Notice the difference here between asking which resources to use and outright asking for those resources.
It’s a jungle out there! I get emails every week from candidates that continue frustrated in their job search, even after passing one or more levels of the CFA exam.
I always love hearing the familiar segue line from the old episodes of the Monty Python series.
Reading through the LinkedIn group lately, someone was asking about the difficulty of the CFA Level 1 exam and how it related to another professional exam. A couple of candidates commented how tough the material was and how much there was of it.
I just had to smile.
The Level II Exam is, in mine and many other candidates, the most difficult level of the three CFA exams and it might be hard to narrow it down to just five things.
I wrote yesterday about the importance of reading the entire CFA curriculum and that too many candidates miss out of valuable points due to only relying on study guides. If my inbox is any indication,
The actual length of the CFA curriculum varies a little each year but it’s generally between 2,500 and 3,200 pages. When you get the books in the mail, or receive the digital version, that may seem like a monstrous task. Over the three years of studying for the exams, I think my upper body strength grew just as much as my financial knowledge just from carrying the books around.
Study guides meant to substitute for the curriculum vary but generally range between 1,400 and 1,700 pages. At under two-thirds the length of the official curriculum, it seems like a no-brainer and I know many candidates who have only rarely even peaked inside their curriculum books.
And many of them are still candidates.
Do Not Neglect the Official CFA Curriculum!
Candidates that have tried to substitute the CFA curriculum with study guides have come to me afterwards with their horror stories. My reply is always the same, “I wish we had talked before because if you do the math then the answer is pretty obvious.” The minimum passing score for the exams is never released but I would guess it is around sixty-five percent. No candidate has failed with a score of 70% or better and I doubt if the Institute would want to charter someone that knows less than two-thirds of the subject matter.
Even the most gifted candidates are going to miss points. If about half the candidates fail the exam every year, I am guessing that most miss at least a tenth of the points and probably much more. We have no way of knowing but it’s obvious that you need every point you can get.
Now, I have seen pretty much all the study guides commercially available. There are some that do a pretty good job of condensing the material but none are able to get everything in a packet that is half the length of the curriculum. It’s impossible and information is going to get left out. Try to fit nearly 3,000 pages of information in less than 2,000 pages of notes and I would say you’re lucky if 20% of the information isn’t lost.
So if you neglect the official curriculum completely, you are already out something like 20% or more of the points. Now you need to remember at least 80% of the material just for a score of 64% on the exam.
Most of you have taken practice exams through test banks or the CFA Institute. How many have scored better than 80% on these? I know reading all those books is a daunting task but you just cannot afford to leave points on the table by neglecting the official curriculum.
CFA Study Guides
I don’t talk about the FinQuiz study notes much here on the blog other than to reference specific sections of the notes and the curriculum. I don’t want candidates to think I am being biased by pushing one particular study provider over another. But I can say, without any bias, that the FinQuiz notes have at least one big advantage over other study products, that they are meant to be used as a complement to the curriculum instead of a substitute.
The FinQuiz notes vary by length as well but are generally around 600 pages. It’s really the best of both worlds, you get 100% of the information from the curriculum and additional condensed explanations where you need them.
Free examples of the FinQuiz notes are available for download on the website. Take a look and compare them with the curriculum. FinQuiz regularly offers discounts on products and packages so you may want to contact the provider to get the best deal possible.
‘til next time, happy studyin’
Joseph Hogue, CFA
Last updated: August 10, 2016 at 4:30 am