The Brexit vote will affect finance more than most other industries but will it affect the CFA?
CFA Level 3 CFA exam can be the most intimidating for some because of the essay questions.
Here is a Free Study Plan for candidates beginning preparation for Level II of CFA Exam.
Need Microsoft Excel file? Send us email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last updated: February 7, 2017 at 14:03 pm
This post wraps up our five-part series on the most common hurdles facing candidates for the CFA designation. The first reason was too much time spent studying about studying, posted here. The second reason, planning a schedule around life and burnout, is a big one for those of us with a family and a full-time job. The difference between active and passive studying, is probably the biggest hurdle to success for most candidates. Last we looked at the myriad of resources available to candidates and using the right ones.
Today’s hurdle could just as easily have been titled, “I’m an ethical person, so why study ethics?” While the material on Ethics and Professional Standards is not the only one neglected by candidates, it is probably the most avoided. Sure, you need to have a good understanding of the entire curriculum but a look at the topic weights provided by the Institute makes it clear that some topics are a source of some major points.
Ethics, the easiest and most difficult topic on the exams
Candidates have a big opportunity with the ethics section though it still presents a problem for most. The topic area is tested at each level and is worth at least 10% of your exam points. The opportunity comes in the fact that the topic is the only one that really does not change much as you progress. You’ll see a couple of additional sections but these are relatively secondary against the core Code and Standards, which do not change. For candidates that give the topic its due at level I, the next two levels are that much easier.
The problem with the ethics material is twofold. Some candidates consider themselves to be fairly ethical people and so think that the answers on the exam will be intuitive. They neglect the topic and end up failing on the exam. Other candidates read the material, to the point of memorizing the Code and Standards, but neglect to do practice problems.
There are two types of ethics questions on the exam, those with no answer and those that seem to have two correct answers. You absolutely must practice the ethics problems provided by the Institute at the end of the chapters. You’ll be surprised by the level of ambiguity in some of the problems and how minute details can make the difference between one answer versus another. Don’t let the first time you are surprised by this be at the exam.
You need to know Financial Reporting & Analysis for the CFA designations??? Who Knew?
If not of equal importance to the ethics material, I would put FRA a close second. Unfortunately, a lot of candidates avoid this section as well. The material, much of it focused on accounting issues, may not be as interesting for some. It can also get extremely complicated and detailed on the level II exam.
Anyone that works in the industry, whether a charter holder or not, will tell you that understanding the financial statements is of the highest priority. As an analyst, you will need to develop models and an expert knowledge of how the company is reporting its business and how it all flows together. Spending extra time on the material will not only help you pass the exams, it will make your life so much simpler further down the road.
Equity and Fixed Income: The fun parts that aren’t so much fun anymore
Many candidates start the path to the charter because the love analyzing investments, whether in the equity or fixed income market. When they realize that it is a little more than just calculating the price-earnings ratio for the stock everyone is talking about… it becomes less fun.
The two topics can get extremely formula-intensive and most candidates only have experience in one of them. Avoid the temptation of only studying the topic in which you currently work or in which you think you want to work. First, you’ll need the points from each section to pass the exam. Also important though is the fact that you never know how your career will unfold or when you might want to work in another asset class.
Each level has its own idiosyncrasies and no one topic area will get you through every exam. The four topic areas above are extremely important but you still shouldn’t neglect the other five topics. Other posts on the blog talk about specific strategies for each level and can help you further focus your study plans.
Are there any hurdles to passing the exams that I forgot? What tripped you up the most? Let me know if you have any questions about the last five posts.
‘til next time, happy studyin’
Joseph Hogue, CFA
Last updated: January 26, 2017 at 5:16 am
Download PDF file of Study Plan CFA Level 1 2017.
Need Microsoft Excel file? Email us at email@example.com.
Last updated: January 23, 2017 at 8:53 am
A survey of how much CFA charter holders make offers some interesting insight into compensation and the designation
December is over and you haven’t started studying for the 2017 CFA exam yet?
I get questions occasionally about the CFA exam and how the CFA Institute updates the exam to stay relevant in the industry.
I see this question all over the internet. While CFA versus MBA seems to be the most popular, it is followed closely by Continue reading
Last week, I listed out the things I wish I knew before each level of the CFA exams. For the most part, these were the general ideas that relate well across all three levels. This week, I am reminiscing back to those bygone days of the Level I CFA exam.
It shouldn’t take the holidays to remind us of our responsibility to help each other but it usually does.
Studying for the December CFA exam is over and most candidates haven’t yet started studying for the June exams. What does a motivated CFA candidate do to pass the time when there’s nothing to study?
One of the most difficult aspects of the CFA exams is that you are basically on your own. Sure there are study groups but these are composed of candidates in the same exam level and probably making the same mistakes that you are making.
The CFA exams are tough! No doubt about it. To pass the exams, you’re basically saying that you’re willing to work a part-time job for six months of each of the next three years…and you’re going to pay someone to do it.
Last updated: December 22, 2016 at 8:11 am
CFA Exam preparation products offered by FinQuiz have helped thousands of candidates in passing Exam Level I, II and III – since 2008.
Here is a brief introduction of each product:
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.