I signed up for my CFA Level 1 tests as a sprightly, wide-eyed naïve young professional many years ago, after confirming that I met the eligibility requirements. Here are 9 things you need to know before taking the CFA exams. May they be of assistance to you on your own path!
Now that I’m a CFA charterholder, I wish I had someone who’d been through it all to show me the bumps on the road.
- 1. CFA tests are difficult
CFA Level 1 is similar to a Masters Degree level and grows harder from there. It is frequently considered as one of the world’s most challenging qualifications.
Oh, and by the way, Levels 2 and 3 are significantly more challenging than Level 1, however which is the most straightforward level.
Levels 1 and 2 are multiple-choice questions, however Level 3 includes half of the paper in constructed answer (‘essay’) format as well.
If you’re a positive thinker, it might also suggest that you’re more likely to achieve Levels 2 and 3 after passing Level 1.
- 2. I’d have no weekends for the three months leading up to each exam.
That’s a lot of free time that you need to give up!
- 3. It is really tough to balance job, life, and studies.
With a full-time work and a young family, it takes considerable discipline and cutthroat time management to balance so many competing responsibilities.
In the end, I was completely exhausted.
- 4. I’ll have dreams about broken calculators.
As the examinations approached, I got a sudden fear of calculators running out of batteries or forgetting how to re-set my BA II Plus if a proctor did it to mine on exam day.
- 5: The low CFA pass rates INCLUDE no-shows.
Oh, no surprise we all break out in cold sweat when we talk about CFA difficulty – it’s one of the world’s most difficult tests.
Should I even bother taking the CFA tests in the first place? Or should you check for CFA alternative courses?
- 6. I will lack the motivation to study throughout the week.
The combination of a full day at work and the CFA examinations is just a little too much for me.
But don’t worry, many CFA candidates manage to squeeze in 1-3 hours of studying on weekdays to reduce their weekend workload. Follow your instincts.
- 7: The CFA Institute study material is really dry.
Disclaimer: Candidates find it much better today, however as a candidate, I found it difficult to comprehend owing to the sheer volume of content.
Third-party study resources save a lot of time!
- 8. Question practise is the key
The key to passing CFA Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 is to practise as much as possible with mock tests, ideally under time constraints.
Here’s our overview of free practise exam guides, as well as what’safe’ target mock scores to strive for.
- 9. CFA isn’t always a sure thing for my desired job.
It undoubtedly helps, but it is not the panacea that many candidates believe or hope it is.
Often the ACA is all you need.