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1 month later.. STILL coming out of candidate darkness.. STILL 3 weeks before seeing any light

after the never ending syllabus/studying/isolation waiting for the exam period here comes a never ending anxiety filled waiting for the results period… this whole process is too long and mentally exhausting in too many different ways that I did not expect. At this point I really don’t see why I would put myself through level 2… pass or fail I’m out no

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The dream is now a reality

Get an MSc in Finance if you think the program is too intense. However, I still believe firms value a CFA certification over a Masters degree.

So, I am an instructor at a CFA prep class.  I got my charter a year ago.  Even in Level 1 in 2015, I had a good idea who would pass and fail from my class.  

While lots of people have the reflex to encourage other candidates, the CFA program might not be for you.  Commitment is a big part of it.  Still, ask yourself some questions.

1. Would this really help your career?  Do you want to be somewhere that a charter is expected, like portfolio management?  

2. Does the whole process give you anxiety?  From my experience, calm people are at a huge advantage.  The people I know who made it all the way through with zero or one fail were calm, didn’t procrastinate (started studying January or earlier), didn’t have test anxiety, and had a pretty good sense of how their studies were going.  

3. Are the other demands on your time so great you can’t study well?  Most people really do have the time.  However, my first year out of school I clearly did not.  

4. Are you expecting and targeting a score significantly better than barely passing?  It is really stressful to try to do the minimum.  The total time investment is usually more because of failed exams and not showing up.  Tons of people target mock scores in the high 70s to low 80s.  That is a safe, doable range for Level 1 and 2.  For Level 3, there is a different discussion, due to the essay part.

5. Are you taking any of the prep courses where you can ask questions of instructors, including how to study?  The CFA Institute does not allow prep providers to publish pass rates, but I found Level 1 and 2 classes to be an ok use of my time, and I was an experienced candidate with a quant background.  

6. How would you handle failing an exam?  There are plenty of people who never failed anything academic who fail at least one exam.  Many people have resolve and persistence, with an expectation they might fail once or twice.  I was one who simply decided on hard core time management and process control, all designed to beat the hell out of the exams instead of worrying or barely passing.  Getting 75%+ on Level 1 and 2 is pretty good.  Getting 80%+ is beating the hell out of them.  Nobody gets a perfect score.  On Level 3,somewhere around 72% is beating the hell out of it.