Sign up  |  Log in

Best 3 Pieces of advice for you...

Here we go:

1) On exam day, when you hear “you may start now…”, the first thing you should do is go the last page of the booklet and jot down all the formulas and short cuts off of your short term memory and onto the page. When you do (1) you ensure that you don’t forget any formulas, and (2) it makes it easier for you to solve problems later on as you don’t need to think hard in recalling anything.

2) Start with the hard sections first. If you go for the sections you feel more comfortable with (as most people do), you might be shaken terribly if you sense the questions are harder than you expected. This can start you off on a bad foot and you may lose confidence in the rest of the exam. On the other hand, starting with the tough subjects can either boost your morale if you find you are doing well in them, or if not, no problem you knew they were hard anyway.

3) Next few days, contrary to common belief, you are much better off sleeping well and relaxing, than trying to beat the clock and studying with little concentration. An hour with a rested head is much better than three stressed out hours.

Make the most of your CFA® Progam prep in one weekend! Join renowned instructors, Peter Olinto, Darren Degraaf & David Hetherington in May for a live, two-day intensive final review class.

On skipping sections I don’t fully disagree with you but I would advise against it:

1) This just adds to an extra chance at that OH NO I F’ed up moment. During L1 I saw a guy that at the last moment was erasing like crazy and filling in all of his answers again. The deal was he jumped around and ended up filling in about 25 answers one box ahead and did not realize until it was too late.

2) The exam is a total crap shoot on what can show up, something very easy for you in your hardest subject could show up and that one thing you are fuzzy on in your best subject could show up. My plan is to at least start on Q 1 and then if I have to skip questions I’ll do so.

3) Jumping around makes it almost impossible to estimate time. If I’m on question 43 and I’ve skipped 3 questions it takes 5 second to figure I should be 2 hours in, am I ahead or behind in time. I like to get done quick but at the same time be sure, if a question is one of those long calcs that I’m still not good at I skip it and come back. I find allot of times a second look helps or if I have time I can reverse engineer an answer.

On the last few days no more derivatives, fra, or Portfolio just Ethics.

I agree with cpepin. Very experienced test takers I know (Actuarial, medical school, etc.) all point to attempting it IN ORDER. Your mind will subconciously work on things you’ve glanced at and you’ll come back at a question with a more experienced perspective.

My strategy: I make a good first pass, then I go directly for the “easier” ones I’m stuck on and knock those out of the way. Then the bulk of time remaining (say the hour you have left) to dawdle on the last 5 or so questions from 3 vignettes that are super tough.

Yeah I appreciate both posts but personally conform to cpepins theory. Never understood jumping around all over tests, I’d find it more distracting than anything. You need to answers all questions regardless, just relax take your time and think them through thoroughly.

By the time you finish 1) writing all formulas you remember, the exam will be over. There’s no telling what formula you need or don’t need, don’t waste the time. At most write down 2-3 you can’t ever remember and move on.

I normally go easy first, Ethics to PM then back to the exam’s order so you don’t mess up on your scantron and do Derv last. Just my preference.

I would study your brains out but do sleep well until Friday, then take the half day on Friday night off and sacrifice a sheep or goat, whatever barn yard animal you can get.

Thinking ahead I have already gone long on a forward contract to buy a sheep for delivery on Friday night for the ritual. Since it poops a lot and the manure can be sold as fertilizer or used to throw at CFAI, I got the contract for cheap.

Good luck everybody! –seems like a lot more high score performers this year. Don’t use up all the luck if you don’t need it people:p Save some for me.

I disagree with 1-2 but 3 is gold.

Last year for L1 I waited until about 15 minutes left to fill in my answer sheet in the AM session. Bad idea, I barely had time to finish bubbling in 120 answers. I filled in as I went for the PM session.

Don’t do what I did.

I like to start with Equites, it’s my bread and butter, just to get my mind warmed up. If it’s hard, then it is what it is. I’ll then go back and finish the exam in order.

A good night’s sleep does wonders for memory retention. I posted it on another thread but, basically you need about 6 hours of sleep before your brain hits REM cycle. It’s in REM cycle that your brain converts short-term memories to long-term memories. This process usually lasts for 45 minutes. 7 hours of sleep is the magic number.

Best advice ever.

If you get stuck on a question, circle it and come back later.

Sounds pretty easy and simple but so many times I have sat and dwelled on one question for 15 min. Not only does it set you back but you also use up all your concentration on 1 question. Next thing u know you’re on question 32 and you’re mentally exhausted.

Friday I would def review Ethics from the cfai books so it’s very fresh in ur mind.

And lastly, do your best to get a good nights sleep

I like JP’s idea of circling and coming back. It’s great for your confidence if you can hit the final question and then see that you have 30 minutes to go back to those that were not immediately obvious.

I like the idea of relaxing on Friday and not killing yourself on Thursday. My experience is that I focus sooo much better after a day or so of no concentration.

Personally, I cut out caffeine a couple of days before the exam and then hit some espresso in the AM and a 5 hr energy in the PM.

Thanks everyone for sharing.

Reverse engineer haha. Does work sometimes…

I’m definitely going to start with ethics

then go right to PM, Deriv because I don’t want to take the whole exam in fear of those two subjects

One of the best pieces of advice I got for Level 1 is if you aren’t pressed for time, take a bathroom break 1 or 2 hours into each section. Go into the bathroom, throw some water on your face, and wait 5 minutes before going back.

Seriously, for Level 1 in the afternoon, my mind was absolute toast. It was so exhausted, I couldn’t concentrate at all. Went and did that, and it really helped me regain some mental stamina.

job71188 Wrote:
——————————————————-
> One of the best pieces of advice I got for Level 1
> is if you aren’t pressed for time, take a bathroom
> break 1 or 2 hours into each section. Go into the
> bathroom, throw some water on your face, and wait
> 5 minutes before going back.

Agreed. Took two breaks for Level 1 and it helped me focus enormously.

Here is my advice.

After every item set double check all six of your answers to see you 1) selected the right letter and 2) That you didn’t do the opposite of “most likely” or “least likely” worded questions. It takes less than a minute but could be crucial in saving you on a couple questions.

Agree with 3. I’m taking tomorrow off. From Tues-Thurs its just review of my flash cards and anything very specific that I need to know.

If you don’t know a section well now, chances are you aren’t going to know it any better at the end of the week.

You could get a pretty grasp of a whole section in 1 week. I would recommend studying hard until Friday. Still plenty of improvement you can make.

One last piece of advice… everyone here passed Level 1… that wasn’t easy.

Just do what you did then that was successful for you. Everyone is different.

Do they list which topics each vignette covers at the front of the exam? The mock exam didn’t tell you which topic was tested.

No they don’t… that would be stupid