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"Passed all 3 all levels on first attempt" Does it matter?

It is obviously better to pass all the exams on your first try, but my question is do you think employers care whether or not you did?

This situations comes up in some ethics practice questions which is why I ask. Also, if you think it does matter, how would you word it on your resume?

pointless to even think about…

My employer said he ignores all resumes that state they passed all 3 on the first attempt.

It just looks like you’re bragging, and does not mean anything.

Statistically your employer wont have passed all 3 on the first attempt.

It may mean something if you’re teaching review courses for the CFA exams.

Probably not in any other circumstance.

By the way, I passed … oh, never mind.

wink

Simplify the complicated side; don't complify the simplicated side.

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a lot of my fellow countrymen seem to believe that CFA exams are the most difficult and prestigious of the finance industry. 

It’d definitely leave a lot of impression if you also pass all 3 exams consecutively in 2.5 years

ejs190 wrote:

My employer said he ignores all resumes that state they passed all 3 on the first attempt.

It just looks like you’re bragging, and does not mean anything.

Statistically your employer wont have passed all 3 on the first attempt.

…Sounds like your employer is insecure because he’s in that group that didn’t pass each on the first attempt…I also know people who were called out for getting above 90% on the series 7 exam because they “studied too much.” It was no surprise that the people doing the chastising seemed to retake or barely pass in their own attempts…

tickersu wrote:

ejs190 wrote:

My employer said he ignores all resumes that state they passed all 3 on the first attempt.

It just looks like you’re bragging, and does not mean anything.

Statistically your employer wont have passed all 3 on the first attempt.

…Sounds like your employer is insecure because he’s in that group that didn’t pass each on the first attempt…I also know people who were called out for getting above 90% on the series 7 exam because they “studied too much.” It was no surprise that the people doing the chastising seemed to retake or barely pass in their own attempts…

Correct, he failed at least one of the exams, but statistically most people failed at least one.. so you’re better off leaving it off your resume ;)

It doesn’t matter for future employers but boy does everyone in the firm know if you FAIL an exam. Pretty much 30% out of the 80 people of my Investment Floor has the CFA or is a candidate.

Only 5 I know of, failed level 2 first time the rest passed first attempt. Don’t think any of them that have a charter failed Level 3… no pressure.

Revision is futile......

tickersu wrote:

…Sounds like your employer is insecure because he’s in that group that didn’t pass each on the first attempt…I also know people who were called out for getting above 90% on the series 7 exam because they “studied too much.” It was no surprise that the people doing the chastising seemed to retake or barely pass in their own attempts…

At a prior employer where I got my Series 7, they had a similar view.  At the time 70 was passing.  They said that a 70 or 71 was cutting it too close, but much over 75 was a waste of time that you could have spent on your regular job, like number crunching, prospecting, etc.  

Thus, they viewed that designation as just a hurdle to clear.  In my particular case they were not surprised at the 94% on Series 7.  They had brought me in because I was careful, analytic, and watched the details.  

I think that former employer would view someone who passed in 18 months as efficient and smart.  Very likely, someone who failed a level spent more hours studying for the same exam twice than someone who passed it the first time.

As someone who has spent a while in the industry, my view is a CFA in 18 months would make a really different impression if the person was funny, interesting, and able to explain complex topics to novices.  For anyone who watched the Schweser videos, think Andy, the professor from BYU, but right after getting his designation.  

On the other hand, if that 18 month CFA charterholder was pure grindaway memorizer, I wouldn’t want them.  

MunicipalBob wrote:

They had brought me in because I was careful, analytic, and watched the details.  

Couldn’t agree more with MunicipalBob. Those who have several working experience years understand that CFA or any other designations just gives us a ticket to get in. Do not expect too much. The real world is by far different from passing exams. Just my 2 cents. 

“On the other hand, if that 18 month CFA charterholder was pure grindaway memorizer, I wouldn’t want them”

Sorry Bro, but CFA is a lot of “memorizing” …. (at least level 1 :-p) I have to admit i nearly forgot all what i read for level 1 

A valuable employer will expect 2,5 years program is nothing but pure memorization for entry level candidate (with no professional experience) or for experience candidate “put all toys into the right self,make the child room organized”. Come on guy you really expect employer will believe program is more than memorization? When you start to try to apply in your free time on your saving money than you will believe it is nothing but memorization. That is does not means it is bad, it is just the way of passing the exam due to lack of time.

Let is be honest those of you have no professional experience study at least as much as other employee on the workplace which is 40h/day

If somebody pass all 3 exam without fail for me only means people are serious about given task and be able to estimate his capability and program difficulty appropriately.

Gergely wrote:

on the workplace which is 40h/day

Long long days…

Exam_Taker_Unprepared wrote:

“On the other hand, if that 18 month CFA charterholder was pure grindaway memorizer, I wouldn’t want them”

Sorry Bro, but CFA is a lot of “memorizing” …. (at least level 1 :-p) I have to admit i nearly forgot all what i read for level 1 

There are many things in the curriculum that feel like memorization. Some stay that way, because there is no insight to be gained by even the most gifted or diligent student.  Examples include some accounting terms and Econ definitions.  However, many topics in the curriculum make quite a bit of sense when well understood.  For example, big parts of derivatives can be memorized, but are best understood conceptually.  

This may be a good place to talk about what the CFA program values, in addition to explicit content of the curriculum.  Here is my take:

1. Ability to deliver under pressure, often on complex topics.  Folding under pressure is never good.  If you haven’t  already learned this skill, the CFA exams help some.  More likely, it separates out the people who don’t deal well with pressure.  

2. Ability to manage your own time.  Delivering work with minimal supervision is valuable.  Studying without supervision, and without being a full time student is a related skill.

3. Ability to generalize from rules, formulas, and experience to deal with the matter at hand.  Routine tasks are often automated or given to junior people.  It’s the unusual stuff you get paid the most for, if you deal with it well.

4. Being ethical and following rules/regulations.  Many regulated firms place an increasing emphasis on this.  On the other hand, there are some businesses and parts of the world that don’t care, or view it as an impediment.  An interesting discussion question is why Enron encouraged many employees to get CFA designations.

5. Ability to plan ahead.

6. Being generally smart.

7. Not being a procrastinator.  

No, it doesn’t matter and impresses only fools. Moreover, writing on a resume that you passed the three CFA levels on the first attempt would be beyond tragic and sad. A good way to appear delusional and get people you haven’t met to instantly dislike you. Many employers would surely bin such a resume without a second thought. The CFA is a somewhat challenging exam that shows you have studied a broad spectrum of finance topics at an introductory to intermediate level and know that it is wrong to steal, cheat, and lie. So, a nice and good thing to do and to have. But hardly proof of any ability to part the seas, turn water into wine, or feed thousands with a bucket of fish.

it’s like this.

If I tell my boss tomorrow that my college GPA was a 3.9 or a 2.3, he wouldn’t give a ****.

It’s better only for the sake of your own personal time, but it’s laughable anyone would even think of putting this on their resume. 

The CFA proves nothing about intellectual ability. It is a memorize-and-cram exam. More importantly, most people in the financial industry don’t have time to take it every year because they have real jobs and work 12-hour days.

So pretty much what you’re saying when you put this on your resume is that you havn’t had a real job in the last 3 years. 

I guess it can say something about your planning & time management. Not to mention the superior returns you’d deliver

Coastie wrote:

I guess it can say something about your planning & time management. Not to mention the superior returns you’d deliver

Superior returns? Based on what? 

4lols wrote:

It’s better only for the sake of your own personal time, but it’s laughable anyone would even think of putting this on their resume. 

Not true. It would make sense for many jobs when your colleagues have failed levels 1 and 2 multiple times you would potentially be working for.

The CFA proves nothing about intellectual ability. It is a memorize-and-cram exam. If you actually simply just memorized all that without learning what it means then god bless you, I think that still displays intellectual ability. More importantly, most people in the financial industry don’t have time to take it every year because they have real jobs and work 12-hour days. You do not have to take it every year to pass on your first attempts. Take it on years you think you have more time.  I think I am on track to pass on first attempts while getting married, having 3 children and starting 3 new job roles all over 3 years. All thanks to CFAI and maybe passing levels 1 and 2 on my first attempts.

So pretty much what you’re saying when you put this on your resume is that you havn’t had a real job in the last 3 years. Not to keep jabbing at you but that is incorrect as well. I have a very difficult job with long hours, with 3 children as I said, and still made time to study 2 hours a day, everyday. So is my job not real or do I work hard?

4lols wrote:

Coastie wrote:

I guess it can say something about your planning & time management. Not to mention the superior returns you’d deliver

Superior returns? Based on what? 

Having the C.F.A. guarantees you superior returns.

thanatos0320 wrote:

4lols wrote:

Coastie wrote:

I guess it can say something about your planning & time management. Not to mention the superior returns you’d deliver

Superior returns? Based on what? 

Having the C.F.A. guarantees you superior returns.

I dont he/she meant superior return from a market perspective. I think it was meant as far as executing on job tasks.

googs1484 wrote:

4lols wrote:

It’s better only for the sake of your own personal time, but it’s laughable anyone would even think of putting this on their resume. 

Not true. It would make sense for many jobs when your colleagues have failed levels 1 and 2 multiple times you would potentially be working for.

Why would it matter to any employer? Candidates who passed in consecutive years aren’t any better than those who have failed. You are interpreting the CFA to be some type of IQ test, which it is not. 

googs1484 wrote:

4lols wrote:

The CFA proves nothing about intellectual ability. It is a memorize-and-cram exam. If you actually simply just memorized all that without learning what it means then god bless you, I think that still displays intellectual ability. 

Sure, it proves you likely have time discipline and can memorize. Those things are expected in the marketplace, they aren’t differentiating factors. And I also think you’re placing the CFA curriculum on a pedestal. A lot of what the CFA teaches is, at best, overly academic and, at worst, completely irrelevant. Mastering this material doesn’t privilege you versus job applicants with work experience. 

googs1484 wrote:

4lols wrote:

So pretty much what you’re saying when you put this on your resume is that you havn’t had a real job in the last 3 years. Not to keep jabbing at you but that is incorrect as well. I have a very difficult job with long hours, with 3 children as I said, and still made time to study 2 hours a day, everyday. So is my job not real or do I work hard?

Good for you. Some people simply can’t afford to allocate 2 hrs every day to study CFA material. It’s not an indictment of their character or intellectual abilities.

4lols wrote:

googs1484 wrote:

4lols wrote:

It’s better only for the sake of your own personal time, but it’s laughable anyone would even think of putting this on their resume. 

Not true. It would make sense for many jobs when your colleagues have failed levels 1 and 2 multiple times you would potentially be working for.

Why would it matter to any employer? Candidates who passed in consecutive years aren’t any better than those who have failed. You are interpreting the CFA to be some type of IQ test, which it is not. 

googs1484 wrote:

4lols wrote:

The CFA proves nothing about intellectual ability. It is a memorize-and-cram exam. If you actually simply just memorized all that without learning what it means then god bless you, I think that still displays intellectual ability. 

Sure, it proves you likely have time discipline and can memorize. Those things are expected in the marketplace, they aren’t differentiating factors. And I also think you’re placing the CFA curriculum on a pedestal. A lot of what the CFA teaches is, at best, overly academic and, at worst, completely irrelevant. Mastering this material doesn’t privilege you versus job applicants with work experience. 

googs1484 wrote:

4lols wrote:

So pretty much what you’re saying when you put this on your resume is that you havn’t had a real job in the last 3 years. Not to keep jabbing at you but that is incorrect as well. I have a very difficult job with long hours, with 3 children as I said, and still made time to study 2 hours a day, everyday. So is my job not real or do I work hard?

Good for you. Some people simply can’t afford to allocate 2 hrs every day to study CFA material. It’s not an indictment of their character or intellectual abilities.

You failed a level didn’t you? You seem very sour towards this and appear to be taking very personally. Firstly, you are categorizing “passing on the first attempt” with “passing in consecutive years” when they are different buckets. I can pass on my first attempts by taking Li in 2010, Lii in 2012 and Liii in 2016. I did happen to take them consecutively but thats not what the OP was asking. I agree it is academic in nature, I wish it was more practice based but successful people start by learning the academics of any job and then applying them. You need to learn before you can apply.

“It’s not an indictment of their character or intellectual abilities.” Or maybe it is? How do you know that? Like I said, maybe you failed one and are taking it personally trying to defend yourself?

googs1484 wrote:

appear to be taking very personally.

Says the person who tracked me down from a thread in another forum … just to reply to one of my comments in this forum … with a temperamental wall of text … finished off with passive aggressive allegations … 

But sure, I’m the one taking this personally lol

googs1484 wrote:

You need to learn before you can apply.

The CFA has little overlap with what people in finance actually do on the job, so mastery of the material is no indication of career success. 

googs1484 wrote:

“It’s not an indictment of their character or intellectual abilities.” Or maybe it is? How do you know that? 

Because the CFA isn’t an IQ test, it’s a series of memorization and regurgitation exams that anyone can pass with enough study time. I’ve passed all my exams in consecutive years, but know many people who have failed simply because they work 80+ hour weeks or experience elevated deal activity in April and May. 

Hate to break it to you kid, but you’re not special.

weighingmachine wrote:

It is obviously better to pass all the exams on your first try, but my question is do you think employers care whether or not you did?

This situations comes up in some ethics practice questions which is why I ask. Also, if you think it does matter, how would you word it on your resume?

For the first question, I think employers should not care whether you passed all the exams on your first try or not. In practice, I think this information can impress a little (just a little) the employers.

For the second question, if you want to include this information on your resume, do it. But you must prove all what you said on your resume is true. If the fact you are CFA Charterholder can be verified by public information (via https://www.cfainstitute.org ), the fact that you passed all three levels on the first attempt can not be verified by public information. So, you should follow the 4 steps below

  • Step 1: Connect to your account and go to this link    https://www.cfainstitute.org/account/programs/Pages/index.aspx
  • Step 2: Click on View your curriculum redemption or tracking codes   in   Your CFA® Program
  • Step 3: The page shows all level exams registered. Take a capture of screen
  • Step 4: Print out the capture. It will be your certificate of  ”passing all three levels on the first attempt”

Show you certificate whenever you say you pass all levels on the first attempt.
And if I were your interviewer or your boss, I would try to ask you this certificate sooner or later.

I repeat: CFA is the abbreviation of my last name!

see below

4lols wrote:

googs1484 wrote:

appear to be taking very personally.

googs1484 wrote:

googs1484 wrote:

Because the CFA isn’t an IQ test, it’s a series of memorization and regurgitation exams that anyone can pass with enough study time. I’ve passed all my exams in consecutive years, but know many people who have failed simply because they work 80+ hour weeks or experience elevated deal activity in April and May. 

Hate to break it to you kid, but you’re not special.

Ultimately, every exam can be mastered with enough practice. Tell me one exam where you do not need to memorize anything? Working 80+ hours is undoubtedly very demanding and means you need to start earlier than others to have a chance. It also means you have a greater obstacle to overcome and need to plan and figure out how to jump over it.

Running out of time is a bit of an excuse. You need to plan well in advance and take into consideration working hours as well as personal circumstances.

The CFA test is tough my friend. And if you have the intelligence of a potato, you are not going to make it.

PierreCFA wrote:

weighingmachine wrote:

It is obviously better to pass all the exams on your first try, but my question is do you think employers care whether or not you did?

This situations comes up in some ethics practice questions which is why I ask. Also, if you think it does matter, how would you word it on your resume?

For the first question, I think employers should not care whether you passed all the exams on your first try or not. In practice, I think this information can impress a little (just a little) the employers.

For the second question, if you want to include this information on your resume, do it. But you must prove all what you said on your resume is true. If the fact you are CFA Charterholder can be verified by public information (via https://www.cfainstitute.org ), the fact that you passed all three levels on the first attempt can not be verified by public information. So, you should follow the 4 steps below

  • Step 1: Connect to your account and go to this link    https://www.cfainstitute.org/account/programs/Pages/index.aspx
  • Step 2: Click on View your curriculum redemption or tracking codes   in   Your CFA® Program
  • Step 3: The page shows all level exams registered. Take a capture of screen
  • Step 4: Print out the capture. It will be your certificate of  ”passing all three levels on the first attempt”

Show you certificate whenever you say you pass all levels on the first attempt.
And if I were your interviewer or your boss, I would try to ask you this certificate sooner or later.

Pierre, I’ve always admired your rigour.

self_employed wrote:

PierreCFA wrote:

weighingmachine wrote:

It is obviously better to pass all the exams on your first try, but my question is do you think employers care whether or not you did?

This situations comes up in some ethics practice questions which is why I ask. Also, if you think it does matter, how would you word it on your resume?

For the first question, I think employers should not care whether you passed all the exams on your first try or not. In practice, I think this information can impress a little (just a little) the employers.

For the second question, if you want to include this information on your resume, do it. But you must prove all what you said on your resume is true. If the fact you are CFA Charterholder can be verified by public information (via https://www.cfainstitute.org ), the fact that you passed all three levels on the first attempt can not be verified by public information. So, you should follow the 4 steps below

  • Step 1: Connect to your account and go to this link    https://www.cfainstitute.org/account/programs/Pages/index.aspx
  • Step 2: Click on View your curriculum redemption or tracking codes   in   Your CFA® Program
  • Step 3: The page shows all level exams registered. Take a capture of screen
  • Step 4: Print out the capture. It will be your certificate of  ”passing all three levels on the first attempt”

Show you certificate whenever you say you pass all levels on the first attempt.
And if I were your interviewer or your boss, I would try to ask you this certificate sooner or later.

Pierre, I’ve always admired your rigour.

wink, I think people must check carefully this information for the good of the CFA Charterholders who really archived something interesting (pass all 3 levels in 18 months, pass all 3 levels on the first attempt, pass the level 3 on the first attempt or even pass the level 1 on the first attempt,..).

Why? Because if this information is unverified, anyone can lie and say he/she passed all 3 levels on the first attempt. And it’s bad.

I repeat: CFA is the abbreviation of my last name!