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Am i crazy to want to sit in III exam while nursing a 6 months old?

Just want to get a realistic view of the III study load and more importantly what is it like to prepare for the exam with a newborn.

Sat in level II pregnant and passed (whoop!), and thought it’d be nice to finish level III straight after while I can still remember what’s in level II. This is my first baby and I’m not sure what to expect, am I fantasizing to think I will have time and energy to study for the exam? Should I wait and see? Am i right that realistically now is the best time for study while the little human is still in me?

To moms (and dads) who’ve done it, I’d love to hear your stories (and rants). Thanks a lot!

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I don’t have kids but I’ve heard of people who have done this with young kids. They said that they were very focused when they actually sat down to study. They also had help from parents/in-laws. As an example, the in-laws would have the kid from friday evening to Sat afternoon. A strong support system would help. May be you can hire a baby sitter? Perhaps you can also start to study early to make up for the fact that perhaps you have fewer hours in a week to study. If you’re working, you could study at lunch.

It’s going to be challenging, especially if you’re nursing since you’ll be the one getting up during the night.  I’ve taken exams for a long time (actuarial and started CFA in 2017) and have kids. The truth is that it’s going to be somewhere between challenging, very difficult and impossible, depending on how much help you have at home, if the baby is a good sleeper, how much help you have at night, if you’re off from work and the obvious stuff like how disciplined and motivated you (you must be if you passed while pregnant!).  

Having said all that, I think you should still go for it if you want to.  The worst case is that you learn a lot of material and have to take the exam the following year, but have a good starting point.  I know that even thinking about having to take an exam twice is frustrating to really motivated people, so that’s probably annoying to hear.  Best advice for studying when you have kids is simply start very early and be disciplined when you have a block of time.

Good luck to you and congratulations!

Ms1 wrote:

The worst case is that you learn a lot of material and have to take the exam the following year, but have a good starting point.

This is a good point. It wont hurt you and will definitely help you to take the exam

Here is my 2c. In short I am lvl 3 candidate and have been studying CFA for the last five or so years (had few failed exams). I have three kids aged 7, 5 and 2. I am a man so my experience is not directly comparable to yours, but you asked for opinions from dads :)

Anyway I think it is doable if you have full support from you significant other.

Also I believe it is better to study and fail one year than to pause it (if you can afford it )

Your devoted study time must be maximally efficient (cutting procrastination to the bare minimum)

It will be difficult but I think it is easier to study while baby has 0-1 years then 1-2 years

All the best to you and your family and whatever you decide dont forget to enjoy in your kid

Bubu222 wrote:

Just want to get a realistic view of the III study load and more importantly what is it like to prepare for the exam with a newborn.

Sat in level II pregnant and passed (whoop!), and thought it’d be nice to finish level III straight after while I can still remember what’s in level II. This is my first baby and I’m not sure what to expect, am I fantasizing to think I will have time and energy to study for the exam? Should I wait and see? Am i right that realistically now is the best time for study while the little human is still in me?

To moms (and dads) who’ve done it, I’d love to hear your stories (and rants). Thanks a lot!

i have two children now, 5 and 3.  I initially studied and took level 1 when my 5 year old was a newborn.  Just didn’t work out and I focused more on being a first time dad than studying, so I failed.  Didn’t feel any shame.  Restarted after my second was born and started actually sleeping through the night.  One thing I learned from this process is that this exam is a marathon.  If you are taking it seriously it will affect your life (time away from loved one, hobbies, etc). It can also affect your health with all of the anxiety, lack of sleep, etc. While I give you a TON of credit for what you are embarking on and considering doing, the health aspect Is an often overlooked side affect of these exams. Everyone’s personal situation is different, so it depends on various factors only you can answer.  Life with children is never easy, but I do feel it has been easier to study now vs. when they were newborns.  Good luck with your decision!  

Wow thanks guys, all very helpful advices!

I suppose it worths a try, there won’t be any close family around so I guess it’d be nannies since husband also works very long hours. The whole baby thing is a very scary concept to be honest (I only got warm to the idea of having a kid very recently as I worry I won’t be a good parent) but at the same time I’m also VERY curious about what might happen and what I’m capable of. 

OMG I totally get the whole ‘anxiety’ thing! I was freaking out the week before level II exam and thought about giving up (like ‘to hell I’m pregnant, surely I’m excused to fail’), but in the end I just realise leaving things half-done is not me and managed to pull myself together in the end.

Hope all the effort now will lead to something good, for myself and for this little human, fingers crossed. 

You can totally do it.  I have 2 kids under 2 and took Level 1 in Dec 17 and Level 2 most recently (5 days before my 2nd was born).  My wife was pregnant for both sections and did her best but I still helped out a lot.  I consider myself a hands on father and no question you’ll have to deal with additional challenges that I as a male didn’t, but anything is possible if you are committed to it and you have support from your partner/family.  You could also get lucky/unlucky depending on the kid.  My first was a tough baby but my 2nd has been a dream. 

Guessing you’re due around December/January?  Maybe you could front-load some studying this fall, take a couple months break while the baby is very is little, and then get back to it around March?

One other tip - buy the Snoo from Happiest Baby (https://www.happiestbaby.com/).  It’s a bit pricey (they often offer it for 30% off), but my 7 week old is sleeping 6 hour stretches.  I wish we had bought it for my 1st who was a terrible sleeper. Sleep is crucial to studying for this exam.  Best of luck!

That’s an interesting product! So far I only thought of getting ear plugs… 

Yeah she’s due on New Year’s Eve, ha no one will come to her birthday parties growing up cheeky

Another Q for parents: do you recon the whole giving birth thing will result in min of 2 months loss of time??

Bubu222 wrote:

Another Q for parents: do you recon the whole giving birth thing will result in min of 2 months loss of time??

Not unless the baby is colicky. Otherwise, that’s probably the best time to study. All they do is sleep, eat, and poop. You can study through at least 2/3 of those things. Maybe all 3 if you’re really good at multitasking.

Sounds legitimately hard to do, but the reward is awesome… complete L3 along with your newborn :)

Las almas de todos los hombres son inmortales, pero las almas de los justos son inmortales y divinas.
Sócrates

Bubu222 wrote:

Sat in level II pregnant and passed (whoop!)

CONGRATULATIONS!

"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." -Viktor Frankl

New dad of two here who took Level I while my wife was 6 months pregnant, Level II 3 months after our first daughter’s arrival, and Level III 3 weeks after our second daughter’s arrival.  We did a job switch and a move in that span as well.

One of the best pieces of advice I got about being a new parent is that you’re able to focus on the things that matter, but nothing else.  For me, that was about 3 or 4 things.  As a mother, I suspect it’s closer to 2 or 3.  “Being a parent” is 1, so it’s about what else you can prioritize and whether studying for the exam makes it on the list.

We’ve been lucky and our girls have slept quite well at night, so my prime study hours were 9 p.m. or so until late.  I also snuck in whatever 30-60 minute blocks I could while at work.

In both cases, the time crunch brought a lot of focus to my studying.  I couldn’t just go on auto-pilot or half study/half watch football the way I did leading up to Level I.  I probably took a 2 week break right after the birth of our second but got back into a cadence after that.

I also found that little things helped - e.g. Mark Meldrum videos in the car during my commute.

This is obviously a personal and multi-faceted question but whether or not you breast feed may have an impact on both your bandwidth and your fatigue level.  My wife does not and it means I’m able to help out with feedings much more.  

My own thinking was that I am near the top of the mountain so might as well go for it, and it’s not like life is any easier with a 1 year old (or even a 4-5 year old) vs. a newborn.

Congrats on level II and best of luck with your new arrival!

it’s probably good to be done with it as long as the baby is that small who won’t run around the house and be notorious and stuff. pull through. new ones sleep most of the time if i am not wrong. congratulations. also, good luck. 

We rise again

I like Viktor’s quote at the bottom!

My 2c, Parent of one and all I can say is good luck.. the first 6 months for me was hell and even more so for my wife. We didn’t sleep and I tried to write Level II for the first time (Many memories of walking with him in my arms in the corridors of our apartment building during the witching hours :) ).

I felt I had put the hours in, but in hind site lack of sleep got the best of me. (FAIL)

The variables I think are: Sleep and does your baby take to a bottle or wants to be breastfed. If breastfeeding, it’s going to take even more time from you.

I do think its doable, but as mentioned above. Time slots and sticking to them will be key and a hands-on partner is a MUST. 

Enjoy the little one they are a blessing :) 

Bubu222 wrote:

I like Viktor’s quote at the bottom!

:)

"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." -Viktor Frankl

I’m a mom to two small kids and just passed level II with girls age 5 and 3. It’s definitely harder with younger kids and you need your husband’s support. I don’t think I could do this without it. If he works long hours, you’ll have to find the time in the morning or after the babe goes to bed. Weekends can be your friend too (consider it daddy-baby bonding time!). Good luck!!

Great advice from the posters above. Having children will change your life for the better but will most definitely have a negative impact on your ability/willingness to study.

I wrote level 1 in 2015 when my wife gave birth to our first daughter. I now have two daughters aged 3 and 9 months and I wrote level 3 two months ago. My two main pieces of advice:

1) take your health seriously. Especially as a new mom your baby will drain you. The cfa also drains you. If you don’t already, eat well and exercise and try to get a mental escape now and then.

2) start early, plan a schedule and stick to it. You will likely no longer have the luxury of spending a weekend studying 4 hours a day. I’d suggest registering now and doing an hour a day when the baby’s napping until exam time. This is what worked for me with levels 2 and 3. Don’t worry about retention, the final 2 months it’ll all come back when you review and piece it together again.

P. S. My wife says that baby brain is real! It’s hard enough to carry on a conversation let alone study for such a difficult exam. I’d say take a crack at it, put forth a solid effort but don’t put too much pressure on yourself because life is hard enough with a new born.

You guys are amazeballs, thanks for all the great advice! From what I gathered above, now is better than 0-1, and 0-1 is better than 2+ as the little humans need more interaction as they grow older.

Guess if I want to do it then I need to take a crack at it in the next four months, did you guys all study on your own? Does it help to attend a class with fellow candidates? I read L1 notes and and L2 books, I wonder if the same strategy will still work for L3?

I took Level 1 when my wife was pregnant (I actually almost missed Level 1 because that Friday we thought she was going to have to be induced…and I legit went from the test to the hospital since while I was taking the test she went into labor).

So studying for Level 2 was a challenge because, at least for me, I need quiet time to focus on studying and absorbing material, and a new child is not going to respect that need.  I eventually had to put off taking Level 2 for a year because between my job, helping take care of a new child, and helping my wife when she needed help understanding some of her MBA courses, I just flat out didn’t have the cycles to give the material any focus.  I think that’s really the challenge of taking a level as a new parent.

Am I crazy working on three jobs while nursing a 6 months old?

There’s no “baby brain”, it’s the sleep deprivation. Start early and aggressively before the baby comes - that will be you’re easiest time to focus.  And make sure to have coverage from your husband or others for consistent blocks of time so you can leave to study.  I’m planning to go to a boot camp (I’m new to level 3, so can’t say if it’s worthwhile, but I’ve read it is) and I’d think having that block of time to focus would be especially helpful with a new baby. The first 6 months are usually rough with sleep - hope you have a good sleeper!  Also, anyone who tells you there not much to do the first 6 months, just wasn’t the person doing it. A new baby is a FT job. Keep us posted and good luck!

Thanks Ms1, what’s a boot camp? Is it like an intense workshop thing?

I’m a dragon spitting fire threatening to bite people’s head off when I don’t get enough sleep devil, so I guess anger management is on top of the list followed by forgetfulness.

Ha forewarned husband, registered for the exam and paid the fee! L3 so it begins let’s hope this adrenaline lasts a bit longer than 2 weeks! I sneakily suspect I will regret my decision next year laugh

I’m planning to do a Level Up Boot Camp https://www.levelupbootcamps.com/

I’ve read good things from his students on this forum (his former students have been accused on this forum of being a cult-like!). I may also buy his videos, which focus on working through the curriculum itself. I like to mostly self-study, but if I can find a good class and get away from work and home and focus, I find that helpful.

As far as regretting your decision, and as I said in an earlier post, if you fail you would still have learned a lot and be much more ready for the next time. It’s not like taking the exam with a toddler will be easy either. Feel free to reach out over PM for encouragement.  There aren’t many women who take these exams (at least not in Phila where I’ve taken my first two) - and probably fewer women with kids - and it’s a totally different thing for the mom than it is for the dad.

I’ve decided to go with LevelUp videos and bootcamp as well.  If you have any questions, Marc is great about responding btw.  

laughI’m in London, lots of girls here in the exam hall. 

Being pregnant definitely has its advantage, I remember walking past a exam invigilators’ table during loo break and they have candies (they should have that on every table!), I asked for one (shamelessly) and was not frowned upon cheeky.

I was completely on my own for L1 and L2 but did a short 8-session course with my local society for L3 (before our second was born).  The classes themselves were hit or miss but mostly they forced me to have discipline around prepping for the sections covered.  Not sure if it worked or not (we’ll find out 8/28) but it helped focus my studying before #2.

Depends, it seems like you are not from an area/company where mothers take a paid leave after giving birth. Some companies/governments, for example, provide up to 12 months of maternity leave for new mothers.

In this case, I would first assess how well you did for Level 1 and Level 2 and compare it with how much effort you spent to achieve those results. Unfortunately, Level 3 is a whole new game due to essays. On the other hand, happily, Level 3 materials remind me of Level 1 since, again, it was full of concepts and theories unlike Level 2 which was calculation-heavy.

Hello I had to create an account to tell you my story. In  June 2017, I sat for level one when I was 4months pregnant (my first pregnancy )and I passed in flying colours. My dad pushed me to enrol for level 2 when I was 7months pregnant and I started studying then and juggled pregnancy, recovery from CS, brain fog, nursing baby with studying and sat for level 2 when my son was 6months and I Aced level 2 June 2018. I had no nanny, I just had hubby help whenever he gets back from work and he also worked on weekends.80% of the time I had my baby on one hand and studied with the other hand because I study better during the day than at evenings or  night (when hubby gets back from work)

Recipe for success is determination, good organisational skills,multitasking skills and positive spirit. Also pray about it because I noticed God directed me in studying alot knowing how difficult 2018 level 2 was.

You can do it.  I heard level two is the toughest stage and though level 3 essay aspect makes it tough, you can do it if you start early.

I am enrolling for level 3 so please push yourself dear!