Advice for taking CFA with a full/overtime job

Hey Guys,

Im a newbie, but I have been looking in this forum for a while. I need some advice on when would be the best time to apply for the CFA level 1 exam (June or December).

I just got hired to work for the Big 4 in Transfer pricing (about a month ago), but we have an upcomming busy season (January-end of Aptil). My supervisor said that I will be expecting to work at least 50-55 hours per week (lucky me). Do you think if I put up a 350 hours study time I would be comfortably ready for the exam on June? I guess this means having no life. would 15/hrs per week be doable? Or would you recommend to study with more ample time and suggest the december date. I’m in no rush, but if June is a possible date, I wouldnt mind doing it.

Thanks in advance!

You’ve got a lot more free time than many that write it. 350 hours is enough if you have some intelligence.

50-55 hours is a luxury for me!! I work 60 hours plus - Big Four Transactions team and currently signed up for Level III.

10 hours a day??? 50-55 hours is a joke for many finance folks. PLENTY OF TIME to study

If you are single with no kids or big family committements, then its shouldn’t be a problem.

If you are married with kids, its doable, but will require a lot more effort and sacrifice.

Good luck.

50-55? That’s a parttime job…

But yes, you sohuld have time to write in June. I say do it andif you don’t make it, you certainly will next December.

I would budget for 1-2 hours each day during the week, and then 8 hours each day of the weekend.

You were lucky. We lived for three months in a brown paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six o’clock in the morning, study for the CFA, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down mill for fourteen hours a day week in-week out. When we got home, out Dad would thrash us to sleep with his belt!

but seriously - consider booking vacation. either 1wk or better 2. maybe not needed for L1. but well worth it for L2.

I’m married with kids and a full-time job. My husband also travels a lot so that makes studying tough during the weeks. I managed to study 1-2 hours a day during the week and then 6-8 hours on both Saturday and Sunday.

The key for me was setting a study schedule, building in days that I knew I wouldn’t be able to study and then sticking to that schedule no matter what.

Working full time/family obligations makes studying more difficult but if you’re organized, it’s very do-able.

Studied my L3 with 60 hour work week while wife was pregnant. Totally doable. Baby popped out 3 days before my pass result.

I totally relate to your concerns. I am registered for Level 1 in June 2016. Gonna be doing 65 hour work weeks (could be 70 in feb) from Jan to April. I suggest you make the best possible use of the December holidays and try to carve out 5-6 hours on Sundays during that stretch. The important thing is to have a plan in place and to account for the busy work schedule in that plan.

I am positive its manageable basis my review of the structure of the curriculum!

Best of luck studying!!

“full/overtime job”

If you manage to study 350 quality hours for Level 1 you will certainly pass (presuming you know how to study (not sarcasm)). If you’re serious than there is no question you should take it in June. If you fail but enjoy the curriculum, sign up for Level 1 again in December. Either way, you couldn’t take Level 2 until June 2017. The extra cost is de minimis if you manage to eventually get the Charter IMO.

I did the same thing and would recommend. I created a forward looking schedule that covered everyday’s planned study time over the ~3 months I studied for the exam (did this for Level 1 and 2). The difference for me being that I was never even close to being on schedule haha but it helped make me feel like shit if and when I wasn’t studying enough.

Good Luck!

I disagree that you can’t reschedule easily. I can’t speak for TimePrep because I’ve never used it but I think Excel is the easiest way to do this. Just throw a few formulas in there and in 10 minutes you can have a fully interactive schedule. e.g., if you were supposed to study 4 hours one particular day and you only managed 3.5, just plug in 3.5 for that day in Excel and you can have your formulas automatically add -30 minutes towards your cummulative tally.

As you fall behind (or conversely if you somehow get ahead of schedule), you can simply adjust your future study times. e.g., for L2 I fell behind pretty early on so I needed to add more study time. I simply added an hour to my Friday study time and with the magic of Excel, all of my future Friday study times, total projected study hours, etc. all automatically updated.

I must say that I am highly skeptical that an app/program is going to be a better judge of someone’s progress and study performance than themselves. Unless you are answering questions in TimePrep (could be the case but doesn’t sound like it from your comment), then TimePrep is only going to track your performance based on what you input, is it not?

I advise using Excel (the fun of making the spreadsheet is an added bonus).

Everyone is different but for me meticulously tracking the study time everyday is vital, it helps stifle my procrastination.

^ couldn’t agree more…pretty much bang on what I think.

If possible, look for some downtime during your workday where you can get in some study time.

50-55 hours is your busy time? Do you not work the rest of the year?

I for one, am proud of my 40-hour work week. So many people here working like dogs. I feel for you and I hope you’re getting rightfully compensated.

However, when I was studying for L3, I was working 60-hour weeks.

u definetely good at forecasting things…

I assume you have a master’s degree in Finance and already some practical experience? Around 70% to 80% of the curriculum of level I is already covered in most Finance programs.

It depends on the knowledge you already have, but don’t expect a lot of new stuff if you have a finance background. 15 hours a week should be very doable!

Good luck!

If working hours exceeding 40-55 hour range then its time to leave job and find another. I feel work hour standards in USA, Canada, other countries…like who all are claiming more than 55 hours should be considered exploitation. Or you all are including your travelling time also :smiley:

If work hour increases more than mentioned range then it should only be for profit sharing.

Studying for L3 on 80 hours a week, you’ll be fine. Make the most of your weekends.