Okay…so I’m really nervous about this test. I really don’t get nervous before tests as I am a great test taker. But I’m 21, just finished college, currently working at a large investment bank and every time I think about physically taking the test, I get really nervous. I’m sitting in December. I’m almost done with the curriculum — taking Stalla — and I’m allowing myself 3 weeks for hardcore review/test taking. I guess my question is to ask how the hell do you guys deal with the anxiety!? I’m not going to get to take my first practice test until around November 12th. I plan to take all of the Stalla tests and all of the CFA I tests…but any suggestions on how to effectively review? I’ve taken note cards on every section. I’ve done almost 2,000 practice questions through Stalla and gotten 98% correct through working through them either once or twice…maybe three times tops. But I don’t feel like I know much…even though I really should. I don’t even know if I’m adequately prepared. Will I get my answers through taking the practice tests? HELP!!! (and please…no smart answers…I usually have a great sense of humor but really my threshold for humor is kind of lacking, I’m sure you understand…) Best of luck with the exam for everyone else in my shoes and any de-stressors would be greatly helpful! I’m not usually a very anxious person so this is new for me. Be kind.

Take a Xanax and calm down. It’s still October and the test is a long way away. Visualize: When you walk into the test center, look at all those pathetic whiners, frantically studying in the minutes before the test. Can they be serious? What do they hope to learn in the minutes before the exam? Finance is competitive - a full-contact bloodsport - and your cool will let them know who wins and who loses. You have studied and you are smart. In fact, you are smarter than these idiots and you have studied better. This test is just another hoop to prove what you and everyone around you already knows. You have this…

Nerves take hold during these turbulent times, but the important thing to do is remain calm and focused on the task at hand. Being employed by an investment bank, i’m sure you realize what pressure is, and I am sure that a professional as yourself can handle the coming challenge. Your youth isn’t something you should be scared about, i’m 24 and made the switch to Finance only 2 years ago, and here I am taking this exam. I’m sure you’ve put in the effort required to succeed, and if you’ve gone through that many practice questions you can be assured of performing. Besides, take it from someone with experience, I studied inappropriately the first time around, only about 100 hours crammed into 4 weeks, and failed level 1 my first try, but I’ve learned my lesson and am now prepared to take it on this time, having studied carefully and diligently. So not to worry candidate, come exam day, you will do it.

lol…joey…i like that attitude! i can just picture it now…

Even Tom Brady pays child support.

You seem to be right on track Dennis, you’re gonna rock’n roll on December 1st. As Joey told you, we’re stil lin October, so you still got time to tackle your weak spots if you’ve got any. You can do miracles in a month, I could probably even teach my parrot to sing Pavarotti in a month!! we’re all gonna nail that exam, cheers everyone!

I also felt like I didn’t know as much as I should when I finished the curriculum. However, now that I have started to review, things are beginning to come back to me and I am able to understand many of the concepts a lot easier the second time around. I’m sure you will feel the same way.

dennis2085: good post, many of us went through periods of anxiety at different times of our lives, I am sure. The trouble is, when I get anxious, my study effectiveness goes significantly down, which makes me even more anxious. A vicious circle. how do I deal with this? I try to face the source of anxiety. In your case, take the first practice test as early perhaps tomorrow - it will give you the exact idea of what you are up against. You will probably find that your fears are unfounded - from your post, it seems you are preparing adequately. in addition, I try to work out daily, especially during high stress situations. be well, my friend, and good luck in December! I’m sure you will be fine.

dennis i know exactly what you mean. i started studying in august and am on the last few chapters in fsa… on target to complete the curriculum by end oct, leaving november for review and i’m nervous. really nervous. i look back and can find loads of holes in my study. and i feel like i’ve forgotten all those that i studied in august. i’ve got a pretty good exam track record too but i feel like this is the toughest exam i have had to take yet… in terms of volume and having to balance it with working full time. hopefully we’ll both be on track for studying L2 early next year. best of luck.

cielito and others - I felt the same way when I finished going through the CFAI books. I didn’t remember anything. When you start doing practice exams, it will start to come back. Going through the books 1 full time lays a good base of knowledge and doing practice exams seems to reinforce everything.

oh man guys, thanks. i kinda expected people to be asses, but this really made me feel better…especially the ‘miracles in a month’ part. glad to know i’m not alone. best of luck to everyone, i hope you guys go out like i plan to after the test!

dennis, forget about your youth, i am 42 and am nervous myself…am starting to freak–and i have been in the finance business for 17 years. No one in my experience who is worth anything doesn’t get nervous, it is the residue of preparation. If you are the kind of young man who feels if you are going to give an effort it should be 100%, then naturally you will question your preparation all the way through. It is how the prepared get that way, by examining the process in order to improve. As you move through your life you will see yourself leap frogging your peers. Embrace your nerves, they are the speedometer of your success. And go for a nice long run and sweat yourself clean. Then take a night off and go have a huge steak and a few of your favorite libations…then sleep in. AND THEN start taking practice exams til your fingers bleed. good luck.


i think that’s a bit harsh. just because someone is nervous prior to taking an exam that has no doubt consumed a lot of time and energy in preparation, it has absolutely no reflection on their ability to perform at their job.

im also getting really nervous… started getting ‘cfa nightmares’ just a couple days ago… i have a friend who is sitting level 3 next june, and he tells me he is exactly the same… he’s been having the nightmares ever since he started the cfa… what can ya do about em? i dunno… just try to relax and get some good rest… and in 3/4 years time when we have our designations, we can revisit these old threads and have a laugh at our previous selves