Dealing with failure in level 1

Hello all,

I am a level 1 candidate (took it in December 2013). All was fine until the AF started showing the no of days remaining for the level 1 result and when I started talking to my friends about the result. Since then I started having nightmares about the level 1 result. Believe it or not I started taking some pills so that I could sleep peacefully. I hardly ever took pills for sleeping. I cannot even concentrate when I am awake as I usually start thinking about the typical “we regret to inform you…” type of email. I had panicked before about stuff but never to this extent.

So I would like to ask, fellow cfa level 1 candidates who are awaiting their results and those who have been through this painful experience that, how would you tell your family and friends that you failed the exam? and how would/did you find the motivation to study the same sh** all over again?


P.s Please don’t say to take it like a man. I would not have the courage to do it.

Not trying to be a jerk. Sorry in advance if it comes across that way.

You might want to quit while you’re ahead. It will get five times as bad at level 2 and another three times as bad at level 3. Harder material. More pressure to pass. And this time, you have to wait a year to retest instead of six months.

Plus, your job will probably get harder. You might get married and have kids. This adds to the already high stress of the exam.

If you fail, you might consider that a blessing in disguise. And if you decide to continue–suck it up and be a man.

Do, or do not. There is no “try”.

Whether pass or not, I will not take the second level until June 2015 because finding a job is my first priority now. There was a short period of time after the test that I wished I would fail the exam so I wont spend more time with the CFA. Now, honestly, I dont care that much to be honest. I believe I should pass with high confidence but I hear ya man, I have thought about it day to day but working out, job, and hw keep my mind off the test. Just find something you enjoy and not think about it.

by the time you read this, and even so when you originally wrote the first post here, your results are already done. better yet, by the time they called you to close your test booklets at the end of the afternoon section, you were already done. nothing you could do now. just sitting there and worrying about it isn’t going to change your mark. i can guarantee you that. because if it did, i’d probably be taking more than just pills to help me sleep at night haha.

so calm down, have some fun, take a break, and relax. you got two more weeks or so before the results come out. and pass or fail, you NEED to decide whether this exam is for you. I know it’s hard, hell, we all do. But is the juice worth the squeeze? for some it is, for some, not so much.

No need to sorry man, every constructive advice is valuable.

The problem with me is that it is not the “Material” that is giving me nightmares but the rest (intangible) of the stuff. I did bachelors in business last May, so I had already seen a lot of stuff in my curriculum. I will have done Level 2 Accounting by the time result comes out, which in some people’s opinion the hardest section. I have not seen the level 3 curriculum but how hard it could be.

THIS is the stuff which terrifies me. I have read several posters’ experiences including your’s and how hard it was for them to balance the work, family and Cfa and probably some other things as well.

Right now, I do not have the added pressure of a family so I am somewhat lucky in this regard but I don’t know how the things will be in level 2 or 3.

And you are absolutely right, fail level 2 or level 3 even once and it’s a WHOLE year wasted doing nothing. Even 6 months is a very long time for me and a whole year (in case of l2 or l3), damn.

I sometimes imagine how big of a toll, does a cfa exam failure, takes on one’s life?

I will take it one more time try before quitting. Only God knows how will I find the motivation to do this stuff all over again if I fail.

Yes, I have the same expectation and that’s where the problem lies. I am expecting positive news and if that is not the case, I will be crushed.

Had my exam been poor, I would not have been thinking about it for a second.

Yes, my friends also suggested this. Playing Football (not american) in day and light drugs at night are helping for now and hope they continue to work for the next two weeks.

Yes, I realize about it and the funny or not so funny thing is I was teaching the same stuff to other people until last week. I like your lighter perspective and how are you approaching this. I will try to do the same but the damn negative thoughts keep coming back unconsciously.

Drugs? I think you’re taking your anxiety it to the next level. Failure sucks, especially when you’ve poured your heart and soul into something you really want to accomplish. Worst case, you’ll have a second bite at the apple. If you want it bad enough, you’ll hunker down and do it again. When you registered and paid CFAI, you knew this would not be a walk in the park. Most people fail at least once. I studied like a maniac; I gave up cocktails after work for months and weekends two months before the exam to review and practice. I don’t believe I passed, but will wait until results day to make a decision. In the meantime, play and watch some good futbol - the Champions League is starting to heat up!


Did you not read where he asked you not to say ‘take it like a man’?

Lol. Cut him some slack, man. He has been very helpful.

Off-topic, but what kind of opportunities are there for charterholders in Pakistan?

Yes, I did. And I apologized for it in advance, if you didn’t notice.

But there’s no way around it. You will wait 6-8 weeks for every exam result. And the wait gets more agonizing at Levels 2 and 3.

CFA program is not for the undisciplined cowards of the world. If you don’t like it, don’t sign up. There’s no way around that, either. So I guess the only solution is to drop out now or “take it like a man”.

You can get mad at me if you want, but these are your only two options. I didn’t make it this way. Don’t blame me.

And if you don’t like my opinions, then don’t read them.

I think Greenman’s a pr*ck on good days but he says it like it is.

Look, this program isn’t for the faint of heart or the sissy who’s gonna cry when he fails. Most of us have been on both sides of the coin - I’ve seen a lot of friends drop off from this program because they couldn’t take it mentally. What matters most is that regardless of what email you get in January or July or August, you believe in yourself that you will finish the program.

If that belief in yourself is compromised, just find something else to do with your time. You’ll be a much happier person.

*Research Analysts, usually employed by Asset Management Companies (AMC’s), Brokerage Houses, Insurance co’s and Non-banking financial institutions (NBFI’s)

*Portfolio Managers, usually employed by AMC’s

*Dealers/Market Makers, usually work in a Bank’s Treasury department

*Work in public sector like for Central bank, SECP or a public bank

We don’t have any mortgage or derivatives markets here. Bond market is generally limited to government paper only although corporate debt market is developing. Real Estate and commodities markets are quite good here but not formalized. Equity market is the only place where foreigners are interested in because they can talk to educated people on the other end of the phone.

The following link might help further

As the husband of a wife who suffers from anxiety, I can assure you he is not “taking” his anxiety to any level. Nobody chooses to be anxious. If anyone is anxious it’s because that person is having difficult suppressing those negative feelings, not because they are just choosing to get worked up.

Fin…I have some of the same thoughts as you… ie “It’s a whole year wasted!” But really it’s not. In terms of the charter itself, yes it’s a 6 month or 1 year setback. But the CFA is meaningless compared to the knowledge. Three letters next to your name don’t make you a good analyst…the things that make you a good analyst are completely unrelated to your exam results. Regardless of what you get on the test, what you know is what really matters, and nothing will change that.

The other thing that helps me with the wait is the fact that I have prepared myself for failure. I studied like a dog to pass, but I am anticipating that over the course of my journey towards the charter that I will fail once or twice. If I don’t, that’s great! As an analyst, I’d love to pick only stocks that earn 100% in their first year, but I will of course be prepared for bad picks along with the good.

Try to look at analytically. Don’t think about time wasted or any of that other garbage, because it’s not going to help you get where you want to go. What WILL help you is being proud of what you’ve done and being prepared to soldier on regardless of the results.

If it helps, think of the CFA program as 4 years long with an option to complete it early in 1.5 years if you’re one of the very rare few who never fails on their way. Most degrees are 4 years and I’d argue the CFA is more difficult than most bachelor’s degrees.

Thanks…I think.

If you want sympathy look in the dictionary between sh*t and syphillis. That’s where you’ll find sympathy.

If you want somebody who’s been through it and realizes all that you have to give up and how hard you have to work to make it past Level 3, then ask me. If you can’t handle what I tell you, then you probably can’t handle the CFA program. It might be harsh, but it’s true.

Ugh…this kind of ridiculous comment is the sort of machismo self-aggrandizing bullcrap that is better left unsaid. You’re not calling it like it is…this isn’t the army. If there’s a program that’s built for “sissies” or “people who cry when they fail” it’s one where you can retake the exam as many times as you want.

MK17 and I have completed the program.

You have yet to pass Level 1.

Come back in three years (if you’re one of the 12% who make it) and tell us what you think.

Why would it be better left unsaid? It’s advice that will keep people from wasting years of their lives in something they might not be cut out for. So you can retake it, but it doesn’t get easier with subsequent retakings, the pressure piles on and you see your peers move ahead of you. Some people can retake it over and over again and never pass. I lament the use of the term sissy because it’s associated with macho people, but you have to be mentally tough to get to the end. That’s probably the greatest lesson I learned from the CFA program.

And greenman, it’s a compliment. I respect how you always tell it like it is.

Until it’s the night before exam results no need to get nervous enjoy the time where it’s out of scope and you can continue on with life not dealing with cfa

I am studying L2 Accounting these days. I started studying for L2 about a week after December exam and hoped to finish L2 Accounting and Equity by the result day but negative thoughts started creeping in and with time and it has turned in to a super-lazy half hearted effort. I still hope to finish Accounting by result day.

The studying and other things have reduced the worrying but it’s still there. But I guess I can cope with that.

Off topic: Which topics are you finding hard on L2? SpareTime: Very sound advice. 1.5 years? Argh