Dealing with failure in level 1

I second you. I also could not find a single “hard” topic on L2 Accounting. I read here in past posts on L2 forum that pension accounting and foreign currency translation is like hell but I did not find them so “hard”. I never did pension accounting and foreign currency translations before so it took some time to sink in but now they are making perfect sense.

Now, retaining all the material is a whole different story.

Kind of agree with this in the sense that you can take your time with the program and fail/retake as much as you want. It’s not necessarily “for sissies,” but you also don’t need to be made of steel or anything.

I used to think that if you failed Level 1 then there was no point continuing but I know a few senior guys at work who failed level 1 once and then passed 2 and 3 on the 1st attempt.

L1 might seem easier because it contains a lot of material from undergrad business. If you were, say, a comp sci major, it might be just as difficult as L2/L3.

I agree with your sentiments. I already lamented my phrasing above as well. However I think it becomes exponentially tougher year after year if you’re not progressing along with your peers. This is just my experience seeing some of my friends in the program. My point is that you will need to confidence and mental toughness, and not be sweating the small stuff.

I, for one, failed Level 1. That was because I didn’t take it serious enough, and because I was still in school as well. Later, I took it again and aced it, because I showed it the respect it deserves. So I agree that a person can fail Level 1 and still continue to slay the dragon.

However, if you fail Level 1 twice, you really ought to rethink the CFA exams. In that case, you probably either lack the ability or the discipline to get through the exams.

Agreed. Also, I would agree with what someone said above about the knowledge attained being valuable. I know it’s common to just approach the exam as a test to pass, but try to use it as an opportunity to learn too. At the end of the day, I’m more impressed by someone’s knowledge/ability than by their CFA designation.

I more or less disagree with JSYNTAX.

First, I believe that the only reason to take the CFA exams is to pass the CFA exams. If you seek knowledge and ability, then take a class or get work experience. The CFA curriculum will teach you a whole lot of stuff that you will never need to know.

Second, I disagree that you can continue to take the test in perpetuity. While I guess that’s possible (like the guy who took the test 21 times before he finally passed), in real life, life continues to happen. We get married. We have kids. Our jobs get harder. We put in more hours. We gain managerial responsibilities. Our parents get sick and we have to help take care of them. All of this happens while you keep plugging away your 300 hours to try and pass the exam.

I guess you can continue to spin your wheels for ever and ever and ever until you die. If that’s what you aspire to do, then just keep taking the exam willy-nilly. You’re bound to pass someday. Then, after 21 years, you’ll look back and think…“Wow. 21 years for that? Why didn’t I just focus and study for it once?”

I guess the guy who took the exam 21 times took Level 1, then went out that night and met his future wife. He got his Level 3 “you passed” e-mail when he was packing his kid up to go to college. I’m sure his wife was pleased that it took his kid’s entire childhood to pass the exam.

I need to find that thread.

One of my biggest pet peeves is people who love to tell people that they “tell it like it is”, but really they’re just being jerks because they lack the social skills to be honest without being rude.

Here is somebody who’s trying to deal with anxiety regarding exam results, and so he’s reaching out to fellow candidates and charterholders for support. As I find is way too common on this forum, he was greeted with people telling him (to paraphrase) to suck it up. The poster may very well have gotten 100% on the exam, and yet people are telling him to quit the whole program so they can talk about how incredibly resilient they are and how they’re a straight shooter.

Learning to give somebody unpleasant advice in a way that is understanding, yet honest and forthcoming, is a social skill that most people learn in grade school. I’ve found in the college of engineering, and on these forums as well, that people forego this skill so they can lord their own performance over others. Case in point, Greenman belittling my opinion because I’m a Level I Candidate (for the next 6 days, for better or for worse).

Long story short, it’s not the job of anonymous people on the internet to tell FinKid he needs to just quit and pursue something else. If that’s something that he needs to be told, it’s something that needs to be told to him by somebody who actually knows him and is familiar with the type of advice he actually needs. Our job is to provide support vis a vis his anxiety waiting for the results. All this talk about being a sissy or the implications that the CFA is the most difficult program on earth are really just ways to self-aggrandize under the guise of “telling it like it is”.

It reminds me of the thread where a candidate with a very different and unusual (to us) method of surname and name was asking a question about his passport and exam ticket, and many people responded only that he was going to fail the exam because he couldn’t even figure out the rules. This community can be extraordinarily unsupportive, particularly considering it’s only real purpose is to provide support to fellow candidates and charterholders. Oddly enough, it seems like the most supportive people here are often charterholders - probably because they no longer harbor the insecurity that many of the candidates here seem to have.

You nailed it there.

I can see their intentions are good and they want to show me what is lying ahead but it can be done in a way which is not so “rough”. We candidates, especially those who are taking L1 for the first time are not so accustomed to this whole CFA mentality so may be we newbies can avail the “toned down” version. :slight_smile:

I’m not telling him to quit the program. But I am telling him that if he can’t deal with the anxiety at Level 1, then he’s got a long, hard road ahead at Levels 2 and 3. For God’s sake–the dude started having nightmares, popping pills, and losing concentration. These are his words–not mine.

I didn’t belittle your opinion because you’re a Level 1 Candidate. I just wanted to state that you (like FinKid) really have no idea what you’re in for, and that you seem to think that the CFA exam is “weak” simply because you can take it as many times as you want.

You really have no idea what you’re getting yourself into. And statistically, there’s an 88% chance that you won’t finish. Yet you feel like you need to tell two people who have completed the program that they are spewing “ridiculous self-aggrandizing bullcrap”.

If you had completed the program and still had this opinion, then I would be more inclined to listen to you. But as of right now, you have absolutely zero credibility.

If FinKid had a mentor who knew him well and could give him appropriate advice, he probably wouldn’t be asking this on an anonymous forum. I don’t owe FinKid anything, and nor do I owe you anything. I don’t have a “job” or a responsibility to ease his anxiety.

That being said, I did not make the CFA exam a once-a-year thing. I did not make a six-week lag between the test and the results. I did not artifically inflate the volume and intensity of the exam. I did not contribute to the added stress that candidates face. CFAI did these things. If you want to complain about somebody, complain about CFAI.

But the CFA exam is what it is, and it ain’t gonna change. If you can’t deal with it, get out while you can. Those are really your only two options. Don’t blame me for spelling them out for you. Blame John Rogers.

EWWWWW now Greenman’s calling out John Rogers, LOL!

I’m not sure how else to interpret this. I guess you are implying he should quit the program, as opposed to outright telling him to quit.

So, you pretty much just said you’re not belittling me because I’m a Level I Candidate, and then explained why you don’t value my opinion because I’m a Level I Candidate, which to me is a perfect example of belittling. Correct me if I’m wrong.

You haven’t got a clue whether or not I know what I’m getting into. I began Level I this summer with no finance background or education whatsoever. I teach high school full time, work 8 hours every saturday at a part time job, serve on church council locally, and am raising my daughter while I pursue the CFA exams… all with a chronic medical condition which renders me completely useless some days and negatively affects my recall greatly (an obvious bane for learning CFA material). I take the CFA mostly for my own enjoyment and to advance my self-worth and exercise my brain…I have no immediate or future plans to enter finance unless circumstances change. My lowest mock exam was 70%, and my highest was 79% on the official CFA mock, and I am fairly confident my actual exam performance was somewhere in that range as well. Of course, it may not be and I’ll be back in June. I find it less likely than likely, but I would not be surprised if I failed either. After all, 6 mocks is not a terribly large sample size. However, to say I have no understanding of what I’m in for is more than a tad presumptuous. I expected L1 to be not too difficult, but massive in breadth - it was exactly what I expected. I expect Level’s II and III to be increasing in difficulty - enough to cause most of those to pass the first level to still fail. All throughout my life I’ve been told everything would be harder than I expect - middle school, high school, engineering, fatherhood, CFA…all of these things have turned out to be easier than I had anticipated. Perhaps because I’m intensely skeptical and tend to view things in the most negative light possible before I start them so I can be prepared for the worst.

Anyway, you’ve got me going on self-aggrandizing in the same way I’ve criticized you for. Regardless, even if I do have no credibility whatsoever…even if I’d never heard of CFA…it is very obvious to see that comments like yours would only exacerbate a person’s anxiety. If your goal was to do so, well then mission accomplished. But if you were actually trying to help FinKid, I highly doubt your comments improved his life’s direction.

You’re right, you don’t owe FinKid anything. Nor do you owe me anything or vice versa. But usually when somebody reaches out for help…say…“How can I deal with my exam results anxiety”, you would think that somebody who responds would be trying to offer that person something to improve their situation. Instead, it seemed like your and other’s comments were meant simply to show how tough you are, and how you don’t suffer from “sissy” emotions like anxiety. If I were an employer I don’t think I’d really care whether or not a potential analyst cried or had anxiety over exam results. That sort of stuff is irrelevant and belongs in the 19th century.

@FinKid and SpareTime - You guys can do it!!! Just keep your head up!!!

I’m sure you’ll love the CFA program. After all, you can take it as many times as you want to! So there’s really no reason to study at all, because all you have to do is eliminate the one obviously wrong answer, then you’ve got a 50/50 chance.

And don’t let the anxiety get to you. There’s always cocaine and hookers to give you relief!!!

Quick, itera, say something. The thread seems to be running out of juice.

Greenman, you bring nothing constructive to the L1 conversation so why don’t you stop trolling on the L1 forum and do something constructive with your charter you cherish so dearly. Congrats, you’re a charter holder, stop patting yourself on the back about it and get on with your life in the booming metropolis of "Malvinas"wherever that is.

Okey doke. Will do.

If you survive the next three years, drop me a line and tell me if I was right or wrong.

Sorry Sparetime, we just have different approaches to helping anonymous people on the internet.

Can I be more tactful, sure - I am in real life, but why would I mollycod anyone and give them hope without knowing who they are. Telling someone they can be a beautiful butterfly and whatever they want to be is irresponsible in my opinion, especially if I am not their mentor or know them well. That may be your job, but it’s not mine.

We see a lot of people come through these forums. I have read a hundred or more of these posts. A lot of them are living on a prayer and try to do enough to pass just to get into a business that is a hundred times harsher. I don’t want to cite your life experience/career/medical condition for which I sympathize, but I’d rather have someone tell me to fuck off to my face than do it with a smile on their face.

I guess where I disagree is the fact that it’s much easier to do a lot of damage with comments like what we saw earlier than it is to help. If FinKid really shouldn’t be in the program, he should be hearing it from somewhere else - not us. When the results come I hope FinKid ends up destroying the exam - he may well have gotten 100% for all we know.

And why do we have to tell him to fuck off at all? Is it not possible to be completely honest without being a dickhead? Imagine if Greenman had said something like this instead…

“Anxiety over exam results is normal and common, and is experienced by most candidates. You’ve put a lot of work into the exam and it’s of course a natural reaction to be nervous about the results. However, it’s important to learn how to deal with these unhelpful emotions because it’s going to get much worse in LII and LIII - and the stress will be proportionally greater as well. For now, try to relax and recognize that it’s out of your hands. There is nothing you can do now to change anything. Take advantage of the fact that you don’t have to think about anything finance related for a few weeks. It may even help to come to expect failure as a part of the process - most candidates who do pass do fail, so it’s not the end of the world. When you get the results, reexamine where you’re at. Think about your initial motivations - if you failed, do you still want to end up at that end goal? Are you willing to push through the barriers and try again despite your failure? Again, keep in mind that most successful candidates do fail. Maybe it’s not right for you, but only you’ll know that. If you make that decision it should be a calm and objective decision made after you get your results, not one clouded by the anxiety all candidates feel in some form over the course of the program.”

Or something along those lines. That’s pretty sensitive, but Greenman didn’t have anything constructive in his comment that I didn’t have here, and something like this would be a lot more helpful to a candidate in need. Maybe it makes me a “sissy” or whatever for caring, but it frustrates me to see people reach out for help and then be slapped down by those who are clearly just wanting to brag about how they made it to the end of such a difficult program (not so much talking about you here).

Well you’re being obviously transparent here.

Obviously you were too lazy to read my post. As I mentioned before, I’m taking the course mostly out of enjoyment and to exercise my brain, so my results anxiety is probably about as low as it could reasonably be. But it’s obvious to me that you’ve abandoned any hint at positive discourse and are instead just looking for new ways to be belligerent.