Exam experience Level 1 - Sept 2016

Hi All,

can someone who already took this exam (from today onwards) share a bit of his/her experience? Are the actual exam questions in the test center similar to these given in the UpperMark QuestionBank?

Any input is much appreciated!

Thank you

I second your comment, would love to know what you all did to prepare. I have 10 day until my exam and am running through the uppermark Qbank as well as mock exam and finally CAIA mock exam from the website (which ive heard is a good determinant of what the actual test looks like). Looking forward to hear from someone on this.

Good luck to all!!!

Well, I am doing mainly Questions from the Uppermark Testbank while reading the CAIA book. Have not yet started reading Ethcis. Main focus is on Hege Funds, Alternative Assets and Quant. Methods.

Honestly, you’re screwed if you only have 10 days left and haven’t even read Ethics. The exam was about twice as easy as UpperMark. Personally I think UpperMark was TOO hard, to the point of adding overly complex questions that may just confuse people. I was scoring upper 70s to mis 80s in UpperMark and probably got in the 90s for the real exam - it was very easy

You seriously made my day! Completely agree with you on the ethics portion. You NEED to study ETHICS, its the easiest portion to either make or break you on.

Also scoring upper 70s and mid 80s in UpperMark. Going to take a mock test this weekend and then the CAIA test as well.

What were your scores on the mock exams?

Thanks for your input.

I got an 83 on the full mock. Granted, I studied only after work but I spread it out over 6 months so I put in a total of 294 hours. I hit the testbank way too late and spent too much time taking notes.

Keep in mind that while I scored very high in sections individually, when I aggregated them my scores dropped cause you’re trying to remember over 200 different dinky formulas. The part that really chafed ma balls was that they didn’t supply common sense items like what the critical value is at 95 or 99 conf or n values. Gotta discretely plug that nonsense into your calculator ahead of time and then vomit it onto that atrocious white board.

I gotta say that the way CaIA tests people is not very realistic. At work I am scribbling down stuff constantly on paper…removing this as an option really takes you out of your comfort zone. Also, I don’t know anyone in capital markets that memorizes critical values for t tests lol. Nonsense.

I’ll take my mock exam tomorrow, only have some real concerns on hedgefunds which i’ll iron out throught the weekend and next week.

That whiteboard is ridiculous for sure.

Need some help? What area? Volatility Arb?

Just took first 100 questions and got a 75, missed some really simple ones where I know I wont make the same mistake. On a positive note, I felt comfortable throughout the exam.

Haha yes vol. arb. con. arb, relative value and event driven give me a hard time.

I definitely think there is an overemphasis on viewing every investment on earth under the “option view”. In reality, that is all just academic and makes no sense for real world applications. I was a bit disappointed with the CaIA material. Since I work in private equity I found most of it rather irrelevant. I mean there were 2 pages out of 900on infrastructure lol

VirtualSly - I have trouble in the same areas too. 6 more days to sort it out. You taking the CAIA Mock or Uppermark? I have been taking CAIA weighted 50 question tests for the couple of weeks and am averaging in the low 70s. I have some work to do still, but feel decent. Will be doing the CAIA mock this afternoon.

totally agree, if you understand options for CAIA it is half th battle basically. Of which I was not comfortable with options but now I feel better.

@MrNoFear, we take the exam same day! woooo. Taking the mock uppermark, now i’m reviewing the first 100 and focus on my problem areas

I would recommend you do short 10-15 question quizzes in each subtopic to hone down on trouble spots and enforce your knowledge on what you already know.

I used to do 50 question quizzes but they didn’t allow me to fully concentrate since they were so long. but whatever works, just my $0.02.

Thanks @VirtualSly1125. I will start focusing on the trouble spots to really drill the topics where I struggle. Thanks for the suggestion!

If you are taking it in NYC, there is a good chance I will see you at the testing center!

Honestly I was pretty disappointed with the CAIA curriculum. Instead of reinforcing concepts it felt more like a memorization exercise of performance data (e.g. did short bias exceed traditional equities over the past 15 years and if so by roughly how much?) With questions like that it is no wonder people forget half the information.

I was looking forward to studying some real case studies but for my area of work (private equity) they focussed on the most simple and nauseating garbage which anyone with half a brain can learn (ie waterfall calculations)

Totally agree, too many “random fact” questions that would have no basis in the real world.


Also keep in mind that UpperMark really forces you to SOLVE equations but on the real exam there are barely any questions requiring calculus since if you spend more than a minute pet question you are screwed

Great. Thanks for the insight highbeta.

2.5 more days for me…

my feedback: very intense and difficult exam! Some very detailed questions about a statistical test which is ‘outdated’ and should not be used any more because of better techniques has been tested in detail.

I would say that the exam is partly a word game and has nothing to do with the reality.

Did you study? Cause I found it easier than the mock on their website