FAILED 3x and not giving up. Here's my story, PLEASE ADVISE!!!!

Dear ALL, I grad in summer 06 from UCI w/ BS in ECON only w/ GPA 3.1. There’s no specialize econ major (business econ and others) until I grad so my knowledge in the industry is almost zero. I was not focus enough in school and didn’t really think of how to plan for my future. I started to apply for jobs half yr before I grad. I’ve been thru numerous interviews and no offer for one whole year. Until beginning for 07, I started working at a bank as Cash Management Analyst in Treasury Operations dept (back office). My job tasks have nothing to do w/ CFA. I mainly control cash flow of the bank’s FRB acct making sure it doesn’t OD and other security pledging, very administrative. I took on CFA because w/ my background, I know there’s no way I can get my foot in the door of investment and finance industry unless miracle does happen. Right now I’m doing well at my job, my boss is super nice and she trust me. However, I’m not satisfied with my job. It’s not challenging and I don’t wanna stuck in back office position for 2 long. But the current econ condition, my dad suggests me to stay at my bank and focus on CFA because even if I get hired, I might b laid off soon. My plan now is to pass Lvl I and use that to at least get myself into the door. I can’t apply what I learned from CFA to my current job nor can’t I apply my knowledge from my job to CFA. Alrite, the reasons of my failures. 1st attempt – The materials are brand new to me. The only thing I recognize is stats. 2nd attempt – I wasn’t focus enough and underestimate CFA Level 1: Fail Multiple Choice Q# Topic Max Pts <=50% 51%-70% >70% - Alternative Assets 12 - * - - Derivatives 12 - * - - Economics 24 * - - - Equity Analysis 24 * - - - Ethical & Professional Stnds. 36 - * - - Financial Statement Analysis 68 * - - - Fixed Income Analysis 24 * - - - General Portfolio Management 12 - * - - Quantitative Analysis 28 - * - 3rd attempt – I studied hard. I did all Schweser note question after each section and also the practice exam and I found that it’s not as helpful as I found out at the DEC 07 test is focus sooo much more on concept and putting diff concepts together rather on calculation which I practice on most of the time. Basically wrong approach. Level 1: Fail Multiple Choice Q# Topic Max Pts <=50% 51%-70% >70% - Alternative Assets 12 * - - - Derivatives 12 * - - - Economics 24 * - - - Equity Analysis 24 * - - - Ethical & Professional Stnds. 36 - * - - Financial Statement Analysis 68 - * - - Fixed Income Analysis 24 - * - - General Portfolio Management 12 - * - - Quantitative Analysis 28 - * - I was bumb for couple hours but I’m excited and ready to go for the 4th times. This is what I have to do to make up the times that I wasted in college. This is the chance I have to straighten my future. And I WILL DO IT!!!. Please give me valuable advice on study tactic and suggest on my career. Maybe some interview skills and prep for later use. Thanks sooo much guys and girls!!!

I admire your persistence, but you need to be realistic about this program. The program is not for everyone. If you think L1 is tough, wait till you pass and face L2. I would take a step back and evaluate what you are truly good at, and see if it matches up with a career in finance. Remember, there is nothing wrong with working in the back-office.

First of…my condolences, however I do also have a friend that has failed 3x, not sure yet if he passed this DEC 2007 exam… Couple of points…you say that you did all the questions at the end of Schweser chapters like it is actually an accomplishment, however I think that is the wrong mindset. It should be a given that everyone does those questions. It is more a requirement rather than an extra effort. You also say you did A practice exam. That is not enough. I did all 5 CFAI exams, All Book 6 exams, and part of Book 7. This is addition to the the ~1000 questions I did from Qbank. I agree that Schweser definitely over prepares you for with calculcations rather than concepts. But you had taken the exams 2 times previously…it is hard to imagine that you did not know the format of the exam… Anyhow good luck to you in future!

My advice: Don’t give up. Believe in yourself. Try to work harder than anyone else studying for the exam. Don’t listen to people who say you should quit- remember, it’s in their interest for you to do so. I think you would benefit from taking a CFA class, if one is offered in your area. Your persistance will pay in the long-run. I have met lots of people with graduate business and finance degrees who still can’t pick apart a balance sheet. I have come to believe the CFA is the gold standard of financial competence- and I’m not alone. Keep at it.

drs: true… i agree with you… i should be realistic abt it… i know i am capable for it… so i will go for it… longoncfa: i meant to say i did all book 6 exams… do you feel that Qbank helps? which level of difficulty you start with? I never took the CFAI exams… is the format and difficulty very close to the actual ones? Thank you both of you for your opinions!!!

I feel CFAI exam has some question come from old real exam. TamiYokey Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > drs: > true… i agree with you… i should be realistic > abt it… i know i am capable for it… so i will > go for it… > > longoncfa: > i meant to say i did all book 6 exams… do you > feel that Qbank helps? which level of difficulty > you start with? I never took the CFAI exams… is > the format and difficulty very close to the actual > ones? > > Thank you both of you for your opinions!!!

Qbank is good for review, however only the advanced questions are really worth your time. Unless you are really struggling, then the intermediate are ok too.

You are pretty young. If I were your age, probably I would not have failed but I would have struggled a bit. In any case, if you need encouragement, think of others who had passed as people with more experience and education. Take me for example, I had master degree in economics and actually just a dissertation away from completing my ph.d. in econ. I also had ph.d and master degrees in science and engineering as well. I had been working in academic field for a few years. Despite all the education and experience, I still need a few months of focused study to pass the first level of CFA exam. I probably will do so for the 2nd and 3rd levels. In any case, you should take a preparation class and really focused on the study to succeed.

thanks for your comment!! btw, I reside in Los Angeles. I want to set up a study group if anyone is interested.

Well the advice I would give is to focus more on my current job, and put CFA on back burner. Why not try to do the best you can where you are and think of how it can be a viable career track. There are opportunities in treasury management, and you could really shine at it. Try to come up with new ways of doing things at your current job more efficiently and effectively. Share them with your boss, and let her take most of the credit. Make her look good. Form alliances with higher up people and try to impress them with your hard work. Do this for six months and then if you’re still not happy with your work prospects, take the dec08 L1 exam. You could also go for an MBA or other advanced course in treasury management. Put as much energy and enthusiasm into your current job as you’ve done for the CFA and see what the results are. Just my 2 cents.

tamiyokey, first of all, i’m sorry to hear (read) that you failed three times already. but i admire your persistence and wish you luck.

Just read the notes 3x you will pass, guaranteed.

What concerns me is that the improvement from the second to third time you took it was marginal at best. Some areas you appeared to be weaker on. I would consider an MBA if I was in your shoes. It will take you 3 years minimum to complete the charter and only 2 years for an MBA. I am not saying to give up entirely on the CFA exams however you may find it much easier after completing an MBA as this will give you many core Financeconcepts in a classroom environment.

As someone who failed L1 1x (didn’t really try), passed L2 on the 4TH TRY (I had some life issues going on), and went on to pass L3 on the first try I say go for it if it’s something that is really important to you.

Wow going for a 4th time is almost beyond persistence…I just passed, although it was a very dirty and fluke pass, but I probably did 1/15th of the work you did, I.E no notes, no practice questions other than ethics and no timed tests. I have to agree with drs and kellyima, maybe you should re-evaluate and focus on something such as an mba that has a more formal and structured setting. That way you can get more of a formal finance education and get more immediate feedback on what to improve upon. Anyways, best of luck.

some quick thoughts…fwiw: 1. in terms of prep - without doubt the best tool is the CFA online exams. For L1, I did 3 out of the 5 online exams. Prepares you for EXACTLY the format, style, length, difficulty, etc of the real thing. I did a couple of thousand Qbank questions, all the Qbank reading/session tests, made up my own practice exams from Qbank for each section, did Boston practice exam, but the B E S T by far were the official CFA test exams. $50 a pop was money well spent. A couple of the test questions even came up virtually word for word on the actual exam. (I cracked a big smile when I came across them in the exam - the proctors probably wrote up a report on me!) Plus get a local study group together - very effective in most cases. 2. But you’ve actually done the real exam a couple of times before, and format/style/etc would not have changed that much. You’ve done the work, had a few tries and still no result - tells me you’re heart’s not really in it - or other priorities are keeping you from getting serious with time commitment actually needed. 3. After 3 attempts it might be starting to take on a life of its own - ie now you want to pass just because you’ve devoted so much of your life to it - it would be a waste if you don’t finish what you started (?). But it’s not the end of the world - you’re still young - your whole life’s ahead of you. You’ll probably change your career every 5 or 10 years or so. In 10 years or so you might be doing something completely different, working in an industry that maybe doesn’t even exist today - who knows? This is not the end of the world - hang in there, keep working hard and talking to people in all sorts of jobs - and doors will open for you. Work hard - play hard - live large - CFA or no CFA. 4. Edison tried and failed 10,000 times before he built his first light globe… - JK Rowling was rejected by 20 publishers before she finally got Harry Potter accepted …, even the Beatles couldn’t get a record deal when they started out, … ,etc, etc. If it’s what you really believe you want to achieve - stick with it, eliminate/minimize other competing priorities, and give it your best shot. Now hit those books !!..

UCI eh? I graduated UCI with a EE degree, and let me tell u something, I dont think UCI’s econ major is that much of anything. You should be able to graduate with a 3.8 in Econ without ever needing to study, so with your 3.1 GPA you’ll find L1 to be very difficult. Also, judging from your 3 attempts, we can conclude a few things; 1. You dont study hard, or 2. You study like u did for UCI econ, which is BS in general, or 3. You didnt study hard enough. I busted my ass off for 4 months, and i nailed this baby down.

lol ancientmtk that was worded harshly…

thanks once again for ya’ll encouragement and criticism… nothing is harsh over here as I welcome any comments… also ur comments motivate me 2 devote a lot more than b4 into CFA… I definiately take the advice to take CFAI practice exam and do tons of questions on Qbank…. One question tho… is CFAI practice exam timed just like regular CFA exam?? And are we allow to print anything for references??? (probably not huh??) Thanks! ~*vivi*~

I like the persistence and I like a lot of the supportive comments above. I say continue to go for it but if you need to take time off to focus… do it. Look I’ve only passed L1 so I’m no master and definitely not a genious, so take my advice for what you think it’s worth. I’m 30+ and I don’t think I would have passed just out of college because my priorities were on excelling at my first job and the social circuit. When you’re ready you really need to focus. Having an economics major and scoring under 50% is unfortunately not acceptable. I think that show’s laziness in your CFA approach and laziness in your college approach. As an econ major you should have known this stuff in your sleep. Don’t approach this material as trying to pass, but really trying to learn the material. Once you’ve learned the material and have honestly put in 100% effort that’s when you’ll see your scores increase. Use all the resources you can to pass. That will mean paying extra $$ for the premium study solutions package. Pay the $400-$500 to take a class that is just on FSA. Go through every single test bank question. Take the CFAI exams for $50 a pop. Go above and beyond in every aspect that you can to get the advantage. I tried to look at it as this to pass. “You’re either smarter than the 60% of the other test takers, or you can work harder than 60% of the test takers”. I know there are some brilliant candidates out there and tried to take the approach of working harder than all of them. I think that may be your best tactic to get the Pass. This thread is a great one.,617060,617060#msg-617060 Instead of just a 50 day approach you’re going to want to look at it as a 134 day approach. I followed the rec’s on this post and it really helped. The videos were a great supplement. It takes a lot of balls to post this thread and even more to go for #4. You’ve got it in you but you need to approach the next exam in a different manner because obviously the first approaches aren’t working. Go for it again. I can’t wait to hear your thread next July/Aug that raves about how you passed. Keep your head up and really really focus.