Have done no work, can I still pass CFA Level 1?

Hi guys heres the situation :

Ok so I have 47 days until CFA Level 1, and I have only done Ethics & Professional standards to a degree of around 50-70% in Qbank.

I was wondering if I could still pass CFA Level 1 given the following information regarding myself:

1 ) Unemployed - Willing to work all god given hours, but I will probably only manage a max of 12, so probably 10 hours most days.

  1. IQ : 101 - I’m not too bright, but im not stupid either, just average in intellectual capacity ( Therefore is it even possible to absorb 10 hours of information per day)

  2. Degree in Accounting with Finance-- However I got the minimum pass score and crammed most of degree material, I only really know the bare basics. I got such a bad grade due to laziness and leaving my studying till the last week before exams.

As I have previously said, I have all the materials needed to study CFA and I have the motivation to work hard.

Do I still have a chance to pass CFA Level 1? If so how high of a chance?

I have a work schedule planned out for at least 8 hours per day and I am highly motivated-- BUT will I burn out?

Will I be able to absorb information at such an intense rate given my new found motivation and intellectual capacity?

Any feedback is appreciated,


Just do it! You paid for it, you have time and you are not stupid.

Hit it hard and let us know!

Good luck.

If you don’t have a partner or children I’d say go for it.

Thanks for the replies, but I’m not asking whether I should do the exam or not. I’m asking what you think my liklihood of passing is, I’m definately doing the exam …just to clarify

At this stage, your likelihood of passing solely depends on your ability to study long hours. Ideally the last month should be kept only for revision and practice tests. But in yourcase, if you leave it till the last fortnight, you have about a month from today. And the portion is huge, really huge. So if I were you, I’d study for 10-12 hrs everyday intensely to meet that one month deadline.

Answered elsewhere too… here is the response again:

I have 47 days until CFA Level 1 ……I will probably only manage a max of 12, so probably 10 hours most days.

So, what is your real problem? 45 days with even 10 hours per day amounts to 450 hours. But , according to CFAI normally candidates require only around 300 hours to clear a level of CFA. So question is not whether you CAN do it or not the real issue is whether YOU ARE DETERMINED to do it or not! If you are as motivated as you say, then probably your focus should what to do next and how?

Few points to note when you plan for the next 45 days:

  • Being employed or unemployed is immaterial now as it is more of a fait accompli for you. You are lucky to have more than 8 hours at your disposal to reach your immediate goal of ‘clearing Level 1’. So being ‘Unemployed’at this instant is a blessing in disguise, exploit it.
  • IQ 101 –i.e. average intellectual capacity is the order of the day as far as doing a professional course like CFA is concerned that is why having the relevant experience and exposure counts more than just having the high intelligence level for being a ‘successful’ Charterholder. Of course being of higher intelligence is an asset for achieving more with lesser input in terms of study, time and effort but converse is not necessarily true . You have work schedule planned out and are highly motivated proves you had fair idea what and why you want to do till next June 1st . What ultimately counts (and, therefore more crucial for long term success) is how deep and systematic you are after doing the Level 1 somehow , frankly speaking many aspirants are not even sure of why they enrolled for Level 1 and with average effort they do clear this level (that is why many on this forum claim emphatically that level 1 is the easiest one).
  • No one can absorb 10 hours of information every day for 45 days but anyone with reasonable confidence and determination to do a specific course can easily absorb new information for about 4 hours per day, recapitulate the previous learnt topics for another 2-3 hours per day and finally practice questions based on what he/she has already learnt (may EOCs or QBank questions or even practice papers) from a specific topic /section for about 4 hours per day, thereby spending about 10-11 hours per day (out of 16 hours of a 24 hour day) – leaving 5 – 6 hours for rest and other routines every day- for the next 45 days ONLY. Many may not be conscious but most students (especially those who leave the study for last days only or are working in long-hour / stressful jobs) do so and successfully complete many of professional programmes in finance which are taken or require to be done while being employed /working in specific field. So, focussed preparation and average intelligence with hard work is the key not essentially a high IQ.
  • Your cramming capability with a good amount of practice of past questions and EOCs will prove useful and may see you through, provided you are sincere in following up your plans till the last hour on the pre-exam day.
  • You can burn out only if (a) you do not take enough rest in between; (b) spend too much time on net or forums where you will be hearing from others how tough it is and how much still remains to be done – and get disheartened ; © decide your priorities and time allocation in advance according to weightage of and exploiting your strengths in specific topics (some require understanding, some just memorisation and some application of the knowledge and formulas).
  • Your aim is to score around 75% right answers – not a big task if you have enough practice.

Review your schedule and plan and ensure you finish everything at least 8 days before the exam day. Now focus on areas with higher weightage in the exam and tackle them one by one within pre-planned schedule. Spend 50% of the time during the last 8 days in taking as many practice / mock exams you can do under exam conditions and the review and revision the weaker areas once again for the last time. Start now and don’t look back till the exam is over on 1st June. And, yes, it won’t be a fun….till you are through!

Best of luck


If you have a decent grasp on the majority of general concepts, I suggest you just read the summary at the end of each reading to both refresh your memory and point out any completely new concepts you’ll need to learn. As long as you have a clue as to what each topic is about, you’ll probably benefit more from jumping right into the practice questions and learning unclear material as you go, rather than trying to read through a forest’s worth of pages within the text. There is a difference between understanding a concept and being able to apply it to different scenarios.

I have found that for a lot of the concepts there are several pages worth of text that can be learned by going through the problems and working backwards from the answer to understand what happens and why. However, a lot of the ethics, economic theory, and other qualitative concepts must be read to really understand what’s going on, so you might be a bit screwed there. Believe it or not, investopedia has a study guide that seems to provide easy-to-read summaries that may help you to understand some of the more complex/boring material, at least as a starting point.


Camdo did you pass? Just curious. I’m in the same boat.