heartbroken.....I am sure I failed, again. Do I have a chance at all?

Thank you sockruhtese for stepping up to the plate and letting us know that some people do fail Level 1 a few times but get through it.

And gunner21, what I find remarkable is that not one person so far has said they found the test easy or just average or even reasonable. Perhaps you are right…I’ve seen forums in the past where people thought it wasn’t easy but not too bad. Those are not the comments we are getting here so far.

if I find someone saying the exam was okay I would probably send a complain to the institute proclaiming that he violates code of ethics! whoever bastards says that deserves it :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: just kidding! valid point and hope u will be right gunner!

yea we will be CFA charterholders oneday bro! :slight_smile:

i was pretty happy with ethics AM session, i am pretty conviced that i can score more than 85% there. however econs QM and FRA were kind confusing. for the PM session i found it a llittle bit more difficult, however my approach was different as i skipped questions that i didn’t really comprehend well (around 7questions) but in the end, i ended up bombing them as i didn’t have enough time to refocus and think about these questions. (guess it’s better to fill all the answers as we go anyway)

I am not 100% confident to pass but i think i will have a chance to pass.

i did 6-7 sets of mocks (AM and PM)

2011,2012,2013,2014 CFAI + 2 schwesser and Qbanks, it helped a lot.

Same here, dont ask me how my paper went. I was scoring mid 80s on cfai mocks and on schweser. I found the AM session extremely difficult, but PM was quite easy. Am 25 wild guesses and on PM 13 wild guesses.

FrederickF, where did you get the CFAI mocks from previous years? That would be helpful

Haha don’t worry guys. I made sure two other people failed. Two idiots forgot to bring their calculator that day and after the morning exam was finished they ran up to me to ask me if they could borrow my calculator for the afternoon portion.

This is what I said and did.

I laughed out loud and then said. “Thanks for lowering the MPS idiots.”

Anyways, I think I literally killed FRA and didn’t miss a single point…fixed income on the other hand…I really wish I spent an hour or something going through my notes I missed a lot of easy ones.

You’ll be fine monkey. LIfe goes on. I failed last time in December with a band of 10. You know what was the worst part of that? Is that we got our results the day before Chinese new year. So do you know how uncomfortable it was to tell everyone, your entire family and extended family at the dinner time while celebrating the first day of Chinese new year that you didn’t pass.

That was really a serious blow. But I got over it, moved on and I was like the San Antonio spurs this year…SEEKING REDEMPTION!!!..

If you don’t pass just keep going at it…it’s a marathon man not a sprint.

I’m with Geo on this one. The level 2 material looks so much harder that if you’re struggling on level 1, I can’t see how this is going to have a happy ending.

Ya I thought FI was bad and so were quants, but not as bad as econ. They threw everything and the kitchen sink at you during econ.

That said, monkey, keep your head up. I have finance major friends who failed with band 8s orlower. No one passes these things without serious leg work…unless of course you just wrapped up an MBA or your undergrad in accounting/finance. Anyone that tells you otherwise is bull shitting on the internet, or just born with a horseshoe up their ass. With that kind of luck, they should give up the CFA in lieu or becoming a professional lottery player. I have an econ background and I was stumped on a ton of concepts too.

What did you find was so hard about fixed income? DId you knew the key concepts? Tell me how well did you know these topics:

Duration measures


the different risks

the different yield measures

yield curves

dirty/clean price

capital gains

zero coupon/premium bond/discount bond differences

g/i/z spreads

OAS spreads

and credit ratings?

If you knew those major concepts like the back of your hand, there is no way you should have failed fixed income since that covers all the chapters in the CFAI books.

If it’s any comfort Monkey I got a bachelors in management (but did quite a few finance courses as well). I’m working as an investment analyst at a private company (no training there though had to train myself, hard.) and I found the exam difficult. I studied about 1200 hrs, scored around 78 on 2 schweser practice 1 schweser mock and 1 cfai mock. The concepts were ok but it was mostly the wording that I found confusing enough to trip me up. So having a finance background doesn’t really give u an advantage. But I try not to dwell on it now, if I keep worrying I’ll literally get depression. According to friends I talk to, (they’ve all done the exam) no matter how hard u prepare luck is always a factor. Doesn’t mean you dunno ur stuff. There are so many moving parts that anyone of them can have a huge effect on ur results. For example, in my case my cat who’s been with me for 12 years fell super sick 3 weeks b4 the exam and it took a fair amount of time and effort to nurse her back to good health. Not using this incident as an excuse but just that many things could trip up your studying during this period.

I’m not throwing in the towel yet even though admittedly it’s my first attempt. I’m planning my Dec study schedule and gonna try it again if I dun pass.

My friend, don’t give up. Like Fred, I too like you have done an insane amout of prep.

I went to a prep class, read books…

Did all the book problem, Schweser problem, and mock exams: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and additionally 6 mocks from Schweser. And for all the mock, except Schwesser, I had done it twice.

And I too “am not 100% confident to pass but I think I will have a chance to pass”

Lol oh god, i give mine in December and these comments are freaking me out.


I failed band 9 first time in December. Went again, to be honest the exam was how I expected it to be. I guess once youve done it once you start to get a feel for the wording of questions etc. They often test standard concepts where you think ‘ah yeah i know this’ then you read the data and you’re like: ‘wait, what, wheres the COGS figure? and they dont give you Purches or beggining inventory? how the fuck do I work out COGS?!’ There are plenty of moments like that throughout the exam and thats why CFA truly test whether you understand the concepts or not. You can;t just memorise shit.

Anyway, I could easily tell you now that I think this exam was harder then December. It makes me more annoyed for failing it the first time, there were so many in the December where I ‘sort of remembered’ reading something about it but I just couldnt get my brain to process what ti exactly was. I also decided NOT to fill in the sheet till the end. So i was circling all the answers on the paper and then thought i’ll leave it till the end to fill them out… massive mistake.

Anyway, this year I thought econ was an absolute joke, no idea. Some parts of quant were hard and accounting seemed just tricky. Easy questions but the data pertaining to it seemed so off making calculations really hard. Afternoon ethics was a bit mind numbing for me too.

I wouldn’t worry too much pal. Everyone feels like shit when they come out. I feel better then last time but to be honest still think ive just missed the boat like band 10. I already work in a hedge fund so dont actually need this designation but thought of doing it for the gravitas. If I fail again I dont know what i’ll do but will be pretty deflated if I need 3 attempts to pass the first level, let alone 2 or 3.

Best of Luck

Yah I agree Rexthedog…I took in December and when I saw this exam I was like…god …why didn’t I pass this in December.

I got a band of 10 last time…I feel like I did better than last time but really who knows…there were so questions when I look back at it I should have cricled the other one instead…but yeah no point in looking at it now.

Let’s hope they adjust the scoring with that nifty model they use.

Dear fellow candidates,

I am a CFA Level III Candidate who started in 2011 and now awaiting my L3 results.

@Monkeymath’s initial post:

You have a non-financial background, meaning that it will take you longer to pass L1 but once you are “into” the material it might take you less time (adjusted for the L2 marginal difficulty, that is) to pass the L2 exam. It is correct that L2 is probably “substantially” more difficult than L1. at least, this was the rule of thumb this far. I found my L1 2011 exam rather easy, and L2 2012 tremendously more difficult. However, it is wrong to state heuristics such as “if you havent passed L1 in xxx attempts you will never pass all 3 exams”. why? because it depends on your background. if you have a finance or economics background, and provided you study 5-6 months (400 -500 hours), and yet you dont pass L1 in the first attempt, then yes, I would say it is pretty likely that you will not pass the 3 exams in a resonable period of time. however, if you lack finance background, it might take you 2 attempts to pass. of course, if you do not pass L1 after 3 attempts, then it is probably a better choice to focus on a different course of studies. just speculation, but reading all these comments about the perceived difficulty of the L1 exam, it might also be that CFA Institute is tryin to reduce the difficulty gap between L1 and L2. this would mean that L2 wil not be that much harder than L1. just speculation. but if it were true, then even more it is wrong to state profane heuristics to deter hopefu candidates from continuing. again, with a financial background: if you have properly prepared (for me this is 400-500 hours study time) and went into the exam confident, but found it “difficult”, it is more likely than not that you wil give up before reaching the end of the CFA Program.

Monkey math: carry on. you will get “used” to the material. and form a study group. once you reach L2, you should study A LOT. means: you start 9 MONTHS prior to exam. you study every day a bit. do not listen (and perhaps trust…) to people that claim to start studying 3 months before the exam. you read the material, take notes on the side, re-read it - taking mental photos of the contents. you add practice question in-between to make it more interesting. but mix it up. not: read chapter 1, do chapter 1 questions. this will not bring any joy. after reading and taking notes, you should get tons and tons of practice questions for the last 3 months. buy them from Schweser and Elans Guides. do the CFA mock exams. READ THE CFAI CURRICULUM WHICH EXPLAINS EVERYTHING A LOT BETTER THAN THE PROVIDERS DO. READ THE SAME MATERIAL. DO NOT READ DIFFERENT MATERIALS AS THIS WILL NOT MAKE YOU REMEMBER THINGS EASIER.

I used the CFA curriculum to prepare my level 1, I did my second reading on shweitzer (so i read the curriculum twice). i did many mocks, since 2009 till 2014, I made notes, i studied since octobre 2013 for this fucking exam and you know what? I was incapable to answer to many many questions!!!

First, there were not enough calculation, I really was desapointed because of all the formulas and practicing I did for NOTHING!! The exam didn’t look like the CFAI mocks I used to do before. I wasn’t scoring very high (60%) but I though that I was well prepared!

I had to guess so many questions…i finished the afternnon session in two hours :confused: so, I if I pass, I m a genius!!! I don’t really know if I ll try a second time! I did my best until the end, I took 2 weeks off from work to focus on the preparations! This is really sad!

I don’t know what to answer to people who keep asking me about the exam!! They saw me studying so hard…I even cancelled my facebook account to stay focused!! People think when I say that I wont pass, that I m kidding or that I m hiding the fact that I have passed very well my exam!!That makes it worst!

The only nice thing about the CFA program is that I learned a lot!Maybe the most important thing isn’t the goal but the enhancement of your knowledge on finance during this trip!



the way you describe it sounds more like a classic L2 experience, which adds to the speculation that the L1 and L2 exams are converging in terms of difficulty. this may give a more long term perspective to L1 candidates, as passing L1 would receive a heavier weight in calculating the odds to pass all 3 levels one day.

one also needs a bit of luck to see the right “questions”.

in general, L1 should not trigger too many wild guesses. in other words: who comes prepared will be successful. because the material (as far as I remember the 2010/2011 L1 curriculum) should not be perceived as that difficult for someone with a finance background. it is a lot to memorize, true. but for this, you do have apx. 10 months if you wish and can.

As a new candidate, thank you to remind me how much time, effort and commitment I should put in my Dec 2014 exam.

Well I agree with pretty much everyone else here… I was scoring roughly 80-90% on the Schweser mocks and CFAI mocks but there were certain sections where I didn’t have a clue. The PM session was also definitely harder than the AM session. I think Derivs, Alt. Inv., Equity, FRA and Ethics were all OK (to be honest I felt that Ethics was pretty easy compared to the mocks). Quants was probably a bit more trickier than in the mocks but I still think that I managed to get over 70%.

BUT, Econ and Fixed Income were on another level - especially in the PM session. I remember making complete guesses at some of the questions and this isn’t something I ever did on the mocks… All I can say is at least we are in the same boat - chances are if all of us found this hard then the MPS will be lowered .