Level 1 - Sep 2021

Hi all,

how did your exam go?

Guys, should be able to check your exam results on CAIA website now.

Indeed. Passed :v:t2:

Failed…quite badly too (i put way too little time into it, i knew that), but thought it was a 50/50 feeling after the exam but got rekt apparently…bummer. Also spent way too much time reading and not enough practice with the questions. ■■■■…

Passed, but frankly amazed that I did. I thought I had no hope coming out of the exam having done about 15 questions in the last 5 minutes of each of the 2x2 hour exam sessions.
51% pass rate across all who sat Level 1 according to the letter I got with the summary. Seems damn low to me. I was in the bottom quartile of passers, so must have scraped between 70-75% in the exam.

I definitely put the time in over the 5 months using Uppermark and made sure to read in detail about 80% of the textbooks they sent. I certainly have some views on how better to approach the exam and hope they also apply to whatever level 2 throws at us.

  1. The exam was broader in terms of coverage, but the questions were less deep than I expected.
    I probably didn’t read about 20% of the syllabus, figuring I’d get to whatever was in the textbook when I sat down and looked in detail at the questions. That was probably a mistake.
    The test potentially covers everything to some degree and in missing 20% of that breadth, it wasn’t even familiar, let alone mastered. That exposed me on even basic questions that I hadn’t read about.

  2. I definitely left/avoided practicing the calculation questions way too late. I figured that knowing the info would better enable me to pick up the calcs easily. I don’t think that’s the case as each of the calc questions are stand-alone - if you know what it’s asking and the steps, then that can be an easy mark.
    The calc questions in the exam were much clearer and easier than what Uppermark give as practice (which are pretty complex), but in not having practiced them early and thoroughly. I wasted a lot of time on each one. The calc questions were easy enough that they can be you friend if you know how to approach each one with confidence and speed.

  3. Get on all the practice questions early. Don’t spend a tonne of time reading and rereading. Think early about what you’re there for. I had some hubristic notion that the knowledge I acquired through hard study alone would be enough to sail through the exam.
    I was wrong. Forget that.
    You are there to pass an exam. The knowledge follows.
    Get onto the questions after every reading. Spend as much time being familiar with the approach, possible answers and application of relevant formula, so that the question bank is mastered early. The reading and textbook will always be there, your ability to answer the questions quickly and effectively is something I started on way too late. Start that months ahead in my opinion.

  4. Map the basic concepts.
    There’s a lot to read and I figured it would be logical and laid out in a structured way. I had so many books and flashcards I avoided rewriting what I was reading in my own words. This was sensible, but after the exam I realised I should have mapped out the basic connections between the concepts (ie. Listing the different valuation techniques that might apply to real estate, or the different strategies that apply to macro hedge funds).
    This goes back to the point about the breadth of the exam rather then the deth or complexity. Many questions came up where I thought if I’d just looked at a particular table of asset characteristics a little longer, the answer would be staring me in the face.

Not sure if I’ll use UM for Level 2. There’s a lot of info and knowledge, but it didn’t always feel calibrated to whatvthevexam required.

I second the 4th point, listing down the connections between concepts greatly helped e.g. for different types of private assets, the same concepts can be applied: characteristics, type of securities, how to exit the investments etc. I just made them into e-flashcard with some free app and tested myself every now and then.
I only used schweser notes and did 2,3 practice tests, figure the official curriculum is so tedious.
Probably will still use schweser + UM QB for lvl2

Passed with luck cuz only 2 weeks time for study.
I would recommend go for a lot of practice questions for ethics, after all it’s the 2nd largest component covering the questions.
I got a lower for ethics, but 3 strongest for introduction, real assets and private equity…otherwise may fail

My background: did some finance study in uni, work nature not reli related to finance, not CFA background