Passing 1st time important?

Hi Guys,

I’m new to the boards although have been reading for some time. I’m 22 and based in London.

I have a quick question for anyone who can help. With 35 days to go, I am only 50% of the way through the material and therefore considering withdrawing from December and aiming for June. Work commitments and my underestimation of what this entailed led to me being grossly underprepared.

I’ve heard some employers request 1st time passes, how true is this? Also, I have been using solely Schweser, is it feasible for me to download changes? Or am I basically going to have to purchase everything again?

Thanks in advance,


I haven’t heard of any credible employer requesting first time passes and most importantly, CFA does not distinguish between first time passers and the rest.

If you’ve been through 50% of the material, i would recommend going all the way. With 35 days to go, i will recommend watching some Schweser videos on topics you haven’t covered.

If you give it up now, you lose 100% of your chance. If you give it a shot, you keep 50% chance of winning. Giving that you are already through a huge chunk of material, i will up the chance of winning to about 60%. If in the end, you eventually fail the exam, you will have gained the experience, you will have overcome the fear of the exam and you will still be in a mighty good shape to take on the next exam…better choice if you ask me.

Yes you will have to buy everything again. Same with paying new CFA fees.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzy

You’ve already paid for it, you might as well take the time to study and try to pass. If anything, even if you don’t pass in December, you’ll know what the setting is like for June 2013. And you’ll know what your weaknesses are.

It is absolutely NOT true that employers request 1st time passes. I mean, the pass rate is approx 36-42%. You are also not disadvantaged to those who have passed the first time. In the ethics portion (Section VII??? correct me if I’m wrong), it is stated that just because someone passed their exams the first time, they can’t say they are “smarter” than those who didn’t pass the first time.

If I were you, I would sit for December. What’s your background anyways? Is all this stuff completely new to you? If you had previous finance experience, there’s no reason for you not to try.

Thanks for the quick responses. For the last 24 hours I’ve felt as though I had already failed.

I think you’re right, I may as well attempt it. I still have 35 days I guess. The pressure was from hearing that prospective employers look down on failed attempts, now that I know thats untrue it lessens the pressure.

Thanks a lot,


good luck guys

The only people that care about 1st time passing are the people that passed it the first time themselves. These are usually the same people with easy 9-5 jobs, are unemployed, or otherwise have plenty of time to pass it no problem.

These tests are not rocket science. put in the time, and most will pass just fine.

Otherwise, no one cares. Pass is a pass.


Agree with sitting for the exam no matter what. You already paid for it so there’s really no point in not going unless you have something really important to do during the time of the actual test.

Getting that experience from sitting for the exam will be good if you do need to retake in June.

Really nothing to lose here by just trying anyways.

I’m not even sure there’s a way to prove that you did or didn’t pass the first time…

If you failed a level would you put that on your CV or would you ‘pretend’ not to have taken the level?

It would be interesting to see the pass marks between those with a job and those without. My hypothesis would be that people in a job get thrashed as they realise how little time they actually have free to study. The efficiency of studying after a hard day’s work will probably be pretty low. I reckon there are a few who pretty much drop out as they refuse to become social pariahs.

I’ve never seen a company show a preference for 1st time passers, but if the above is shown to be true then this would be a bad idea.

I definitely felt pressure and stress to pass from my employers. There wasn’t anything ever discussed formally or anything, but there was just a sort of assumption that I would pass, like every time I would mention the low pass rates, I would just get this blank stare.

Note though that I wasn’t working crazy hours (45-50 hour weeks) so I did have time to study and they knew that.

I agree with you that 45-50 hours is not crazy, but give yourself a little bit of credit; the majority of candidates cannot balance a work schedule and a study schedule together…hopefully I can follow in your footsteps. I know there are people that work 15 hour days and find the time to study (they are marshians) but for me working 8 hours a day, and trying to get in 3-4 after work takes a tole on the body, physically and mentally…how did you stay mentally alert when you studied after work? I keep getting tired…