Considering these new changes made by CFAI, I’m not sure whether the CFA Charterholder designation is worth pursuing. It has become commoditized.
As the saying goes, not this s*t again.
I might address their points at a later time, but I disagree with their opinion.
No, just because you can now take the test at Prometric, that does not add or detract from the value of becoming a CFA Charterholder. If more people get the designation, maybe the exams weren’t that hard after all (iirc there was a thread here where CFAs noted that in retrospect, the exams weren’t all that difficult), and the long waiting time was nothing but an artificial barrier.
1. Increasing testing frequency: Level 2 and Level 3 exams to take place twice a year
First, 6 months is still a really long waiting time to take or retake the exam. Second, unless the exams are such a joke that anyone can pass after studying for 6 months or less, this increase in testing frequency should be a no-issue.
2. Reducing the number of questions for all exams (from 240 to 180 multiple choice questions for Level 1 & 2
The CFA stated that the questions in the exam will have the same difficulty compared to the previous exam. Also, “sheer volume of information candidates are required to master” - in other words, information you memorize for the exam, but will forget soon after. In my opinion, and I feel most would agree, an exam should test your deep understanding of a given topic, and not that you were able to memorize random useless trivia just so you can pass some exam.
3. Shortening the testing time from 6 hours to 4.5 hours (total appointment time from 8 to 5.5 hours)
The surgeon analogy is ridiculous. “This Charter is prestigious because I was able to hold my bladder for 6 hours!” If this is so important, maybe they should add that into the certificate then: “Officially held their pee for 6 hours during an examination setting”.
4. Minimum wait time for failing Level 2 & Level 3 has been reduced from 12 months to 6 months
This is a repeat of number 1.
5. Not having to adjust for curriculum changes if you fail the year’s first exam & retake it in 6 months
This complaint has merit - people who retake the exam are at a slight advantage compared to someone taking the exam for the first time (or retaking after the curriculum changed). Of course, they are also at advantage because they studied for longer.
6. Moving from a globally aligned exam date to a 10-day ‘testing window’
No, the ability to cheat has not become “easier”, provided that the candidates respect and abide by the rules of not sharing examination questions. Reddit, for its part, enforces this rules fairly strictly. Each candidate should be presented with a random selection of questions from a pool of thousands of questions. That means candidates will be presented with different set of questions each time. There is also less room for cheating compared to a traditional examination setting: in this traditional exam setting, you sit next to other candidates, possibly taking the exact same exam with the exact same questions. All you have to do is “accidentally” look and partially see someone else’s exam while the proctor is not looking. With this exam change, you will not be sitting with other CFA candidates, and your examination is monitored and recorded. The proctor also checks and makes sure you don’t bring anything that could be used to cheat.
7. Effectively reducing the work requirement for the CFA charter from 4 years to 36 months (3 years)
This one has some merit. A candidate who worked for 4 years clearly have more experienced than someone who worked for 3.
I feel like this one is brought up by those unfamiliar with how electronic testing works and are stuck in the 1990s. Just like the CFAs who made this blog post.
Out of all 8 (actually 7, one of them is a repeat), only two deserve serious consideration: 5 and 7.
By the way, as much as people complain that the exams are now “easier”, no-one seems to complain that CFAI lets you use a calculator that can easily calculate, bonds, amortization, annuities and convert between interest rates without ever having to remember the formulas. The Ba II Plus Pro calculator is the best cheat there is for solving finance problems, and CFAI actually lets you use it.