study leave/finding time to study

who is getting study leave for L3? I took some vacation for the last 2 levels, but have changed jobs since then and now have less vacation (3 weeks instead of 4) and longer hours (80-90 instead of 50-60). haven’t made a study plan yet but i imagine it will take 20-30 a week from now to may to beat this beast. not sure how i’m going to make this work…even after putting social life on hold. anyone out there in a similar/worse situation and have a good plan? i was thinking of letting my work know that tuesday and wednesday (say) are study nights, and that i would be leaving early. that way i get 5-10 hours guaranteed study time per week. thanks!

Ouch…what’re you doing now? You won’t need 20-30 hours per week. If you can get in 10-12 and take two weeks vacation beforehand you should be fine. That being said, I’ve found that studying flashcards or notes on the train/bus, and for the first 30 minutes a day at work (assuming you get their early) are a good way to add another 4+ hours of study time. Throw in 30 minutes a night and you’re up to 6-7 before the weekend even begins. On Saturday you can clock 6 and another 4 on Sunday, and voila you’re already at at 16-17 hours/wk.

i wouldn’t tell your work that for 40% of the traditional working days a week (although you’ll be working 6 or 7 days a week), they are not the priority. A couple suggestions - give up anything else. For the next while, although it won’t be sexy, you work and you study. tell the gf/wife, sorry, but i have to do this. tell your friends you apologize, then change your phone number. i’m only 1/2 joking. Study for 1 hour a night after work. This will be tough, but doable and that’s 5 hours mon-friday. On weekends, study more, 5 each hours since you probably only work about 12 hours each sat/sunday. You’re at 15 hours. Then get creative. Flash cards while you’re taking a sh*t. audio while you walk to work, or quicknotes during the commute. Figure out how to get to work without driving (if you drive now) so you can study during that time. Life will suck for you, but c’est la vie.

I’m taking off the week before the exam. Never did it before but I’m expecting major dividends. 90 hrs/week working+ 30/hrs/week studying? Something’s got to give. That leaves 48 hrs/week for sleeping, commuting, eating and hygiene. I’m with DirtyZ, you’ll be fine if you log 10-15 quality hours a week for the next 19 weeks, then take a week off and devote it to studying.

If you’re working 80-90 hours a week right now, I would suggest skipping the exam for 2008, getting a better job next year where you don’t have to work 80-90 hours a week, and then getting your CFA without sacrificing ~1% of the rest of your life (6 months) when it comes to friends, family and anything not work related. Assuming you’re not willing to do that, I would recommend studying 10 hours a week (~200 hours total) and hoping for the best. Telling your gf/wife that you’re doing nothing but work and study for 6 months is a great way to get brokenup/divorced. Also it means you’re wasting your life. Save time for the more important things, don’t let three letters after your name consume you. And for goodness sake stop working 90 hour weeks, whatever they pay for that is probably not enough for the toll it takes on your health and wellbeing. Plenty of good-paying jobs out there that “only” require you to work 60 hours or so.

Newsmaker - he’s a banker now and that’s the number of hours it requires to be a banker at the analyst/associate level. he’s probably not married but may have a gf…ya, you might lose them, but if they’re ‘your soulmate’ they will also understand and support you through the short period of 6 months. I’ve seen many women understanding of their others pursuits over short periods of time. I woudl suggest you don’t discourage him from working 90 hour or pursuing the CFA designation. You’re likely right he isn’t paid enough for the 90 hours (if you call $150k give or take not enough) but the skill sets he is learning means in future years he will work 50 hours weeks, including time on the golf course at a stupidly high pay rate (assuming he is a good banker and slowly works his way through the ranks). Delayed gratification is a wonderful thing. Yes, there are lots of things out there newsmaker that you percieve as more valuable, but that doesn’t mean for this individual he values the same things identicle to you - i would never unmovitvate the motivated.

thanks for the replies…good to see a variety of views on this. i’m not a banker, actually am an analyst (extremely junior) in a hedge fund. work in a distressed team focusing on structured credit, which is why the hours have been so long…there is a LOT to do in this space and our team did well last yr so we are expanding our focus for 2008. might have exaggerated the hours a bit (more like 70-90, with 70 being a nice week) but they are still pretty long, and more than i would like to be doing. i’m working those hours cos i’m new, and want to prove myself (feel lucky to have made the switch - promotion within firm from operations) and hopefully keep my analyst job. also cos i wanted to challenge myself after working in a job for a few yrs that didn’t stretch me intellectually. lots of other people in my firm going home a lot earlier than me - but being very junior in a hot sector is a recipe for long hours. i’ve thought about b-school, i’ve thought about how long i should be doing this for and whether i should pack it in and be a math teacher somewhere (long term this is the job i have in mind for my mid 30s and beyond…am 26 now). But its a good opportunity and i feel i should see where it takes me. have been learning a lot since i started. regarding CFA… I feel it would be a huge shame if i did 2/3 of the thing and then dropped it…esp cos after a few years off the motivation to pick up the books again would probably be that much harder. i do feel that it might be the “wrong” time to take the exam, as i’m trying to learn and prove myself in what is a very new role — but i’m sure there will always be some reason or another to put off the exam for another year. and if i do decide to take a job with less hours somewhere else in finance then the CFA will be a huge plus on my resume. regarding social life…i do have a gf who is pretty understanding - and dont mind putting social life on hold for a few months. i think there is a broader question many of us ask ourselves about work. is this worth it? (I have no idea what my new pay will be as i am on a june-june bonus cycle btw). if (after not too many year of working) you can find a job you like, that gives you some life outside of work, allows you to learn and pays you enough to live and be comfortable, then that should be enough. i dont think there is too much difference between the lives of someone earning $400k/year and $80k/year these days. maybe a bigger apartment and nicer holidays. but certainly not enough to compensate for working until you feel like a zombie and wasting the best years of your life. on the other hand…if it turns out that you can handle it and enjoy it for the most part - the work put in earlier in your career will probably pay dividends later on. I dont know whether that means 20+ years in finance for me. it might be too draining mentally and emotionally, or i might end up not really caring about the work. but I certainly want to see if thats something i can do, and whether it makes sense for me. i dont want to be looking back in 10 years and ask myself why i didn’t follow this through. as for the CFA…i’m going to see how it starts. ultimately the job is more important, so if i can’t do everything at once i might defer the exam to a year when the credit markets are not blowing up. and i can easily see myself doing a lot of work and still failing, which would be pretty much the same as deferring the exam. But if the first month of study goes well, and the new gym routine and lack of alcohol are giving me enough energy, then i’ll keep going. is anyone here living in NY? I’ve never been in a study group before but this might be a good time to start.

I am in NY and a junior EM debt analyst and also moved from operations and feel very grateful for the opportunity. I don’t work those hours though but that might change soon. I don’t know if a study groub would be in your best inteest because you have to use every minute of your time wisely. Don’t get me wrong, study groups are good but are usually not efficient and you have to know the material beforehand for it to be meaningful. All I am saying is that you could be covering new material instead of going to a study group…unless you need company when you read. To keep me on track I signed up for NYSSA class. That way I will not fall behind on the readings and cover all the material. I don’t know if you can carve out 3 hours every Tuesday night for that. But if you are thinking study group then I guess you can. We are in a similar situations (except for working hours) and if you’d like to get in touch my email is

thanks shark…i see your point on the study groups. probably not going to be enough time to make that worthwhile. i seem have enough time to post on AF all afternoon today so maybe i should just sneak my books onto my desk and have a quick read when no-one is looking :slight_smile: i think the key to this one is going to be time management. every hour counts!

shark…whats the view on EM debt for '08? The economist had eastern europe as a potential crisis area in its 2008 preview (current acc deficit problems). kazakhstani CDS, anyone?

Haha, good old Kaz… We are quite cautious on the first half of 08. Europe is a question mark, but we are more concerned with the US economy, beleive it or not. All this talk of de-coupling, doesn’t look like it’s gonna happen. There is still a great correlation in the markets and EM will be affected, obviously some more than others. PS - you always find time for AF. That’s a given.

been thinking the last couple of days and i’ve decided to postpone taking L3 for a year (at least). there’s just too much to learn in my job right now and the hours are too brutal to study as well. Levels 1 & 2 got me where i wanted to be (an analyst job) and there are a huge number of things i should really be learning in my job over the next 6 months. Level 3 will still be there for me when i decide to take up the fight again. Best of luck to everyone who is taking the exam in June Hope to see none of you on the L3 forum next Jan.