Tips for Level 1 candidates (add on)

Hey guys, I passed level 1 (second try) in June 2009 and wanted to post some advice/tips for you guys. 1) You want to pick up easy points? GUN DOWN GIPS! You’re going to get at LEAST 3-4 questions on it, and they’re extremely straight forward, don’t miss out there. 2) If you’re struggling with regression analysis from Quants, don’t sweat it, you’re only going to get 1-2 questions regarding the z/t/chi tests etc. 3) Economics is tricky, and most of you already know that. I found doing ALL the qbank questions for economics is really helpful, trust me. Just reading the text is NOT enough. 4) During your lunch break, if you didn’t get stuff you expected in the AM, you’re likely to get that in the PM, so focus your attention on that during your break. 5) READ the question carefully (I made a silly mistake by not reading the bold statement for FSA which said to assume IFRS instead of US GAAP). 6) You have a ton of time, I don’t know anyone who could not finish in time. If you’re stuck, move to the next question, and come back once you’re done. 7) CFA doesn’t try to trick you, if you know the calculations for basic questions and know the theory, you’ll most likely hit the right answer. Don’t overthink things through, keep it simple. 8) I bombed Fixed Income the first time, but nailed it the second time. What I did? Read the schweser text and did questions. You’ll find that doing more and more questions builds your confidence 9) don’t worry if you’re not hitting the 70% in your practice tests just yet, it’s a learning experience for all of you, learn from your mistakes and pick yourself up for the next time you come across a similar question. 10) DO THE SCHWESER practice exams under exam conditions and go through the answers at the end carefully. I found the actual exam easier than Schweser’s practice exam, but it’s relative for each person. 11) There are a lot of easy questions to score points on, don’t miss out on them because you were careless (quickly answering the question before even reading it fully). 12) Shuffle through the level 1 forum, that’s how I learnt a lot of my stuff. I’m sure all the veterans will share the same experience with you. That’s it for now, will add in the coming days. Goodluck to you all!

I passed in June as well, on my first attempt. I was lucky enough to have friends who wrote the test previously, so I didn’t underestimate it. 13). Spend enough time on the easy topics (like TVM). TVM and DDM questions are very common, and are very easy with a little practice. If you can guarantee the easy points, you’re in good shape, even if you’re not the best at the harder stuff. 14). If you’re studying a section and just don’t get it, make a note and move on. Make sure you keep moving at a good pace to keep up your momentum, and you’ll be surprised how much better you’ll do with that section when you go back to it. 15). Read the LOS’. You’d be surprised how much of the quant section you’re not required to calculate. 16). Get a strong knowledge of AS/AD in Economics, as you can comprehend the other parts easier if you know that. 17). Real Estate and Venture Capital are the majority of the Alt. Investment questions I found. Don’t get too bogged down when this section; it’s a lot to memorize for only 5%. 18). Take a day off now and then if you need to. It is possible to burnout studying so much, and just remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. 19). Know you’re calculator functions inside and out. It can be a great timesaver. 20). Ask questions on here if something isn’t making sense. This forum is a great resource. Good luck!

Esco1. I was wondering where you were… Well done on the pass.

Cheers Soddy, been quite busy lately. How did you do?

Yeah I got through also. I’m going to start reading the L2 stuff in a few weeks.

i have a question for this section. I was wondering what the best way to study is? DO you guys make notes? read the material over and over, for the theory i mean. What would be the best way to tackle all the theory? obviously the technical, i would assume is just practice, doing the problems over and over. Any help is welcome, cheers in advance!

  1. Don’t discuss the exam prior to, during lunch, or even after the exam. You’ll wind up talking to someone who has a differing opinion than yours and you’ll likely second guess yourself. You don’t need the pressure. 22. Many people finish early. If you use this forum to your advantage, then it’s likely that you may be better prepared than the “average joe” and you’ll finish with plenty of time. Go back through all questions. You’ll be surprised that you may find a few where you just read a word wrong in the question and would have missed it. 23. Answer as many questions as possible during your studying. Qbank is a great tool and is well worth the money. I highly recommend it.

Haven’t takent L1 yet, but this was very helpful for me already. Speaking from recent experience suggestions (2) and (14) above are big. I was beginning to get a little worried about time it would take to get through the subject matters as I got to QUANTS and the I was allowing the latter half of it QUANTS (z-scores, t-distributions, etc.) take entirely too much time (falling a week and a half behind my original plan) for me to get comfortable with the material. This Post helped me pull out of the mud and look again at the broader picture. I moved on and I’ve found ECON and the first part of FRA are being absorbed at a much faster clip (I’ve almost caught back up to my original study plan). DO NOT get bogged down if this is your first pass. I’ll come back to QUANTS again after I’ve gotten through the entire curriculum once: Although, like other subjects, I will likely brush over my QUANT notes/Secret Sauce/FC at least once a week just to keep material/concepts familiar, but w/o trying to clear everything up that I don’t understand well yet. Back to the war room for a couple of hours before I have to get in to the office to get some work done. Good Luck Everyone!!

  1. You’re on track to hammer this exam if you feel unprepared after putting countless of hours. Irony, but true. Words of wisdom may provide moral support, emotionally and physically you’re on your own. Remember the toughest barrier in Level 1 is, yourself, not the curriculum.

esco 1 & sbmarti2, great advice, cheers!

  1. Fill all the right ovals in the OMR sheet
  1. Over-estimate your abilities but under-estimate your preparation. And you will do well in the exam.
  1. This is a bit trivial, but go to the bathroom at least once during the test (if you aren’t behind) to give yourself a very quick break. It worked wonders for me since it was a long walk back and forth and it helped me to relax. 28. Bring a ton of sharpened pencils. People will think it’s funny but somehow it makes you feel like you are bringing some extra guns to the party. 29. Don’t change your eating or drinking routine – eat the same breakfast and don’t overdo the caffeine. 30. Don’t bother trying to memorize any questions to discuss on this forum later. I can’t imagine having spent time worrying about whether I could solve a question later on if I had more time or more materials. If I had no educated guess (there were 3-4 of these) I just filled in “B” and moved on. 31. Don’t try and “conquer” any question at the expense of time management. I made this mistake on the GMAT years ago. Spending too much time to get the question right (yay) but wasting time (boo) better spent on other questions. 32. Don’t take any of this advice too seriously. I didn’t join this forum until after passing Level I so your own common sense will be a good guide.
  1. COMPLETE the practice exam books (1 & 2) Book 2 from experience is relatively more difficult than book 1, but good practice. My confidence grew during the exam when I found the exam to be slightly easier than schweser’s practice exams.
  1. Don’t spend days on learning derivatives/A.I. It only accounts for…8%? Your time is better spent on FSA & Ethics. If you’re struggling on the payoff diagrams for a covered call, protective put, don’t worry! You’re only going to get MAX 2 questions on those. 35) Remember, the exam is NOT all calculations, it’s 60% theory and 40% calculations. You can only perform your caluclations if you know the theory behind it, keep on reading 36) Starting November it’s all about questions and ONLY questions. This is to set your groove (time yourself under exam conditions). If you’re hitting 60+ you’re in a good position. The key here is to LEARN from your mistakes. Keep pushing on guys, you’re almost there!

Thats awesome dude

This is a great refresher at this crunch time. In FSA terms…these are some intangible assets which we need to spend time on…doesn’t exist physically but adds value to your Balance Sheet. Great posts guys…

Don’t worry if you’re not passing any of the practice or mock exams. I failed every practice and mock, the only thing I passed was the real test on my first try. Two things that helped me: 1)Do as many EOC questions as possible, over and over until you understand fully. 2)While doing the practice and mocks keep a notebook and write down any questions you don’t understand. Go back later and rework those questions until you understand.

pgh - what do you mean by EOC questions

EOC = End of Chapter, all of the questions in the CFA books