Who tries to help?

So who among the esteemed WC actually spends any time on the CFA discussion boards? More importantly, do you actually try to give any advice to the candidates still struggling under the weight of the exam?

See this thread for instance. http://www.analystforum.com/forums/cfa-forums/cfa-level-i-forum/91327690

This guy says that he can’t handle the anxiety of waiting for his Level 1 results. He has recurring nightmares about failing, and has resorted to popping pills to go to sleep. He says he can’t concentrate on anything during the day, and he’s asking for help.

I gave him my advice, which was to think long and hard about whether or not to continue, because it would only get worse at the later levels. And if he did continue, then he just had to suck it up and not be a crybaby.

My opinion was met with a lot of folks saying that I was “self-aggrandizing” and that I needed to “stop trolling the Level 1 forums”.

I guess my question is this–does anybody else have a similar experience with helping these ungrateful idiots out? Am I just wasting my time and breath? Maybe I should just quit trying to help them out and just chill with the WC folks.

(Interestingly enough, cut-and-paste seems to work at home on the Mac and at work on Google Chrome. But it still won’t work on IE. Just FYI.)

I used to, but the exams change every year, and my memory of the material details can fade over time.

It also can get a little tiring answering the same questions, week after week. It’s tiresome in the non-CFA forums as well, but at least there is less of a chance of providing information that leads to a wrong exam answer.

I sometimes log in with general advice in the weeks immediately preceding the exam, though.

I last attended a CFA exam more than 5 years ago. At best, I remember 5% of the material, which is the long run average for an average human being.

I’ve answered a question or two, but I probably don’t qualify as esteemed WC.

I wasn’t so much talking about answering curriculum questions.

I really meant, when somebody says “I’ve taken Level 1 four times and failed it every time because I can’t study and can’t retain the material. Do you think I should continue?”

I usually tell them (maybe not in these exact words), “No, you’re either too lazy to study or too stupid to retain it. You need to stop wasting your time.”

And when people hear that, they usually come back with some version of “Greenie, you’re an asshole for telling us that. We need motivation and kind words, not a rude jerk.”

All the while I’m trying to tell them, “I could give you motivation and kind words. We could hold hands around a campfire and sing happy flower-power songs from the 60’s, but that won’t detract from the fact that you’ve taken the easiest of the three tests four times and failed it. That must mean that you don’t have whatever it takes to get through the CFA exam. This is reality. Live with it.”

Maybe I should stop trying to tell these poor blokes to quit while they’re ahead. Any suggestions?

EDIT - FWIW, I agree with FT and BChad. I rarely try and answer curriculum questions. It changes too often and I probably don’t know the material well enough to really answer.

i like to berate candidates, make fun of their thoughts/opinions on the material. i think i provide a valuable service of weeding out the weak of the herd. the way i see it, if you don’t have enough self-confidence to believe in your ideas and block out negativity, then you don’t deserve the designation.

Someone in the Level I forum asked how, when he failed, he should interpret the bands (1 – 10).

I told him that the way to interpret them is that he failed.

Does that count?

^And that’s the kind of person who should NOT be taking the exam.

In the e-mail where they give you the band score, they tell you how to interpret it. Band 10 means you’re in the top 10%, Band 9 means you’re 80-90%, etc.

If a person is unable to understand that, then they are probably not going to survive the CFA exam, because they lack the ability to read and understand what they are reading. And if I tell them that, they tell me “I don’t need a sarcastic jerk. I need somebody to explain it to me!”

I think you guys should stop posting on those forums, you’re scaring the little ones.

I don’t go into the “level” forums, but do sometimes offer my thoughts/advice in the general discussion forum.

Well, if lots of people who sign up end up failing the exams, it reduces pressure on CFAI to raise our annual dues, so maybe we shouldn’t discourage people who are likely to fail for the a 5th time on Level I. So there’s that.

See: you’re exactly the sort of person who _ should be _ answering those questions. When I took the exams, they didn’t have those stupid bands (and they didn’t send e-mails, either); I wouldn’t have known that they told you, explicitly, how to interpret them. (I did infer it from the fact that there are 10 bands, but still . . . .)

Many of them interpret any response other than compassionate hand-holding to be sarcasm. Alas.

(Last Fall there was a candidate who asked a question – I don’t recall what it was, exactly – and kept arguing when I gave him the answer. His reasoning: I’m just some anonymous person on an internet forum. Sigh.)

I go over there twice a year about a week before test time to try to convince people they should stop studying and take it easy. At that point, giving your brain a break is more likely to help you than stressing out and cramming right up until the test.

Probably the best advice they get and sadly probably the advice they are least likely to follow.

^ I always took a few days off, completely. It coincides with our local CFA golf tournie and I remember all the Charterholders looking alarmed that I wasn’t hitting the books hard. I don’t think enough people appreciate the high value of having a rested mind and the low value of last minute cramming. Last three days consisted of golf and EA NHL on Xbox when I passed. The two times I tried to cram, I failed.

I think everyone is different. I did the exact opposite (I studied till midnight the day before, all the way up to when they wouldn’t let me have study materials anymore and I had to enter, and while at lunch.

I somewhat agree. I would study 8-10 hours a day that week, but took most of Friday off. And I didn’t study at all on Saturday before the exam.

I think that last final “push” helped a lot.

I have answered a few questions, whether or not people take me seriously is another question. :slight_smile:

I crammed the entire last week, including Saturday night. I’m not sure if it helped me remember any additional information while taking the exams, but it made me feel better so there has to be some value in that.

My big regret for levels 1 and 2 was not going out hard the night of the test. I just ended up passing out on the couch after a drink or two. After level 3, I drove up to Milwaukee for a bachelor party, though. That night was a lot of fun and a pretty good way to finish up my CFA studies.

This is what I like about the stackexchange format. Reduces the likelihood that people ask the same questions over and over again.