It is becoming very clear that I need help to better understand what I’m doing wrong and why I’m not able to pass the exam. This post might end being a bit too long. My apologies in advance.
This was my third time writing the exam. Once again, I was ranked Band 2 (all three times). The results sound ridiculous to me too since I could tell you that I already know the Schweser notes by heart. This is how I prepared with some variations each year and what my strategy was for the exam and also what I did during the last exam.
Started studying for the exam around the end of December by constantly reviewing the Schweser notes (did not review/read) Ethics until the end of April). In between, I was also doing some of the CFAI end of chapter and the blue boxes questions in the chapter for all of the different books. I might have read all Schweser notes more than 3 three times each and I believed that I have a very good understanding of all concepts (if you look at my results that might not sounds correct). To better understand how I was doing, I also did many, many Schweser Q bank questions and at the end, my averages was in the high 70s for all of the topics. Around mid-April, I focused on the end of chapter and blue box questions. Spent some time reviewing the Schweser notes but mostly focused on the areas that I did not understand that well (taxation eg.). Around the first week of May, I did my first morning exam mock exam, and I was not able to finish all of the sections on time although, I believed that most of my answers were correct. Lesson learned, I decided to write more concise answers by timing myself (at least this was the idea). From the answers of the mock exam, my understanding was that the answers did not need to be long at all but just to the point? Some of them required just once sentence?. Anyhow, I continued studying and reviewing all the Schweser notes and some of the CFA books (reading some of the chapters this time, just selected portions). Give me option calculations, SWAPs, you name them, I can calculate them (at least before the exam or in a non-exam environment).
Luckily, I was able to take the two weeks before the exam off. The first week, I spent reviewing the Schweser notes (all 5 books), constantly doing end-of-chapter and blue box questions. It is good to mention that I did another mock exam and all of the actual morning exams since 2011. It is important to point out that I finished only the 2012 exam on time and according to my marking of the exam, I did fairly okey for that exam and for the rest of the exam (buy marking myself could be subjective…). The second week, I continued with the review off all Schweser notes, end of chapter questions of the CFAI books and doing Ethics questions. Overall, I studied almost every single day since the beginning of January, weekends, nights, morning. It would be impossible to tell you how many hours I have spent studying for the exam. A lot would be the correct answer.
I did not do any Schweser pratcies exams this year, or in previous years.
The night before the exam date, I might have had around 5-6 hours of sleep but I would not be able to tell at this point.
For the morning portion of the exam, I started with the last two questions first and I thought that I was able to answer them very well (not the case base on the exam results). Then, I tried the first questions and I worked my way through the rest of questions. I run out of time by question 8-9, and I had to write something for question 8 and 9. Based on my exam results, the outcome from those two questions would not have irrelevant given the poor results from the rest of the questions. In previous years, I was able to finish on time but with the same poor results.
The afternoon session, I found the questions very fair and I thought that I did just fine (although, I was tired and dehydrated, I think).The only exception was Ethics which is always a gamble ( you know why). In 2014, I did very poorly in the afternoon session but in 2013 I did very well (I could post my results if somebody is willing to analyze them).
My big question is what am I doing wrong? How did you study for the exam (especially, the people who were able to pass it on the first try). Thank you very much for your feedback in advance. Please find my exam results below:
1 Portfolio Management - Institutional 14 * - -
2 Portfolio Management - Institutional 17 - * -
3 Fixed Income Investments 19 * - -
4 Alternative Investments 20 * - -
5 Portfolio Management - Performance Eval.15 * - -
6 Portfolio Management - Risk Management 14 * - -
7 Portfolio Management - Individual 18 * - -
8 Portfolio Management - Individual 16 * - -
9 Portfolio Management - Asset Allocation 15 * - -
10 Economics 14 * - -
11 Portfolio Management - Indiv/Behavioral 18 * - -
Economics 18 - - *
Equity Investments 18 * - -
Ethical & Professional Standards 36 - * -
Fixed Income Investments 18 - * -
Portfolio Management 18 * - -
Portfolio Management - Individual 18 - - *
Portfolio Management - Monitor&Rebalan 18 * - -
Portfolio Management - Risk Management 36 - - *
Your score band: 2