Worth it to spend time on really hard, not heavily weighted topics?

This is for people who are retakers, I could really use your input. There are some topics that are really hard for me to grasp fully and take me forever to get through. I just spent 4 hours doing the EOC problems for reading 60: Forward markets and contracts. Another Example is the Treynor Black model reading. The actual exam might have a total of 15% devoted to alternative investment and portfolio management combined. So how much time should i spend killing myself on these topics that are insanley difficult for me and which I am likely to screw up on gameday anyway. I’m really good at FSA, Equity, Quant, and Fixed Income, which is prob around 65-70% of the exam right there. Should I focus on mastering those topics that I’m good at forwards and backwards and then just make sure I understand portfolio management and alt inv conceptually?

I let someone else answer your questions, BUT If you have any questions on forwards feel free to email me, ayt05@live.com I spent like a 100 hours on that topic, cause I loved it… I think at least with forwards, yes it is worth it because it really is an EASY topic… All you gota do is slow down and see that all the formulas are doing the exact same thing with a different asset, sometimes with continious rates, sometimes with discrete… I can answer any question in forwards, swaps, futures without knowing any formulas…It all boils down to arbitrage logic…

Interesting; I remember reading one retakers comments from a couple years ago that mentioned that an entire problem set was Treynir black. I’m a retaker, and I’m confident some things will be on there, and guessing there will be a couple things this year that weren’t there last year. In other words, I’m going to try and learn Treynor Black.

^ It’s never a good idea in general to try to guess what will on the test based on what people say or what has happened. Everything is fair game. If they wanted to ask one of the difficult accounting formulas and include it 5 times in the same exam (this has happened), they will. You could literally blow 4.2% of the exam right there, because you didn’t memorize one formula buried at the end of some small section which took up 1/4 of a page.

sometimes you just need to go back to the beginning CFAI explanation and read it line by line. dont move onto the next sentance unless you full understand the ones before.

I see what you’re saying, but there is so much material its hard to go line by line sometimes. I’ve already spent about 50hrs doing just EOC questions and I’m only about 70% of the way through those. I also spent about 120 hrs reading from the CFAI, so I figure in about two weeks, I’ll be up to about 190hrs total, and this is before I even get to the REAL work, which is drilling formulas until my hand goes numb,doing practice questions until I lose the ability to speak to others, and then working on mock exams and rereading parts of the Curriculum until it is ingrained into my brain. This is what worked for Level 1, hope it will work again.

In my opinion, it is not advisable to skip anything. The unrest that it causes during and before the exam day is just not worth it. I will know everything well and somethings insanely well. My advise would be to just forget which section accounts for how much.

^ good advice. The reality is that maybe 30% of the material will be tested. Based on this assumption, if you know 90% and are extremely unlucky (like me) you will fail with a score of 67% while the law of large numbers would indicate that some lucky SOB will probably pass the exam knowing ~ 21% of the material. Don’t let luck into the equation, know everything.

^ yes thats what scares the crap out of me I think they should make the CFA 6 Levels but keep the same size of material (lower the exam fees) So that they can test more out of the material and take the luck out of it.

Hahaha no one would ever get the CFA if it was 6 levels long. Even three levels is torture.

yeah, or perhaps just hold the exams 2 or 4 times a year so people don’t want to kills themselves after failing…

@SFA I think u are absolutely right about holding the exams more than once a year.this is just an abuse I believe on the part of the cfa institute. If the exam were held every 4 months for example or even just twice a year it would be possible to continue studying after you take the exam and just try again in a few months,retaining everything u learned before and mastering the material…but with a year in between u forget half the stuff or more and have to relearn it…There is no way an exam is sorth giving up one’s life over which is exactly what I’m doing right now…I live and breathe cfa,every waking hour, and even ream about that shit…thetas why I’m giving it 200%,because I will most likely not b back if I fail, we only have about 50 springs left to enjoy in our life and I think giving up one per exam is more than enough. I just wish people would stand up for their righs and stop following the cfa like sheep. The cfai should not be allowed to mess with peoples lives like that. Before anyone says that noone is forcing me to do this,I agree,I’m doing out because I want to,but that doesn’t mean that I’m willing to give up 4 or 5 years of my life for some letters next to my name. For me ,unless the cfa goes the way of level 1and starts giving level 2 twice. Year, its gonna be 2.5 years or I’m out! I got better things to do with my time, like go to business school, or start a business.

“stand up for your rights” made me lol. I’m taking these exams to learn and understand the material, nothing in my work or personal life hinges on a pass. I’ve taken actuarial exams, and they took seven years of my life, but I only look back with a sense of accomplishment. If these exams were super easy and didn’t take time to get a pass, the designation would be of little value. They are a test of dedication as much as a test of ability. If you dont pass, it means >60% of the people in the room did better than you did. That’s not the CFAs fault.

SeesFA Wrote: > If you dont pass, it means >60% of the people in > the room did better than you did. That’s not the > CFAs fault. Why do you think it’s >60% ? What’s the pass rate, on an average, for L2?

Ig, I probably overstated there in my estimate. The average pass rate for Level II has been mostly between 40% and 50%; although i think it was 39% last year. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chartered_Financial_Analyst http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-07-26/cfa-institute-pass-rate-for-level-2-exam-falls-to-39-.html If you failed by a point, then only 40% did better. If you were in the middle of the fail pack, then 70% did better. It’s not published but they “say” you need around a 60-65% to pass, and a 70% for a sure thing; those seem like reasonable figures given the content, and the fact that it’s multiple choice.

Ohh, I see. Makes sense when you take different bands into account.

@ SeesFA Can you tell me about the actuary exams…I hear the are much more difficulty than the CFA…I would like to take them next… Are they rewarding for a career? Would one need a math background to do them; because I know a lot of people who take them come from a math background… Just anything you can share would be great.

SeesFA, how would you compare the actuarial exams to L2? I’ve heard a few actuaries claim that L2 was a cakewalk, which it may have been to them. I’m talking off the top of my head, but historically the actual passing score/MPS for L2 has probably always been between a 65 and 70. I think only recently the MPS has approached the 70% threshold as more and more candidates are taking the exam and pushing the bell curve to the right. The CFAI invests quite a bit of time to ensure that the exam is fair in their eyes and that a majority of the subject material is tested. I ran out of time studying last year and chose to skip over the PE reading in AI. I knew RE, Commodities, HFs, etc… pretty well and as my luck would have it there was a big fat PE vignette on the exam that I definitely bombed.

I just don’t see the logic of holding the exam once a year… The argument that infrequent exams help to retain the ‘value’ of the designation is complete BS. In fact I would argue it has the opposite effect as it introduces considerable luck into the pass/fail equation. The only effective means available to protect the ‘value’ of the designation would be to up the minimum passing score (i.e. lower the pass rate). Would be interesting to see how candidates on the one hand and CFAI on the other would respond to the idea of having more frequent exams that are more difficult to pass. Perhaps this could be a win win?

I agree, I would be totally fine, if they upped the passing score a bit to lets say 75%, if the exams were held 3 times a year. I could definately get 75% if I were given a chance to retake the exam 3 months after taking it initially. But to make people wait a year, forget 50% and start all over is ridiclous. Ofcourse one could just keep studying throught the entire year to retain the material, but try doing that and not going insane. As far as I know, the actuary exams are held mutiple times a year. Yes they are harder, but in a completely different way. The are probably not that much harder for the small subset of the population that decides to take them, because those people usually come from strong math backgrounds. The CFA is nothing like actuary exams. For the CFA, IF YOU CAN MEMORIZE AND REGURGITATE 3000 PAGES, YOU WILL PASS, END OF STORY.