Photo: YouTube/In Betweeners
6 years ago, I signed up for my CFA Level I as a sprightly, wide-eyed innocent.I wish at the time I had someone who’d gone through everything to point out the potholes of the journey I’m on. For example, warning me about the difficulty of Level II would have saved me a lot of trouble!
Here are 20 things I didn’t know before I went through the CFA exams. Some are funny and inconsequential, some are serious and important to know.
- It’s tough as nails. Yeah, OK, I know, it’s generally known that it’s tough. But I didn’t know that it’s never-seen-before-and-by-the-way-you-could-definitely-fail tough.
- That I’d have no weekends for the 6 months preceding every exam. That’s at least 18 months of no weekends, or 153 holidays’ worth of time. Gone.
- That people will start saying silly crap to me like ‘oh, you’ll be fine’ that will bug the hell out of me.
- I will be familiar with cafes nearby my home, all populated with similarly haggard professional-types probably also studying for the CFA exams.
- I will develop a sudden paranoia of calculators running out of batteries, even though that has never happened to anyone I’ve heard of.
- That the low CFA passing rate does NOT include people who didn’t show up.
- That I would not have the willpower to study on weekdays. The combination of the long day at work plus CFA is just a bit too much for me personally.
- That the CFA Institute material is dry as hell. Disclaimer: I find it much better now, but it was very difficult to digest when I was taking it as a candidate.
- That the key is to practice the hell out of the mock & practice exams. And that the CFA Institute includes a free mock for each candidate, and it’s one of the best resources at your disposal. Yeah, I didn’t know that until Level II.
- That it’s not necessarily a silver bullet for my dreams of career world domination. It helps, but it’s definitely not the answer to everything as many candidates think/hope it would be.