Monday, December 05, 2005

CFA Test Recap

It's finally over with, well for now at least.
After I walked out of the testing center my mind literally felt numb and I really didn't know how I did on the test. Normally after a test I have at least a feeling about how I did, but not for this one.
I got there at 8am and I honestly can't remember the first half of the test. The entire test is 6 hours long split up into two sections. After the first part I felt so-so. Some of the parts I did well on, while other parts were a little cloudy.

We had a lunch break and then the second part started. I started off fairly well, then hit a few tough ethics questions, and then ran into the financial ratios/analysis part. I think I did really well in this part and I felt pretty confident. The last part of the test was okay, a few tricky fixed income questions.

I still don't know how well I did. I'm not sure if I passed or failed, but I do know that if I did fail then I can definitely pass in June.
If you're thinking about taking the test here are my tips

1. Don't do what I did and buy the books. It will take up too much of your time reading and finding the specific parts to read/take notes on. Buy the already made notes from one of the programs.
2. Take the ethics/GIPS (global standards) seriously. Read the entire ethics questions and especially the examples because a few of these were on the test. The GIPS section doesn't seem too bad, but the test had a bunch of questions on it! I was definitely surprised.
3. Buy one of those online packages. From what I'm hearing Schwesser is the best out there. They have notes and the toughest practice tests. If you study well and you're able to pass those exams, you should have no problem for the Level 1.
4. Realize that you do have to know the material, but the test won't cover everything. For instance in the test I took there were zero questions on t & z-stats parts.
5. Get your timing in control. Time rushes by and I barely finished the first section with about five minutes to spare, but you could tell others were not going to finish. I finished the second with about 20 minutes to go, but time flies by!
6. The make up of the test will correspond by section. The first 20 or so questions are on ethics, then quant, then econ, and it continues in the order of the study guide.

Results come out at the end of January...


Chad Smith, CFP® said...

I feel your pain. I took the CFP exam in November and found out how humbled I could be. This test is divided into 3 sections over two days. Four hours on Friday and 2 three hour sessions on Sat. I am crossing my fingers. Find out the results late December.

Chrees said...

Congrats on finishing, and hopefully passing. Sounds like you probably did well--let us know. With having taken the CPA and CMA exams, I think your tips are spot on, particularly the practice tests and keeping track of time.

Anonymous said...

As someone who is on Level 3 of the CFA, my comments will always be: buy the books & some study guides. It is a lot more work to read through all of the required readings, but in my opinion the study guides are way to simplified. They are good as a review and when you don't completely understand something in the text book, but do not rely on them only!!! (But they do give better review questions, and that alone is a reason to buy them).

But congrats on writing Level 1. Hope you pass :)