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Post CFA® Exam Blog Update

June 8th, 2014
CFA Books I gave away

Yesterday I wrote the CFA Level 2 exam. I doubt I passed. I read all the readings. I went to all the prep classes. I sat three ‘official’ practice exams. I took a week off work prior to the exam. I gave up a lot the last six months: blogging, video games, television, reading novels, etc. etc.

Of course optimists kept telling me I could pass, but I wrote multiple practice exams my scores weren’t good enough. They don’t reveal what a “good enough” score is and it changes every year, but basically you have to be in the upper percentiles in the whole world. I passed the Level 1 exam several years back and after that I was just burnt out. Most people quit the CFA program after failing, me I quit after passing. I didn’t officially quit, but I did not officially resume my candidacy for two years which probably ensured I had to write the CFA Level 2 exam at least twice. It ended up taking four attempts before I passed the CFA Level 2 exam. It only took me one attempt to pass the third and final CFA Exam.

The weightings for Level 2 I did not focus on, but they are different than Level 1 and they vary. You’re not allowed to talk about what was tested on the exam, especially not online or in the pub next to the exam centre, but people do. Hypothetically you can have between 6-12 questions on Economics for instance. Economics is a big field, people complete entire degrees in Economics. The curriculum devotes an entire book in Level 1 to Economics, but on the day of the CFA Level 2 exam it could be six multiple choice questions that determine your fate.

So hypothetically you could ask me the ‘right’ six Economics questions and let’s say I get five correct, that is probably “good enough”. But it is also very possible, you could ask me six CFA Level 2 Economics questions and I could get a lot fewer correct. Maybe I “knew” the answer. Maybe I had the answer on a flash card in my bag. Maybe I did a practice problem just like this two days ago. Doesn’t matter, all that matters is which circle did I fill in on Saturday. After five hours, maybe you’re in a hurry, maybe you misread the question, maybe you accidentally divided when you should have multiplied or lost a decimal point. There are lots of ways to get a question wrong.

So even though I studied in excess of 300 hours, I still think I do not know some of the material well enough, and I don’t have the faith or the confidence or even the optimism of some CFA Candidates. I did learn a lot. I enjoyed my first attempt at Level 2 much more than my time as a CFA Level 1 Candidate. I think I can pass given even just two more weeks to review some key topics, especially two weeks stress free, no work, no other worries… I hope the curriculum doesn’t change too much over the next year, now I move on to full vacation mode and then full job search mode, as once again I need a new job.

I completed my final contract which strategically I had negotiated the end of, exactly one week before the CFA Level 2 exam. I was not able to secure another job starting when I get back from my trip to China. However, now that the CFA exam is out of the way for a couple months I’ll update this blog, read some novels, play some games, try to enjoy life for a change, but then I will have to study the curriculum again pass or fail, and this time I will start studying more than six months before the exam and I will give more emphasis to certain heavily weighted topics, especially heavily weighted topics that I am not good at.

Apparently there will be a party, just before exam score release day, but I’m not even sure I’ll still be in Vancouver then. I’m still open to relocation, but I have been focussing most of my job search efforts on Vancouver, but this afternoon/evening I’ll definitely be applying to more jobs, but first the gym, then Italian Day on the Drive.

Being a a CFA Candidate is hard. Being a CFA Candidate who blogs is harder. I don’t recommend it. I also don’t recommend downloading content from a CFA Candidate’s website, uploading it to another website and then claiming copyright of the Excel files, something Abhishek Chaudhary decided to do. This seems to be a clear violation of Standard I(C) Misrepresentation, don’t be like Abhishek Chaudhary. Don’t be like me either spend your time studying, not blogging.


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