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Post CFA® Exam Blog Update

June 8th, 2014
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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.

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 a 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 Level 2 much more than Level 1. 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, which is most of them.

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.

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