CFA CFA General I need advice on whether this is right for me…

I need advice on whether this is right for me…

  • This topic has 12 replies, 9 voices, and was last updated Aug-17 by fabian.
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    • matthewjf2
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      I took the exam on Saturday for L1 after failing it the first time (badly). I really struggled with it after months of preperation and practically giving up my life to do it. I second guessed about 80% of the questions on the paper, and pretty much had a nervous breakdown on the final week as I was overcome with fear and nerves =[

      The thing Is ever since a few bad results at University I have been unable to pass one single exam and I seem to suffer from extreme anxiety. For three nights streight before the exam I couldn’t sleep endlessly playing out potential scenarios about how I’m going to lose my job If I fail again and how its the end of the world. How I will never achieve the career I want and how I will never be good enough blah blah blah…

      It’s strange because up until the final week I was nailing the mocks, but again it seems some mental block just took over and a mountain of anxiety just killed me on the final week. The same thing happened last time but I just put it down to lack of preperation, but this time I acknowledge this is much deeper than that. It’s an actual phobia that I need to conquer.

      I really want the charter, and to be honest I can handle all the L1 topics in isolation was relative ease, but until I find some coping mechanisms for the anxiety theres no chance I will pass any test not just the CFA.

      Just as a benchmark I averaged over 70% on all Schweser mocks, and around 80% on the CFAI mock. In the exam hall I couldn’t recall anything and totally froze up…

      Is there any hope for me? 😛

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hi @matthewjf2 – thanks for sharing your story with us, I certainly can identify with that. It seems you’re acing it in the mocks as you said, when did this mental block took over? How did you find this exam, did you finish all questions on time?

      Just trying to get a better sense of the source of anxiety…

    • matthewjf2
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      Hi Sophie, thanks for your response. I will try and explain the events leading up to Saturday briefly, and the exam itself.

      I had two weeks off work. I started the mocks to my schedule one month in advance, and made sure to go through atleast 10-12 mocks twice over and was feeling confident about my scores. Everything was going to plan and I was getting 70-75’s consistently. I felt good and had a confident mindset at this stage. Things however took a turn for the worst on Wesnesday of the final week when my mood, behaviour and mindset completely changed. I started having problems sleeping and nightmares about failing and what would happen. I couldn’t bring myself to do anymore revision and started feeling depressed. I can’t explain why this happened I have no answers as to why this happened only questions. I progressively got worse every day onwards at that point.

      So now we arrive at Friday the night before the exam, ad my brain is going into some crazed overdrive where I am thinking at 1,000 mph about everything from random CFA formulas, potential scenarios of what I need to do If I fail, and I’m lying in bed tossing and turning trying to sleep – reading numerous blogs on my phone about how to sleep with anxiety, and eventually at 1am I get up and go on a 3 mile run to try and tire myself out so I sleep lol.

      I get to the exam and by this point my brain is exhausted, however I try and stay as focussed as possible given the circumstances. Time management wasn’t an issue, but for the life of me I couldn’t function normally. I felt physically and mentally drained and just couldn’t muster up any mental power to answer the questions properly, which meant I second guessed around 80-85% of the paper.

      Trust me guys and girls when I say I did the preparation. Two weeks before the exam I had all the topics nailed, could recite pretty much all the main formulas from memory, all the differences between IFRS and GAAP, and practiced all the “chug and plug” questions in the syllabus/Schweser books!
      Apologies for the TLDR description, but once the results come out on January 22nd and show that I fail again – I need to try and explain this to an employer why I can’t pass CFA Level 1 when all my graduate peers have…

      It makes me angry because I genuinely don’t find the material difficult. It’s basic economics, high school math type questions and easy bond and equity stuff. I should be absolutely nailing all of this tbh! ARRGGH!!!

      I’m going to see a GP later today, but yea any advice would be great.

      🙂

    • KOCMOHABT
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      Firstly, you don’t know yet if you failed…stay positive.

      Secondly, what you describe sounds a lot like a mental issue that needs treatment (by that I don’t mean killer medication). See if you can get a good therapist or counselor to see you through this.

      Lastly, there will always be things in your life you cannot master (flying to the moon)…such is the nature of life. What I really wanted to say is: You failed, so what? How does that impact your life? Not at all, even if you think it does. Ten years from now you won’t give a flying fuck. Do you have to earn the CFA charter? No, not at all. Remember, the goal of earning the CFA charter is having a braod knowledge about finance-related concepts. It is not about three letters, it is about knowledge. Since you seem to know the CBOK, except on exam day, perfectly well, you have everything it takes to excel in the field of finance. If you want you can just study the Level II and III curricula without taking the exams and your employer will surely notice your professionality.

    • edulima
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      Hi @matthewjf2, if you allow me, I’ll offer some ideas…

      First of all, I agree with @KOCMOHABT. The knowledge you have gained is what really counts… of course, it kind of sucks that that should give you the right to move on under the program. But life does play tricks with us, and even more important is to be healthy… Anyway…

      What you described sounds to me like a burnout. I’m not a doctor, but I’ve seen other people with burnout symptoms and your description matches very well what I’ve seen… You may have overdone it in terms of intensity… I agree with you that the material is not difficult; however, the exam is made difficult by making questions sound like more than one answer is plausible and that puts a lot of doubts into the mind of exam takers who are not in a “zen” type of spiritual state — which is definitely not the case when you are under a burnout. I’m sorry you had to go through this, and hope that you still did enough to pass it this time; whether it was a pass or not, this is something you really need to work on (probably better with a professional), since Levels 2 and 3 seem to only get worse.

      Best of luck to you, and I hope you find the answer that will make you happy…

    • matthewjf2
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      Well I spoke to the GP who was very helpful. She said she has seen this before when she was at med school, and will perscribe me meds (chill the f*** out drug) for the two weeks leading up to the next exam, and she also said If I fail I should sign up and re-take ASAP 😛

      Aparently it shouldn’t effect memory retention or cause drowsiness If taken in the correct dosage. So maybe I can try it out.

      I do want the charter, but for now I’m just going to chill over Christmas and stop thinking about it! 🙂

    • MockTurtle
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      @matthewjf2 Good to know that your GP can help. Self-doubt and fears can be quite hobbling and I really felt for you when I read your post. Do you have supportive colleagues, friends, family members who can be by your side in the final week before the exam, to give you encouragement and reinforce your confidence?

    • matthewjf2
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      OK so I got a Band 10 fail…..

    • Zee Tan
      Keymaster
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      @matthewjf2 sorry to hear that. You would have just missed it by a few questions – that’s always a shame.

    • matthewjf2
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      Indeed. I’m not sure what to do now. I might sign up for Dec 2014, but I need to relax for a few months before I can put myself through this hell again! x)

    • shreeneewas
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      @matthewjf2 why not for June 2014 ? One good thing about June exam is, you get 12 months for level 2

    • Jwa
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      @matthewjf2 – I echo @shreeneewas; at band 10 you will kill it in June. Best of luck.

    • fabian
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      I agree. It may be harder to pick up the pace for Dec 2014. But best of luck in either case!

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