CFA CFA General Writing at the Excel Centre (London)? Plan to stay for dinner.

Writing at the Excel Centre (London)? Plan to stay for dinner.

  • This topic has 33 replies, 8 voices, and was last updated Mar-17 by Zee Tan.
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    • Marc
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      I sat Level 2 in London in 2008, so please forgive me if things have changed, but I wish that someone had told me this beforehand.

      As is the case in many cities, London’s CFA exam is sat in a facility that is roughly the size of Belgium. In London the venue is the Excel Centre, which is not the most convenient location. As such, most candidates commute via the DLR. This is not so bad in the morning as arrivals tend to be staggered. However, everyone finishes the exam at the same time and wants to leave immediately. The result is a crush of humanity and it’s not pretty.

      Do yourself a favour and plan to stay for dinner, or at least until the crowds thin our.

    • Zee Tan
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      @marc I circumvented this in my first year by taking the train in the OPPOSITE direction (away from London, to which there was no queue), stopping in the next station, then getting back on in the right direction. Worked a charm.

      I think in the subsequent years other candidates caught on though. So yeah, I’d advise to plan to stay for dinner too.

    • Marc
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      @zee

      Why didn’t I think of that?

      On the subject of my mistaken post. Feel free to delete it.

    • Sarah
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      @Marc the Dec 2012 exam was at the Toronto Congress centre and getting in was madness. People who were being dropped of in the morning walked the last kilometers or so because the traffic jam was that bad. I shutters at the thought of the pandemonium that broke out when the exam was over and people left all at once.

    • christine
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      People who were being dropped of in the morning walked the last kilometers or so because the traffic jam was that bad.

      That happens in London too. How many test centres does Canada have?

    • Sarah
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      @Christine I just counted. Across Canada there seems to be 15 test centers.

    • Marc
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      @Diya

      The June exam is at the Direct Energy Centre, right?

    • Sarah
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      @Marc I know it was last year and I don’t see any reason for them to change but the location hasn’t been officially released yet.

    • Zee Tan
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      At least that’s better distributed then! I think London is the only one for the UK…

    • Sarah
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      @Zee I think they have to do multiple centre simply due to geography. I think Vancouver candidates would be very annoyed if they’d have to come to Toronto.

    • Marc
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      @diya,


      @zee
      is right, London is the only place in the UK where you can sit the CFA exam (or at least it was when I wrote it there), which is INSANE.

      Sure, Canada is massive and it would be unfair to make people travel 4 time zones for a one-day exam.

      But it absolutely boggles my mind that London was the only test centre for the entire UK.

    • Sophie Macon
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      @zee

      Why didn’t I think of that?

      I know what you mean @marc, I said the same thing… :-<

    • Zee Tan
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      @zee

      Why didn’t I think of that?


      @marc
      you’d just had a 6 hour exam – I don’t blame ya!

    • hairyfairy
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      Anyone here knows how the crowd is going to be like in joburg?

    • Sophie Macon
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      I learned by lesson in Level 2 and organised cab-sharing, hence went home early in a taxi in style to celebrate!

    • Snippy
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      London is the only exam centre in the UK?! Whoa.

    • Sophie Macon
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      Indeed @sidmenon. God knows why.

    • Snippy
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      That is quite insane! I can only imagine the venue being filled with uncountable CFA candidates. I’d probably come the previous night and leave the morning after the exam if it was me!

    • Sophie Macon
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      Yea, hotels nearby tend to be fully booked for the day before. You should see the June exams, 3 levels worth of candidates in the UK, quite intimidating. That’s why @zee probably came up with so many tips on exam day. Buying food, going to the loo, transport etc is all a nightmare for that day.

    • Snippy
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      I must say I have it way easier here!

    • MattyJ
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      Yea, hotels nearby tend to be fully booked for the day before. You should see the June exams, 3 levels worth of candidates in the UK, quite intimidating. That’s why @zee probably came up with so many tips on exam day. Buying food, going to the loo, transport etc is all a nightmare for that day.

      I’ve already booked my hotel for the Friday night…the Ibis opposite the front door of the Exec center 🙂 should make the morning a little less stressful, just need to organise flights from Guernsey now.

      I can’t really comment on train queues, both years I went straight to the nearest bar and got trollied…by the time I came out there were no queues!


      @Marc
      are you taking at Excel this year too?

    • christine
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      @MattJuniper I remember that Ibis hotel! Right outside the center.

    • MattyJ
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      @MattJuniper I remember that Ibis hotel! Right outside the center.


      @Christine
      Yup! I could literally crawl there on my hands and knees!

    • christine
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      Scary. I haven’t actually stayed around the place after the exams. Does it get rowdy?

    • MattyJ
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      Not really, most of the immediate bars are full though. I’ve always gone to the Hotel Ibis bar as it has an outside terrace overlooking the river. It’s always been busy but we’ve always managed to get a table.

    • christine
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      I bet all the bars look forward to these 2 exam days every year.

    • Snippy
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      Maybe we should set up 300H bars near centres all over the world!

    • Zee Tan
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      Maybe we should set up 300H bars near centres all over the world!

      Where you get free beer when you can still correctly answer CFA questions because you’re still not drunk enough.

    • Marc
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      When I wrote Level 2 in 2008, I was feeling pretty confident after (but mostly just relieved to have the exam done). After enduring the crush of humanity on the DLR, I stopped at a shop near London Bridge station and bought a celebratory tin of Stella, which I drank as I walked back to my flat near Liverpool Street station. It was a nice evening and my wife and I felt like walking (yes, my wife came with me and waited all day while I wrote the exam), but interestingly, this was about 3 weeks after BoJo banned drinking on the Tube.

      Anyway, neither I nor anyone else in North America will be celebrating in such a manner on the evening of June 1st. Drinking alcohol whilst walking along a public street? Not for us Puritans.

    • Sophie Macon
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      @marc, your wife’s a keeper! 😉

      BoJo – I love that guy, his floppy hair and posh accent makes me laugh.

      Here in UK and Europe, we drink at a different level :))

    • Zee Tan
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      @marc the night before the BoJoBan went into effect was a messy one in the Underground…

    • Marc
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      I remember watching “coverage” of the ban on the “Daily Show”. Jon Stewart reported that London’s new Mayor had outlawed the “curiously not already illegal” practice of drinking alcohol on public transit.

    • Zee Tan
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      @marc I didn’t know Jon Stewart covered that!

      (Quick, to the YouTubes…)

    • Zee Tan
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      Bah, can’t find it… 🙁

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