CFA CFA General You passed Level 1. What do you wish you knew?

You passed Level 1. What do you wish you knew?

  • This topic has 32 replies, 11 voices, and was last updated Jun-17 by Zee Tan.
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  • lulu123
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    As someone who passed Level 1, what do you wish someone had told you prior to going for the exam?

    As in, what advice/tip(s) do you have for those going for it this June?

    christine
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    Hi @lulu123

    Not sure if you read our blog, but there is a ton of advice there especially for Level I. Best to start from our 10 Commandments!

    lulu123
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    @christine yes I did read those. However, I find those commandments to be too general and generic as tips. Obviously important but stuff that I could have come up with myself haha

    Therefore, I was asking whether some people who went through the exam already, whether they had tips given their impressions

    christine
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    @lulu123 I disagree. The 10 Commandments are exactly what every candidate should know, but not many candidates realise this (or only realise its importance of each individual rule after the exams). The 10 Commandments are put together by charterholders so we have been through the exams 🙂

    For example:

    Starting early. Plenty of candidates make the mistake of leaving their studies till too late as the (wrongly) assume they might be able to compensate with their work or educational background.

    Practice exams. This exam, especially Level I, is a function of how well you practice, and that itself is a function of how many practice exams you get through before the exam.

    Time. At 120 questions in 180-minute sessions, there is a serious time threat here. It applies to some candidates, it doesn’t to others. But you need to make sure, or else it will catch you unawares during exam day.

    If you’re looking for things like topics to focus on etc, the only reliable source is the CFA topic weightings, which by level are:

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Topic Area Level I Level II Level III
    Ethical and Professional Standards (total) 15 10 10
    Investment Tools (total) 50 30-60 0
    Corporate Finance 8 5-15 0
    Economics* 10 5-10 0
    Financial Reporting and Analysis 20 15-25 0
    Quantitative Methods 12 5-10 0
    Asset Classes (total) 30 35-75 35-45
    Alternative Investments 3 5-15 5-15
    Derivatives 5 5-15 5-15
    Equity Investments 10 20-30 5-15
    Fixed Income 12 5-15 10-20
    Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning (total) 5 5-15 45-55
    Total 100 100 100

    Hope that helps!

    MattyJ
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    4 points from me (which kinda go hand-in-hand with the commandments anyway):

    1) I wish I had started practice exams earlier.
    2) I wish I had learnt more formulas off by heart.
    3) I wish I had finished reading the Schweser notes earlier.
    4) I wish I had anticipated just how hectic/chaotic/rushed the exam day was going to be. Even things like going to the toilet take much longer than you would expect, as for everything you need to do there are thousands of other candidates all looking to do the same thing at the same time!

    Obviously these relate to me. Others will feel different.

    christine
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    +1 on the toilet thing. I found it much easier to go DURING the exam rather than in between sessions because there is a crazy-long line in between exams, but no line when the exam is going on (obviously).

    Sarah
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    I’m actually very embarrassed to admit this but when I walked into the exam center I almost burst into tears cause I could feel the anxiety and stress in the room, its like I have to beat 67% of the people I see! But I calmed down and stuck to my principles.

    A few things I did that I found helped was:
    1) I stopped studying a couple of days before the exam
    2) Didn’t bring any study material with me to the test center
    (This was to avoid causing last minute panic)
    3) Ensure you are aware of all the examination rules and location (there was a huge traffic jam around the test center so my parents (there’re awesome) couldn’t drop me off at the door and I had to walk the last leg)
    4) Don’t talk about the exam during the session break – laugh/joke with your friends and unwind so you have a somewhat rested and refreshed mind for the afternoon session.

    Hope this helps ^.^

    MattyJ
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    its like I have to beat 67% of the people I see!

    I just thought “I only have to beat 67% of the people sat around me” 😀

    Arrogant? Maybe, but I knew I had done more work than 67% in that room so it was justified I think.

    Sarah
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    @MattJuniper I went into the exam not knowing a lot of things

    1) I didn’t know you could fail a section and still pass the exam, I was under the impression you had to get a 70% in each section and if you fail even one you failed the exam – such was believed on my campus
    2) Schweser practice exams are much harder than the actual CFA exam (in my opinion)
    3) I failed to realize I was entitled to one CFAI mock exam for free

    After the morning session I was like damn, that was easy.

    Zee Tan
    Keymaster
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    After the morning session I was like damn, that was easy.

    I was always afraid thinking like that was going to jinx myself…

    AjFinance
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    4) Don’t talk about the exam during the session break – laugh/joke with your friends and unwind so you have a somewhat rested and refreshed mind for the afternoon session.

    +1 . Totally avoid discussing the exam or the exam questions, especially in between the sessions. I tend to not discuss much even after the exam. It just adds to the stress. Plus you can’t really change the outcome of an exam after its over, so theres no point getting into “forensic” details.

    Just concentrate on your efforts and hope for the best 🙂

    lulu123
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    Is it true also that for some people the exams will be reversed? As in some people get part “one” in the morning session and some get part “one” in the afternoon? So not everybody is writing the same thing at the same time technically speaking?

    Sophie Macon
    Keymaster
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    No I don’t think that’s the case @lulu123. Everyone takes the same paper at the same time.

    MattyJ
    Participant
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    Is it true also that for some people the exams will be reversed? As in some people get part “one” in the morning session and some get part “one” in the afternoon? So not everybody is writing the same thing at the same time technically speaking?

    No chance. They would have to print different papers, and there would be a massive risk that people could collude to tip each other off as to what was in the other half of the exam!

    lulu123
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    @mattjuniper @sophie thought so! but saw this discussed on some forum a while back so wanted to check!

    MattyJ
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    There is no other CFA forum!!! 😉

    Snippy
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    @MattJuniper speaks the truth!

    fabian
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    I wish I knew how different the paper was from Schweser practice exams (shorter and deadlier).

    lulu123
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    @fabian

    deadlier?

    What I hear is that Schweser is much more calculation-based.
    So are you saying that the qualitative aspect threw you off?
    If so, how to practice more of the qualitative-actual-exam-style questions? :S

    Sarah
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    @fabian interesting you say that the Schweser practice exams are easier and longer. I found the actual exam shorter – yes but also easier.

    I think if you have a clear understanding of the calculations and what drives the theory that lead to a particular formula you won’t have trouble with the qualitative questions @lulu123

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