I am a Software Engineer having 5 years of exp, I want to take CFA level 1 exam. I have few questions regarding this –
1. Should I go for Dec 2014 or June 2015? (As of now I do not have any knowledge about finance and economics.)
2. Does the study material provided by CFA Institute or candidate needs to buy?
3. Is any training/coaching classes required to clear any level of CFA? (As of now I do not have any knowledge about finance and economics.)
What do all of you think?
Welcome to the forums! Firstly, why do you want to take the CFA? Are you looking to have a big change of career and pursue finance? If so, why?
Secondly, well some research does show that often candidates with no financial background do better in the CFA than those with financial backgrounds as they tend to enter the course with no preconceptions about how things should, or shouldn’t work and are more open to taking the material at face value, rather than comparing it to previous knowledge or understanding.
Finally, lets look at your questions:
1. How is your schedule? Do you have the free time to put into hardcore study for the next exam in order to leave yourself with a month or so to take mock exams? There’s a lot of material to cover, so you’re going to have to think about putting in an average of 3 hours a day, every day between now and the start of November. If you feel you cannot do this, then June may be a better option, but if you can, then why not try December and you can always go again in June if you don’t make it through this time.
2. The CFA Institute provide an e-book which you can access from multiple devices as long as you have an internet connection. If you want to buy a print copy, then it’s $150 + $20 shipping. However, many L1 candidates use other providers materials, such as Kaplan and Elan to name a couple.
3. I’m taking L1 without any other external study providers assistance or coaching, but at the levels go up in complexity then I do not doubt that college or external study providers / web videos / physical lessons in class may be required.
Hopefully this answers some of your questions and some of the other more experienced guys will be along soon to add some more comments 🙂
@Maverick – Thanks for quick reply.
I wanted to go in finance with executive MBA after working 6-7 years as a technical guy…but executive MBA has less finance knowledge in the course, so I am planning to take CFA L1 & L2 before going to executive MBA. I believe these both certificates will be an added advantage.
I have 3 hours of study without impacting my day to day schedule.
Additional question: – As you mentioned that I would try Dec, if did not succeed I can again go for June…so do I need to pay registration fee only once? Or if I failed in Dec, I have to pay registration fee again for June2015?
CFA 1 & 2? Why not complete the whole set of 3 and get your full CFA Charterholder status?
Okay, 3 hours a day spare means that you have a chance of getting through the material, so perhaps a try at the exam in December 2014 might be possible for you?
Regarding the registration fee, someone more experienced than me will have to answer that one. Obviously you’d have to pay the exam fee again, but I don’t know about the registration fee in all honesty.
I just ordered books for the CFA LEVEL 1 JUNE 2015 exam from schweser website.
Since the package cost me $649 plus $80 shipping plus probably around £200 duty and VAT when they arrive in uk I wanted to share them with someone that is preparing to the exam too! If you want to split the cost, pay £150 and copy all my books when I receive them (Estimated delivery October 2014) let me know.
My two cents (apply the appropriate discount rate): Do June 2015 for Level I. A couple reasons:
1. It’s a tighter study schedule than you might think. There are 99 days until the Dec Level I exam. That means you have to register, get your books (I’ll assume you do the e-book to save a week on shipping the physical books) and read the entire curriculum and do all the sample problems (and more!) in 99 days, starting today. 300 hours/99 = just about your 3 hour per diem study time. That’s assuming you hit that mark each day, every day, including holidays, etc. That’s not a single day off from studying, which I would not advise. It’s a recipe for burnout and the worst thing is to burn out with 3 weeks to go before the exam, just when you need to kick it into overdrive. This is like the baseball season: you want to be playing your best baseball in the three weeks before the playoffs. See: Boston Red Sox, 2011.
Obviously weekends will have greater study times and your per day studying should increase as the exam nears, so the math is very back of the envelope. That time includes any review or additional materials like Schweser Notes that you might need to read and work through. This also does not include practice exams, which I’d highly recommend so you can get the cadence of doing one problem every 90 seconds down. Each exam takes a day, obviously, since they’re each a full length CFA exam, so subtract out at least three days and preferably five. Plus you’ll want to take at least that last Friday off from studying to mentally rest and prepare for the exam day.
2. If you take level I in December and pass, you will naturally sign up for Level II in June. If you rush through Level I and don’t get those basics down (which I think can be done and still end in a passing grade on Level I), Level II, which is already the most difficult of the three levels, will be that much more difficult. Speaking personally, I don’t see much upside from killing myself studying from now until next May, only to have a high(er) chance of failing Level II in June 2015, and then taking it again in 2016. Which would have happened anyway had I passed I in June 2015 and then taken II with a full head of steam in June 2016 (and theoretically passing).
Especially since it doesn’t sound like you intend to take Level III until after your executive MBA (I’m guessing that’s a one-year program?) and you may not have the work experience required to receive the charter anyway. Why try to push through it from essentially a cold start?
3. From a purely financial point of view, while you don’t have to pay the program registration fee again, you do have to pay for the exam fee again. And that runs something like $600-$700 these days, I think. Some of us (myself included) were lucky enough to have worked for firms that paid that for us, but it sounds like you might be shelling our your own dollars, which are always more precious than someone else’s.
Like I said, these are just my opinions and I’m not saying it’s impossible or that you shouldn’t do it. But I would say you should at least give these things some serious thought before pulling the trigger. It’s a long road from signing up for Level I to standing over the corpse of the slain Level III exam. Like Ali standing over Liston after knocking him out.
Hello @Joe1428, I enrolled for the CFA level 1 June 2015 with the PwC Academy in Dubai as a third party. But I didnt buy the summarized books yet. Do you still want someone to share you half the price that is 150 pounds only? if yes, I will give you my number to contact you plus I have somebody in UK who can deal with you on behalf of me… Thank you xx
Hello @Joe1428 , I enrolled for the CFA level 1 June 2015 with the PwC Academy in Dubai as a third party. But I didnt buy the summarized books yet. Do you still want someone to share you half the price that is 150 pounds only? if yes, I will give you my number to contact you plus I have somebody in UK who can deal with you on behalf of me… Thank you xx
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