CFA CFA Level 1 Final Month Anxieties (Sorry to be that guy)

Final Month Anxieties (Sorry to be that guy)

  • This topic has 15 replies, 10 voices, and was last updated Jan-18 by tingwuwang.
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  • NickQAnalyst
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    Hi everyone,

    First time posting here, but these jitters won’t go away. I’m pretty sure that the CFA stress/anxiety is has taken years off my life…

    As context, I started studying for the December 2014 exam on 12/7/13, allotting a full year towards preparation. As of today, I have logged 440 hours of studying. I have completed (almost) every example and end of chapter question in both the CFAI materials and the Schweser materials (books from 2013). I purchased the Schweser QBank exactly one month ago and have completed 1,900 questions (without notes) with an average score of 85%. As a result, I was starting to feel pretty confident… UNTIL…

    Yesterday. I took my first timed / simulated Schweser practice exam (just the morning session). I scored a 72.5%. I was too discouraged to take the afternoon session. The questions were longer, trickier, and overall more difficult than the QBank.

    I realize that many of those 440 hours of studying were far too long ago and that there is a lot of material, but still, I feel like I should know this stuff inside and out by now! No matter how much I study, there is always material that I can’t remember. Anyone else feeling as demoralized as me? Perhaps you “can’t fix stupid”? And this is ONLY Level 1!

    Anyway – sorry to be that guy. It’s been a rough weekend and the depression is becoming debilitating.

    Any response would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Nick

    googs1484
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    Nick, 

    From my experience with the Kaplan I think you’re exactly where you should be.  You’ll inevitably see material on the test that’s foreign to you.  Kaplan will do this as well although the answer is probably somewhere in the notes.  It’s just another preparation mechanism.  I think you’re in good shape but not in the clear yet. 

    wm247
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    Hi everyone,

    Yesterday. I took my first timed / simulated Schweser practice exam (just the morning session). I scored a 72.5%. I was too discouraged to take the afternoon session.

    Thanks,

    Nick

    Nick, brother….

    many people I know would literally kill to earn >70%! You overthought it, really. Instead of worrying, you should better prepare your mental and inner peace for the real deal.

    RoyD
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    See here’s the thing. Practice exams are not meant to discourage you but to point out where you stand in your level of knowledge and to show you your areas of weakness. That’s why the word ‘practice’. Instead of sitting and being depressed, scan your exam results with detail and find the areas that you were weak in and improve on it.
    You may have had good scores earlier but that’s mostly because you had answered those questions right after studying the material related to it. When you answer a practice exam with so many different questions all at once it may get a little difficult. You need to work on memorizing things better since I feel your understanding must be already quite good.
    Lastly I can only say that even I’ve been averaging 70-75% in my KS mocks and I need to get 80+ consistently as a buffer to account for exam day pressure, anxiety and extra difficulty (in case) of the actual exam.
    Answer the afternoon exam and see how it goes. I’ve got a range from 71-80% so far so it might be better for you.

    Sophie Macon
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    Hey @NickQAnalyst‌ – don’t give up so easily.

    I understand you’ve worked shit hard so far, which is why I’m always a proponent of taking timed exams in the last month. It is supposed to be this way, you’ll feel crap, but your scores are amazing for a first timed one, and it’s going to get more consistent and can only improve from here. So it’s an excellent start.

    In my time, I wasn’t as hardworking as you are! I only scored 60% in my first timed exam and I certainly remember panicking the crap out of myself, and only to resolve to do better in future timed ones and I did pass anyway.

    In short, you’re on the right track, take a few deep breaths and try again. You should take time off as well as you don’t want to burn out right before the exams. Your scores are fantastic, there’s nothing to worry about except keeping pace and maintaining performance (and sanity) for the final big one. 🙂

    NickQAnalyst
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    Everyone,

    I’m genuinely humbled by your willingness to take the time out of your busy lives to advise, counsel, and reassure a complete stranger.  I thank you all for your time and valued feedback.

    @googs1484 (is this how you tag somebody? … we’ll see):  I appreciate the context that you have provided me.  I’m not yet “in the clear”, but I have realized that I’m closer to where I need to be then I had originally though.  Quality insight about Kaplan.  Thanks!

    @wm247 :  Hit the nail on the head with the “mental and inner peace” insight.  It’s a constant struggle, but thank you for your reassurace.  Needed it.

    @RoyD :  Really appreciate your straight talk.  You’re 100% right.  I haven’t dedicated much time to memorizing formulas, but largely know the concepts.

    @Sophie :  Really really really appreciated this post.  I’m not giving up, of course, but I was admittedly pretty down in the dumps.  Thank you for being my temporary-online-CFA-panic-mode-oh-shit-this-is-hard therapist!

    All in all, thank you all so very much.  I still can’t believe you guys took the time to reach out to a complete stranger!  Your words are valued and will be taken to heart.

    I took the afternoon session last night and scored an 82.5%.  I’ve still got a long way to go, as I was SHAKY on many of these questions and, averaged in with the morning score, scored an average of 77.5% on my first timed KS exam.  With 19 days remaining, I think I should be able to hone in on the troublesome areas and hopefully put myself in a decent position to pass this son of a gun!

    Thank you all so very much,

    Nick

    jessmat
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    @NickQAnalyst‌ 

    Hey! First of all, no need to apologize. I am sure there are many test takers who suffer panic attacks. Take me, for example. The only time when I am not in a panic mode is when I’m asleep, perhaps! 

    Secondly, as everyone here has already told you, you’re doing great! There’s absolutely no need to worry. There are people like me, who haven’t even started with the mock tests yet; and here you are scoring in the range of 77 -83! (Which I’ve heard is really really good!) 

    Thirdly, Stupid is so stupid that only stupid can fix stupid. So if you’re mind starts telling you that you’re stupid,  well you’re the only one who can fix that by telling it to STFU and focusing on the topic that you’re studying. 

    Last, but not the least – Whenever I feel like I’m running out of time or I’m not doing well or I am feeling negative or I get the “should have started earlier” thoughts,  I stop what I am doing, take a deep breath and say to myself “I am doing fine. I am going to make the most of what I have and I am not going to give up. All is well and it’s about to get better.”

    Hope this helps, 
    Jessica 🙂

    PS – You have absolutely nothing to worry about. You’ve done a lot. Now it’s your time to focus and reap the results of the efforts you’ve put in, in the past one year! You’re going to do really well.

    RoyD
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    Wow! See 82%. That’s quite brilliant. Just stay relaxed, keep a clear mind and answer with confidence. You’ll do well in practice and in real.

    Sophie Macon
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    @NickQAnalyst‌ -this is what the community is for 🙂 Do take some time off and come back refreshed for the last push, I’m rooting for all you Dec Level 1-ers out there!

    aylouis13
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    Definitely feeling a little under-prepared after reading this!!

    timbo
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    Hi Nick, 

    as I am sure
    you have read in several posts on the subject you will very likely not need to
    reach 70% to pass the exam.

    It is
    virtually impossible to know the complete material and feel confident on all
    the subjects. For me currencies and options got my head in a twist right threw
    to level II. So that is a concept you will definitely have to get comfortable
    with when you reach Level II because the material is more extensive. I am not
    meaning to scare you, just saying that this feeling of uncertainty in some
    areas will not go away, no matter how much time you spend studying. 

    In my opinion  the main challenges of the charter lie in discipline and psychology. From what I
    read, you have proven that discipline does not seem to be a problem for you which
    is a huge plus. So apart from taking the mocks also try and talk to people who
    have taken the exam at the same test center, so that you know what to expect on exam day. That will
    help you keep your calm and focus on the task. 

    Best of luck!

    timbo
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    Oh BTW: be prepared to
    be shattered when you take the CFAI mocks. From my experience they are more
    difficult than the actual exam and also like to include stuff which Schweser
    noted as not necessary. There again, try and keep your cool and focus on the
    big picture instead of getting lost on some hidden formula you could not
    remember… You will not know all questions on the exam, so try and nail
    those you know!

    simply_complex2
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    Nick, I totally feel you. I’ve taken four practice exams thus far, and I only score75%! Not matter how much additional practice or studying do I’m perpetually stuck there. I keep reading how you’re supposed to improve on your practice exams, but nope! I’m stuck and its definitely messing with my head.

    simply_complex2
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    BUT now that I am done complaing, i think it may help (as mentioned by a few others) if you just take a quick break or CFA vacation as i like to call them. when I start feeling overwhelmed I watch mindless TV (HGTV) eat ice cream and cuddle with my dog. and as soon as i felt better id get back on my CFA bandwagon. just be sure you only take the time you need for your break 🙂

    RoyD
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    haha yea @simply_complex2‌ I’m stuck at about the same place as that. Just the one time I got an 80 but then compensated that with a 71 and for some reason I’m not consistently under or over performing in any particular area. Alternative Investments is the only area where my performance has been consistent.

    tingwuwang
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    72%….that is a really good mark for your first mock exam.
    i personally have been juggling actuarial exams and the CFA prep for about 6 months (started july this year haha), my first exam mark was absurdly low (comparatively speaking to my university marks). i think you’re definitely on track to passing the december exam!

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