CFA CFA Level 1 Pass CFA Level 1 while only knowing 53% of the material – thoughts?

Pass CFA Level 1 while only knowing 53% of the material – thoughts?

  • This topic has 6 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated Jul-20 by artyeasel.
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    • Up

      Source video from Mark Meldrum:

      My summary for those that can’t view:

      Caveat: He spends a lot of time stressing that this isn’t a ‘first-choice’ strategy, he calls it a Plan B, use-in-case-of-emergencies.


      1. There are 240 questions in CFA L1
      2. You know 53% of the material, so you answer 53% correctly or 125 questions out of 240
      3. That leaves 115 questions
      4. He assumes you will be able to eliminate one question option on 30 remaining questions (so you have a 50% chance of getting the answer right)
      5. You answer randomly on the remaining 85 questions (33% success rate)
      6. That gives you 125 + 30*50% + 85*33% = 168 questions out of 240 = 70%


      • MPS is 70%
      • You will get 100% of the material you studied for, i.e. no careless mistakes, no missed bits

      I’m not sure if this actually informs my study strategy at all, or it is a tool to reassure/build confidence if you are not progressing as well as you hoped, or it is actually not very useful. Thoughts?

    • Up

      Yeah…I’m not convinced. Mark Meldrum is the man, but I don’t think this video is useful. There are a few holes in the calculations and assumptions even if you buy into the theory.

      1. The whole headline is ‘pass CFA L1 with only 53% of the material’, right? But it goes on to assume you will additionally know how to eliminate one question option out of 30 other questions, so you must know more than 53% if the material for that to happen.
      2. Assumes you make no mistakes for the 53% of known material, which means no misread questions (happens to me all the time), no calculation problems, no obscure questions catching you out, no other stupid mistakes. At all. This is a huge assumption.
      3. He goes on to say something like ‘if you have to pass L1 with this strategy, L2 is going to kill you anyway’. I agree.

      I know he caveats it by saying it’s not a plan A, but newbies watching this might be tempted to think ‘hey, I’ve read 53% of the syllabus, everything is now a bonus’, but in fact I think it would be very dangerous to have this attitude especially in L1.

    • Up

      I know @itsalwayslupus is probably right … but I want to believe it’s true.

    • Up

      He’s not wrong. But like @barbtoksv said, you’re assuming that you will never, ever, make a mistake on any materials that you’ve studied, and you will guess the right average of questions correctly.

      This observation is not wrong, but not useful as a study strategy. I would categorize it under the same umbrella as stories of candidates that pass without any revision, or just 2 weeks revision, or while high or drunk – just because it worked for this candidate in the past does not mean that ‘do what I did’ is a legitimate study strategy.

      Best summarized by this quote from Bo Burnham:

      I would say don’t take advice from people like me who have gotten very lucky. We’re very biased. You know, like Taylor Swift telling you to follow your dreams is like a lottery winner telling you, ‘Liquidize your assets; buy Powerball tickets – it works!’

      (I’m liking the new editor btw!)

    • Up

      Better to spend time actually studying, rather than speculating what is the minimum effort level needed to pass.

    • Up
      I know @itsalwayslupus is probably right … but I want to believe it’s true.

      If only it were!

    • Up

      I have been studying since 2016. i think i have reached 150% by now.

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