CFA CFA Level 1 Which topic did you find the hardest in Level 1?

Which topic did you find the hardest in Level 1?

  • This topic has 68 replies, 48 voices, and was last updated Nov-19 by kaia.
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    • hairyfairy
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      Vote for your toughest Level 1 topic here, and why too!:)

    • christine
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      I just dislike accounting of any kind.

    • jimmyg
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      I was always confused by the long-short-put-call questions.

    • Sarah
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      @christine lol – so true
      can I just say I dislike studying and wish I could spend my days pleasure reading but alas I need a paying job and therefore need a useful skill I can trade to live…

    • christine
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      @christine lol – so true
      can I just say I dislike studying and wish I could spend my days pleasure reading but alas I need a paying job and therefore need a useful skill I can trade to live…

      You can always find a more relevant industry closer to your passions! 🙂

    • Sarah
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      @christine my passion just isn’t very profitable and I don’t mind finance. But who likes to study :p

    • christine
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      @diya I dunno… I know some people who “chain-studies”. A mate has done engineering, economics, and is about to become a fully qualified MD. Now SHE likes studying.

    • Sarah
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      @christine given enough life to live I might just end up like her since I am best at studying…
      Even though I complain about studying I still really want my ph.d

    • christine
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      @diya you do seem super well read! So you’re currently working towards a PhD?

    • Sarah
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      @christine no it is currently just a dream stuck somewhere between becoming a lawyer and switching to behavioral economics. My first concern is to become employed so I can finance studying more or have the financial freedom to buy more books and ponder life and write papers like Clifford Asness. Whenever I read Warren Bufett’s letter to the shareholder it reminds me that I have still much to read!

    • AjFinance
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      I did well in most of the topics on the exam. However, I found some parts of derivatives really confusing. Guess its because you get the complete picture after you cover Level 2 ( I comprehend better looking at the entire picture instead of pieces 😛 )

    • policedog
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      @ajfinance like @Jimmyg said, derivative questions can be confusing. Just got pwned by the EOCs…

    • imdnextbuffet
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      Undoubtedly Quants! I still seem to struggle with it lol.

    • Snippy
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      I guess Eco because i failed in it >_>

    • fabian
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      I guess Eco because i failed in it >_>

      I liked economics in Level 1…

    • MattyJ
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      Portfolio management…followed by economics!

    • Snippy
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      @fabian Eco has always been my weakpoint. Since high school. :-S

    • christine
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      What do you find challenging about it @sidmenon?

    • Sarah
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      @SidMenon any questions in particular regarding economics? I am rather fond of economics.

    • christine
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      @SidMenon any questions in particular regarding economics? I am rather fond of economics.

      Me too, actually. As a non-finance educated person I found it fascinating. 🙂

    • Sophie Macon
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      I’m a bit of an odd one. I literally ignored Ethics (not knowing how important it was then) – the rest felt relatively easier as I had backgrounds in Econ, worked in corporate finance/derivatives that had exposure to FRA too.

    • Snippy
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      @christine I’m not sure if its understanding certain concepts or if it is the fact that i forget the concepts that i understood earlier. How do i figure what i’m doing wrong? @Diya That sounds great, thanks! 😀 If i have any difficulties, imma shoot ’em right at you and @christine!

    • christine
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      Go right ahead @SidMenon B-)

    • vincentt
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      FRA hands down, when I first started looking at FRA in level 1, it doesn’t make sense at all and I couldn’t memorise blindly (without understanding the logics). I remember doing one practice question in schweser which is to identify which accounting item (e.g. receivables, retained earnings, dividends, etc) belongs to which financial statement.

      At that time, B/S and I/S all looked the same to me. :-B

      After awhile and lots of practice, you’ll get it eventually.

    • MattyJ
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      @vincentt I imagine that if you have never looked at accounting before then FRA would be exceptionally difficult. Luckily I had that issue when I first joined the bank and so had to spend ages getting to grips with accounts. By the time I took Level 1 I had been working with accounts for a good few years and so it actually wasn’t that hard (albeit there were still some tough bits to crack!)

    • MattyJ
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      It’s interesting looking at the spread of results so far. I’m not surprised that Alternatives doesn’t feature, however I’m quite surprised that Fixed Income is a no show as I imagine some could have found this a challenge!

    • vincentt
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      @mattjupiter yup without prior experience with accounting.
      Fixed income is hard as well (since we are only allowed to pick one and FRA is way heavier weighted) but till you grasped the concept of interest goes up price goes down and coupon vs YTM? You’ll be fine. At least from my experience with no financial background.

    • mcricky
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      Quants! does not interest me at all!

    • Zee Tan
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      I found FRA the toughest in Level 1 – I’d never done any accounting before that.

    • apoolla13
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      I find statistics kinda tough nut to crack. But then again, I come from a non-finance, non-mathematical background… Probably expected 🙂

    • policedog
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      Me too @apoolla13. Statistics has always been a sore point with me…but I think FRA slightly worse. 😛

    • Vijay
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      Good tool that will put me to sleep as soon as I open the book and start reading the sections. I loved QM in the same book though. 😀

    • WannabeYuppie
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      Economics. I just don’t seem to understand all those graphs and concepts for the life of me.

    • Dr_Pain28
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      I think econ was the hardest. I always seemed to score the lowest in this section even though I felt I understood the concepts. Then I would say Quant because there were a lot of new formulas that I had to memorize, followed by FRA because there was a TON of new info that I had never seen before even though I am an accoutning and finance dual major. Plus it was weighted quite heavily.

    • sr2014
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      @hairyfairy For me it depends on the question rather than topics, assuming anything can be asked. Having said that Financial Reporting was a KILLER because of too many rules* to remember.

    • Jim
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      I found Econ & Corp Fin the most challenging for Level I (at least they were the areas I didn’t score >70%). I have a background in stats, compliance and portfolio management, so quant, ethics and most of the investment tools were easier for me to back into the right answer. Econ and Corp fin were less familiar and had so many one-off type questions if I recall correctly. FRA just sucked to study for but I think I did well because I was terrified of it and studied like crazy for that part. Sad that quant is relatively underweighted in Level II!

    • mitch895
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      I’ve just been revising Economics. Man, that literally sucks the life out of you. Revision is just so tedious. At this stage of the game, boredom is the most difficult part…

    • Pranav
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      considering how easily the studied information evaporates from memory, wish these polls had multiple options up for selection 😛

    • nar_bsoa
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      Perhaps all of the above… 🙂

    • ralu14
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      Derivatives is hard. Some topics don’t seem hard (bonds for example) but some of the questions are way too confusing.

    • CedricJ
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      Even though I have (or maybe that’s why?) accounting undergrad I find accounting the hardest. The other topics are quite conceptual in the information to take in. It’s just basic statistic concepts, basic economics etc. But accounting feels like it’s so much of: If X & Y is the firm reporting in US GAAP or IFRS, and just tons of small minor pointless differences between the two systems 😛

    • rsparks
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      Statistics, statistically, seems to be the hardest based on CFA results; however Financial Reporting killed me…it was like they wanted to see how boring they could make it and laugh at our suffering! I would have almost reread a rendition of war and peace or been in a saw-movie-situation than read that topic again lol.

    • wm247
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      rsparks said:
      Statistics, statistically, seems to be the hardest based on CFA results; however Financial Reporting killed me…it was like they wanted to see how boring they could make it and laugh at our suffering! I would have almost reread a rendition of war and peace or been in a saw-movie-situation than read that topic again lol.

      >:)  [saw theme playing in the background] >:)

      Hello, rsparks, I want to play a game. The game I want to play is very
      similar to the game you’ve been playing as a  CFA candidate. The game of
      offering hope to the desperate, for a price. I think we can agree that
      your situation is desperate. So, I offer you hope. The price you pay is
      that you must crawl into the same pit of squalor you force your brain power into. By entering this room, you have started a timer. When
      the timer expires, the door in front of you will be locked forever. Only
      in finding the key before the timer runs out can you unlock it and
      retrieve the Schweser Secret Sauce inside. I will give you just one hint where to
      that key is: It will be like
      calculating a figure on a cash flow statement according to one of the two rules that you tend to mix up inside your own brain. IFRS or GAAP, the choice is yours. Let the
      game begin….

    • Zee Tan
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      rsparks said:

      Statistics, statistically

      Well played.

      I like how this thread is becoming a proper database for collective comparison of topic difficulty!

    • OXNeto
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      Accounting is really useful but at the same time really boring… To make all the differents figures and statements to match and all necesssary “bridges” too work…. #damn

    • WesMantooth
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      Accounting was my bread and butter. Alt Inv were too lightly weighted to annoy. All the rest were ok, except for ECON!! No matter how many times I read that chapter, it would not stick. I like logic, and Econ in my mind defies logic with so many opposing theories. It felt like a history class, trying to remember names, places, and dates.

    • Maverick
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      Strangely, considering mathematics was my major at school. I’m finding quant the most difficult.
      FRA / Econ / Ethics, no problem thus far…

    • tingwuwang
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      FINRA for me, i simply just can’t take accounting of any kind. dropped it in university after only completing the minors requirement. love quant though, fit really well with my actuarial major. 😀

    • Lollypolly
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      I’m just finished Quant and found it was straight forward enough, helps that my OH loves stats and probs so if I was stuck I could ask him and he would explain it in a more digestible way……that being said I abhor hypothesis testing. It just will not stay in my brain, even when I’m re-reading it I know none of it is being retained. 

    • simply_complex2
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      i would definitely vote economics off the island…

    • shannondaily
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      Wow, I thought I was going to be the only one that disliked the accounting study sessions. It is just so much information to remember. I end up trying to figure problems out through logic and confuse myself. I’m glad I’m not the only one that finds this section the hardest. 

    • shannondaily
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      jimmyg said:
      I was always confused by the long-short-put-call questions.

      @jimmyg‌ I’ve been studying options in my professional life for a few months now. The best way for me to remember is that they are simply opposites of each other. Buying a call you want the stock to go up. Buying a put you want the stock to go down. And buying means that you hold the rights. I mean you paid good money for those rights! And just like if you sold something in real life…say a car. You sold the right to use the car. Rather you now have the obligation to deliver that car. Hope this helps! 

    • shannondaily
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      I have to say it…I’m half way through Financial Reporting and Analysis and I’m about to go insane. I think I’ll move on and come back later. 

    • Renawxh
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      Hey guys, I know it is gonna be tough but press on! We have already come  a long way (whether we like it or not). Do not worry about the outcome but just know you did you best within yr constraints (juggling with work, study etc) Andddd We all have weaknesses in certain topics. Wish you guys all the best!!!!!!

    • RoyD
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      I guess people might find this strange but my toughest is Ethics! Despite remembering all the rules well and practicing a good number of examples Ethics is still something I can’t solve easily. For some reason I just can’t understand how to apply it to actual situations. The second hardest would be FRA because of all the rules and methods. Economics is alright for me. Maybe just Macro gives me a little trouble. Micro and International are pretty easy.

    • jmsatchwell
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      FRandA puts me to bed but as far a difficulty I’m gonna say derivatives mostly because I can’t justify memorizing those equations for the sake of 5%. I score middle band in that area at best.

    • RoyD
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      I would say personally Fixed Income was kind of difficult because I had 0 prior experience with it. Despite that I scored 70+ in it in the exam. Overall I always struggled with FRA because of the vast portion it involved, things to memorize and how it wasn’t really intuitive. FRA was also the lowest scoring subject for me and continues to be a problem in Level 2 also.

    • 9090bb
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      I hate accounting!

    • 221Against
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      I’m a CPA and still hate accounting  😐

    • 10allie05
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      I hate statistics.

    • wm247
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      FRA is kinda pain in the butt. And this is coming from a guy working with number in daily basis (as a physicist).

    • Ch.Ministry
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      I took Level 1 in June 15 and thankfully passed. Not to mention how dreadful my practice went in Economics section despite of spending a whole one month on studying this segment only. Ended up scoring in the bracket 50%-%70 (For Economics)

    • CFAI_wont_stop_me
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      Im already preparing for over 6 months for Dec 16′ and I found that Economics and few topics from quantitive methods are pretty heavy…

      On the other hand, fra, ethics and portfolio management is fairly easy.

    • Jennyfinans91
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      1. If cash and marketable
      securities do not have the same risk as debt, show how these assets can be
      taken into account when calculating WACC. Only a brief answer is necessary.

      2. Give a brief explanation for why
      debt may have a beta above 0, in other words, why the debt fluctuates with the
      change in the market portfolio. The answer can be brief. 


      anyone?


    • bucca9
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      Quantitative Methods 🙁

    • sushri
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      eco is the toughest

    • Pahtsan
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      Fixed Income, maybe only because I hardly studied it though.

    • tara
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      Financial
      Reporting and Analysis 

    • kaia
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      reporting and economics , I studied some of the material in my master degree. it is hard not easy but we will keep going to learn and get a CFA certificate.

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