How A Drunk Candidate Took and Passed CFA Level I, Part II

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By Anon

June a few years back, I sat for my CFA Level I exams in Hong Kong. While drunk, after an all-nighter of clubbing. And miraculously passed.

I didn’t plan on showing up drunk. In Part I of my story, I’ve detailed the sequence of circumstantial scenarios that led to a very memorable and enjoyable night. Which so happened to coincide with the night before my CFA Level I.

So yeah, it wasn’t really my fault. Not entirely. Honest.

For Part II, here’s how the actual CFA exam went.

After the full night out, we headed back to our rented apartment in Wanchai. My friends plopped on the sofas whilst I gathered up my pencils and calculator and got a taxi to Central station. From there I got the airport express to the convention centre where the exam would be held at 9am. 

Sitting in the early morning train, I could identify some of my fellow test takers, who had obviously had a full-night’s sleep and were doing last minute reading preparation. Dead on my feet, I even fell asleep on the train, but was thankfully woken by somebody who must have noticed I was carrying a TI BAII Plus calculator

And so I found myself with 10,000 HK Chinese and mainland Chinese who had made the journey just for the exam. Still in my clubbing gear, I spent the next hour chain-smoking outside the convention centre rueing not bringing any of my carefully prepared notes. Ignoring the looks of my fellow candidates, I mentally steered myself to stay awake for the three-hour morning session.

Post the first session, I realised that I had not pre-booked my lunch. Beautiful. Thus, I was forced to sit outside the convention centre in ignominy, chain-smoking again and eating candy bars from the vending machine. In addition to that, during the very useful 2 hour break allotted to candidates where one can swot up on last minute revision, I was forced to stare at a wall, given my notes lay somewhere beneath the sofa under my blissfully sleeping friends. 

(One of who had been meant to sit the exam with me but bailed when he realised that 10 Jägerbombs had pushed him from focused professional to gibbering wreck.)

But the reality was, Level I was multiple choice and very broad-based financial knowledge. If you did not know the answer, you probably were not going to have more than a 50/50 guess

So midway through the afternoon session, I packed up my pencils, TI BAII Plus calculator, handed in my paper and called it a day. Making it home, I found my friends cheering me, slept on a couch for 3 hours, then headed back out to enjoy one more night in a city that truly never sleeps. Why waste a perfectly good night?

The postscript? I passed my exam, no thanks to my pre-exam antics, but rather to good luck and good preparation (in the months before obviously). I also decided (wisely) not to do the same thing for Level II.

This is a honest-to-God account of my admittedly less-than-exemplary tale of my CFA Level I. You can read Part I here. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!

Zee Tan
Author: Zee Tan

300Hours founder


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