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CFA Level 1 - What exactly makes it hard - the learning material or the actual exam? watch

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    Hi to all,
    I wanted to ask about the CFA Level 1.
    I keep hearing about how difficult the CFA Level 1 is and wanted to ask: what actually is the hard part? Is it the large amount of learning material or the acutal format of the exam that makes it hard?

    For example,
    - Do they make the multiple choice answers all very similiar, which in case makes the choices tricky (e.g. for a maths question the answers may be 10.1%, 10.2%, 10.3%, 10.4%?

    - Or are the questions very specific, which requires you to know the material inside out?


    I am asking this because I am attempting the multiple choice practice questions and keep getting around 80% or more.
    I haven't even read through the study material properly but most of the questions seem to naturally seem quite obvious and I can detect the right answer.

    A bit about my background : I did a maths degree combined with economics. So a lot of the material (especially about portfolio mgmt/CAPM and the economics section) seems quite straight forward.

    So my overall question is: is the CFA Level 1 relatively straight forward for people who may have taken maths/economics based subjects at uni? Does it simply cover material we already maybe know?

    Or am I missing something important?

    Regards,
    J x
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    heya, most people have a problem with just learning such a large volume of information rather than struggling with the material itself. I had particular problems with the accounting section as i have no previous is this area. Some ppl may find the ethics section a bit crazy as well. Also, the exam is pretty lengthy and mentally draining - 5/6hrs

    Also, the pass mark is determined by the grades of the other test takers - so if there are a lot of high scores the pass mark is slightly higher. They say, 70% and above should get u a pass.
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    I'm currently learning CFA 1 stuff, and the content is pretty straightforward, but sheer volume and a high pass mark could make it tough. I think CFA 2 and 3 are the ones to worry about though...

    Also, I don't believe we're allowed any formula sheets in the exam like at uni. Can anyone confirm this?
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    Hi there, thanks for the replies. You both pretty much confirmed what I suspected.
    Rather than the material being hard, it seems the amount of content is what makes it challenging.

    I guess it helps that I have done Maths and also Economics which makes a lot of stuff seem straight forward.
    The economics section especially is a total joke for people who have done economics.
    The questions it was asking was things I had covered whilst at A-Level.

    I also did my FSA qualification previously so that covers a lot of the Ethics part.
    I'm hoping then that I can really push for this and pass easily first time - but obviously don't want to underestimate the exam.

    Six hours is quite intense. After about 2 hours of staring at a screen, my mind stops thinking lol. Think that's where the challenge will lie.

    Do you have any tips or hints about how to approach the exam please? Would you recommend learning everything inside out, or just making sure that I know everything roughly enough to kind of work out the answer while doing the questions.
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    Also, I think we aren't allowed formula sheets because I remember how someone said they memorised so many formulas for their CFA exam.
    But I'd need to check this myself.
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    kinda off topic, kind of not......... but had a look on wiki and in 2008 the pass rate was 35% :eek:
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    (Original post by loggins)
    I'm currently learning CFA 1 stuff, and the content is pretty straightforward, but sheer volume and a high pass rate could make it tough. I think CFA 2 and 3 are the ones to worry about though...

    Also, I don't believe we're allowed any formula sheets in the exam like at uni. Can anyone confirm this?

    Yeh, theres no formula sheets allowed (+ remember ur calc or ur rely screwed)
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    (Original post by abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz)
    kinda off topic, kind of not......... but had a look on wiki and in 2008 the pass rate was 35% :eek:
    You need to be aware that a lot of banks & asset management comps send there new grads to take the cfa lvl 1 in december. many of which have never taken a finance/economic/accounting module in their life & who have only been in the finance industry for 4/5 months - so thats the main reason for the low pass rate.
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    (Original post by joeyhillim)
    Hi to all,
    I wanted to ask about the CFA Level 1.
    I keep hearing about how difficult the CFA Level 1 is and wanted to ask: what actually is the hard part? Is it the large amount of learning material or the acutal format of the exam that makes it hard?

    For example,
    - Do they make the multiple choice answers all very similiar, which in case makes the choices tricky (e.g. for a maths question the answers may be 10.1%, 10.2%, 10.3%, 10.4%?

    - Or are the questions very specific, which requires you to know the material inside out?


    I am asking this because I am attempting the multiple choice practice questions and keep getting around 80% or more.
    I haven't even read through the study material properly but most of the questions seem to naturally seem quite obvious and I can detect the right answer.

    A bit about my background : I did a maths degree combined with economics. So a lot of the material (especially about portfolio mgmt/CAPM and the economics section) seems quite straight forward.

    So my overall question is: is the CFA Level 1 relatively straight forward for people who may have taken maths/economics based subjects at uni? Does it simply cover material we already maybe know?

    Or am I missing something important?

    Regards,
    J x
    What are you using as 'practice' questions? because the Schweser end of chapter and mock exam questions do not adequately reflect the difficulty of the exam. This year's official CFAI mock much harder than the third party materials and gave you a good idea of what the exam would be like.

    Maths/economics isn't going to help you in the ethics/fra
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    (Original post by joeyhillim)
    I also did my FSA qualification previously so that covers a lot of the Ethics part.
    No it doesn't. You clearly haven't even glanced at the book.
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    (Original post by loggins)

    Also, I don't believe we're allowed any formula sheets in the exam like at uni. Can anyone confirm this?
    Nope. They are pretty straightforward and once you've done a ridiculous amount of practice questions, you can recite them all quite easily.
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    (Original post by oblivious)
    Nope. They are pretty straightforward and once you've done a ridiculous amount of practice questions, you can recite them all quite easily.
    Ok, cheers mate. Well, I've covered a lot of Level 1 during my Finance Masters, so should be reet in terms of memorising formulae.
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    (Original post by Mr.Profit)
    You need to be aware that a lot of banks & asset management comps send there new grads to take the cfa lvl 1 in december. many of which have never taken a finance/economic/accounting module in their life & who have only been in the finance industry for 4/5 months - so thats the main reason for the low pass rate.

    This. Plus there are no shows (when you account for them it rises to about 50%) and then there's the people who don't do any work. I'm not taking level one until next year (so this isn't from personal experience) but I'm told that as long as you actually do the work you should be fine.
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    (Original post by loggins)
    Ok, cheers mate. Well, I've covered a lot of Level 1 during my Finance Masters, so should be reet in terms of memorising formulae.
    How mathematical is the CFA Level 1? Say your not from a finance / mathematical background at all (didn't do it for A-Level or Degree) would you struggle with the maths or could you still pass if you put the work in?
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    (Original post by tomcorke)
    How mathematical is the CFA Level 1? Say your not from a finance / mathematical background at all (didn't do it for A-Level or Degree) would you struggle with the maths or could you still pass if you put the work in?
    Not particularly difficult, you just need to be able to remember a lot of formulas....

    I didnt have a particularly mathematical background (BA in Int Business and Finance) and I passed level 1 without too much trouble...

    It is a difficult exam though, particularly if you are working 50+ per week and trying to study at the same time...The pass rate in January was 34%, but I've heard that it is a little higher than that in the UK, with a lot of Chinese people signing up for the exam without realising that their English wouldnt be good enough.
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    Don't be alarmed. The low pass mark is because 60% of the people who take the test are morons. It's nothing to worry about, unless you're one of those morons.
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    (Original post by barnisaurusrex)
    Don't be alarmed. The low pass mark is because 60% of the people who take the test are morons. It's nothing to worry about, unless you're one of those morons.
    That really wasnt my experience, everyone I met was really smart, and the vast majority were buy side analysts at good houses...

    There is a lot of rubbish spread about the CFA, nearly all of it is from people who have never taken the exam.

    It is a hard exam, but if you spend enough time (150 hours) going through the materials and doing a lot of practive questions you should have a good chance of passing it....lots of clever people fail it though, usually because they didnt leave enough time to cover all the material...

    theres a website for cfa candidates called analyst forum, probably the best place for people with questions.
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    (Original post by Samoan)
    theres a website for cfa candidates called analyst forum, probably the best place for people with questions.
    Thanks
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    (Original post by Samoan)
    That really wasnt my experience, everyone I met was really smart, and the vast majority were buy side analysts at good houses...

    There is a lot of rubbish spread about the CFA, nearly all of it is from people who have never taken the exam.

    It is a hard exam, but if you spend enough time (150 hours) going through the materials and doing a lot of practive questions you should have a good chance of passing it....lots of clever people fail it though, usually because they didnt leave enough time to cover all the material...

    theres a website for cfa candidates called analyst forum, probably the best place for people with questions.
    How on earth could you know how smart they are? You're simply assuming that because they work for a "good house" they're smart?

    150 hours isn't really a lot. You could do that in 2 weeks. And the material is trivial.
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    (Original post by barnisaurusrex)
    How on earth could you know how smart they are? You're simply assuming that because they work for a "good house" they're smart?

    150 hours isn't really a lot. You could do that in 2 weeks. And the material is trivial.
    How do I know how smart they are, because I spoke to them....150 hours is less than the minimum reccomended (200 hours) and when you work full time in an intellectually challenging job, studying is very hard, and normally means giving up your evenings and weekends for around 2/3 months....

    Can I assume that you havent sat the exam? I have, and passed, so I think I'm a better judge of how trivial the material is....
 
 
 

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