Well, it’s over… CFA results came out this morning, and I passed. Believe me, I’m glad to be done with the last of the three CFA exams. Furthermore, with pass rates that are less than 50%, I’m proud to be able to say that I was able to pass each one on my first attempt. However, just like last year, when I passed level 2, my excitement, though present, is somewhat muted. Though I am done with the exams, I still won’t earn the three golden letters, CFA, until later this year. In addition to passing the three exams, the CFA Institute requires that candidates have 4 years of experience that they must approve as “investment decision making”. Being a career changer, that means a lot of my software background won’t count, leaving me a few months shy. So, I won’t earn my charter until the end of the year.
As I look back at the CFA journey, which began for me in 2006 (I took two years off as we moved around the country), I conclude that though it is a time-consuming commitment, I highly recommend the CFA program for anyone looking to make a career in investments. The subjects covered by the exam are both broad and deep (arguably too deep in some instances like swap valuation), giving candidates very good, holistic insight into the field. I especially like the way that things tie together – the first exam covers all the fundamentals of economics and accounting, the second covers valuation and international concepts, and the third ties it all together with portfolio concepts.
My congratulations to all those that passed any level this year, and good luck to those that’ll be taking it in the future! Now, off to celebrate…
Things have been really quiet here on The Y-Factor over the past few months. As you know, I’d buried myself in the library studied for the CFA Level 3 exam, which was on June 5th. Now that the exam is over, I can return to life, as we know it. The day after the exam we took Ria to the beach with a few friends. Though she was freaked out by having sand in her toes at first, she had a lot of fun. She really wanted to play frisbee with us, but she, like her father, needs to work on her catching skills. The following weekend we spent time at the mall with her, and this weekend I was able to get my front brakes changed. I’ve had the pads sitting in the garage for a while now and so I’m glad I was finally able to install them today. I haven’t gotten my hands greasy with the car in years – it was nice to get back to things.
I’ll upload pics from the beach in the next few days, and will also share some thoughts about a “market environment” talk I heard last week.
Life is good when one’s nose isn’t buried in books… Now I just hope I pass so I don’t have to do it again… Ever…
… where I’m up to my eyeballs in CFA material. Fortunately I’m giving the last exam, Level 3 (if I pass, that is!). It’s odd that how no matter what my situation is, I always find myself crunched as exam day draws closer. Last year I was working and preparing for the CFA. This year, I’m not working, yet still I’m at about the same place (in terms of how much progress I’m made almost two months before the exam) I was last year. I had told myself that I’ll start in November this time. Then we went to India, so I told myself I’ll start as soon as we’re back in January. Somehow January turned into March, the same time I started studying last year. Oh well, the good news is that since I have more time to prepare, I’m not spending all weekend in the library. Of course, as exam day approaches, that’ll likely change.
With about half of the material covered, I should probably hit the books rather than blog. More updates later…
Woo hoo! I passed!
In case you’re wondering what I’m talking about, I’m referring to the CFA, Level II exam which I gave on June 6th, 2009. The results just came out today. As mentioned in previous posts, preparation for the exam is totally consuming. I started later than I should have – some time in March, giving me a little less than 3 months to prepare (at about 10-15 hours a week!). The exam consumed all of my early summer and so it’s nice to have passed after putting so much into it. The pass rate was 41% – lower than what many had expected (which I suppose is good since it helps preserve the value of the charter).
To be honest, I’m nowhere near as excited as I probably should be. I was much more excited when I passed Level I back in 2006. Back then the CFA Institutedid not pre-announce when results would be released. You basically had to log onto the website several times a day each day to see if the results were there. After weeks of seeing nothing, when that “Pass” showed up, I was ecstatic. Went out to lunch with the wife that beautiful summer day. Now the institute tells you ahead of time the date on which results will be released. So the long period of anticipation and constant checking is gone – you know that at 8am on the chosen day you’ll know your fate. It sort of takes the fun out of it.
Anyway, I’m rambling. Long story short – I’m happy I passed. Now I get to more on to Level III, the last level. I passed both Level I and Level II on the first attempt and hope that I’ll do the same when Level III comes around.
I haven’t been posting much – mainly because I’m starting to get pretty stressed out about the upcoming CFA Level II exam, and so spending a lot of time studying (or at least trying to). The big day is Saturday, June 6th. On that day all candidates taking any level of the CFA exam (I, II, or III) anywhere in the world will go to their chosen test center and suffer through the six hour beast. It’s interesting that the test is a coordinated effort across the whole world – I suppose it’s a good way to minimize cheating. If we could generate light from brain waves, we could probably light up the world on that day! I took Level I here in Chicago – the test center was something to see: rows of chairs almost as far back as the eye could see. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it (for a standardized test, that is). Can you imagine what the NYC or London test center must look like?
Anyway, I’m about one third of the way through the curriculum. The institute recommends 250 hours of studying for each level. At that rate I have just over 160 hours of studying to do over the next 8 weeks, or an average of 20 hours/week. Between work, family, and life in general, that’s just not going to happen. Of course, my M.O. (modus operandi) has always been to study under intense pressure and manage to get through in the end – hopefully that’ll happen again this time. Reading the message boards at AnalystForum, I’m certainly not confident of a repeat show. Some folks there have been studying since August, 2008 – for a total of 10 months by exam day!! Many have completed the entire reading (the curriculum weighs 20 pounds) at least once through, and have devoted these last two months to re-reading and practice tests. Damn, I’m behind! There are a lot of smart folks on those boards and their level of preparation relative to mine is just intimidating.
At the end of the day, I suppose I have no one else to blame but myself. I should have gotten things started sooner, and been more systematic in my preparation. That terrible habit of procrastination is something I have to learn to kick!
Oh well, back to the books. Wish me luck!