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CFA Exam: My Experience and Some Tips

Chartered Financial Analyst is a great award that everybody wants, but it’s very difficult to get. Not because of the money you have to invest but the dedication you have to demonstrate for minimum three years.

Perseveration and dedication are relevant skills you need to succeed, but is this enough?. I’m not sure.

In my opinion, and from my own experience, the methodology of Level I and Level II exams are very different. Level I seemed easier to me because of the answers, the topics, and also the time you have to give to the exam. Nothing similar happened to me in Level II exam, the one I failed last June. Is it really necessary to have a six-hour exam to demonstrate how much you learned from the curricula?.

I must be honest and tell you that I didn’t apply the same time for both exams. I took more time to prepare for Level I exam. In both cases I used the original CFA Books, but for Level I exam I made summaries of all the readings. That was very helpful for me in order to organize the way I studied. It took seven months to prepare and I succeeded. A very useful tool was the mock exams I did because it allowed me to practice a lot in the final three weeks before the exam.

In contrast, Level II Exam methodology was very different. I think this exam is more challenging so you need more time to prepare for it, and more perseveration. You need to practice a lot more than in Level I. My own experience was that I dedicated less time, for many reasons, and I failed.

I don’t want to blame the six-hour exam as the main factor for not succeeding. It’s just that it seemed harder to get the whole exam on time because of its structure. Of course, I know that the CFA Level II exam is the turning point to succeed in the program, so you must be more confident about yourself and give your best to pass.

Particularly, you must pay attention to Ethics and Professional Standards, Financial and Reporting Analysis and Equity Investments as the key topics.

I will take all these tips for my CFA Level II preparation next year and any advise you have to give will be welcome.

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