Some readers thought I was being a little harsh when I advised candidates that they shouldn't expect to pass the CFA exam the first time around. But, sadly, it's a fact that most candidates will fail the Level I exam. The numbers improve slightly as candidates progress, with nearly half of test takers passing Level II, and slightly more than half passing Level III. It can be a real blow to discover you failed, but heading into the exams knowing that you might have to take them more than once will make it easier for you to bounce back.
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For those who took the CFA exam two weeks ago, the hardest part is over—or is it? Waiting for the results can be an excruciating process. After having poured months of effort into preparation (or years, if you’re taking Level II or III), candidates now have to wait 60 to 90 days to discover whether they’ve passed an exam with a notoriously high fail rate.
Over the past few decades, psychologists have discovered that our perception of time can be affected by a number of factors that can either mitigate or exacerbate our anxiety about waiting. Here are some simple suggestions to help ease the pain of waiting for the results of your CFA exam.
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From an analysis for a client, to a decision about when to buy that stock you’ve been watching, your job tests you every day. If you’re taking the June exam to become a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) the test is not just a figure of speech: it’s an impending reality. Even if you have figured out how to manage a portfolio, the prospect of three six-hour-long exams is understandably daunting. Are you nervous about taking tests? Are you wondering how you can turn test-taking stress into test-passing confidence? Our look at recent scientific research on test-taking and anxiety will help you manage your stress and get the test results you need.
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Being a Chartered Financial Analyst may bring honor and recognition from your colleagues and clients, but getting the “CFA” after your name is a long-term endeavor. Certification requires that you pass three six-hour exams that take years to complete and less than half of the candidates last year passed their tests.
If you’ve already signed up to take the test this June, you’ve probably already been studying. Lots of companies offer services to help you pass the test, and even more websites dole out advice on how to study. Much of what passes for wisdom in test taking, however, is wrong. Your high school teacher may have encouraged you to find a quiet, uncluttered place to study. According to decades-old research, your high school teacher was wrong. What seems intuitive might actually create more frustration for you on test day.
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It's been one year since NYSSA launched the FPP, and the readers have spoken: hot topics include career development, landing a job (not surprising!), behavioral finance, emerging markets, and quantitative methods. Here are the ten most popular articles from the previous year in case you missed them the first time around. If you would like to suggest new topics for the FPP to cover, please take a minute to fill out our reader survey. (Everyone who completes the survey is automatically entered in a drawing to win an Amazon Kindle and a selection of e-books from the FT Press.)
1. Five Things NOT to Do if You Want to Pass the CFA Exam
With pass rates lower than 50%, the CFA exams are daunting for even the most seasoned financial professionals. Approach the process strategically and avoid these common mistakes.
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In this clip from the CFA Level I Orientation, William A. Trent, director of the exam development division at the CFA Institute, offers 10 essential strategies that every student should follow when preparing for CFA exams. Though Trent warns students that earning a CFA can be a difficult process–with the global pass rate averaging only 40% for the June 2010 exam–he noted that "more and more CFA designation is held in high regard by employers."
If you want to watch the webcast of this entire event or any other NYSSA program, visit NYSSA's On-Demand website.
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