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01/02/2012

Top Five Articles of 2011


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Articles of 2011 spanned the gamut of topics, from banking and current affairs, to behavioral finance and worldview. But, the most viewed articles centered around the same topic: the CFA® designation. Below are the top five articles of 2011, from least to most viewed.

#5 - What’s In Your Portfolio? Investment in CFA vs. MBA for Finance Professionals

For finance professionals, it is an ongoing debate: CFA or MBA? As the article states, "Some argue the MBA is a waste of time and money unless it comes from one of the top-ranked MBA programs. Others claim MBA graduates have a flimsy grasp on finance compared with those with a CFA charter. MBA enthusiasts counter that CFAs have a deep knowledge of asset management principles but lack context about the broader aspects of business. Underlying these arguments is the answer: no one program is right for everyone." 

What were the highlights?

Consider the following when making your decision:

  • Your resources and future earning potential.
  • Your commitment to finance.
  • Your learning style. 

#4 - "What if You Fail the CFA Exam?"

According to statistics, most people fail the CFA exam the first time around. But, that does not mean you should give up. "There's no shame in retaking a level; in fact, some professional CFA instructors and some of the biggest names in the industry didn't pass one or more levels the first time around. In fact, of the 64,007 registrants for the June 2011 Level I exam, 35% were retaking the exam after a previous attempt, according to CFA Institute," the article reads.

What were the highlights?

If you happen to fail the CFA exam, ask yourself the following:

  • How many hours of study did you put into the exam?
  • What was your study strategy?
  • What were your study habits like?
  • Did you focus on just the curriculum, or did you also learn about the structure of the test? 

#3 - "Three Stress-Reduction Tips For Acing the CFA Exam"

Stress. Anxiety. Worry. All common feelings when approaching the CFA exam. In fact, according to this article, "Test anxiety is your body’s physical response to having to perform on the spot. It’s a form of performance anxiety related to athletes’ 'choking' in the clutch, and American Idol contestants’ going off-key when they first sing in front of a live television audience. If you’re someone who knows the material backward and forward before a test but draws a blank when it comes time to prove it, you may be prone to test anxiety."

What were the highlights?

To combat stress effectively:

  • Practice. 
  • Practice mindfulness.
  • Write your worries away. 

#2 - "Three Tips to Make Waiting for CFA Exam Results More Bearable"

So you got over your anxiety (or maybe just battled through it), studied, attended prep classes, and took the test. Now you wait. "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," the article states.  

What were the highlights?

When waiting for your test results keep the following in mind:

  • Don’t expect to pass.
  • Keep yourself occupied.
  • Commiserate with your fellow candidates.

#1 - "Six Counterintuitive Study Tips to Help You Pass the CFA Exam"

This article compiled findings from the latest scientific research on studying and test-taking to get readers through the next level toward completing their CFA certifications.

What were the highlights?

When practicing for the CFA exam:

  • Study. Take a practice test. Repeat.
  • Mix it up.
  • Go for a walk. 
  • Forget the all-nighters.
  • On testing day, forget your phone and focus on the test.
  • Feed your brain. 
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