4 Reasons Why People Fail the CFA® exams

Whether you’re preparing to sit for the CFA® exam for the first time, or you’re planning to retake the level, it is critical to consider the aspects that could lead to a futile result.

Understanding the foremost and broadly recognized reasons for coming up short in the Level I CFA® exam will guide you in creating an effective learning journey. Here are four reasons that candidates often portray prior or during their CFA® exam, and some guidance, so that you improve your chances of success.

 

1. Failing to meet expectations on exam day

Being able to tame one’s nerves will be important on the exam day. The main thing a candidate can do to battle them is to have a strong exam prep session. The better set up you are, the fewer chances to be influenced by nerves.

A few students will be unable to finish the CFA® exam due to the lack of time. If this is likely to be an issue for you in the exam, take a decision to separate the exam into sets of 10 questions and give yourself a 15-minute time restrict for each. Appropriate exam strategy includes recognizing the more tedious inquiries and abandoning them for the end. The risk of not doing this is, you get distracted trying to solve one question beyond the limit which could lead you to miss out on the simpler questions.

2. Overthinking chosen answers

If you are scoring about 70% on mock exams and can recreate this in the real exam, you are much-ensured for success. What’s more, ensure you adhere to your study technique. Do not begin scrutinizing your answers if you are apprehensive about the exam. Usually, 70% of the time, your first answer to a question will be the right answer. Keep in mind, when candidates begin altering their answers, it could create a trail of wrong answers due to overthinking. Our recommendation would be that unless you are 100% sure that you have committed an error, never show signs of change in your answer.

The Learning Outcome Statements (LOS) are based on the Candidate Body of Knowledge, created by CFA Institute and highlight what the candidate is expected to know from each topic. Therefore, embed this into your study plan, as they will enable you to center around the critical points for the exam.

3. Poor Ethics Score

CFA Institute will survey the applicants’ Ethics score before choosing whether to pass them to the following level. If you have a high band (10 or 9) and a poor Ethics score, this might be your reason for failing. Hence, it’s advisable to study ethics during the months prior to the exam for better retention. Practice a maximum number of ethics questions from CFA Institute’s content to be well prepared.

4. Exhausting your mind prior to the exam day

There is a genuine risk that candidates can over-study the day preceding the exam. The threat is that an exhausting day before the exam, combined with a poor night’s rest, gives you the result of feeling rationally drained right before the exam – tired applicants commit errors.

Ensure that you are at your psychological best for the exam. We suggest you utilize the day preceding the exam to re-read a portion of the lengthier topics of the educational modules, including Ethics. Try not to take mock exams, which can mentally deplete you. Candidates hardly ever sleep well right before the exam, therefore ensure that you get a chance to go to bed early.

Now that you have an insight into the prospective pitfalls, you’ll be in a better position to make a decision.

5 Reasons to get certified as a Business Analyst

There are a variety of business analyst paths that you can pursue based on your interests and aspirations to enter and grow in the finance industry. For the purpose of this blog, we will be focusing on the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation (CFA).

The CFA designation is a cost-effective certification that is acknowledged worldwide and will offer you a holistic understanding of investment management. Here are five reasons why you must consider advancing your career through this highly valued distinction:

 

1. Better Job Opportunities

Although there isn’t one sure shot to guaranteeing a job, the CFA charter will definitely boost your attractiveness in comparison to a non-CFA charterholder. The CFA charter requires a considerable amount of discipline and commitment which is one of the reasons why employers demand it as it demonstrates work ethic, analytical skills, and moral value to employers.

Demonstrating your profound understanding within the range of financial speculation and financial administration, it speaks volumes in terms of your understanding and work execution. Firms that center on the “buy-side” incline towards CFA charterholders as compared to MBAs. Some of the top employers for CFA charterholders, according to CFA Institute are:

  • Ernst & Young
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Morgan Stanley
  • HSBC

 

2. Reasonably priced

While an MBA can cost over $100,000, the CFA charter costs between $2,400 and $12,000, depending on when you enroll, what materials you purchase, and how many times you appear for the exams. This is quite a steal in terms of cost despite being a gold standard for investment analysis evaluation. Furthermore, you don’t need to quit your job like certain full-time MBA programs either.

3. Professional Growth Opportunities

Completing the CFA Program offers you the chance to be a CFA Institute member, a worldwide network of over 135,000 venture experts. It’s known to be noteworthy as it helps members engage with one another for future job prospects and receive first-hand industry insights. Along with preparing candidates for varied investment-related occupations, such as portfolio or risk manager and research analyst, it has also helped about 7% of CFA charterholders to be chief-level officials.

4. Worldwide Recognition

As mentioned earlier, CFA Institute encompasses a worldwide network of over 135,000 venture experts which not only shows how valuable it is worldwide but how rare the charter is as well. The CFA charter is recognized by controllers, colleges, and certification programs in at least 30 nations and regions. It will not only help you achieve unmatched career assets and connections but will also help you apply for occupations around the world that require a CFA charter or candidacy.

5. Practical Expertise

The charter is considered specialty within the commerce world compared to the MBA, which addresses a wide cluster of topics with less profundity. Receiving the CFA charter permits you to pick up explanatory skills and expertise in quantitative strategies, financial matters, budgetary reporting, investments investigation, and portfolio administration. The acquired set of aptitudes and knowledge throughout your CFA Program journey will serve you well all through your career.

5 Tips to Pass the CMA exam in the First Attempt

Being an advanced professional certification, Certified Management Accountant (CMA) demonstrates a strong understanding of accounting and financial management skills required by current dynamic companies.

The sooner you achieve the CMA certification, the sooner you can start your journey towards a top-level management position. So, here are 5 tips to pass the CMA exam in the first attempt:

 

1. Ensure the plan is viable

In order to create a successful study plan, it takes time, effort, and in some cases can prove to be costly as well. Having a well thought out plan ensures that you don’t lag at the end of the term and can cover all the important elements of the CMA exam. One method to ensure that your plan is effective is by following the SMART technique. The SMART technique refers to checking and ensuring that the chosen plan or goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.

 

2. Immerse in a real testing environment

By practising in an environment like that of the exam day, you can equip yourself better to manage exam day stress. The questions are prone to be presented in indirect ways to test whether the candidate understands the accounting principles and concepts. Therefore, just scanning the content for main points won’t work as almost everything that is included in the course content is important.

 

3. Engage Your Brain When Studying

Going through the course content repeatedly can be mentally exhausting and ineffective over time. Here are some methods you can incorporate to engage your brain:

  • Highlight the important parts of the book
  • Jot down notes on the margin or make flash cards for quick access
  • Identify your learning method: Visual, Auditory or Kinesthetic

 

4. Pay Attention to Key Definitions and Terms

Multiple choice questions are most commonly tested for essential concepts, definitions, and terms. Hence, it’s crucial to understand the important terms and be able to differentiate them to prevent confusion or misunderstanding.

Another area where you must pay close attention to is the terms in question statements. Certain words such as least, most, and so forth make a significant difference towards the correct answer. Therefore, don’t be quick to select an answer and rephrase the question to your understanding of the question is confusing or unclear.

 

5. Refine Your Skill in Educated Guessing

It is not surprising that candidates repeatedly get caught by questions they have never seen before. Therefore, it is exceptionally imperative that candidates hone the craftsmanship of “educated guessing” during their practice sessions. One good way to identify the correct answer would be through the process of elimination or relating it to a similar concept.

 

All in all, the CMA exam doesn’t just focus on the understanding of crucial accounting and financial management skills, and therefore passing the exam requires more than skimming through the main key phrases or statements.

3 Tips for Studying an Accounting Course

While there are several methods for studying accounting, it’s important to identify the key crucial factors that can lead to a successful outcome efficiently. To begin with, you must ensure that you have the passion to learn and are willing to dedicate the hard work required.

Most exams offered by noteworthy accounting organizations are created to test your comprehension of key bookkeeping concepts and terms. The below suggestions will help you identify methods that have worked successfully for prior accounting students and help you prepare effectively:

 

The Textbook is your key to success:

When reading a history textbook, you have a moderate to strong chances of success if you’re able to understand 90 percent of the information or have a general idea of the topic content, but this won’t work for accounting. It’s important to understand a concept in its entirety as accounting concepts build upon one another. If you were unable to understand the concepts taught in chapter 1, you’re going to have a difficult time learning the concepts in chapter 2 and most likely be lost by chapter 3.

One effective way to ensure clear understanding is by explaining the new concept to yourself or someone else which is far more effective than reading the content repeatedly. Although just understanding isn’t enough, you also must learn how to apply them which can be done through working out problems. Most chapter problems are designed specifically to help you discover how to apply the principles or concepts being taught in that section.

 

Review helps you identify your drawbacks:

Any subject is easier to understand and remember if you thoroughly learned it previously but if you’re unable to remember everything you’ve learned, you’ll have to start from scratch a couple of days prior to the exam. Although this might be a feasible idea for theoretical subjects such as history or management, it won’t work for analytical courses such as accounting courses. Therefore, it’s important to constantly assess one’s learning to identify loopholes and areas for confusion.

You can begin your review process by skimming through your chapters learned on a weekly basis and reworking problems commonly asked and especially struggled with. By taking some time to review your notes frequently, you will be able to refresh your memory and ensure that you have understood everything you studied during the week.

Remember, information that is forgotten must be relearned and the time required to relearn information is often the same as learning it for the first time. Therefore, it’s far more efficient to review as you go than to attempt to relearn forgotten information at the end of the term or semester.

 

Tackle the exam strategically:

To begin with, go through the exam paper and answer all the questions you know or the ones you find easy. will ensure that you get credit for all the questions you know and relieve a little pressure as you tackle more time-consuming or challenging questions.

You must ensure that you are confident enough to work accounting problems in a timely fashion and aren’t constantly checking the clock and stressing yourself out. Although the ideal situation would be to finish the accounting exam having answered all the questions correctly, it’s far better to complete 85 percent of the exam correctly than to complete 100 percent with a majority being incorrect.

3 Most important questions you must ask before joining CFA® classes

Every candidate prior to or during the CFA journey questions whether they have the skills required to be a successful candidate. To help you answer this question, a group of CFA candidates was surveyed and their answers have been summarised below to help you evaluate yourself and the elements of a Chartered Financial Analyst.

 

1. Do you have the required level of commitment?

When the CFA Institute states that a candidate is required to undertake 300 hours of training during the CFA program, they certainly mean it. You must understand that being able to balance one’s priorities along with the CFA classes isn’t the easiest walk in the park. Therefore, an implication that students face due to the lack of an efficient study plan is having to catch up with the lost content. It may not seem like a tedious task at first considering you only have one topic but when it turns into having to prep for 2 – 3 topics, that’s when the guilt and regret sets in.

2. Do you have traits that successful CFA® charterholders possess?

Successful charterholders set high regard for ethics especially for elements such as material non-public information, investment analysis, and referral fees as non-compliance could lead to legal issues. To be an effective CFA charterholder, you need to also display a high amount of interest in the profession. This interest or rather the constant need to learn deeper regarding a situation or topic is what helps them grow from a decent budgetary expert to an incredible one.

Furthermore, The CFA exam isn’t an exam that you can cram for which means there aren’t any shortcuts besides using an exam prep provider. Instead of investing a lot of time and energy acing basic ideas, the best way to guarantee that you have quick foundational learning is by utilizing prep provider notes created especially for comprehensive learning. First things first, for Level I, it’s particularly imperative to not be satisfied with “sufficient learning.” Each level of the CFA Program expands on the information learned in the earlier one. So “sufficient” to pass Level I could place you in an awful position for Level II since you’re expanding on an earlier base.

3. Do you have the ability to give your 100% to each and every topic?

During the CFA journey, excuses can often be the easiest to state considering how much the CFA classes demand from you. As one of our candidates stated, there will be times when you have had an extremely exhausting day or are just so tempted to choose a night out overstudying. Those are the times when you need to remind yourself what the CFA charter truly means to you as even though you don’t have any desire to study, you just have to.

Along with, being thorough is also one of the core requirements of an efficient CFA charterholder both during and post the CFA journey. Charterholders are profoundly sought after for their ability to be detail-oriented and notice factors that others often miss out on which helps imply an effective element of understanding and commitment.

Therefore, before you chose to do your CFA Program, aimed at learning to incorporate these details into your day to day life to receive a headstart

The Best Way to Study for the Level I CFA® exam

Although everyone is aware of the Level I CFA exam’s depth, many don’t take it seriously until they encounter it themselves. The 2019 Level I CFA pass rate was 42% which states that you need to be keen, driven, and have a committed study plan.

100 CFA candidates, who are presently charterholders, were questioned regarding the advice they have for current candidates, and a summary of their answers regarding the ideal approach for the Level I CFA exam has been mentioned below.

 

1. Get into a Study Routine Early

Numerous CFA® charterholders credit their examination routine for their success during the CFA journey which includes not only understanding what the content highlights but also applying it to various situations that will be tested during the CFA exam. This level of understanding and functional application requires time and patience which further prioritizes the need for an effective and comprehensive study plan.

One method that has proven to be effective is the Prepare > Practice > Perform technique. In the prepare phase, you learn the content through reading and attending training sessions while practice includes recollecting the material and identifying gaps in your learning so that you can perform well during your mock exams. Ensure that you spend 30 – 40% of your time during the preparation stage, 40 – 50% practicing, and 20% on performing well in the exam.

2. Emphasize on the Exam Weights and Learning Outcome Statements

You must have a clear understanding of the CFA exam educational modules and how every topic is weighted for the Level I CFA exam. Although the three levels of the CFA exam center on the 10 main themes, the content is refreshed every exam cycle. Exam weights differ for each level and can change marginally from year to year, so it’s better to confirm the weights before you start studying.

The Learning Outcome Statements (LOS) are based on the Candidate Body of Knowledge, created by CFA Institute and highlight what the candidate is expected to know from each topic. Therefore, embed this into your study plan, as they will enable you to center around the critical points for the exam.

3. Apply Concepts to Real Situations

Simply knowing the material isn’t sufficient to pass the CFA Program exam. Knowing how to incorporate one’s learning into the exam questions is a crucial aspect as the CFA Program curriculum is beyond just memorizing the textbook content. You should have the capacity to take the knowledge and apply it to sensible circumstances. Numerous CFA trainers regularly ask you to relate your learning to the present reality. Saqib Baig, CFA, states, “During your CFA journey, constantly ask yourself why you are learning the concept and the impact of the topic on your career.” The better you can relate to the topic, the easier will it be for you to recollect.

4. Figure out How to Take the Exam

There’s a distinction between learning the content and learning how to apply the content to the CFA exam. Ensure that you re-take a mock exam in a realistic environment at least one month before the main exam. CFA Institute will give you one such question paper, and you can buy more with exam prep suppliers like Kaplan Schweser. You can likewise complete a 6-hour live mock review offered through CFA societies in more than 120 areas worldwide or on the web.

These exams offer a tutorial that guides you through each question and helps you understand where the answer originates from, the calculations required, and what are the concepts being tested in the respective question. This will fill in your learning gaps and give you an idea of how you should prep for the real exam.

4 mistakes to avoid for Level I CFA® Students

Regardless of whether you’re preparing to sit for the CFA exam for the first time, or you’re planning to retake the level, it is important to consider the factors that could lead to an unsuccessful result.

Understanding the most widely recognized reasons for failing the Level I CFA® exam will enable you to build up a consciousness towards the various pitfalls. Here are seven reasons candidates don’t make it past the CFA exam, and some guidance, so that you improve your chances of success.

 

1. Neglected to Study Enough Hours

The CFA Institute strongly mentions that it takes at least 300 hours to pass each level of the CFA exam. The difficulty associated with balancing one’s work, social life, and education commitments is one of the key reasons the CFA course is extremely esteemed by companies.

Level I is the base level in view of core financial terms. It contains a considerable measure of standard information, and numerous candidates would have come across these terms during their previous financial education. This implies that the minimum time put in for Level I will differ significantly based upon a candidate’s earlier information and experience.

Regardless of how committed one aims to be, one simply doesn’t have enough energy. Therefore, a smart thought is to begin sooner than later, start with the material prior, and accomplish more practice than offered in classes. Keep in mind, you should aim to enhance your weak topics, maintain your strengths, and ensure that you have accounted for any educational module changes.

2. Specialized Gaps in Knowledge

Endeavoring any level of the CFA course with gaps in your content is a risky decision. CFA Institute does not release past exams and disallows candidates from talking about the content of the exam which implies one should have a clear understanding of the LOS. While it is important to practice topics that you strongly believe will be tested in the Level I CFA exam such as the ones with the highest weight-age, fewer weight-age topics are also crucial. CFA topics that you believe are of less importance will prove to be crucial especially if you aren’t strong in the main topics. These topics are usually left for the end and could be the defining point between a pass and fail in your CFA exam.

If you lack a clear understanding of multiple topics, your first move will be to clarify those misunderstandings either through the CFA study notes, CFA classes or through trainer assistance. Considering how the educational modules change every year, it is a smart thought to repurchase CFA study materials to guarantee adequate practice in new areas.

3. Ineffective Study Method

Live or online CFA exam prep courses are intended to quicken your comprehension of the core CFA content. Nonetheless, the productive utilization of one’s spare time is vital.

Most students believe that a good strategy would be to study the content and create your own notes to cover the educational modules. Although, the sheer size of the CFA educational modules implies that setting up your own notes with no external help is just too time-consuming. The likely consequences will be the inability to cover the entire syllabus, therefore, leading to gaps in your insight, due to doubts and lack of mock exams. The longer you prepare and practice, the more prominent the odds of achievement. Hence, dedicate the whole last month for review and practice.

4. Lack of enough practice

The most efficient way to pass any level of the CFA exam is to practice as many questions as possible. The significant issue that students face is that even though the content has been understood well when attempting mock exams, they are often confused or lost. Therefore, the more questions you practice, the more comfortable you will be. Some important study materials to go through before the Level I CFA exam are end-of-section questions, mock exams, and question bank tests. These questions will equip you with tricks, tips, and methods for quicker problem-solving.

 

Now that you are aware of the pitfalls, you can create a better plan to ensure greater success for the upcoming exam.

 

Learn more about our Level I CFA program training solutions

7 tips to choose the best institute for financial training

With the growing number of prep providers for the CFA® course, candidates are often confused by which prep provider is the most effective and offers value for money. To help clear your doubts, a series of factors have been mentioned below for consideration.

 

1. Suggestions from friends and family:

Do you know candidates who have completed the desired qualification? Your first move should be to interact with these individuals as they would be aware of the most effective study material and the key factors to focus upon during the CFA journey. On the off chance that you don’t know any prior candidates, reach out to your local CFA Society and inquire if either of their members would be willing to share their experience.

2. History of the Prep Provider:

Some financial training institutes have been creating prep notes, question banks, and mock exams for quite a long time, while others have just barely entered the market. The experience of the provider is crucial as it guarantees that their content and knowledge have been streamlined and refined throughout the years. This helps you effectively understand the CFA Institute’s exam requirements and prevents studying with a prep provider who is learning about the course requirements themselves.

The value must also be given to the volume of mock (practice) examinations provided and ensure that the online question banks are customizable so that you can work on your weak points. Select a provider who can offer you high-quality mock exams – an integrated learning test that targets all the areas of the curriculum rather than each topic individually which helps in recollection significantly.

3. Training by a certified instructor:

Being part of a financial training institution wherein the trainers themselves have studied and completed the certification enables them to have a student-centric perspective. This is imperative when identifying how to solve problems faced by candidates during their journey and offer tips and tricks. It wouldn’t be wise for you to take the advice of someone who hasn’t mastered the exam disregard the attempts.

4. An ‘approved prep provider’ status:

Certain Prep Providers that meet the CFA Institute’s guidelines receive a stamp of approval upon adhering to the ethical, educational, and professional requirements. Being an approved provider denotes that the institution has achieved the required benchmark for excellence and can collaborate with the CFA Institute by sharing feedback from the candidates regarding the course which helps update and improve the CFA Program curriculum and exam according to the latest trends.

5. Effective Study Plan:

One of the most common reasons why candidates fail is the lack of competent study practices. The habit of reading and note-taking which is commonly followed at universities is an ineffectual technique when it comes to the CFA Program exams. Aim to find a provider who has the study materials available as soon as the previous results are out and a trainer who applies real-life experiences into the learning process which will help you understand quicker and tackle the stringent rule of incorporating 300 study hours per level.

6. Classroom Education vs. Online Education:

Certain candidates prefer studying online as the classes are flexible and aren’t restricted to a specific time zone or location while others find learning in the traditional environment more convenient. Certain providers offer either of these options while others provide both, you need to effectively evaluate your learning environment and choose the one that enhances your knowledge. Along with this, you also need to compare the type of study materials offered – E-book or Hardbound textbook. When choosing between either, you need to ask yourself whether you will have the patience to stare at a laptop screen for 300 hours especially if you have been staring at it all day.

7. Size of Candidates:

The number of candidates using a specific financial training provider can speak volumes regarding their quality. More candidates imply more feedback for the institute to create and refine their examination materials. Moreover, a few also offer you the chance to compare your result against the other exam applicants.

At last, remember that a remarkable financial training provider can help ease your learning journey according to the program requirements. Although, even the best can’t substitute your need for hard work. There isn’t a sure shot in the market, and you must be wary of anyone who claims they can ease the examination responsibility significantly.