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 weightage, fewer weightage 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 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 changes 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 passing 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.
5. 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.
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 since 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.
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.
6. Poor Ethics Score
The 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 is probably your reason for failing.Guarantee that you leave contemplating Ethics to the most recent few months prior to the exam for retention. Practice the greatest number of ethics questions from the CFA Institute’s content to be effectively prepared.
7. Concentrating Too Hard the Day before the Exam
There is a genuine risk that candidates can contemplate too hard 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 are aware of the pitfalls, you can create a better plan to ensure greater success for the upcoming exam.
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