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  1. #1
    ))))))))))))))))))))))))) 2am's Avatar
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    CFA Charterholders GTFIH

    If you're interested in earning some juicy green squares, please consider answering any of the below questions:

    How long did it take you to pass each Level?

    How long did it take you in total?

    Which were the most difficult exams?

    What would you do differently?

    Would you recommend it?

    Is it worth going for it in 2020?


    Many thanks
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  2. #2
    Registered User hotdawg100's Avatar
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    How long did it take you to pass each Level?

    Lvl 1 - pass (studied couple of weeks - finance undergrad tho) - one year
    Lvl 2 - failed (studied same as for lvl 1 big mistake) / failed (but didnt study) finally decided to study - passed (studied 5 months probably 15 hours a week) so thats 3 years
    Lvl 3 - pass (20 hrs a week 3 months)

    How long did it take you in total?

    5 years

    Which were the most difficult exams?

    L1 easy
    L3 and L2 were significantly harder and on par with each other I’d say, but depends on your background - I was doing a lot of derivatives work so that big section in L3 was easier for me.

    L3 i think is also fundamentally harder because you have to write out the answers and not pick from options. Also everyone is studying harder for lvl 3 and has passed lvl2 so you competition (curve) is harder too

    What would you do differently?

    Would have taken the prep course that I did for lvl 2 and 3 right away and not waste my time failing

    Would you recommend it?

    Depends on industry / geography. Some cities are so saturated that it’s basically a minimum requirement. Sell side maybe good to have but not super needed. Buy side - should get it. These days it’s ultra competitive so if you are new in the industry ya you need it I’d say.

    If you are doing it for fun to “learn” no there are better courses.

    Is it worth going for it in 2020?

    See above
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  3. #3
    CEO of Science Lefticle's Avatar
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    Inb4 our resident Level 1 CFA candidate, patagucci. Hopefully he'll be able to shed some light with his vast financial experience.
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  4. #4
    ))))))))))))))))))))))))) 2am's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by hotdawg100 View Post
    How long did it take you to pass each Level?

    Lvl 1 - pass (studied couple of weeks - finance undergrad tho) - one year
    Lvl 2 - failed (studied same as for lvl 1 big mistake) / failed (but didnt study) finally decided to study - passed (studied 5 months probably 15 hours a week) so thats 3 years
    Lvl 3 - pass (20 hrs a week 3 months)

    How long did it take you in total?

    5 years

    Which were the most difficult exams?

    L1 easy
    L3 and L2 were significantly harder and on par with each other I’d say, but depends on your background - I was doing a lot of derivatives work so that big section in L3 was easier for me.

    L3 i think is also fundamentally harder because you have to write out the answers and not pick from options. Also everyone is studying harder for lvl 3 and has passed lvl2 so you competition (curve) is harder too

    What would you do differently?

    Would have taken the prep course that I did for lvl 2 and 3 right away and not waste my time failing

    Would you recommend it?

    Depends on industry / geography. Some cities are so saturated that it’s basically a minimum requirement. Sell side maybe good to have but not super needed. Buy side - should get it. These days it’s ultra competitive so if you are new in the industry ya you need it I’d say.

    If you are doing it for fun to “learn” no there are better courses.

    Is it worth going for it in 2020?

    See above
    Thanks for delineating your experience. Safe to say I shouldn't underestimate Levels II and III then. Repped.

    Originally Posted by Lefticle View Post
    Inb4 our resident Level 1 CFA candidate, patagucci. Hopefully he'll be able to shed some light with his vast financial experience.
    We wait with bated breath
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  5. #5
    Registered User hotdawg100's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 2am View Post
    Safe to say I shouldn't underestimate Levels II and III then.
    Yup, coming off level 1 seems how bad can it be - well... L2 and L3 are MUCH worse - i dont think i ever studied for anything that hard in my life, that and GMAT...
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  6. #6
    Semi-Aesthetic/10 TheWeeknd4Ever's Avatar
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    passed l1 in 2016, l2 in 2017 and l3 in 2018. Got my charter in 2020

    studied approx 700 hours for each level - overkill but I wanted to make sure I knew the material like the back of my hand. never was in doubt I passed any of the exams after I left

    L3 is a completely different beast because of the written portion. L2 is fuking tough also. L1 is pretty easy if you just study hard or you have a finance/accounting background. Basically a commerce/econ/accounting undergrad.

    it is a great supplement to the resume and can help you advance or get more c-suite roles but it is not a golden ticket. If you are using it to jump into the finance industry it will still be very difficult because many many people try the same thing. Work experience and network connections are still the top requirements, but having your CFA does help

    Is it worth it? Tough to say. The grind is fuking brutal - if I had known how much work it was going to be not sure I would do it all over again...but, I’m on the other side of it all now so it is hard to say. Definitely helped me in my career getting into i-banking along with my education background and work experience so I definitely can’t knock it.

    Hate what they have done to the exam now though - multiple times a year, all online. Seems like they have made it WAY easier which could result in the dilution of the prestige of the credential but that is just my opinion.

    Good luck if you decide to take it. Don’t underestimate it.
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  7. #7
    Registered User hotdawg100's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TheWeeknd4Ever View Post
    Hate what they have done to the exam now though - multiple times a year, all online. Seems like they have made it WAY easier which could result in the dilution of the prestige of the credential but that is just my opinion.
    Wow thats crazy didn't even know but just checked online and don't like it either. Just lowers the stakes so much doing it on computer once every 3 month vs. waiting for a whole year. Guess gotta make that $$$
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  8. #8
    Registered User paulinkansas's Avatar
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    Reading this thread makes me feel kind of stupid. B.S. in Finance '88, most of my MBA in '90. Now I want to take the Level 1 exam just for kicks. I scored in the 90% percentile on the GMAT and studied exactly 0.00 hours.
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  9. #9
    Registered User ikepen's Avatar
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    ikepen is online now
    Charterholder here.

    How long did it take you to pass each Level? only failed level 2 but had a 50 hour/week job and couldn't focus for chit on studies.

    How long did it take you in total? 6 years with a break of 2 years after failing level 2.

    Which were the most difficult exams? 1 is easy and mainly focuses on speed as there are lots of questions. Some say level 2 is the hardest (I agree) and some say it's level 3. Most of my friends struggled with level 3 and failed multiple times whereas I had no problem at all with it. There is a HUGE step between level 1 and 2.

    What would you do differently? start earlier. I was a late starter, usually beginning of Feb for beginning of June exam. Should have started during the Christmas break to alleviate some of the stress come May.

    Would you recommend it? Yes, now most jobs in finance will ask for you to be enrolled in the program.

    Is it worth going for it in 2020?
    I still think it's worth it. There's going to be even more competition in finance as the economy shrinks and businesses downsize.

    PM if you have more questions.

    Good luck!
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  10. #10
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    A lot of people are doing the CFA now , and it's easily ready for them too.

    That's why I started looking into the CPA
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  11. #11
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    Thanks for making the thread opie. Good to see responses.

    Taking L2 in May 2021, L1 was easy. Glad to see that it will take a major kick in the azz to get thru L2
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