With the latest CFA exam only two months away, we put together an accumulation of CFA advice that veteran test-takers have given to rookies. Below are some of the highlights, taken from posts on Analyst Forum, Reddit and previous conversations we've had with people who have earned their charter. Don't mingle with other test-takers, pack your lunch and always have a bathroom strategy...
"Show up an hour before. Don’t compare your answers with another candidate before the exam or during the lunch break. It will only add to your stress levels."
"Bring earplugs. There is always some chronic hacking cougher in the crowd."
"Bring a s**load of pencils pre-sharpened (I bring at least 10, always gets a comment from the proctor)"
“Try to finish 1 min early and put your pencil down. They’ll nullify your result in a heartbeat if you go 2 seconds over, so why cut that close. WHEN THEY SAY PENCILS DOWN THAT MEANS PENCILS DOWN.”
“Guess on ANY question that takes more than 2 minutes. For level 1, hard or easy questions are worth the same.”
“The collective wisdom is that no studying should be done the day before or the day of the exam, I disagree. I read through my flash cards cover to cover the day before and flicked through some of them on the morning of the exam before going in and at lunch and I picked up quite a few points from this.”
“I found it helpful to really familiarize myself with the surrounding area of the exam location. When I finished in the AM I knew exactly where the closest Starbucks was so I made it there before the huge line formed."
“Sort out your sleep cycle and begin waking up at the exact same time you will need to wake up on exam day for at least 2 weeks before. If you’re on study leave don’t fall into the trap of sleeping a bit later and working into the night.”
“Extra batteries for peace of mind.”
“Time your bathroom visits well. I used to just walk in and avoid all the madness, go straight to the line for checking in, get to my seat and lay everything out on the desk (bar ticket and passport) and then go to the bathroom.”
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