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So, you haven't studied hard enough for CFA Level I? Try this

Reinvigorate your CFA chances with this strategy, or not

There are five days to go until the CFA Level I exams and some people are starting to panic. You're supposed to spend at least 300 hours studying for each of the CFA exams and if you haven't put those hours in now, you're going to be hard pressed to make them up. OK, you could do 90 hours exam preparation this week, but only if you do nothing but study during your waking hours - and that seems unlikely.

Accordingly, forums used by CFA exam students have been filling up with messages from the stressed.

"I haven’t attempted a single Mock exam yet and also not attempted a single question from Schweser Qbank," moans one CFA Level I candidate in Canada. "I haven't completed the corporate finance and derivatives section yet," he adds, saying that he's willing to study 20 hours a day until the exam takes place.

Another candidate says he's taken five mock exams (and scored a decent average of 75% in each, which should be a pass), but that his plans to have the final week off work to study have been stymied by a colleague, who's taken annual leave. 

Another says he's been scoring test averages of 30-38% (not a pass) and is studying, "seven hours a day, six days a week." One candidate claims to have only started studying two weeks ago and is aiming for "16 hours a day" with Thursday and Friday devoted entirely to mock exams. Another says he only started studying 12 days ago and will be doing "14 hours a day, uninterrupted, from a base of zero knowledge." 

Will they pass? Most people seem to think it unlikely. However, one candidate who's preparing for the June Level I exam rather than for next Saturday's session, claims to have developed a system. We've posted this below. Let us know what you think in the comments box at the bottom of this page. Would this really get you through one of the most difficult financial exams on the planet?

'There are 240 questions.

You need 168 right (70% of 240) to pass.

Can you get 50% of the questions definitely right? As in, you're sure of the right answer? That doesn't seem so hard. Yeah, sure you can.

So now you have 120 questions right. You need 48 more.

Of the 120 remaining questions, can you eliminate one wrong answer out of the three choices for half of them? Sure, that seems reasonable. So for 60 of the remaining questions, you'll get 30 of them (50% of 60) right.

Now you've got 150. You need 18 more.

There are 60 questions left. You have NO IDEA what the right answer is for any of them. You're just guessing randomly. So for 20 of the remaining 60 questions, you'll get 20 (1/3 of 60) right.

That brings you to 170. Congratulations, you pass.'

Photo credit: "Battery" by Andy Armstrong is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Sh
    Shane Warne
    20 November 2019

    I passed with zero hours study using dis strategyb. Thansk E-fin careers. I know got a jonb working at Gold man Sachs on investments disk managing several billion in kapital.

  • Me
    Meow Peow
    1 July 2019

    Oh, don't worry, I manage to get all the wrong ones in the 50/50 situation xD

  • cf
    26 January 2018

    LoL man. Will you post anything now? Does it even makes sense? Probabilities are good. What if of the last 60, all you guess are wrong? And what if you are unable to reject one of the 60 questions in second step? You never know, until you face it. And that will be too late to think about it. It's not a card game where everyone is playing against probabilities and you calculate your chances. It's a knowledge game where a good number of them(~47%) are playing with strong concepts in their Armour. Don't waste your hard earned money applying such useless "systems".
    Doesn't work like that!

  • An
    19 March 2016

    Umm, your system isn't a system.
    First, no, you can't guarantee knowing 50% with no studying.
    Second, there isn't a system, everyone who takes the test will answer the ones they know and choose their best guess on the others, so this doesn't give you an advantage. The typical fail rate is 40% and given your lack of studying, that makes your odds even lower. You are underestimating the difficulty of the test.

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