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

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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

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