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CFA Exam & Material

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by gettoasty, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. gettoasty

    gettoasty Senior member

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    I am pretty sure there are a few in here that hold the designated CFA title.

    I want to get a taste of the material even though I feel exam 1 will not give me too much trouble given my background.
    My colleague informed me that I should prep first by taking a look at the notes first, SchweserNotes @Kaplan.

    I understand that once you sign up for the exam, you will be mailed the more in depth material to read on.

    Really want to order the notes, but was wondering if there are cheaper alternatives. I do not trust eBay, and dislike ebooks/DVDs.

    Would I be fine ordering a older version 2011 instead of the current? Or is this subject dependent on the most current material out?

    I am just trying to find a good deal on SchweserNotes looking forward to this coming spring for exam 1.

    Get the notes (and if so, could anyone suggest somewhere cheap?) or just register and study the reading material provided?
     
  2. tj100

    tj100 Senior member

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    Buy last years Schweser notes on ebay.

    The material does change, but probably not enough to impact pass/fail in one year.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. asdf

    asdf Senior member

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    You can download current Schweser notes via torrent.

    I actually found the textbooks more useful for levels 1 & 2, but I know I'm the minority in that regard.
     
  4. gettoasty

    gettoasty Senior member

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    Thanks dudes ^^

    I am thinking the same for myself. Would rather read the textbooks than the notes IMO just go get more in depth about the material.


    edit:
    Just found a copy of 2009...too old?


    OMG just realized the exam + reg. is $1,000 and I do not qualify for any of the immediate scholarships

    damn life sucks
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011
  5. urymoto

    urymoto Well-Known Member

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    cfa is the new highschool....you needs it

    dont be cheap, buy the new ones.
     
  6. asdf

    asdf Senior member

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    Yeah I read the books, did the questions, then brushed up using the notes. They also contain more questions and practice exams etc.
     
  7. businessformal

    businessformal Member

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    There used to be much less expensive notes available, e.g. from a company called Excel, but Schweser/Kaplan bought them out to create a lucrative monopoly. Picking up last year's notes on Ebay will give you 90-95% of what you need to know. The syllabus changes only slightly in most years.

    I passed all the CFA exams just using the notes and not bothering with the text books or prep seminars, which can add to the cost, but I had a pretty strong background already. The actual cost of the exam is typical for professional exams. Most employers will sponsor them if at all relevant.
     
  8. gettoasty

    gettoasty Senior member

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    Following up and a bit off-topic/rant; VERY LONG, skip to last paragraph for tl;dr

    So I recently discovered how expensive the CFA exam and material can add up to, initially thinking it would be affordable.
    Having graduated about 6 months ago now, interning full-time, and having to pay off a $27k student loan, I am in a bit of drift--moving along in life day by day with no solid plan but only hopes and dreams.

    I eventually want to go back to school I keep telling myself, statistics or a joint JD/MBA program, despite the stigma of the latter academic prospect. Graduated undergrad from an average school, double-majored in statistics and finance. I thoroughly enjoyed statistics more, seeing how the classroom was much smaller and more in-depth compared to your general business admin concentration with an average class size in the double digits to the hundreds. I still have a soft spot for finance though, researching and analytical type work. Maybe that is why I enjoy both subjects concurrently as a lot of quantitative analysis is involved.

    I enjoyed math, though it is not my strongest area. Where the JD comes to mind is that I also really enjoy reading and writing, or at least brainstorming ideas and putting them into concrete, palpable setting. And to be frank, having taken business law&ethics, the JD type lingo coexisting with foundational business sense is a very interesting topic to me.

    Currently I am interning at private wealth management firm, realizing shortly it is completely irrelevant as a whole to my goal of a CFA. Essentially CFP are involved with planning and the selling side, working with carriers and dealers. I am not a sales driven individual by heart, so I am being very resistant to the idea. More so, I highly doubt the management will be compliant with me if they found out I really want to pursue a CFA rather than become another rep. On the upside, there are some defining features of this internship that has given me some broader perspective--enjoying the topics of estate planning, mutual funds and 401k plans. Life insurance and VA's seem like a big old scam, but I am being ignorant as I probably do not fully understand the products.

    Another note, I mesh well with my all my colleagues, but there is something about the culture that I am not fond of. Maybe I am meant to do public work rather than private. People are just kind of self-fish, insincere, and have a lack of consideration. Everything is fabricated it seems, and advisers, a lot but not all, just kind of regurgitate the same thing. All that said though, I think it would be a great opportunity to work here and build up some rapport and experience.

    Back to my intial "goals"...having a feeling that I am working against time, I feel old as hell for some reason, I think pursuing the CFA then graduate program is my plan. CFA though may change, perhaps I may get a CFP but just do consulting but no sales. Another certification of interest is the FRM. A lot of these certification I am considering though is more about having the educational background at the end more so than being able to be professionally licensed to rake in commission etc. ....
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
  9. ginlimetonic

    ginlimetonic Senior member

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    cfa cheap compared to your student debt at $27K.

    If you take the average 4 times a charterholder takes to pass all 3 levels, thats only about $1500+$500+$500+$500 = $3000 over 3-4 years. What else do you want?

    I guess discount at a long run Libor rate the annual membership fees to find how much you'd be out of pocket.

    ~ passed L3, charter pending
     
  10. legorogel

    legorogel Senior member

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  11. Concordia

    Concordia Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    There isn't much positive benefit that I can see, especially if you have a good MBA. Maybe you avoid a negative judgment here and there, or put out a signal if there's some doubt about your interests when someone looks at the rest of your resume. And perhaps the meetings are good for networking. I did once meet an investment firm that required all of their professionals to take it and would fire them if they took too long to pass. But they struck me as a pretty mediocre shop.

    One thing to think about, though-- if you're single and without children, it's much easier to take the tests now. Between the evenings for review classes and the massive pre-exam panic around Memorial Day, it's much better if you're not responsible to too many people.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
  12. tj100

    tj100 Senior member

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    As a Charterholder myself, I find the whole thing to be a scam. I would not advise anybody to embark on the CFA program unless their current employer encouraged and financed it.
     
  13. gettoasty

    gettoasty Senior member

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    I'm highly considering the CFP right now. It seems more applicable at a personal and organizational level.
    After a talk with a friend, it seems the CFP may be more beneficial to others and as a career when helping individual's strategically plan their wealth goals.

    edit:
    From what I understand, the two certifications are similar but also differ greatly in their application and technical knowledge. FWIW, I think a CFP will serve me better looking at my current job outlook.

    There is actually a CFA in the office who, IMO, is undervalued and really doesn't apply much of the CFA curriculum into the role. In that case, it may seem as a total waste though I am sure the knowledge accumulated weighs heavily as well.

    Appreciate the comments.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
  14. ballmouse

    ballmouse Senior member

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    Just curious about the CFA test in general, but do you need to have the 2 sponsorships in hand before you can take the 1st test? I'm a bit confused as to how the sponsor thing works.
     
  15. imschatz

    imschatz Senior member

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    No need for sponsors for the first test.
     
  16. tj100

    tj100 Senior member

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    IIRC (at least, back in my day, it may have changed) the sponsorship is a requirement of CFAI membership, which really only has to happen after you finish L3.
     
  17. cropknox

    cropknox Active Member

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    The last statistic I heard was that 60% of testers do not pass the level 1 on the first attempt. No doubt a large portion of those who fail are busy working professionals who fail to study enough.
     
  18. Concordia

    Concordia Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Yes--- in Year 1, everyone assumes they know the material, even though they don't know it the way the examiners want. Once you get that part, it's not so bad.

    Year 2 gets hard. Quantity and depth of material-- sort of like middle distance running.

    Year 3 used to be trivial, but now there's apparently a decent dose of derivative work that goes beyond hand-waving and touting the virtues of diversification.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012
  19. Hannerhan

    Hannerhan Senior member

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    Yes I have heard from multiple people that level III has gotten quite a bit tougher over the past few years, to the point where it's about the same as level II now on the difficulty scale.
     
  20. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Exactly. I am taking the CFA only because I have a bad bad MBA degree from a no-name school.
     

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