For a chronological index of my path to the CFA, click here.

Well I’ve just ordered my new business cards…

It’s a joke! It’s a joke! I know that’s not ethical!!

For non-insiders, the CFA Institute specifically prohibits creating any sort of intermediate title for yourself, like “CFA Level II”. You either are or are not a charterholder, and only charterholders in good standing are allowed to put CFA after their names.

Yes friends, I managed to pass. It appears that neither a business degree nor third party study materials nor a TI BAII+ are required to sneak through the CFA exams – at least for Level I.

The CFA Institute sent out a link a few weeks back that it said would give you your test results at 9:00 AM EST on July 29. I clicked on it then and it said – surprise! – to check back at 9:00 AM EST on July 29. I clicked on it yesterday and early this morning and it said the same thing.

I clicked on it slightly after 9:00 AM today and it still said the same thing!! 👿 I hit reload a couple times and was finally greeted with a username and password field along with an ominous line of text:

June 2008 Level I: Pass Rate 35%

To be honest, I hadn’t been nervous at all these last few weeks while waiting for results. But when I saw the 35% I had trouble keeping my fingers from shaking while logging in.

And just like that a new page opens with your results. I was going to just do a screen capture but remembered that thing I signed about not giving away details of the test, and the exam results do give the breakdown as to how many points came from which section.

So I’ve reproduced only my scores below. In fact, you don’t get a score but rather a Pass or Fail and what range your scores fell in for the tested categories:

This is very good news indeed as my wife and I are about to take off to Finland and I was wondering what I was going to do about needing to start preparing to re-take Level I in December versus the logistics of bringing all the study guides with me.

Speaking of the study guides, since taking the test on June 7, I haven’t opened them once. This really surprised me as I actually loved most of the material. I guess I either just needed a break or somewhere deep in the subconscious was the knowledge that I had passed.

So, I will be registering for Level II soon and continue the blogging. Thanks to all of you who have kept in touch through the comments – let me know how you did! And many thanks to my wife for the red bulls, encouragement, and space to prepare.

Should thank the poodle too. The dog walks really helped to break up the blocks of study time…

See you all again soon. 🙂

28 thoughts on “I AM KING OF THE WORLD!”

  1. I passed too, 70% + on everything with the exception of alternative investments (51%-70%).

    Level 2 here I come!

  2. Congratulations! I look forward to tracking your progress toward Level 2. Your posts gave me motivation to buckle down, and I’m glad all of the difficult work paid off for both of us. Good show!

  3. Congratulation!

    for me, I didnt pass :(….but the good news is that I have promised my wife to buy her an expensive bag and a dinner in an expensive resturant….so I dont have to pay for that.

    Overall, it seems that I had a problem with time managment where I had to guess many questions, that why I wasnt expecting a pass. I am not sure about when to do the next exam!

    Good luck in your next exam

  4. Lumilog,

    Congratulations to you and all who passed! Thank you so very much for keeping this blog that I had to check from time to time, especially when I was in doubt whether to continue. I would like to commend you for passing without the use of third party material. For me, I used three third party materials because I started late (Jan 08) and old (43). But I would like to share with the readers my experience with these materials.

    After I registered for the exam, I soon found out I did not have enough time to prepare for reading all CFA books plus a one-month prep for the exam. I decided to order Schweser Study Note Pack for $449 that includes 3 sets of mock exams, the 5-volume study notes, and a Schweser’s QuickSheet. The QuickSheet is very useful and I saw many people using it the last minutes while I was getting into the exam room that day. As I progressed, I realized that it is still not enough. So I ordered from Allen Resource for a TestBank software for $299 (guarantee pass), and an online excess of online tests at AnalystNote (analystnotes.com) for $69. In the very last week, I also ordered the one-set exam from CFA Institute for $100. So I spent more than $900 for third party material and (plus $1078 registration cost) a grand total of about $2000.

    Overall, I think the money was well spent. However, among them, I would recommend the Schweser material and the CFA mock exam. For Schweser, the Notes helped me to release some time-pressure because I spent less time grasping the main concept. The design of Schweser exam questions is almost identical to the actual exam, except the Schweser exam is harder (see later). The AnalystNote and AllenResource were a bit of waste of money. There were a total of more than 7000 questions in Allen Resource TestBank, but most of them were not well designed (I reported dozens of error to them, and stopped reporting because I did not get any response). Their pass-guarantee is not money-back, but to provide the updated TestBank for free for the upcoming re-exam, not much value. Questions on AnalystNote were just too old, and sometimes you don’t agree with their answers. The mock exam from CFA is the must-have because you are simulating the real situation in the testing environment and difficulty (BTW, I think the difficulty of the free CFA sample exam is similar to our morning session and the $100 ordered mock exam is similar to our afternoon session). Anyway, I would recommend anyone who tries to walk in the exam room at least to take CFA mock exam for a good warm up (but it may have been too late if you find your result not favorable).

    Following table shows my results for various mock exams and the actual exam.

    Topic SCH 1 SCH 2 SCH 3 CFA Free CFA Mock Actual
    Alternative Investment 63% 75% 75% 33% 58% 70%
    Derivative 50% 75% 67% 100% 75% > 70%
    Economics 46% 50% 46% 80% 63% > 70%
    Equity Investment 75% 63% 71% 100% 67% > 70%
    Ethics 47% 56% 69% 44% 78% > 70%
    FSA 57% 61% 71% 62% 56% > 70%
    Fixed Income 40% 60% 54% 67% 50% > 70%
    Portfolio Management 75% 83% 83% 100% 50% > 70%
    Quantitative 75% 75% 71% 86% 89% > 70%
    OVERALL 56% 62% 67% 70% 65% PASS

    I hope this information is useful to anyone seeking CFA exams and good luck to everyone on the next exam to come!


  5. Remy – merci vielmal!

    Pablo – you and George put my scores to shame…

    Mandar – thanks! 🙂

    Cjones65 – congrats right back atcha!

    Naif – sorry to hear that. Don’t give up and don’t lose your momentum – probably just need to put in more hours working more problems. I never ended up putting in the amount of time per week that I planned, but I put in many, many weeks (started studying in September ’06 for June ’07’s Level I exam) which perhaps compensated for my study-time mis-management.

    George – thank you so much for such a helpful post, and congrats on passing. This is great b/c I’ve gotten so many emails from people asking about 3rd party resources and I have no firsthand knowledge with which to help steer them towards what’s right.

    Cheers all!
    – Lumilog

  6. congrats Lumilog.

    but did you know what does the max points mean !? and how can someone know his overall pass rate?!

  7. congrats lumilog and all who passed!

    i was down for about 3 minutes once i saw i almost made it, and didn’t!

    well, i’ll have to put in more hours and try again in december, hopefully i can still catch with you guys for the june 2009 level ii exam.

    now… first thing first, let me put my TV away…. 😉

  8. Congrats! I’ve been regularly checking your website and the CFA website to find out if the results are out…Keep up the great work and good luck on level II!

  9. Congrats on passing! I did as well. > 70 on six topics, and 50-70 on four. I used only Schweser, but also the CFA materials for Ethics (which didn’t pay off: 50-70). I found that using Schweser was effective for time management, and allowed me to begin drilling questions vigorously early in April. There is no substitute for drilling questions!

    To your readers who did not pass, maybe consider: do not take the exam again in December ’08 and expect to perform well on Level 2 in June ’09. Unless you are a machine, you may find yourself burning out as you approach June. Many colleagues of mine who failed Level 1 in past June sessions wait the full year to test again; those that take in December all failed Level 2 the following June. Why study during football season anyway? Good luck!

  10. To echo Dean’s point, I agree that you can really burn out if you plan to take Level 1 December 08 and Level 2 June 09. I also agree with him on the benefit on time management using Schweser. During my practice on these Mock Exams, I barely finish them in time. But with the real exam, I finish both sessions more than 30 minutes early (an advice to future exam-takers, don’t finish too fast, even if you can; you may be simply wasting time reviewing questions in-doubt as you have too much time left).

    I do want to give advice to people like Lumilog and myself, who are not currently working in the financial industry and do not have a background in economy or finance. You need to put a lot of quality time in reading the CFA books (they are the best books, very well written, better than any Prep materials, but very lengthy). CFA said you need to put 250 hours to prepare your exam. For those of us who are outside of the field, you may need to use two times of it (at least that’s what I have experienced myself). Good luck!

    Lumilog, I expect you to continue the journey for the Level 2. This time I’ll start early and would love to share ideas and progress with everyone. I am hoping to pass all three exams consecutively.

  11. Momo – I don’t think you can know your overall pass rate. I think the max points just tells you how many points you would have earned toward your total score if you’d got every question in the section correct.

    Jay – that’s got to be frustrating. 🙁 But at least it shouldn’t be too hard for you to clear the hurdle next time.

    Sarah & itconsultant – thanks much for the congrats!

    Dean – good advice. Re: schweser I was surprised when I asked one candidate during the exam break about how much material is in the Schweser study guides – it sounded like they are almost as thick as the regular CFA guides?

    George – agree on the CFA guides. The main reason I stuck with studying from them is what you mentioned – they are very detailed and thorough, which is what someone with no background in this stuff needs. But of course the thoroughness comes at a price – it can take a while to get through them and someone with a business degree may save him/herself a lot of time by using 3rd party instead.

    – Lumilog

  12. I’d say the Schweser materials are ~70% the length of the CFA texts. I was able to read through them thoroughly, while taking Concept Checkers by the end of April. In May, I re-read probably half the Schweser texts, re-took the concept checkers, and read Secret Sauce twice; all the while taking questions on their online Qbank. (Note on the online qbank: you can track progress by study session, and even by reading, thereby allowing you to focus on trouble areas in the weeks leading to the exam.)

    This is likely just psychological, but I think the abbreviated Schweser materials made preparation feel less daunting. The 350 hours I spent studying were efficient and meaningful.

  13. Congrats Lumilog! I am going to try and review the materials at random like you did, after my first round of studying. I am not using any third party study material. The CFA study material is very well written and interesting to ready. I will try couple of mock exams from CFA.

    If I pass Level 1 in Dec, I will wait till 2010 to take level 2. If I fail, I can always try in June. Looking forward to reading about your journey to Level 2.

  14. Hi,

    I wanted to write and say congratulations, and let you know that I have really enjoyed reading your blog for the last several months. I came upon it when I was starting to look at options for transitioning my career into finance. I have since decided to go the MBA route, but I think the CFA is also in my future, and you have given a good roadmap, along with a bit of confidence for someone froma different career industry. I look forward to reading your future posts and good luck on level two!

    -Jon in Chicago

  15. Congratulations! Did you drink another Red Bull to celebrate? It is strange, but I passed level 2 as well. I guess my feelings about the CFA exam is not always accurate.

    I think I will put CFA Level III candidate on my CV immediately. Oh, wait, I can’t. I’d have to pay the level 3 enrollment fees first. 🙂

  16. Dean – good info on Schweser. Thanks.

    Pudocfa – good luck in December! The random mix really worked well for me and I plan to use it for Level II.

    JonnyBoy – thanks for the comments. If you get both an MBA and CFA charter, conventional wisdom is that you’ll really be raking it in!

    Amanda – thanks for continuing to read!

    Patrick – Huge congrats on passing Level II! I must admit I chose Red Wine over Red Bull to celebrate. Good Luck with Level III. 🙂

    – Lumilog

  17. Just felt i make my contribution. A very interesting blog, I must say. This is the very exeprience I felt and was wondering whether I was just alone. My results are meant to be out in less than 40 hours…..I sat for December Exams. The feeling is overwhelming and the 40 hours are really looking long.

    What I have figured out from most bloggers who have made their contributions is that the afternoon paper is more challenging. This is what I felt. The morning session happened to be straight forward. Men!!! The afternoon session was really a hard nut to crack. Will let you guyz how it turns out to be.

    I am Kenyan but I took the exam from south Africa(Jo Burg)

  18. I am not planning to sit for level 2 this june. I may burn out!!!!! Aha Aha!!! Seriously, I don think it is enough time. I am sitting for level 2, June 2009. In the mean time I am looking for what to do…..Thanks man!

  19. Hi guys, I have taken 6 schweser mocks and i got 79-83 range.
    I know where my mistakes are, all in accounting, is 79-83 going to pass me on the real thing or I better study accounting.

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