The Truth About Failing the CFA Level 1 Exam

Learn from an expert's perspective about the common experience of failing the CFA Level 1 exam and how to overcome it.

The Truth About Failing the CFA Level 1 Exam

As an expert in the field of finance and a CFA charterholder, I have seen many candidates struggle with the CFA exams. It is a rigorous and challenging program that requires dedication, hard work, and a lot of time. In fact, according to the CFA Institute, it takes an average of four years for a candidate to complete all three levels of the program. So, if you fail one or even two levels, you are not alone.

It is actually quite common. Let's start with the basics. If you fail the CFA Level 1 exam, you will have to retake it in order to continue with the program (unless you decide to drop out altogether). However, there are some rules that you must follow.

The CFA Institute has a rule that states there must be at least six months between exams. This means that you cannot retake the exam until six months have passed since your last attempt. Of course, you can choose to retake the exam at a later date, such as one year from now. The CFA exams are notoriously difficult to pass.

The institute's own study materials are helpful, but they are not enough on their own. I know this from personal experience. I failed the CFA Level 1 exam despite working hard and sacrificing everything for it. But don't lose hope just yet.

There are resources available that can help you pass the exams in record time and with less stress. However, before you decide to retake the exam, it is important to evaluate whether the CFA program is truly worth it for you. Consider how much time and effort you can realistically dedicate to the program and whether it aligns with your personal goals and values. It is also important to have a study plan in place.

You can track your progress by crossing off the readings as you complete them. This will help you see your progress and motivate you to keep going. Now, let's address the elephant in the room. Failing the CFA exam can feel like a huge setback and a blow to your confidence.

But I am here to tell you that it is not the end of the world. In fact, it can even be an advantage in life. As a charterholder who passed all three exams on my first attempt, I can attest to this. Not passing the exam on your first try can teach you valuable lessons and make you a stronger candidate in the long run.

I still remember the devastation and anger I felt when I failed CFA Level 2 many years ago. I had put in over 350 hours of studying and was just below the minimum passing score. It was a tough pill to swallow, but I learned from my mistakes and came back stronger for the next attempt. It is important to note that while passing Level 1 is becoming a necessary requirement for some financial positions, it is not enough on its own.

You must also pass Levels 2 and 3 to become a CFA charterholder. So, if you do not pass Level 1 on your first try, do not let it discourage you from continuing with the program. One candidate shared their strategy for answering Level 1 questions, which involved focusing on the questions they were confident they could answer correctly first. This is a smart approach that can help you manage your time and increase your chances of passing.

If you do decide to retake the exam, there is no discount on the registration fee. However, you will not have to pay any registration fee when you retake the exam. The CFA Institute understands the frustration and disappointment of failing the exam, and they do not want to add any financial burden on top of that. It is important to remember that the CFA Institute is not immune to the distress of candidates who fail their exams.

They understand that it is a difficult and emotional experience. That is why they offer resources and support to help you improve and succeed in your next attempt. So, if you have failed the CFA Level 1 exam, know that you are not alone. It is a common experience, but it does not define your abilities or potential.

Use this setback as an opportunity to learn and grow, and come back stronger for your next attempt. With dedication, hard work, and the right resources, you can pass the CFA exams and achieve your goals.