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Thoughts on CFA Program: 41 days remaining

It’s 41 days until the Level I Exam of the Chartered Financial Analyst Program. For a while, I felt like I was coasting along, as much of the material was similar to what we did in undergrad. Now though, it’s gotten a lot harder. My advice to people thinking about the program is to start early–very early.

I’m now on Reading 65, which is in the Fixed Income unit. This section uses terms that I have literally never heard of before. In a way, that’s what I wanted from this program, since I wanted to learn and grow, and not just get an extra credential. That said, it’s become a grind now.

I’m taking a mock exam on May 8 at nearby Portland State University, and I’m trying to finish up the last of the readings by that time.

Now that the day is getting closer, it’s starting to feel a bit more daunting. I feel up for the challenge, but I know that I have to bring my A-game. It’s starting to feel like pledging in Alpha Kappa Psi all over again. This means bringing back my time management strategy from those days:

  • Check email, news, Facebook, and things like that no more than twice daily–once in the morning and once in the afternoon. If you don’t see many posts on this site from now until the test date, you’ll know why.
  • Fun takes a back seat until June 5. Apparently the Blazers won last night. I wouldn’t know.
  • Sleep is overrated.

My suggestion for those thinking about the program is to make a schedule where they plan to complete certain amounts of readings on a time frame. The hard part will be sticking to that schedule, since work obligations and social activities will get in your way. I’m trying to deal with that myself now.

Good luck to everyone taking the Level I Exam in June.

-Alex Cook



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