The Level 1 CFA Exam results are in, and congratulations to all you new masochists who passed CFA Level I! CFA Level 1 came in with a pass rate of 44%. So you’re lucky compared to 42% in June 2014 and 42% in December 2013. However, Level 2 pass rates also ticked up last year. So it’s maybe not totally unexpected.
Below is my night 1, sincere congratulatory letter to all those CFA Candidates that passed Level 1.
Next, you’ll get my kick in the pants it’s only Level 1 CFA post. Stay tuned for that.
Sincere Letter to new CFA Level 2 Candidates
Dear freshly minted CFA Level 2 Candidate,
You are now an official member of the most annoying test taking club in America. Have a few beers, teas, boxes of chocolates, or pizzas. Or all of them together.
You deserve it. Really. You managed to study 200, 300, 400, or 500 hours in your free time to pass a rigorous, somewhat-non-essential career exam to further your career as an Analyst. Nothing screams dedication more than that. The sacrifices you made. Social events you skipped. *Sigh* for satisfaction. It’s not Mt. Everest, but it can feel like it is.
And, you did this all by waking up extremely early on a Saturday morning nonetheless. So have a drink! I’ll even have a Victory drink with you right now! (Pun intended sorta).
At the time, I felt that passing Level 1 of the CFA is the ultimate validation to your knowledge, career path, and aptitude, and it’s worth celebrating. If you ever questioned your place in the world of finance (I did), passing Level 1 was a crux of a sort. It reminded me I did belong. It sounds silly, but it really is a confidence boost.
And, it’s a reminder that you really aren’t that dumb, and that you really can hold your own. Once and awhile, at least, Imposter Syndrome is defeated by the CFA Exam.
Enjoy a Well Deserved Break after CFA Level I
You may be tempted to jump right into CFA Level 2. Perhaps this is the most motivated you’ve ever been to start studying for something. But don’t start tomorrow. Or the next day. Let it sink in and gloat in your achievement for awhile.
Why? Well for one, CFA Level 2 will slap you around in your first couple weeks of studying unlike any other study material ever has (But more on how screwed you are will come in tomorrow’s post). Besides, most December Level One passers don’t pass their first attempt at Level 2. So for now, enjoy it!
7 Fulfilling Ways to Celebrate Passing CFA Level I as a Finance Nerd
On the eve I passed CFA Level 1, I planned out a few days of fun activities that only a CFA Candidate would find fun. All involved a few stray beers here and there.
1. Update your resume & Biography at Work!
You’re in the CFA Program for the career benefits, and now your paltry “CFA Level 1 Candidate” blurb can finally be replaced with something substantial. The ring of “CFA Level 2 Candidate” is so, so much nicer.
2. Register for Level 2 and Purchase your CFA study materials
Required before you distribute your above resume, of course, but register for the June CFA Level 2 exam and get those study materials in the mail. If you’re fortunate to be able to expense either your registration or study materials to your employer, it’ll probably be your most satisfying expense report this year.
3. Update your LinkedIn Profile
CFA Level 2 Candidate feels better on LinkedIn than it does on your resume.
3b. Share your CFA Results on LinkedIn
If you’re a smug, social media sharer, share an update on your passing with a link to a news post on the CFA Exam (maybe here? ;))
4. Plan your CFA Celebration Weekend Now
You have that restaurant, bar, or meal in the back of your mind. Grab friends and go this weekend. You just spent over $1500 to pass the Exam, not to mention 300 hours x your time value. Your materials will not be here by the weekend, so CFA GUILT can’t set in yet!
5. Remember all you missed the last 3-6 months. Do that.
For the December exam, maybe you missed a lot of beautiful fall weekends outside. Maybe just take a quick spring break trip to somewhere warm!
6. Quantify your time spent on CFA
For weird finance people that love spreadsheets, quantify the actual value of time you spent studying for (and passing) your CFA Exam. Maybe this will help for justifying #5 (..even though it may be a sunk cost…). Include registration, study materials, and an appropriate value for each hour spent studying for the CFA Exam.
7. Read a book for fun
I know you forgot about leisure reading.
Final word: Find your way to Celebrate CFA Level 1
Everyone has their own way of celebrating: Some drink handles of whiskey, some binge on hours and hours of Netflix with Chinese food, and some just want to sleep. I preferred… all of them. Just do you for a few days, because as my next post will remind you, you are a long, long, long, long way from finishing CFA Level 2 and CFA Level 3.
What Next? Free CFA Level 2 Memory Tricks.
And for Level 2, you will need a some memorization tricks for the 8,765,432 new L2 formulas, terms, and concepts you’re unfamiliar with. Sign up for my newsletter and you’ll receive my free CFA Level 2 Memory Tricks guide in the coming weeks.
CFA Exam Results around the Internet
For good coverage elsewhere of the CFA Exam Results, check out the following pieces: