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CFA'd Out

Which is just as well, because the exam was Sunday.

The exam pass score is a 70, which is tougher than it seems, especially when you realize that only 40% of the examinees pass the thing. For some reason, the CFA Institute hasn't deigned to sign a contract with a computer testing center. I was able to get my brokerage licenses more or less at will, since I could take them on the computer and have them scored immediately. The Level I, despite being multiple choice (or multiple cherce, if you're from Brooklyn), uses those little pencil-bubble sheets that tolerate neither stray marks nor incomplete fills. The Level II is essay question, and to keep the monks in shape for that, they have them grade the Level I by hand and I should know in about 5 weeks whether or not I passed. So the monks can have time off for Lent, and also watch the World Series, they give the Level I twice a year, then pick the best, most reliable monks, and have them grade the Level II and the Level III in June only.

Now I know that I either passed or failed on my own merits. No pulling a Baltimore Ravens and blaming the refs if I failed. But there are a couple of points to make. First, about the econ section. The MBA program I attended neither required nor taught econ. And the econ study book (provided by the CFA Institute itself) was noticeably lacking in sample questions on the subject. This is a real problem, since a great deal of words in economics jargon mean more or less the exact opposite of their common, everyday dictionary definitions.

Now the CFA does provide sample exams. At $50 a pop. Naturally, I bought all five, so I could trade 'em with my CFA pals. They're on line, they grade them right there for you (apparently the monks are too busy at Matins), and tell you what sections you need work on. But then, they disable the browser's Print and Select-All functions, even though they only let you take each exam once. For $50, you would think they'd understand that you want to take them home, so you can take them again and again. Of course, you can still do a View-Source and paste them into a text file, then edit them to allow printing, and print them from the browser.

Not that anyone would actually do that. Oh no. Of course not. Cough.

The sample exams are actually helpful. They advertise them as having real questions from past exams, and then it turns out that they have real questions from the exam you're about to take, too. There's no question that going back over the tests a few times drilled into my head the right answers for somewhere between 10 and 20 questions.

In any case, the worst thing you can do is to go back and start figuring out the answers to the questions you remember. That way lies madness. So here I sit, checking out job listings with more attentiveness, hoping that I'll be signing up for the Level II in June, rather than the Level I again.

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