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Tales from the CFA

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[Editor's Note: Some of you have asked for some sort of relief from the pressures of studying for the CFA. We offer you the following advice: Get out of banking while you still can. For the rest of you: it's always fun to witness other people's pain, especially if you've already jumped through the requisite hoops and barring the creation of a CFA Level IV, will never have to do that again. DealBreaker correspondent "JAK" reports:]
So for a lot of you June 3 is going to mark the end of a tortuous struggle to stay sober long enough to cram as much financial analysis goodness into your already overstocked brains. Well, you’ve almost made it. You can get hammered in 39 days. These last few weeks when you’re getting approximately three hours of sleep a night, you lose all contact with friends and family and your girlfriend dumps you because you’re too weak and dehydrated to pleasure her in any way, we’ll be here for you. We’ll have war stories AND study tips and we're even sending someone to sit in on the Stala CFA I Mock Exam as part of the DealBreaker Correspondent Abuse Program. (Okay, we're sending outselves.)
They sent us our Mock Admission Ticket today, which included tips on how to prepare for exam day: we have been instructed to lay our clothes out the night before. Thank you, Stala. Last time we took the CFA, we showed up without pants.
So let’s kick it off with a look back at “Great Moments in CFA Studying History”

Sent in by an Anonymous Level II Candidate:
“So it’s two Saturdays before the test. I’m pretty on track. I’ve been all about Schweser for months now- always have a Study Notes book with me, got that Quicksheet. I sit down to take a Practice Exam created only with FSA and Asset Valuation questions- figured I better really try to nail those sections by doing as many problems as possible. First question is on Diluted EPS. And I can’t remember what to do with the convertible debt. I think I use the interest and the tax margin together somehow, but how and where? I just don’t know. But I figure it’s fine- simple concept- I know it’s on my Quicksheet- I’ll just put a star right there and look over it later. Next question- what the fuck do you do with software development costs? Shit. Are they capitalized from the beginning? Or expensed then capitalized? O.K., another little star being placed. Next question-definitely using the dividend discount model. Know it. But then all of a sudden I don’t know it- not in the context of this insane question. And then the next question- do I use the %-of-completion method or the installment sales method? How could I possibly know that? I stand up quickly and knock my Redbull all over my Book 3 Study Notes. I start to cry. I can’t stop. That’s the book with all the FSA stuff in it. I’ve wasted the past 3 months of my life studying and not retaining anything and now I have spilled redbull all over my FSA Study Notes. My roommate found me 3 hours later passed out drunk, shredded pieces of Book 3 and my practice exam lying all around me.**”
**Schweser was able to overnight a replacement Book 3 to Anon for a relatively reasonable fee. He then went onto study 19 hours a day for the next 2 weeks and pass Level I.
Ah, sweet memories. (This had better improve our bonus.)
Send your own stories to tips AT


CFA 2012: Good Luck To All

As those of you who took the week off to study are well-aware, Saturday is CFA exam day, for all levels. And while we have complete confidence in all of your abilities, some people have expressed feeling a bit jittery about the test. For the vast majority, those fears, while normal, are unwarranted. You just need to talk it out and should consider this space a safe place to do so. For a smaller group of people, though, your fears are totally founded because, statistically speaking, you will fail. Having said that... Back in January, after Matt found out he'd passed Level 1 (with a perfect score), a conversation occurred at Dealbreaker HQ that went something like this: Me: So are you going to sign up for Level 2? Matt: Eh, I don't think so...I mean, I don't really feel like spending the next 5 months of my life studying, y'know? And then what am I going to do? Wait around another year to take Level 3? Me: Uh....YES, I thought that's exactly what I thought you were going to do. Don't you want to be a CFA charterholder? Don't you want to go to CFA Camp? Matt: Meh. Fast forward to last Thursday, when we're sitting around l'office shooting the shit and someone casually mentions, "I wish I were taking the CFA next week." Unfortunately, said someone is not because he choose not to sign up, strangely forgetting how much he loves standardized tests. That being said, if anyone is scheduled to take Level 2 but a) is suffering performance anxiety and b) wants the opportunity to read another recap of how things panned out for an editor of this site, Matt is happy to go in your place and pass it for you. With two nights of studying he gives himself a 50 percent chance (I think it's closer to 75), you'd get those 8 hours back, and it'd make him really, really happy. If he doesn't get to take Level 2 he's considering the idea of the Connecticut Bar in July. Let him have this.

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