05 June 2011. Today I had my first CFA Level 1 Exam at the Singapore Expo Hall. And I would like to share my experience just so if future Singapore CFA candidates can be more prepared for the exam.
Here is a checklist on what to bring.
Notes – just need to bring your own notes or the CFA Secret Sauce. Avoid bringing the textbooks (Do not laugh, because I thought I was dreaming what I saw a fellow candidate pulling out his textbooks from his bag) because you would have time to read during the break. The only time I could think of revising is during your journey to Expo Hall and maybe 10~20min during the lunch break.
A Jacket – It’s is freaking cold in the Expo Hall especially if you are doing nothing except for using your brain. Plus if you keep yourself warm you will also feel comfortable too. This will also help you think better. (Thanks to my study buddy who reminder to bring a jacket the night before. Thanks EZ)
HB Pencils – I brought 4B pencils (What a joke!) but just in case you know. There is a set of instructions that mentioned because the paper is mark by a scanning machine and if you happened NOT to use a HB Pencils. The scanning machine may not read the shaded oval correctly. I had not choice since I only had 4B pencils. All other stationery will be left outside. You just need HB Pencils, Calculator and Eraser. (Sweets is allow too)
Lunch - Very important because there are many fellow candidates taking the exam too so it would be very crowded (there are also fairs and conventions around so you will be fighting with the public crowd as well). Plus you only have an hour of break. The morning session starts at 9am to 12pm. Than you will be release at about 1210pm, Note* you need to start reporting back at 1pm for the afternoon session. So it is better to bring your own lunch. Something that will gives you energy and motivation.
Watch – but there were clocks every where and every half and hour there will be announcement
That’s all the things I brought today and my experience. and oh. Going to toilet is not an easy task with so many people around so take a bit of exercise go up level 2 of the Expo. Less people and cleaner too
Update: I added links for past CFA materials to allow easy reference Good luck to all.
I have a choice, recently I have been thinking of the possible routes to upgrade myself. Many of my friends have been uping up courses or certification such as CFA, CPA, CAIA.
So in a moment of fire, I borrow the used books from my friends to see which are the ones that interest me caused I was also planning to take up certification. So I narrowed down to 2. CFA or CAIA. Which one should I take, both cost quite a bit of sum and most importantly they takes up a bulk of my time.
After begin in school for so long…
Primary school – 6 years
Secondary School – 5 years
Poly – 3 years
and finally University – 3.5 years
Do I really want to hit back to the books again? since I just graduated in Dec 2009. So I been thinking and pondering should I take CFA or should I take CAIA.
Which is better? if you do a search online with “which is better CFA or CAIA” you will have tons of answers.. which is good or which is better, or which one you should take first. So I decided to do up a comparison chart to help me in my decision process.
CFA level 1
CAIA level 1
Currently from my financial perspective it is slightly cheaper as compared to CAIA
Passing Rates – CFA is well known for its low passing rate thus allowing it to be the Gold Standard of Finance
Compared to CFA, CAIA is much younger thus only as “powerful” as CFA despite it growing presence
Amount of time spend – CFA have much more quantitative details that I believe for me required much more time to understand. Moreover I am very much into sports …the key question here is to ask if I am willing to give up my time for CFA in turn for a better career perhaps?
I am not saying that CAIA required less time but I find CAIA content much easier to absorbed , maybe it is due to the way the study guide are constructed or because there are more strategy related topics. Eg, convertible arbitrage hedge fund (how it work and all) it is much more interesting and since there are more hedge funds moving into Singapore now.
3 papers for CFA
2 papers for CAIA
Should I take it this Dec or Next Jun – if it is this DEC I have only 3 months to study. Do I have enough time with my current work commitment plus I have to forgo training/ running
If I am taking CAIA, my plan is to complete it on 2011. Thus maybe it will help give me an better opportunity
Learning materials, CFA is widely available online
While for CAIA I have to spend more and the texts changes every term thus it may not be helpful if used the old materials from my friends
But the last and most important to ask myself is am I taking this because I have a interest in this or am I doing it because all of my friends are doing it?