CFA LEVEL I EXAM SUCCESS

We are very proud to announce the passing of AFG College’s Najeh Al-Bustami, Accountancy &Finance Year 4 student in the CFA LEVEL I EXAM.

The CFA Level I is focused on investment tools and the foundations of the business, giving candidates the necessary knowledge and comprehension.

Passing the exam is the first step towards obtaining the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, the top globally respected and recognized investment credential, the pass rate globally was only 27%! We have sat and talked to Najeh to know more about his journey with CFA examinations.

Congratulations to you for clearing the Level I CFA® exams. It is a huge achievement since candidates find Level I comparatively difficult, first, please tell us something about this exam.

The CFA program consists of three separate examinations. Each exam typically requires four to six months of preparation. Being a member or candidate of the CFA program helps the student understand and work in portfolio management, investments and financial analysis. The biggest challenge I faced was juggling the university studies and the CFA studies.

How should a student planning to take the CFA exam start preparing?

A student who wants to start the CFA program should first do some research about the material, prep providers and examination windows. Based on that, the student should plan a good study plan from the day they register to the day of the exam. It is important to do a thorough research to be able to pick the most suitable prep provider and be able to know how many hours of studying per week is necessary.

Can you please suggest some useful preparation tips for the students preparing for this exam?

CFA students should not underestimate the amount of material the exam holds. I once heard someone once say, “the CFA exam is an inch deep and a mile wide”, the material isn’t that difficult but it’s quite big, so the student should allocate many hours per week for a couple of months in order to cover the material. A tip a friend gave me is to know my pace, once you know your studying speed, you can change your plans to accommodate your studying and set new more realistic goals.
Students should aim to have at least 2 full reviews if the material under their belt a month prior to the exam so that they can start doing questions and mock exams in the last month.

Can you please share your study plan with our readers?

To prepare for the exam, I selected a local prep provider that provides video tutorials and PowerPoint presentations. The prep provider was good in many cases especially when I have never covered the topic before. I started preparing for the exam around 5 months. In the first 3 months, I finished my first thorough review of the material, and types my own notes along with formulas. In the fourth month, I started my second review of the material while doing some questions on almost daily basis. In the last month, I started doing 100-200 questions per day, and reviewing my mistakes and knowing where I went wrong. I also did 5-6 mock exams, which gave me an idea of my weakest subjects. On the last week, I wrote a formula sheet which I reviewed every night before I slept to memorize the 100+ formulas.

What are the things you should avoid while studying for CFA Exam?

The biggest mistake I believe I made was not being able to say no to social life. In the first 2-3 months of my studying, I didn’t stick to my plan because on some days, I decided I wanted to go out with friends instead of studying, which forced me to have to catch up on other days and studying for very long hours, which ultimately reduced the quality of my studying. Any student willing to partake in the CFA journey should be willing to sacrifice social activities for many weeks, it is important however to take a break every now and then.

Can you shed some light on the importance of clearing this exam?

Clearing level 1 of the CFA exams as an undergrad student provides an edge over other undergrads in the employment market, as it is a difficult well-rounded exam that not many students clear while being in college. Level 1 exam also lets the student gain a lot of knowledge in finance, accounting, statistics and economics, which in its turn guides the student to the career that is most suitable for them. Finally, on a personal level, clearing such a difficult exam with very low pass rates made me gain confidence in myself and in my abilities, which will push me to attempt levels 2 and 3 in the future and take other courses.

How would a candidate be benefitted when he steps out of college and enters the corporate world?

As previously mentioned, the level 1 gives the student a very strong boost in the employment process. Moreover, once all 3 levels are cleared, and the candidate becomes a CFA member, they will be able to achieve higher positions in the industry. Another benefit is that members or candidates will be able to go global more swiftly than a non-member, as members or people in the process of becoming members are usually more demanded by employers globally.

Tell us what are your future plans?

I would like to continue my CFA journey and clear the next two levels in the next couple of years.
When it comes to my career goals, I would like to work in financial analysis initially to gain the most hands-on experience which will then help me become a portfolio manager for a fund or a financial institution.

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*The CFA Program is a three-part exam that tests the fundamentals of investment tools, valuing assets, portfolio management, and wealth planning. The CFA Program is typically completed by those with backgrounds in finance, accounting, economics, or business. CFA charterholders earn the right to use the CFA designation after program completion, application, and acceptance by CFA Institute. CFA charterholders are qualified to work in senior and executive positions in investment management, risk management, asset management, and more.

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