Okay! So you’ve failed a CFA exam. Chances are you are totally depressed and the world around you seems to be judging you with prying eyes. But do not forget that chances are over 50 percent of your peers who have taken the examination also fail. Let’s not get carried away with the clichéd ‘Failures are the pillars of successes this time around! Well, it makes for great inspiration material, but the only way to succeed is by hating failure! Period!
Every dog has its day! Failure also does! So while you prepare yourself for a better future, take stride in your CFA failure, because chances are that is the second greatest things that can happen in your life. The first being passing all exams at one go! Anyway, cheer up bud! Here are a few things every CFA student should do, in case the student fails in an attempt!
Re-evaluation of Study Plan!
There is a reason why the CFA charter is so revered in the professional sphere. It does not come easy. While your mind will try to convince that your luck was bad, or the fact that Saturn was on retrograde in the third house of your ascendant sign and so on and so forth, chances are you have failed because of following an ineffective study plan. There are no shortcuts in CFA. Let’s face it, it requires hours of meticulous studying. The first thing you should do is re-evaluate your study plan. Research shows that most candidates that fail the first time fail the second time too, only because they do not adapt to a new study pattern. Well, you might have heard that an average of 300-400 hours is necessary to ace the exams but it is absolutely not binding! Change the room you study in. Meet new people with similar interests. Study for shorter periods but with more repetitions and so on and so forth. To exactly point out a perfect study strategy is a fool’s prerogative. Nonetheless, as soon as you learn that you have not passed, it is the perfect time to take the next few days and get back to experimental studying and create a kind of a personalised studying strategy that you can follow throughout the course of your time till the next attempt!
Re-imagine your expectation!
Not to sound corny, but the fact of the matter is that human beings love to expect the best whenever they undertake a mission. Rightfully, you should! Why dry your soul of one of the biggest source of human inspiration. But having senseless and whimsical expectations can really mess with your head. Most candidates taking the CFA level 1 for the first time are charged up and put in a lot of hard work. Along the way, they harbour expectations that are extremely ambitious and hard-knock. That’s absolutely great. But once upon failing, to continue to harbour the same expectation and mindset might take over valuable mind space and cause anxiety. It is extremely important to understand that completing a CFA course is like running a barefooted marathon for charity on a rainy afternoon in a crowded city on a Monday morning. It is often unpredictable and may cause your expectations to either fall short or buckle up. Failing once, gives you this wonderful feeling of experience. In retrospect, it makes you think and you should use all this emotional energy to re-imagine your expectations. Form short term varied expectations for yourself based on what you have learnt out of a single attempt and from all the hard work you have put into it. For instance, instead of having a single large fantasy of how things will turn out, set up weekly goals for lessons, monthly goals for revisions and personal mock testing etc. The point is that adapt to what your experience teaches you and form expectations that can be calibrated and measured by yourself in short spans of time, and change according to what it teaches you.
Hey! You are now better prepared for Round Two
Muhammad Ali in his early years spent the first few rounds of his bout simply defending. In the process he would get hit. But after the first few rounds, he always stole the show with impeccable aggression and precise knocks. Later he confessed that he always learnt from the catapult. The more you draw its string, the further it shoots the rock! Well since you have already taken the test once, know that you have faced the whole ordeal once. Instead of wallowing in self grief and pity, know that you are now better prepared to come back stronger. A research shows that most CFA dropouts leave the course because they lose steam after the first attempt, while those that go for the second attempt either pass or show significant improvement. In fact, most students that take the second attempt seem to be at ease with the eleventh-hour pressure! So relax, treat the failure as a gift for you to start the race again miles ahead of the starting point. But do not get complacent!
Adequate Rest is absolutely a necessity. Here is a deal. You already know how invigorating and stressful CFA coursers can get. But that doesn’t mean you turn into an inhuman robotic machine that clocks in the hours like a maniac. At the end of the day you need enough rest. Especially right after you have failed in the first attempt. Take a break from studies for a while, replenish your mind and then come back strong , because once you start preparations for round two, chances are your interest in resting will diminish by the day, thanks to the wonderful thirst humans have for success!
Find a great study group and trust your mentor!
This goes to all CFA candidates. If you have failed in your first attempt or not is not important. CFA preparations gain a lot from experience. Choose a study group that has candidates similar to your position. If that is not possible, seek out connections on social media or chat forums and discuss each other’s opinions on the state of the affair! Most of all trust your mentor or teacher! They say you can take the horse up to the tank but not make it drink water. This time around open yourself to your mentor or teacher and try to extract as much from him as much as possible.
Sanjay Saraf Educational Institute has been a pioneer in the field of commerce and financial education for decades. With the best mentors and objectively strategized curriculum, SSEI offers in-depth classes in CA, CS, CFA, CMA, and FRM!