10 Frequently Asked Questions About CFA Examinations

10 Frequently Asked Questions About CFA Examinations

The CFA is presently the most sought after finance certification in the world. The CFA is one of the most respected designations in finance. It is considered to be the gold standard in the world of finance. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the certification.

1. Question: What are the prerequisites to be eligible to write the exam?
Answer: You must have a B.Sc or its equivalent. However, you might be allowed to write Level 1 if you satisfy you are in the final year of your undergraduate program or you have up to four years of professional experience. You do not need to be a chartered accountant to be eligible.

2. Question: How much will I pay to register and what is the cost of the exam fees?
Answer: The initial registration and exam fees vary. You can find the details on the CFA website

3. Question: When is the exam written?
Answer: Level 1 is written in both June and December, while Levels 2 and 3 are written in June only.

4. Question: Where is the exam written?
Answer: As of now, the nearest venue to us in Nigeria is in Ghana. The exam is not written in Nigeria. You will have to travel to Ghana few days before your exam.

5. Question: How difficult is the exam?
Answer: I am not trying to discourage you from writing the exam, nevertheless, the truth must be told. CFA is the most rigorous exam you will ever write. It is not for the faint hearted. It is reported that only 20% of those that embark on the CFA journey eventually complete it. Less than 15% of candidates pass on first attempt. Nevertheless, it is doable. Many Nigerians are charter holders. You can still join the ever growing list. You just need to be highly focused and diligent.

6. Question: Where can I work when I become a charter holder?
Answer: You can work in brokerage firms, investment firms, asset management firms etc. You can work as a portfolio analyst/manager, research analyst, financial advisor,risk manager, investment banker, consultant, corporate finance analyst, strategist, etc. Getting a high paying job will be the least of your worries if you can obtain the CFA certification.

7. Question: How is the curriculum like?
Answer: The curriculum differs for the three levels.
  • The Level 1 study program emphasizes tools and inputs, and includes an introduction to asset valuation, financial reporting and analysis, and portfolio management techniques.
  • The Level 2 study program emphasizes asset valuation, and includes applications of the tools and inputs (including economics, financial reporting and analysis, and quantitative methods) in asset valuation.
  • The Level 3 study program emphasizes portfolio management, and includes descriptions of strategies for applying the tools, inputs, and asset valuation models in managing equity, fixed income, and derivative investments for individuals and institutions.

8. Question: What other conditions must I satisfy to become a charter holder?
Answer: Even after passing the exams of the three levels, you must still satisfy the following conditions before you can finally become a charter holder:
  • Have four years (48 months) of qualified work experience (or a combination of education and work experience acceptable by the CFA Institute). However, individual level exams may be written prior to satisfying this requirement;
  • Become a member of the CFA Institute and apply for membership to a local CFA member society
  • Adhere to the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

9. Question: Are there CFA tuition houses in Nigeria?
Answer: There are few CFA tuition houses in Lagos, unlike ICAN and ACCA exams. Most CFA candidates prefer to do self-study. I am not soliciting for anyone, but I know of 3V Learning Centre. There are also smaller tuition houses. You really need to do some research about them.

10. Question: What is the format of the exam?
Answer: There are 2 sessions on the exam day; the morning and afternoon session. The duration for each session is 3 hours.
  • Level 1 has 240 multiple choice questions.
  • Level 2 has 120 multiple choice questions organized as 20 six-question item sets, each set having its own array of facts. To answer each question, the candidate must refer to the vignette as there is insufficient information in the question stem.
  • Level 3 consists of a session of constructive response, essay-type questions, and a session of 10 six-question item sets as in the Level 2 exam.
On the multiple-choice/item set sections, there is no negative marking. Try to answer all the questions. Only 2 types of calculators are allowed for the exam. These are Hewlett Packard 12C including the HP 12C Platinum, and the Texas Instruments BA II Plus including the BA II Plus Professional.

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