Can a finance undergrad pass CFA 1 while in school?

I'm a Junior/Senior undergrad at non-target and I'm hoping to take the CFA level 1 this June (I haven't enrolled yet.) I've factored that I can dedicate around 300 hours to study. 150 hours over winter break ( 3 1/2 weeks x 40 hours per week + some weekend study) and then 1 week during spring break (another 40 hours) and then between May and June before my summer internship (another 150 hours.)

Does this sound at all possible, or just a pipe dream? I am not the smartest person out there, but I do work really hard.

Any insight or advice is welcome. Thank you.

Comments (38)

Best Response
Oct 20, 2017

My understanding is that you can write your CFA level 1 exam in the final year of your undergrad (it actually says that on their site), although I am really curious to see how they go about verifying that.
Also, depending on your major in school, you likely wont need to study as much because most of the CFA lvl 1 content is covered/taught in your undergrad econ/stats/finance courses which should be relatively fresh in your head (assuming you are a business student). I would say that the reason it has such a low passing rates relative to classes in school is because most of the candidates writing the exam are working concurrently (either in finance or not) and may not be able to study as much as they hope. In addition, there are a decent chunk of candidates who write the CFA coming from non-finance backgrounds which has an impact on the passing rates (engineers, liberal arts, science etc). That being said, once you are in your final year of undergrad, enroll in the June or December exam and it shouldn't be that hard seeing as you would still be in "school mode", assuming you are a finance student. If you are a liberal arts student however, then yes, you are going to need a rigorous study plan - 300 hours as you have planned above should suffice for June.

Goodluck!!

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Oct 20, 2017

Yes, and it might work out well if OP is gunning for a BA in Business Admin. A lot of the coursework in undergrad is somewhat repetitive with Level I if OP is an accounting or finance major. Also, not that one cannot sign up for Level II until after he/she has actually graduated. Not going to make a difference for OP since he's planning for next June anyway.

Oct 20, 2017

Sure, if you fill in the required years of work + study. I know a few who did it, and I was close to finishing mine too when I graduated.

Oct 21, 2017

Yes, you'll definitely be able to do it.

If you have a basic finance/acc/business/econ background, it really isn't difficult at all, tbh.

(Not trying to diss anyone who might not have passed), but I honestly don't know anyone in my major (business) who wasn't able to pass level 1.

Give it a try, you'll find it's a lot, lot less challenging than the pass rate suggests. (I mean for starters, there are only three choices for each question...)

Oct 21, 2017

Are you eligible? My understanding was that you needed 4 years of relevant job experience, some of which could be waived with coursework, but after junior year, that wouldn't hit 3 years regardless.

Make Idaho a Semi-Target Again 2016
Not an alumnus of Idaho

Oct 21, 2017

You can take L1 in your final year of college.

    • 1
Oct 21, 2017

It won't hurt. However you need to balance your time wisely and decide if you will get more out of 200 hours of studying or 200 hours of networking.

What year are you? If you can get a relevant internship....even if with a small part time position in your town...it will probably go further for banking than CFA work will. If you are looking more into financial analysis roles (Corp. Treasury, Equity Research, etc) things begin to shift more in favor of the CFA.

Oct 21, 2017

.a

Oct 21, 2017

Spend that time networking and working on other skills. No one cares about the CFA in the banking world

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Oct 21, 2017

Do L1 before you graduate if you have the time to put into it. It will show your employers that you are serious about the career and are taking the necessary steps, but I don't think you will get too much preferential treatment for having L1 done. At least this is the consensus I have seen over at AF.

Oct 21, 2017

I got my L1, and people on my desk don't give a damn. ER is different though, you usually need your CFA, so you might as well get it now.

Remember, you will always be a salesman, no matter how fancy your title is.
- My ex girlfriend

Oct 21, 2017

Yeah getting L1 out of the way would help me along but my biggest concern is that it costs a lot. Just the registration fee and becoming a candidate is a serious dent to my budget. My firm won't reimburse any expenses until I start working FT.

Oct 21, 2017

If you're a finance major, level1 shouldn't be very tough. I would say that it does differentiate you from your peers to an extent, it shows committment and interest.

Take it in school.

Oct 21, 2017

Definitely do it when you are still at school. You will be out of study mode as you enter the job force and research isn't exactly a 9-5 job...

Oct 21, 2017

Those are all valid points but after getting the FT offer I was expecting to just coast and party my senior year. Guess no rest for the weary.

Oct 21, 2017

You've got the job offer, your firm will pay for you to do CFA (if it is even a half-respectable place). Why would you pay to do this off your own bat? The only reason to is because you think the rest of your resume is too weak to stand out from the crowd to get you an interview.

Worse, if you fail at level 1 for any reason, it may cause your future employer to reconsider whether they want to take you on.

You aren't pooled in research - you will be a junior analyst/associate for one specific team - so you're not trying to differentiate yourself from the other first years. You are trying to impress the hell out of your team head so he thinks its worth keeping you on for the second year onwards.

Oct 21, 2017

look at what you're writing...you're going to sign off your last yr of uni for level 1 of the cfa?! Time is precious when we're young, you'll never get that time back again so think hard on whether you want to enjoy some uni experience or get prepared for the grind of the next 30 odd yrs of your life.

Oct 21, 2017

Unfortunately the analysts at my firm are pooled together so we are judged against each other just like everyone else. I already registered for level one this December so no crying over spilt milk. A few of my buddies gave me all their old schweser materials so that saved a good chunk of change. All the material aside from ethics are topics that I have gone into great detail during school because of my majors (finance and Math with an econ minor) so I should have an easier time as this is just one big review. Only positive is two of my friends are also taking the level one in December so studying should be easier as we already have planned out sessions.

Oct 21, 2017
bearing:

Unfortunately the analysts at my firm are pooled together so we are judged against each other just like everyone else. I already registered for level one this December so no crying over spilt milk. A few of my buddies gave me all their old schweser materials so that saved a good chunk of change. All the material aside from ethics are topics that I have gone into great detail during school because of my majors (finance and Math with an econ minor) so I should have an easier time as this is just one big review. Only positive is two of my friends are also taking the level one in December so studying should be easier as we already have planned out sessions.

If you already had planned to do it, why did you bother asking us then?

Oct 21, 2017

I'm taking it in December, will graduate in '09.

Let me know if you want the 2008 Schweser materials and Qbank(free).

Oct 21, 2017

Well if you noticed the OP was made about 3 weeks ago. So I was just giving an update as I just registered last week.

Oct 21, 2017

you only think that you are pooled together. Reality and perception are two different things.

Oct 21, 2017

and this thread further proves the point that free internet advice is often worth less than what you pay for it.

Oct 21, 2017

That's what i did, they don't really check, as long as you register relevant info and pay the registration fee.

"I respect your courage for coming this far alone! However, you are still going to die!"

Oct 21, 2017

You're allowed to take L1 as a senior in college.

Oct 21, 2017

Too early. Enjoy the fall semester.

Oct 21, 2017

I would do it. It's beneficial to get Level 1 out of the way. Many people at my CFA society say that they wish they started while in college. Once you start working BB hours you won't be able to put in 300 hours anymore.

    • 1
Oct 21, 2017

I took Level I right after graduating. I had 3 weeks to study with no distractions.

    • 1
Oct 21, 2017

Get it out of the way ASAP and while you still remember how to study.

"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."

Oct 21, 2017

If you have the money, go for it. It'll give you some extra time to study between now and then as well. Just make sure you enjoy your last semesters of relative freedom.

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for freedom of thought which they seldom use.

Oct 21, 2017

If you plan on getting it eventually, then yes. Almost everyone I worked with this summer said the earlier you start CFA the better.

    • 1
Oct 21, 2017

I took level 1 the year i graduated from college and started studying during my last semester. By starting that early, I passed all exams a year before hitting the experience amount, even though I failed level 2 the first time. Getting it out of the way makes progress towards the CFA charter and eventually GMAT and MBA that much easier (if you are going that route of course.)

Oct 21, 2017

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Oct 21, 2017

"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."