AuthorTopic: June 2004 Level I candidates -- Here is my advice on Level I from December 2003
csoni
@2003-12-08 01:45:48
First of all I would like all the aspirants that many people on this forum just brag a lot about the exam. No doubt that there is a lot of material to cover in level I and adequate time is necessary but, If you just give your self enough time to accomodate everything....the exam is very easy. Its just that on the exam you dont have time to think about the questions which makes it challenging. Specially the exam is not out of 240 questions but you can comfortably say that the total number of questions asked are about 360 because half of the questions contain two subquestions for example what is the affect of on debt ratio and interest coverage ratio when you take capital lease instead of operation lease. Also dont waste lot of time on those formulas in quantitative methods. I had prepared all the formulas from all the sections. Around 15 -20 pages of formulas. Very very very few questions included direct use of formulas. those formulas are very common and you would know if you know those sections. so you dont really need to burn your brain cells memorizing those formulas. THE MOST IMPORTANT PART WAS THAT AROUND 80 % OF THE QUESTIONS WERE CONCEPTUAL. so if you know the subject you would know the answer irrespective of wheather you know the formula or not.

Here are the main topics that they concentrated on Level I December 2003

ETHICS
Main concentration on GIPS and application of standards. If you are studying from the official AIMR standards book than you should just concentrate on the APPLICATIONS of the standard.

Quantitative section
Only one question on hypothesis testing. What is the appropriate test for checking the if the variance is equal to something. Major focus was on correlation , little bit on regression, and on distributions.

Economics
Very high concentration on Crowding out effect. Should concentrate on Fiscal and Monetary policy. Only two questions from microeconomics c concerning the demand and supply of resources. Few questions on International trade and Foreign exchange.

Financial statement analysis
Major concentration on Interest coverage ratio , debt ratio, Inverntory turnover ratio, Asset turnover ratio and ROE. Also very high focus on Capital lease vs. operating lease, few questions on income tax, lot of questions on inverntory. Few on EPS calc and analysis of debt.

Corporate finance
One question on IRR and one on NPV. no question on Degrees of operating and financial leverage. few questions on dividend policy.


Asset valuation.
questions on EMH and details about market. Security valuation using DCF and different discounted methods. The most simple questions were from this section. Bond questions were regarding duration and valuation using spot rates. also effects of interest rate on different kinds of bond was major focus. Details about the bonds very ignored. But some of the questions were very complicated if the concepts are not clear.

alternative investments
Again very easy section. Questions were spreaded over all the three topics - VC , RE and Mutual FUnds. But very very few questions from tihs section.

Derivatives
Very interesting questions from Derivatives. Most of the questions were regarding options payoff strategies and swap payments.

Portfolio management
This is the cash cow of the exam. Very easy questions and very less time consuming. more focus on diversification, effect of correlation and CML & SML.

Hope this helps in your preps.
Regards.
GrauWolf
@2003-12-08 02:17:32
great advice. Just wondering if cfacenter's notes and questions are enough to pass the exam?
masha
@2003-12-08 03:27:46
Not sure about the notes as I have not used them that much but the mock exams definitely give you a good feel for an exam.
babs
@2003-12-08 03:33:33
This is true. The exam in itself was not difficult. But TIME was the major problem. Some questions required the computation of several ratios which was time consuming.( I overheard someone say the he took him 10 minutes to do one question on the financials. My advice is: try to understand the mechanisms behind the formulas and practice a lot!!
The CFAcenter mock exams and study uestions were great and very closed to the exam's, except than the GIPS were not included.
tomas
@2003-12-08 08:54:47
That is a very accurate description of the exam. I liked doing it, because they were asking for the logic of things instead of just a bunch of formulas ( this doesn't mean that I did well, i just wasn't prepared as I should).
and I agree, the exam is easy...
Bira
@2003-12-08 09:23:10
I also think the exam was easy, I studied with Allen notes and CFAcenter tests. I did around 1.000 site tests plus 3 mock exams. No complaints about anything.

Advice for June candidates:
As time is the main constraint, the more things you know by heart, the better. You are asked several times what are the impacts on ratios from doing capital x operational leases or capitalizing x expensing interest. If tou have to stop and think about it during exam, time is going to get on you... if you know things by heart, mark correct answer and go to next, quickly.
pinks
@2003-12-08 10:12:29
It was a great advice from all of you. I was wondering since nobody has mentioned about the textbooks at all(except intermediate accounting books)...Please let me know if I should refer to other textboooks and if yes then which??

Would like to know how many hrs did you spend in a day to study and from how long are you preparing for the exam?? I was thinking if its too late for Jun2004??

Also, someone mentioned about the weightage on each topics in Dec'03 exam, does it mean that we should rely on the same or os it possible that jun'04 would be totally opposite from this one...does anyone know the trend?? or is it totally unpredictable???

thanks
tomas
@2003-12-08 10:21:34
I complemented with some of the books and CFA Center. The questions in this website will give you a very good feeling of what's the exam going to be. also, the exam is easier than Mock exam 6!!
pinks
@2003-12-08 10:30:06
gotit but What textbooks did you refer to??
masha
@2003-12-08 12:13:38
The amount of time you need to spend solely depends on your current knowledge. And there is no such thing as one size fits all / same time suits all. Run a test, see how good you score and start with the areas you hate the most.
As for the exact split, it changes from year to year and AIMR always shares the split-to-be-applied in the study guide.
I've tried to read all the books but again it is your choice and I know people who have neve seen the books and have passed the exam.
pinks
@2003-12-08 16:44:45
yeah, it did help me a lot..thanks csoni...but what do you mean when you say you had all the textbooks? which textbooks are you talking about?? The ones which AIMR has referred to??
Also, could you pls tell me what assigned readings are?? I have not registered for Jun'04 yet bcos I am thinking if I should take it in Jun or Dec.
thanks again.
babs
@2003-12-09 05:05:07
All the texbooks recommended by AIMR are good, but you need time to read them and do the exercices (very important for the comprehension of the material). It is important that you do your own notes and not rely on some expensive programmes. They are no guarantee at all and they are created by people who are just after your money!!! But if you cannot help it, then choose a company that provides mock exams during the year. But the only things that matter is understanding the LOS and then practice, practice and practice again.
michy
@2003-12-11 12:05:32
To those of you who have taken or are taking the June Level 1 exams: I am currently trying to study for the June Level 1. I just recently graduated from undergrad with a finance major. I was wondering what strategies you took to study for the exam? Ive heard some bad reports about study programs offered by Schweser and Stalla and wondered if it was worth splurging 300-500 + on study notes. Or should I study the assigned readings given by AIMR? Also, you speak of mock exams, would I get these from the CFACenter site?
Would you recommend studying the required readings, taking notes, and buying a practice exam book from Schweser or another CFA prep program?
Any suggestions would be much appreciated!
Stewart
@2003-12-12 16:38:01
I have some questions and would like to ask Bira, as follows:

With respect to the Allen's study notes, please let me have your comment about this study prep provider. Are their notes useful?

You mentioned that you did around 1000 site tests, kindly inform me these web site.

Thanks for your assistance.
michy
@2003-12-16 15:27:05
Is there a December 2004 CFA Level 1 exam given?
pinks
@2003-12-17 15:19:39
Yes, there is Dec 2004 CFA level 1 exam..Take a look at www.aimr.org
fielddar
@2003-12-17 15:51:27
To say the exam is "easy" is a little bit of a generalization. It all depends on your background, and what you have been doing recently in your career. If you are an econ/accounting/or finance undergrad, and have just completed school, you shouldn't have any problems with your area of expertise. However, if you've been out of school for 5 years, and only have a practical working knowledge of these subjects, it is not that easy of a test. Lots of time is required to prepare.

I would highly recommend the study notes provided by CFA Center, if you have a good working knowledge of most subjects and just need something to give you an overview.
Bira
@2003-12-18 15:26:04
Hey Stewart

Acctually it was the CFACenter site. I did around 60 tests on each of the 18 sessions (I paid 29 bucks for full site access, and it was prety worth it).
I did very well at the exam, and I've never seen or touched any textbook. everything is at Allen notes, but the notes alone won't take you anywhere.
I focused on doing tests (1000!) and I recomend everyone to do the same, if possible. You have to be quick to finish the exam on time, and to do that you have to be well familiar to the tests structure.
Always focus on Ethics and accounting. They are the truly key to success.
On the exam week, I took a look at scheweser. It really, really sucks. Don't touch it! Allen is very good, althoug it's very compressed.
ALLEN + CFACENTER = SUCCESS
Do mock exams! Better if you start if then 1 month
previous to exam, and then go reviewing yous weaker points.

And the truth is, if you really do all that just like I did ( it's not at all late for Jun 04), you gonna come back here and write to the world to see: CFA IS EASY! I TOTALLY SMASHED IT UP!
KingMark
@2003-12-18 17:51:57
Did anyone who purchased the textbooks think they did really well? Also, are there any changes to the exam for June '04?
Thanks!
Mark
lilia
@2003-12-29 01:39:54
what is the website of allen? thanks
jina
@2003-12-30 17:30:54
Hi Bira,

You gave us an encouragement! Thanks for the tips!
Bira
@2004-01-15 07:57:55
I PASSED!

Going on strong on June 05 Level 2!

Good luck to all.
missy
@2004-02-11 00:16:43
I currently have Allens notes which I am reviewing and just signed up for CFA center. Did anyone find the testbank Allen has helpful. I think it is but I just started studying....
Tradingho
@2004-03-14 00:55:58
Can Someone tell me how to access Allen's notes, eg. its website?
evica
@2004-03-18 12:56:08
www.allenresources.com
prasad82
@2004-03-25 02:10:23
Guys,
Does any one hasve used materail that I can buy.
I have very little accounting/Finance background. Instead of an MBA in finance I want to shoot for CFA. I am good at ath but will work hard and will listen to good advice.
hellen
@2004-03-28 09:00:32
Dear all,

I fully agree with the comment.

CFA Discussion Topic: June 2004 Level I candidates -- Here is my advice on Level I from December 2003

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Thanks again for your wonderful site ... it definitely made the difference.
Craig Baugh

Craig Baugh