AuthorTopic: Some final guidance on preparing to pass from Stalla
@2009-06-01 22:59:11
I got this email from Stalla so I thought I'd post it for those that didn't get it. Some good tips here. My feedback is below each section {}.

By now, you should be wrapping up your core studies and reviewing what you've learned. The final review phase of your preparation is where the game is won or lost, so you should organize your priorities to block out as much exam practice and review time on your calendar as possible until June 6.

{Yes, I agree completely. For most people taking time off may not be possible but call in sick at least a few days before. Personally, I "worked from home" starting on the Wed before the exam.}

Don't get overwhelmed.
You still have plenty of time to address those troublesome topics. Make sure to review your study notes' key points and important equations as well as your personal notebook or formula sheets.

{I bombed my first mock exam but it helped me ID the weak areas and also let me know I needed to really bust my tail the last month. Don't get overwhelmed at this point, still a lot of time left to cram in information.}

Review Ethics readings thoroughly.
Candidates with "borderline" exam scores will get the benefit of the doubt if they do well in this section of the exam.

{Yes, this is crucial. If you can't get a topic, that's fine but you better get Ethics so focus on it. I always made sure to answer a few questions each day to keep it fresh.}

Build up your exam endurance.
Work through your review exams and mock exams questions. Also, we highly recommend you take advantage of the free practice exams offered by CFA Institute.

{Whether it's Schweser, Stalla or AnalystNotes, I've said so many times you have to take as many mocks as possible this last month to prep you for the real thing.}

Know your calculator.
Practice using the same calculator you'll be using on the exam without the instructions. Remember to properly clear the calculator before every calculation.

{Taking the mocks helps with this. You have no excuse if you don't know your calculator inside and out by exam day.}

Check your ID.
Make sure that your photo ID has not expired, and that the name on your admission ticket matches the name on your ID. IF NOT, log on to the CFA Institute website and change your name there. It will take approximately 24 hours to process.

{This should be obvious, but check now so you don't get a last minute surprise.}

Know where to go.
If you’re not familiar with your test center location, get directions from the CFA Institute website and visit the testing center, parking lot, and exam room before exam day.

Taking the exam

Take the "3-Pass" approach.

1. Complete those questions you can answer quickly and easily, being sure to take the time to really understand what is being asked.
2. Answer the questions that you know but that take more time to complete, such as computational questions.
3. Work through the questions you are unsure of, eliminating clearly wrong answers and choosing the best remaining answer.

{I didn't do this, I just banged thru the questions in order and did 3 complete passes in each session. Not a bad piece of advice though.}

Be mindful of the time.
If you get stuck, skip the question and come back to it later. If you're still unsure of the answer when you come back to the question, try to eliminate incorrect answers to improve your odds.

{Yes, do not get bogged down on one question. Even if you know you can answer it, it has no extra value over the other questions.}

Be sure to read the questions carefully.
This is not the time to make mistakes because of careless skimming of the questions.

{The best part of the exam being paper based is that you can circle, underline, cross out, etc. This helped me immensely. This will help with careless reading of questions. Going thru the exam at least one more time should eliminate any issues with this as well.}

Don't "over-think" questions.
The CFA Institute Board of Examiners wants to assess your knowledge of the curriculum; they are not trying to trick you.

{This is true, most of the questions with the exception of a few Ethics ones are all straightforward. You won't see the crazy Stalla questions on the real thing.}

Use the answer sheet.
Record your answers on the answer sheet rather than your exam booklet. You can mark up your exam book as much as you'd like, but it's the answer sheet that will be graded. Periodically check to be sure that the oval you fill in corresponds to the number of the question (be sure to fill in all the ovals!)

{I did both, I circled the answer in the book and also filled in the circle. This helped me when making the 2nd and 3rd passes thru the exam.}

Be warned: Do NOT open your exam books before the exam commences, and STOP writing immediately when instructed to do so. Candidates have had exams invalidated for these missteps.

{Do not play with the proctors and no they are not CFA charterholders but they are God the day of the exam and will fail you if you mess around.}

A reminder to keep your confidence strong.
Remember, the CFA exam is a pass/fail test. You are not striving for an "A+"; all you need is to pass, and you can take comfort in knowing that no candidate has failed with a score above 70 percent (meaning you can miss a substantial proportion of questions and still pass.)

{Think positive!! Go back and read my posts from the week before the exam to see where my mind was and how I motivated myself. I walked in there knowing I would kill the exam and I did just that.}

The dedication and commitment you devote to exam preparation now will make all the difference on June 6.


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I used your notes and passed ... highly recommended!