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Saturday
Apr162011

CPA & CFA Exam Introduction

Both of these exams are difficult and require extensive time and effort in order to pass.  I passed all four sections of the CPA exam and level I & II of the CFA exam on my first attempt, and level III of the CFA exam on my second attempt - but it took a lot of studying and I made a lot of sacrifices.  This blog can hopefully give you guidance and insight into either exam.  This is simply a forum for others to learn from my experience, view my notes and ask questions.

Half the battle is applying, paying and scheduling either exam.  It takes a lot of research to understand what you need to do in order to be prepared.  I assume that you have a familiarity with your respective exam but if you don't start here
For the CPA - read through the CPA Candidate Bulletin
For the CFA - visit the CFA Institute

My Timeline
2006

Early Sept..... Start Master's in Accounting Program
End of Nov..... Apply for CPA NTS (BEC & FAR)
[For NY it usually takes longer to process NTS]

2007

Mid Jan..... Receive NTS, schedule BEC and FAR exam,
purchase Becker CPA Review through PwC
End of Feb..... Start studying for BEC
Early April..... Take BEC exam, after exam start studying for FAR
Late April..... Apply and pay fees to sit for CFA level I in December,
purchase Stalla CFA Level I Review
Mid May..... Take FAR exam, after exam apply for NTS (AUD & REG)
Late May..... Receive NTS, schedule AUD & REG, start studying for AUD
Mid June..... Receive BEC and FAR scores
Mid July..... Take AUD exam, start studying for REG
Mid Aug...... Take REG, start studying for CFA level I
End of Sept..... Receive AUD and REG scores
Early Dec..... Take CFA Level I Exam

2008

End of Jan..... Receive CFA score, apply and pay fees for Level II, purchase Schweser CFA level II Review materials
Early Feb..... Start studying for CFA level II
Early June..... Take level II of CFA exam, then Party Party Party
Mid August..... Receive CFA score, then Party Party Party
Mid September..... Sign up and pay fees for Level III
 

2009
Early Feb..... Start studying for CFA level III
Early June..... Take level III of CFA exam again, then Party Party Party
Early Aug..... Receive level III CFA exam results, then cry with shame

2010
Early Feb..... Start studying again for CFA level III
Early June..... Take level III of CFA exam again, then Party Party Party
Early Aug..... Receive level III CFA exam results, then cry with joy
                
                
Hopefully my timeline indicates how meticulous I was in planning for the exams.  If you want to be successful you have to plan 6 to 18 months in advance.  Anticipate future school, work or life events that will impact your ability to study.  The last thing you want is to pay $X and not be able to take the exam or, even worse, not be able to adequately prepare and fail.  For the last 3 years all I've done is study, work-out and, very rarely, party.  I wasn't able to spend enough time with the people I cared for.  I sacrificed a lot and you'll probably have to do the same.