Posted on 27-01-21 at 4:44 pm
Failure was never meant to be a signal to turn back, but instead, an obstacle that the stronger and wiser use to boost themselves up and attain greater heights. Your recent failure might cause you to wonder whether or not to continue with the CFA Program, and if so when to retake the exam.
Let us consider the first question: whether to continue with the CFA Program or not. For those who did not pass, the typical advice is to keep trying; however, I suggest a more thoughtful approach. Put the result on the side for a moment and ask yourself: Did I really enjoy the subject matter? Try doing a post-audit on why you did not pass. Was it because you did not have enough time to prepare for the exam? Or did you have a very hard time understanding the concepts? Is the CFA Program aligned with your career aspirations? Carefully thinking through these questions will help you decide whether or not to continue with the program.
If you fundamentally enjoyed the material and you have an interest in investment management, then I’d recommend that you continue. Now for the next question: when to take the exam? If you failed with a relatively high score (your scoreline was close to the minimum passing scoreline), and have time to study/practice over the next few months, then sit for the exam in next available window, i.e. May 2021. Here are the available paths that you can choose from:
For the year 2021, the curriculum for all exam sessions is exactly the same. You can also choose to sit the August or November 2021 session, however, this is not recommended by me. I would rather say that you should go for another attempt as soon as possible.
If you failed badly (your scoreline was considerably below the minimum passing scoreline) and/or don’t have much time to study/practice, then I’d suggest retaking the exam in August or November 2021 or maybe next year.
If you did not enjoy studying the Level I curriculum, and you are not particularly interested in investment management, I would not recommend continuing with the CFA Program. This might come across as harsh, but in the long run you are much better off pursuing a line of work that you enjoy and where you can make a decent living.
For whichever decision you finally go with, I wish you the best of luck.
Arif Irfanullah, CFA