Level III Results

Last night I tossed and turned in bed. What would my result be – pass or fail? I got nervous just imagining logging onto the CFA institute website and clicking “view exam results”. I slept an uncomfortable 3 hours. I woke up earlier than usual and tried not to think about the results while getting ready. On my way to work I tried to focus on the NPR podcast I listen to every morning, but my thoughts were elsewhere. I couldn’t be sure if the perspiration coming from my pores were caused by the NYC humidity or my nervousness. Results are posted at 9AM and I’m sitting at my desk at 7:45AM listening to the contradictory cacophony of CNBC. Finally 9:00AM. My stomach is churning while I try to access the CFA website. I keep on getting an internet explorer error – the server is jammed. I keep on refreshing, at 9:10AM I see my results… Fail. A deep setting disappointment overcomes me. I look more closely at my results. The CFA doesn’t give a single score but a score range for each section. So for each section you score either a >70%; 70%-51% or <=50%. For the various sections I scored either >70% or <=50% putting me on the cusp. I look at my results gain… Fail.

Life will go on but let me tell you it’s disappointing. I’ll try to enjoy the fall before I saddle up again to take level III. For everyone else who took a level of the CFA exam, I hope you fared better than I.


Kevy Nathalie said...

I had the same feeling on the same day for my level 1 exam. I will try once again in december... Any suggestions? Cheers!

Jaadi said...

Good luck for the next attempt and i am sure the next one will be a sure shot success.

cpacfa said...

Kevy & Jaddi,

Thanks for the kind words. I've been wavering between many emotions from sadness to anger to confusion. How much did I sacrifice for this exam? What could I have done differently? And so on. However, the smartest thing I have ever read about careers is that "your career is a marathon not a sprint".

Any advice I have is outlined throughout the blog. Sometimes things just don't go your way. That's life. We define ourselves in the face of both success and failure.


Patrick said...

Tough break on the CFA man. I showed your blog to a couple guys at my work and everyone was very impressed. I am a CPA candidate myself so your notes helped me pass REG w/ a 94. Keep your head up and go enjoy yourself, you deserve it.

Anonymous said...

This might not be that comforting. But just remember that the sacrifice wasn't for nothing. It isn't gone or a waste just because you failed once. It will be instrumental for when you do pass. The benefit isn't wasted, no impairment yet ; )

Good luck in the future.


chessiq said...

Oh, I can feel your pain. I came over to your site because I am using the notes you have for the CPA exam and I have passed 3 sections, I am remaining with REG... (taking it tomorrow) and I was missing something on the print outs.
Anyway, I come over, and I start reading your post, and I thought you had passed, and then... Urrgghh! That just stinks, but if anybody can find an effective way to deal with it, it is you. I have not met you, but just from looking at your notes, and your blog, I have a good idea of your "character". I am sorry you didn't pass, but I am sure you will pass.
God bless! and thanks for your contribution to whatever or whoever I will become.

aimen said...

Hey bro I felt the same on the result day.. I was in band 10 and they failed me in portfolio managment which was my strength, and if you remember the first three questions were really easy.

Hey bro your website is a big help i have showed and forwarded it to all of my friends. I am also doing cpa at the same time and taking BEC on 31 first. your notes helped me alot. I will talk to you about prep of cfa level 3 after my exams .. take care and thanks once again

Geetha said...


Its not the end of the world. You will defi learn something out of this. Success or failure does not matter, it is what you learn from it that matters. If you take the failure in the right stride and give the exam again with all the determination and will power, you will pass. Gluck. Thats my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

hi, I am a CPA and a CFA LIII candidate. Maybe we can help each other pass level III?


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about the results. You are still an inspiration us folks getting started. I enjoy reading your blog.

Anonymous said...

Dude I hope that does not derail you from your goal.. ur an inspiration to many of us and I make it a point to read your blogs every morning before reading the news..

ur gonna do it and ur gonna do it big..Level III is going to be cracked sooner or later!

cpacfa said...


Thanks for the support. I'm ready to attack this thing! Although it will sad to miss another New York spring, I'm excited to achieve a goal I set out to accomplish long ago.

Quick story: One of my good friends was rejected from every MBA program he applied to last year. As you can imagined, he was crushed. But he re-took the GMAT, re-vamped his application, and this year was accepted to two schools rated in the top 10 globally by the FT and US News & World Report! It reconfirmed by belief that if you keep working hard, doing good work - things will come around. Ying and yang my friends.


勇氣 said...

能猜得出女人真實年齡的男人也許耳聰目明,但肯定毫無大腦。哈哈! ..................................................

popodita said...


I'm so sorry the CFA institute is missing out such a great candidate like you. But I'm sure you'll pass Level III. You must, because you are an inspiration to many of us who read your blog, and especially to me. I am 25, and I've just finish my CPA. However, after working in tax for 2 years, I realize tax is really not my cup of tea. So I am also currently thinking about getting a CFA. But what I am wondering is, since you are in Big 4, can't you focus on the finance industry and then switch career tracks to finance eventually? I wish I can be like you, and know what I really want to do with my life.

You mention that you did some "soul searching", how did you do it? How long did it take you?

Anyways, look at the bright side, you only have 1 more test to go! How exciting! I wish to hear good news from you in August =)

cpacfa said...


Thanks for the post and the support! To answer your question, that's exactly what I did. I worked at PwC in the Alternative Investments Group (hedge funds, private equity and real estate). The problem is that making the switch to finance is incredibly difficult. Most investment firms want the typical 2-yr banker or strategy consultant. They care more about pedigree than actual content and potential contribution of a candidate. If you really want to get out of tax and try something new in business, the best and most assured way of changing career paths is to go to a top business school. So study hard for the GMAT and take the plunge into a top 10 school.

In terms of soul searching, it boils down to research. Reading a lot, listing to people, and watching people. Before you know what you want to do, you have to understand what's out there. And most importantly, understand what's important to you. That soul searching started freshman year of college with the reading of "Monkey Business Swinging through the Wall Street Jungle" and continues today. I battle everyday sometimes thinking being a CFO someday would be great and other days just wishing I had done investment banking so I could be an equity analyst at some fund.

Anyway, I hope to share good news in August and I'll keep you posted on the career front. I wish you the best in finding your path.


popodita said...

Hey Cpacfa,

How's everything going with you? Are you reviewing the CFA III materials again? Keep up the good work, only 3 more months and you won't have to touch a single review book AGAIN (alternatively, I would just burn them...).

Anyway, just dropping by to see what you are up to and also, to say thank you.=)

I think you are right, the only way to not end up being pigeonholed into being an accountant/ auditor is to get into a top MBA school. THAT'S DAUNTING. But after job search and soul searching for almost 6 weeks now, I understand your frustration.

Why do people assume that just because you don't have experience doing a different line of work, you aren't competent to start out playing other roles? Our brains weren't programmed to be capable of learning and doing only one single task! We aren't robots!(although, I think even robots are regarded as more versatile than college graduates, argh....). I am piss! People won't even give you a chance unless you have an MBA.

I am setting out to getting 700+ on GMAT and get into a top MBA school. I'll just keep trying until I get in. If that's the rule of the game, then I guess I'd just have to follow it. Hey... why don't you get into an MBA program again? Just wondering.

Sorry for rambling on for so long, but I really feel like you've been through a lot to understand.

Anyway, good luck!


vtlau said...

Hi Steve, It is a year since the post created. How's your latest result, is everything going well??

Anonymous said...

hey, just figured out your blog, have a question that bothers me, Iam EY alumni Tax serveices(4 years) now work for big finance firm's tax group. I have been CPA since 2009 September. What options out there for candidates like yourself CPA+CFA?
I do not want to go all that CFA work, if Iam not going to use it...
Please advise..

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