- Flexibility: Most people doing an executive MBA course are senior professionals who are continuing their day job whilst studying. Therefore the best EMBAs will have a degree of flexibility that allows you to fit the studying and learning process around your daily life. Check the course details to see if you can choose your hours of study, if it offers weekend and evening classes and if there are any distance-learning options.
In our recent post on executive MBAs, we said not all EMBAs are equal. Just as with any type of degree, the courses that various business schools offer vary wildly in terms of quality, value and usefulness. If you’re currently searching for a programme to give yourexecutive career a boost, help you embark on a new career or widen the selection of MBA graduate jobs available to you, you need to pick a course that includes these features:
“I worked through about 2,000 practice questions from Level I through Level III.”
— Ken Luce, CFA Vice President, Global Client Group, BlackRock Asset Management Canada Limited Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Myth: “The item sets are less rigorous than the essays.”
The feedback from many Level III candidates is that the item sets were more difficult. In reality, comparing the difficulty of item sets and essays is problematic because they cover different topic areas of the curriculum. In June 2005, the average scores on the essays and item sets were identical.
Myth: “New readings are not tested in the CFA exam during the first year they are in the curriculum. They will be tested in the second year, and you should skip new readings in your studying.”
This is absolutely not true. New readings are as likely to be tested the year they are first added to the curriculum as existing readings.
Being a Chartered Financial Analyst may bring honor and recognition from your colleagues and clients, but getting the “CFA” after your name is a long-term endeavor. Certification requires that you pass three six-hour exams that take years to complete and less than half of the candidates last year passed their tests.
If you’ve already signed up to take the test this June, you’ve probably already been studying. Lots of companies offer services to help you pass the test, and even more websites dole out advice on how to study. Much of what passes for wisdom in test taking, however, is wrong. Your high school teacher may have encouraged you to find a quiet, uncluttered place to study. According to decades-old research, your high school teacher was wrong. What seems intuitive might actually create more frustration for you on test day.
Some readers thought I was being a little harsh when I advised candidates that they shouldn't expect to pass the CFA exam the first time around. But, sadly, it's a fact that most candidates will fail the Level I exam. The numbers improve slightly as candidates progress, with nearly half of test takers passing Level II, and slightly more than half passing Level III. It can be a real blow to discover you failed, but heading into the exams knowing that you might have to take them more than once will make it easier for you to bounce back.
There's no shame in retaking a level; in fact, some professional CFA instructors and some of the biggest names in the industry didn't pass one or more levels the first time around. In fact, of the 64,007 registrants for the June 2011 Level I exam, 35% were retaking the exam after a previous attempt, according to CFA Institute.
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