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Out of school for a while


I graduated back in 2006  with a BS in Finance and after some years in the army (one of which spent on a combat tour in Afghanistan) and some more years working in finance/banking I am still interested in possibly starting the CFA.  I am concerned that I have forgotten a lot in the time Ive been away from school.  For instance I havent used an HP 12 C in over 5 years.  I tutored my wife durring her finance section for her MBA so I haven't lost everything. 

Is there any advice regarding how I could best prepare and/or additional things to do so that this doesnt turn into a waste of money or time.

Any advice or similar experiences would be greatly appreciated.



  • ZeeZee Charterholder London - UKPosts: 1,550 Sr Partner
    Hey @Chris7906‌

    I doubt this will be 'a waste of money and time' simply because you've forgotten your school material. Many candidates (myself included) started with a base knowledge of finance of 0 (in our analysis report we find that this doesn't influence performance at all, in fact the opposite is true). 

    @Sophie‌ can comment more about this as she's economics-trained before CFA, but she also has mentioned many times that CFA Level I starts with the basics and should be perfectly doable, especially if you're also currently in finance.
  • bostonCFA2014bostonCFA2014 Boston, MAPosts: 7 Associate

    I was in a similar circumstance, graduated w/ a BS in Finance in 2004 and just sat for L1 this June. It's frustrating initially because a lot of the material will seem vaguely familiar but ultimately you'll need to put in work to reacquire your understanding. Like Zee said, you're actually in a better  spot than some candidates and once you get going it will come back to you. Start early and put in the work and you'll be OK.

  • SophieSophie Posts: 2,036 Sr Partner

    Hey @Chris7906‌ - @zee and @bostonCFA2014‌ are right. CFA is great in that it brings everyone on the same page, CFA level 1 is very do-able even to beginners with no finance background (or if you've forgotten most stuff like most of us do). I wouldn't worry about it at all - it may be easier for candidates with relevant finance background for Level 1, but we will all find Level 2 and 3 challenging anyway. 

    @vincentt can share his experience here for sure. He's a software engineering/IT background and has done extremely well so far learning finance from scratch through CFA, passing the exams (L1 and L2) consecutively, using this forum extensively to ask/discuss questions. He's a recent L3 candidate and is waiting for results. 

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