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Pass CFA Level 1 while only knowing 53% of the material - thoughts?

Source video from Mark Meldrum:

My summary for those that can't view:

Caveat: He spends a lot of time stressing that this isn't a 'first-choice' strategy, he calls it a Plan B, use-in-case-of-emergencies.

  1. There are 240 questions in CFA L1
  2. You know 53% of the material, so you answer 53% correctly or 125 questions out of 240
  3. That leaves 115 questions
  4. He assumes you will be able to eliminate one question option on 30 remaining questions (so you have a 50% chance of getting the answer right)
  5. You answer randomly on the remaining 85 questions (33% success rate)
  6. That gives you 125 + 30*50% + 85*33% = 168 questions out of 240 = 70%

  • MPS is 70%
  • You will get 100% of the material you studied for, i.e. no careless mistakes, no missed bits

I'm not sure if this actually informs my study strategy at all, or it is a tool to reassure/build confidence if you are not progressing as well as you hoped, or it is actually not very useful. Thoughts?


  • itsalwayslupusitsalwayslupus San MateoPosts: 55 Associate
    Yeah...I'm not convinced. Mark Meldrum is the man, but I don't think this video is useful. There are a few holes in the calculations and assumptions even if you buy into the theory.

    1. The whole headline is 'pass CFA L1 with only 53% of the material', right? But it goes on to assume you will additionally know how to eliminate one question option out of 30 other questions, so you must know more than 53% if the material for that to happen.
    2. Assumes you make no mistakes for the 53% of known material, which means no misread questions (happens to me all the time), no calculation problems, no obscure questions catching you out, no other stupid mistakes. At all. This is a huge assumption.
    3. He goes on to say something like 'if you have to pass L1 with this strategy, L2 is going to kill you anyway'. I agree.

    I know he caveats it by saying it's not a plan A, but newbies watching this might be tempted to think 'hey, I've read 53% of the syllabus, everything is now a bonus', but in fact I think it would be very dangerous to have this attitude especially in L1.
  • honeyvorehoneyvore TorontoPosts: 3 Associate
    I know @itsalwayslupus is probably right ... but I want to believe it's true.
  • Better to spend time actually studying, rather than speculating what is the minimum effort level needed to pass.
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