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Welcome to  My Ways

Naturally Curious

We are all told, “live your life to the fullest”; I am here to do just that. My Ways serves as a vessel to project my passions and clue in my loyal readers as to what inspires me in this crazy world. So, sit back, relax, and read on.

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How I Successfully Obtained The CAIA Charter: A Personal Journey

Breaking down the steps towards getting the CAIA Charter

In April 2023, I became CFA Charterholder, and one thing was for sure—I didn't want to stop learning. I knew I wanted to pursue further studies, and one designation that caught my eye was the CAIA designation.

Initially, I was hesitant—should I go ahead and sign up, or should I take a break from studying? After consulting with a few colleagues and noticing that few people held the CAIA designation, I thought, why not make myself stand out?

Fortunately, as a CFA Charterholder, I was exempted from the CAIA Level 1 exam and could jump straight into Level 2.

I signed up for the exam in October 2023 and sat for it in March 2024, giving myself roughly 5-6 months of preparation.

Unfortunately, unlike the CFA program, there isn't much information about the CAIA program. Few people talk about it, there isn't much content on YouTube, and there aren't many approved providers either. I didn’t know where to start or how to study for the exam.

To play it safe, I used two approved providers: UpperMark and Edge Designations. They are considered the best in the market and, while they both have some weaknesses, they complement each other.

My study approach:

As a full-time employee, I had to ensure I was getting the most out of the time available. I studied every day after work, dedicating 3-4 hours, and sometimes more, as some materials were insufficient in explaining the content. On those days, I had to spend extra time to review the readings thoroughly. Besides watching videos and looking for additional content, I spent my weekends practicing and revising.

Most of my practice came from the UpperMark and Edge Designations materials. If you ever have to choose between the two because of budget constraints, I recommend UpperMark for its superior content. However, Edge Designations offers free Zoom sessions where you can ask questions to the professor.

On weekends, I spent 6-7 hours revising, watching videos, and practicing. Regular revision was fundamental because the CAIA materials were lengthy, deep, and detailed, requiring extra time to internalize the concepts. I often used cue cards and paid attention to the details to help with retention.

The CAIA program can be quite qualitative, especially with readings 1 and 2, which can be challenging if you are unfamiliar with certain topics. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and an essay portion which can be particularly difficult if you don't follow the exact instructions. Similar to the CFA Level 3 exam, there are command words that you need to carefully pay attention to.

After 5-6 months of preparation, I walked into the exam room with a positive mindset. I knew how prepared I was and how hard I had worked, so I tried not to worry too much.

In May 2024, six weeks after my exam, I received the results: I had passed. It was my second-most beautiful achievement, and I couldn't have been prouder of myself.

To those considering the CAIA program, I highly recommend it. If you decide to pursue it, make sure to be responsible for your decision and stay committed to your study plan.

"Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”
—Malcolm X



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