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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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  • Writer's pictureUrmi

What to Expect on the CFA Exam Day

The CFA exams are probably one of the most challenging exams one will ever do. With a voluminous amount of topics to remember and rigorous hours of studies, good preparation comes with being prepared for the day of the exam.

With the examinations being held at test centers as a consequence of the pandemic, there are a couple of things you want to do before you sit for the exam.

Let's start with what to do the day before the exam

  1. Take the day off before the exam day if you are a full-time worker. Use that day to relax, revise, exercise, do some yoga, and more. Do not use it to study new materials because it won't help. What you couldn't study in 6 months or 1 year, cannot be done in one day. You can instead use it to do some last-minute revision on Ethics which is underestimated by many candidates. Some people either study it too early during their 6 month period or leave it at the end. I suggest doing Ethics throughout your whole study period and give it one more revision especially on the day before the exam.

  2. Eat proper food and go to bed early. Make sure you are well fed and take a good night's sleep. As I said, cramming won't help you to retain any information. So might as well sleep early to ensure you are well rested for the day after.

  3. Prepare your bag with all the necessary items to bring to the exam. In the past years, aka pre-pandemic, all the exams were held in huge halls that could fit thousands and thousands of people. Candidates were expected to bring exam tickets, pens, pencils, and so forth. Now all you need is a valid passport and your approved calculators. It is important that you bring your passport as not having it will prohibit you from being admitted to the exam. Concerning the approved calculators, I always suggest bringing a spare one in case one of them stops working. Do not worry - you are allowed to bring multiple calculators, just make sure to check from the CFA Institute, the list of the approved calculators allowed in the exam.

  4. The day before the exam or even a week before, physically go and check where the test center is located. With test centers being in multiple locations, you want to ensure that you don't spend the day of the exam looking for the test centers and arrive late for the exam. So either the week or the day before, take your car or public transportation and find out where your test center is.

On the day of the exam

  1. Wake up early, eat proper breakfast and drink lots of water.

  2. Double-check your bag is packed with whatever you need. You are allowed to bring notes in case you want to revise. However, all your belongings will be kept in a locker during the exam.

  3. Wear comfortable clothes.

  4. Make sure to revise the testing policies provided by each test center.

  5. Double-check if not triple check, you have your valid passport and calculators in the bag.

  6. Arrive early on the day of the exam

  7. If you are taking the exam right now ( during the pandemic), you will be writing the exam with a mask on, all provided by the test center

  8. You will have an optional break of a maximum of 30 minutes in between each session. I highly recommend taking it: go for a walk, have a snack, use it for the washroom, and then go back to take the second part of the exam. If you do decide to take the break, try to come back after 20 minutes as before re-sitting for the second part, you will need to go over some checking.

  9. Last, but not least have fun. It is normal to feel nervous the day before the exam. If you have studied enough and put in the hard work, everything will be fine and even if it is not, that's fine as well. It is just an exam that you can always re-take. Never feel demoralized by the negative outcome. It is not the end of the world and we can all learn from our mistakes. I always took the exam as a way to challenge myself, and to stimulate my thinking, so even though I was worried and nervous, I still liked the idea of proving to myself that I can do it. I like to live by this quote by George Addair that - “Everything you’ve ever wanted is sitting on the other side of fear.” So if you want something, you will always be motivated to succeed.

If you are a candidate writing one of the CFA exams in a couple of months, you got this:)

Good luck!

“Everything you’ve ever wanted is sitting on the other side of fear"


George Addair


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