I found CFA exams to be among the easiest I took. Why so much prestige is associated with them. (Are they still?)
The exam required 1. quant skills – very limited 2. verbal skills.
Verbal skills was the killer. I remember each test had about 1,100 to 1,200 pages of reading we had to do. People whose native language is not English have a hard time. When I took it in practice a sample test a few months earlier , I had difficulty remembering all I had studied. We Asians tend to read everything slowly, trying to understand everything, and that is reason for our downfall.
After 3-4 months I changed my strategy. Wrote summaries after the first reading. But even the summaries were too large. I wrote summary of summaries – totally about 10 page long, and that could be managed.
Quant part was easy. The test was meant so that even the high-paid Wall Street guys could pass them – so it could not be so difficult. Very easy. Child’s play.
First test was multiple questions – 180 over 3 hours. Enough time and easy enough. I don’t remember a test where questions were so easy – remember the test is means for those rich, brats from Princeton, Yale that is whites. So can’t be difficult.
When I took GRE general exam, the questions were like which is greater a. 2 +2 or b. 2-2. And full one minute for that. I wondered am I so supersmart or are the questions so dumb? A read a paper by a Chinese researcher whose 5th grade students all aced the GRE general exam’s quantitative section. Naturally.
It was shocking. Was it a test meant for dogs? I checked the questions meant for American football quarterbacks, who are supposed to be the dumb, and they were tougher than the GRE questions, that was meant for people intending to do their PhD in physics. I realized it was meant for whites.
So CFA certification is meant for whites to justify their high salary. That explains CFA exam structure.
Needless to say my CFA success didn’t mean a thing to the employers. I was not a white and without any connection in India where they could think of expanding, and I was rejected.