Thursday, June 12, 2008

CFA Journey

The sole purposeful deed I was involved in the last two months was the preparation for CFA Level 2 test.  Though, at times, I felt that preparing for the test was a PIA when I had to give up some sessions of DoTA or How I met your mother! Now the CFA preparation has come to an end, reaching its pinnacle for me in Singapore.

Thanks to the legal tussle among AICTE-ICFAI and CFA Institute USA, Indian students were put under confusion on where they can take up the test.  During the registration period, the CFA institute allowed Indian students to take the test outside the country and all those students who were ready to travel abroad registered in a country of their choice. In the last few years, when the test was happening inside India, the number of Indian students, in all the three levels put together, would be about 8000 . Because of the confusion this year, only about 4000 Indian students registered for the tests.  On an average, the expenditure would be close to Rs.20000 including travel, visa and boarding expenses, which translates to Rs.8 Crores of unnecessary expense and even more crores of rupees of opportunity costs (for the remaining 4000 who did not take) for the Indian test takers because of a legal battle that remains unsolved for more than a year.

Having gone to Singapore to take the test, I cannot stop admiring the professionalism with which the test was conducted. To start, the hall in which the exam happened had close to 4800 seats - the biggest examination hall in which I was a part. It was ensured that all the tables were firmly footed with sandpapers supporting the legs of tables which were shorter than the other legs by millimetres. I have been in exam halls, which were much smaller but with lots of tables dancing because of uneven base.  It was the first time in my life, I encountered toilet proctors whose responsibility was to ensure that no test-taker misuses the toilet facility! There were section proctors who took care of close to 30 students, and lead proctors and exit proctors and so on and so forth.  Even the outside of the hall (which would have spanned close to 100 metres) were patrolled to ensure there is no noise and no disturbance from outside.  To a person like me, I would say the set up was Pukka.

As for my performance is concerned, the morning session was quite easy. I finished with about half an hour to spare.  The afternoon session also I found was a cake-walk, completing the test with close to 35 minutes to spare.  After a light perusal of the threads in Analyst Forum I understood the majority found the afternoon session to be more difficult than the morning one. Overall, the posters there found the tests to be challenging and definitely not a cake-walk.  This should mean that either I nailed the tests comprehensively or I was fooled handsomely by the paper-setters' guile. I hope it was the former.

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