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 Major anxiety and stress - CFA 2, quit now ? 
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Joined: 23 Mar 2014
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Hi, first post on here but could really do with some advice.

I’m registered for CfA level 2. I used to be perfectly fine with exams but CFa level 2 is making me extremely anxious and stressed and I’m not sure what to do.

I’ve just signed up for my 5th attempt.
Story is

1st attempt> half attempted it. didn’t try hard enough
2nd attempt> came close band 9
3rd attempt> I thought this is it, last try so I through everything I could at it. Really knew my stuff, never worked so hard for anything before. But night before the exam in the hotel room, couldn’t sleep intense headache and racing heart beat and all night long, it was horrible and never experienced it before. At the time I put it down to working to hard on the last day along with the headache , but it was probably an anxiety attack… Even though I was only half conscious through the paper, I still managed a band 9, got a < 50 on ethics which was really hard to take as it’s usually my best area. So probably would have passed it if I was 100%

4th attempt > was hard to accept that I thought I would have passed on attempt 5 if I was 100% and cos of the way it went wrong on attempt 3, I thought id give it another go. a whole week before the exam, started getting the similar symptoms of headache not sleeping and anxiety, I couldn’t revise at all in the final week and after 5 days of this feeling I was so worked up that I couldn’t even attend so didn’t even go to the exam - but at the time, I still hadn’t fully appreciated it was purely an exam anxiety attack, I had a death in the family 2 months earlier so thought maybe my head was just messed up.

So now, it’s February and Im signed up for attempt 5.. I signed up optimistically thinking I’m capable of achieving it and it’s better to aim for the highest qualification rather than working for a lesser qualification. I have already put In around a months revision. it’s February, months to the exam but I’m getting anxious and not sleeping ALREADy I don’t know what to do. My company has just paid for the exam and study course. It’s hard to accept that I couldn’t have a good shot at attempt 3 and 4… Which is kinda why I’m here on attempt 5. BUT now I’m worried I have months of feeling stressed and anxious. .. And ofcourse the thought of going through these books again is also making me sick.

Feeling the anxiety symptoms now has just made me realize that I might work really hard and then have it all go wrong again just before hand.

Really not sure what to do? Getting over this anxiety obstacle would be good… But I’m only experiencing it with Cfa 2 cos of the effort I’ve put it? It doesn’t come up with anything else. Surely health is the most important thing and maybe I should stop now before I damage my health?

I’ve just been reading about meditation and yoga so have tried a bit this wkend to relax me. It’s worked a bit but the feeling in the week before the exam will be amplified to the point that I just can’t see it being enough to chill myself out.

Don’t know what I should do? Quit ? Carry on ?

Some comments and advise would be really appreciated.


04 May 2014
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Joined: 23 Mar 2014
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I’d suggest camomile tea, passionflower tablets, or after that see a doctor. I think 5 xL2 will stress out 99% of people.


04 May 2014
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You are going to feel so great when you get over the hump. I say, forget the time invested so far - that is sunk cost. Being anxious about the exam, or worst yet being anxious about being anxious, does not count towards your study time or your goal. Just give yourself some milestone deadlines, make an air tight study plan, and get yourself back on track. Confidence in your knowledge of the test material is your best defense against anxiety.


04 May 2014
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Gym, sleepy time tea (chamomile).
give it hell


04 May 2014
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Cfannoying wrote:
I’ve just signed up for my 5th attempt.
Story is

1st attempt> half attempted it. didn’t try hard enough
2nd attempt> came close band 9
3rd attempt> I thought this is it, last try so I through everything I could at it.

4th attempt > was hard to accept that I thought I would have passed on attempt 5 if I was 100% and cos of the way it went wrong on attempt 3, I thought id give it another go. a whole week before the exam, started getting the similar symptoms of headache not sleeping and anxiety

I’ve just been reading about meditation and yoga so have tried a bit this wkend to relax me. It’s worked a bit but the feeling in the week before the exam will be amplified to the point that I just can’t see it being enough to chill myself out.

Don’t know what I should do? Quit ? Carry on ?




Do you believe you can “do it”? If yes, carry on. If no, quit.

I did not believe in this whole anxiety/nervousness stuff but I experienced it before Level 1 result and it was a nightmare. It’s not something you can just ignore. It comes automatically. You get nervous/anxious about things which you care about.

yodacaia wrote:
I say, forget the time invested so far - that is sunk cost.
That’s a very sound advice. Treat all the past failures as sunk cost and begin with new and clear mind. Besides, nobody cares about your failures. Give yourself a nice treat, listen to some motivational songs/videos. You are Game and you are going to eat level 2 alive.


04 May 2014
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See a therapist and work through your anxiety disorder. I would avoid taking drowsy-inducing medication and simply work with someone who doesn’t prescribe medicine to work with on managing your emotional state. It’ll be tough - I’ve felt the same way you have before - but puching through it and developing the skills with a therapist to guide your education will pay dividends in the future and make your testing day easier.


04 May 2014
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I think you need to take a break, get a gap year and discuss about it with your relatives. Health > CFA.


04 May 2014
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I think you might want to see a Dr. in regard to your anxiety/stress level. See if you can be prescribed some medication to help with your sleeping. Camomille tea is also great. Maybe even consider meditation and/or yoga. And definitely visualize yourself passing! It sounds like this is something you really want seeing as this is your 5th time signing up for it…and you can definitely pass! You just have to get your health in order first.


04 May 2014
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Rule #1: Cardio.
Get plenty of exercise - your body clearly reacts to this anxiety, and that is going to affect you no matter how prepared you are. So I would really work on calming your nerves. As you study/review, get plenty of liquid and commit to exercising periodically.


04 May 2014
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Definitely go see a doctor and maybe defer the exam for a year. I would. If anxiety is the issue then no amount of studying or stuff will make it better on test day. Taking diazepam or some anti anxiety pills is not the best method either. Worst thing that could happen is you become an addict to these pills cause of the CFA.
See a therapist – defer a year – exercise — and who cares if you fail. There’s a lot more to life then exams and by that I mean these exams mean squat in the real scheme of life. Have fun.
I’m an actuary and if I never made it I knew at the end of the day who cares…there’s something else I can do. I passed all the exams and the who cares method relieves stress. Now I’m a full actuary and I probably wont be one 5 years down the road. Have fun with life.


04 May 2014
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