This time I actually woke up at 5:50 according to my alarm clock (phone) which is ten minutes ahead of the correct time. Normally I’d spend the next half hour or so snoozing even then it’s a training day. It was Friday and I went downstairs to put my running shoes on to do my usual 10-miler.
Somehow I managed to run the fastest 10-miler for this year, even though I was trying to be slow. I was dreading 8 AM because that’s when my AF5 exam results were released – FYI you need to log on to a website to get your results. Quick shower followed by a big breakfast which I purposefully took my time preparing. 8 AM arrived as I sat down to eat but then I remembered it was also my mother’s birthday.
I figured I’d better call her before finding out my results. Otherwise, if it’s a fail, I might sound depressed or something. I had a 10 minute chat with her until I ran out of Skype credit. It seems that Skype will cut off your call at the 10 minute mark if you run out of money.
Then I checked my result and it was a PASS. I did the usual victory dance every gambler does at a Las Vegas casino. Now I have completed my Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning and also reached Fellowship of the Personal Finance Society, which is the highest qualification you can get here in the UK for financial planning.
About two years ago when I first came to the UK I worked in an admin job, I was miserable and hated it. The only way forward was to get some exams under my belt. I took my first exam in June 2014 and was surprised when I passed it. I made a decision to take exams as often and as fast as possible. It took me 19 exams and a bit less than two years to get to Fellowship. I’ve actually kept up a bit of a study log:
R03 92H (passed on second attempt)
R06 106H (fail) + 40H (passed second attempt)
J05, AF1, AF3, AF4, 206H (took all exams over 3 consecutive days)
FA2, FA7, J12 40H
FA1, FA6 10H
FA4, FA5 56H
AF5 26H (fail) + 20H (passed second attempt)
Roughly 1,028 hours.
I guess it’s true what they say about 1,000 hours of study to become an expert in something.
Anywho, the joy lasted for ten seconds tops. It passed and was replaced with a feeling of emptiness. I didn’t feel accomplished at all. It’s very similar to my uni graduations – neither felt like a big thing. Another day, another diploma… and I found myself asking the question “Now what?”
I didn’t even feel like sharing the news with my colleagues. I sent an email to my manager (we need to do this because the company paid for my exam) and she later shared the news with the office. A few “well done’s“ and “congrats” followed and it wasn’t news anymore.
What next? Surprise, surprise, I’m going to do more exams but this time with CISI – Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments. I think the studying will never end!