While waiting for the afternoon portion of the CFA level 3 exam to begin, I met a man who claimed to be taking the CFA level 3 exam for the 3rd time. He was hopeful because he managed to pass the CFA level 2 exam on his 3rd attempt. I did not inquire about his CFA level 1 experience, but some quick math suggests that this individual has spent at least 6.5 years working through the CFA curriculum. I told him he was a modern-day Sisyphus to which he appeared to take some offense. My comment was not meant to offend. On the contrary, I have nothing but respect for someone who is as tenacious as this gentleman. It says a great deal about their character to continue to dust themselves off and go at it again year after year.

Sisyphus from Greek mythology was condemned to carry a boulder to the top of a mountain only to have it fall back down the mountain once he reached the summit. He had to continue this process for all eternity.

I don’t know how hard Sisyphus 2.0 studied or how many hours he spent on each exam attempt. If he studied as much as I did, I am really impressed with him. I don’t know if I would be able to endure this process as many times as he has. After meeting the modern-day Sisyphus, I more clearly understand why the CFA Institute makes zero distinction between those who pass all of the exams on their first attempt and those who eventually pass. They are both equally successful in the eyes of the CFA Institute. As they should be! All things considered, I would really prefer to not carry that boulder back to the top of the mountain again. I wish to avoid the fate of Sisyphus. I have some different boulders to push up some different mountains.