I sat for the CFA Level 1 for the second time a few weeks ago. While I was significantly more prepared for it this time than last time, it was still difficult. And, frankly, if I don't pass this time, I wasn't meant to pass. I'm unwilling to invest another 400+ hours studying for this test when in the long run it's not going to change my life. If I was 25, it'd be a different story, but I'm not.
That said, the real question is if I pass Level 1, do I sit for Level 2? Its another 400+ hours of stuyding, followed by another 300+ hours of studying for Level 3. If I could just find a school where I can apply my MBA and MA in Econ for credit towards a PhD, I'd do that.
Finally, anyone who can pass this has certainly mastered the material. Not that that means they are experienced and intellectually well rounded, but they did put in a herculean effort to pass the tests.