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Study tips for the CFA

Preparing for the CFA Exam can be a very demanding and exhausting task, one that requires couple of months preparation. TimePrep has a few tips that will help you crack the exam!

Once you decide to enter the CFA program and become the CFA Level 1 Candidate, prior to enrolling the program, check if you have sufficient time for the preparation of the first exam. Don’t enrol the program if you can’t make it. This is something that can be assessed in advance. Wait for the other term, and enrol then. In order to assess whether you can do it or not, use the simple math. Start from your usual schedule and determine how much time in a usual week you can dedicate to learning. An average candidate needs approximately 300 – 400 hours, so you can divide this numbers with the amount of time in a usual week you can dedicate to learning. This will give you approximate amount of weeks necessary for the preparation.

Once you decide to enrol, prior to starting the process decide on the materials and accessories you will use. There are a number of prep-providers, study groups, and gadgets that can make your life easier in the following months. Make sure you choose the items based on which type of person you really are. If you learn best from lectures, buying prep providers videos or real lectures may be the best choice for you. In case you like to read books, but don’t have enough time, buying abbreviated and more focused curriculum from prep providers may be valuable for you. Learning in study groups can also be a powerful tool. You can read more about learning in study groups here. Don’t forget about time management and organization, no matter the way you have approached the study. TimePrep – an intelligent time management solution can help you here.

When you finally organize the process – START and don’t look behind. You have immense amount of study materials to go through and a number of practice problems to solve. Many candidates fail (approx. 60%) but you have to give your best and you will manage to complete the process and pass the exam. There is no secret sauce and there are no shortcuts, if you invest your time and effort, it will pay off.

For each of the three levels there are some specifics that will be addressed in other blog posts, but generally there are some things you have to pay special attention no matter the level.

First of all, make sure you are familiar with the exam questions format. No matter how good you understand the material, you have to be efficient on the exam. Make sure you are used to the multiple choice (Level 1), item set (Level 2) and essay questions (Level 3).

Second, make sure you cover as many as possible areas from the curriculum. You have to satisfy certain threshold in each of the topic area in order to pass the exam.

Finally, don’t forget formulas. Try to memorize formulas and review them a day before the exam. It is critical to memorize them, because you will quickly have to remember a large number of formulas on the exam under pressure.

To sum up, in order to successfully prepare for the CFA exam, we would suggest the following:

  • Before starting, make sure you can complete the learning process.
  • Decide on strategy – how will you actually learn and which materials and gadgets you will use. Organize yourself!
  • Focus on the exam question format
  • Cover as many sections as possible
  • Memorize formulas


Good luck!

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