Guidelines for Taking the CFA Exams

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If you’ve signed up for the CFA exams you probably know how much work and dedication is required to pass this exam. Many of you are probably scared and are dreading these exams, but guess what? With good time management and a solid CFA level 1 study plan one can come a long way.

We’ve gathered some tips for you to follow that have been proved to be the key to many former candidates success:

  • Make a good study plan and maintain it

This may be a little difficult, especially the part of maintaining the schedule. Don’t make your CFA Level 1 Study Plan so rigid that even the slightest changes cause you a lot stress. If you have a flexible schedule you can sometimes skip a few study sessions incase sometimes comes up.

  • Use your time wisely

You may think 6 months is a long time but time can be your worst nightmare. Don’t leave what can be done today for later; remember you have around 3000 pages to go through aong with revision and practice tests.

  • Get familiar with your calculator

As mentioned earlier, time is very precious, so it would be the worst thing if you studied very hard and didn’t know how to use the calculator on the exam day. Start early, this way you are more likely to clear all the confusions you may have about the calculator.

  • Don’t take the exams lightly

Having an attitude like “Oh, I already know this” or “this is easy” isn’t going to help you, you need to take this assessment very seriously and study the materials over and over again.

Even if it actually is easy, you probably covered the subject a few years ago, and believe it or not your brain gets rusty and you have forgotten some important details. But if you really think you don’t have to read something, go to the end of chapter questions, answer them and move on only if you get more than 70% correct answers.

  • Prep providers

If you find it hard to cover all the details this may be the best option for you. Prep providers are not like the CFA reading materials, they go straight to the point and help you save time. This obviously does not mean you do not have to go through the curriculum, if you need more detailed explanations you can always go back to the curriculum. Also, end of chapter questions are very good practice material because the type of questions you will get the day of the exam will be very similar.

  • Ethics

You might want to make this section the last to read on your schedule.

Although it is very important, this section may be very boring to read, so if you start with it you might get bored and likely fall behind schedule very early in the study process. Cover this section when you are already feeling the pressure and can’t afford to fall behind schedule.

7) Don’t try to become an expert on every subject

Focus on the most important topics. You are not expected to dominate 100% of every Learning Outcome Statement (LOS), so don’t waste your time trying to. If you try, you will get frustrated and you will lose focus.

8) Find study partners

But don’t study with them all the time as this can become counterproductive. I would say once a week is more than enough. A study group (with no more than 4 people) can be very helpful to discuss subjects any doubts you may have. Sometimes it is easier to understand a subject when someone is explaining it to you. Explaining something to someone else also helps you to retain it more easily. Make sure these study sessions don’t affect your CFA Level 1 Study Plan.

9) Final review

In your CFA Level 1 Study Plan you should have the last month reserved only for revision. This is the time you have to dedicate to doing end of chapter questions, practice tests and reading chapter summaries.

10) Keep practicing

This is the most important tip. Practice between readings, at the end of each section and on the review period.

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