Tips for the CFA exam

Tips for the CFA exam

Tips for achieving the 3 levels of CFA certification

Initial methodology

  • Open your electronic calendar, choose a bright color and block 12 hours a week for the next 6 to 7 months.
  • During the 6 to 7 months of study, make a “COPY- PASTE” hours not allocated to the program in order not to fall behind the renunciations!

Methodology during the 6 months

  • Each level covers 18 study sessions. After studying 8 to 10 study sessions, a feeling of weariness or stall is possible, especially if the subjects studied seemed difficult. Then try to return to a more digestible rhythm (15 to 30 minutes of study per day) for a week and blow. Continue to allocate a little time, even a few minutes each day, open a book and turn a few pages allows the motivation to return. You can also start a new study session and return to the previous one when your motivation is back.
  • Reproduce what has worked for you in the past for other exams or contests. Some work better in the morning, others in the evening. Some like to go to the library, others work in the office or at home, alone or in a group. The pleasure must be sought, it maintains a good level of motivation.
  • The CFA candidates have a very busy schedule, the CFA study adds the equivalent of a half-time. Remember to take vacation or RTT days in order to unclog your weeks and have a more digestible pace.
  • If possible, avoid evening classes, as induced fatigue makes it difficult to study the other nights of the week.

Optimal start date of the study

  • The success rate is positively correlated with the start date of the study. Check out the candidate survey on the CFA Institute website, where the nominees show the time they spent and the topics they found most challenging for each level. Ideally, readings should be started 7 months before the exam, which allows for breaks, a little vacation or unexpected work overload without jeopardizing the chances of success.

CFA Curriculum or Study notes

  • Use the study notes or CFA study material in the subjects where you have a “medium or correct” level and use the CFA curriculum in the subjects you are “either very strong or very weak”. According to a study conducted by the CFA Institute on the media used by the candidates, 78% of them use the curriculum for their study, and 61% also use other resources like study notes. Do not buy the premium versions as they are totally useless. The version Essential self-study package is in our opinion the most adapted in level 1, the version Schweser notes package largely sufficient for the level 2 and we prefer to advise you to use mainly the level 3 curriculum.
  • The official CFA curriculum is more useful in level 2 than in level 1 and even more so in level 3. In level 2, it is mainly the end-of-chapter questions that must be answered, and in level 3, the official curriculum is unavoidable except for some study sessions at the end of the curriculum.

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