Although studying is a very personal preference when it comes to the CFA, a well-planned and executed strategy can come in handy to overcome the confusion and anxiety of how to prepare for the CFA level 1 course. The syllabus for CFA level 1 includes 10 different financial topics that are divided into different weights. However, the weighting of the subjects differs from level to level. When levels 2 and 3 of the CFA course structure are compared with level 1, it can be discovered that at level 1 all the topics are only introduced, whereas at levels 2 and 3 candidates are exposed in depth.
Here are some tried and tested strategies that can be helpful in your CFA preparation.
- Ideally, one should start the CFA preparation around six to nine months before the exam date and at least three months before the exam, the preparation should be completed. Most successful candidates swear by this preparation pattern and is a tested strategy for CFA. It is absolutely important to make a study plan and routine for yourself and stick to it consistently.
- Studying for CFA would not only require proper study material to gain knowledge but also the understanding to be able to apply the same to real-life scenarios. The question pattern includes certain case studies where the aspirants are asked to make comments based on their understanding and knowledge.
- In the first five to six months that you will dedicate exclusively to studying, make sure you commit to 300 hours of study. The 300-hour plan has been tested and relied on by most experts and successful candidates. To streamline your preparation period, it is recommended that you enroll in an online preparation class. The CFA classes adequately plan the curriculum and offer various video and text tools that can be instrumental in better understanding.
- In terms of study sessions, candidates appearing for the CFA Level 1 exam should attend 80 to 100 study sessions over nine months. Taking larger study gaps between sessions can make it difficult to cover the extensive syllabus and understand it. But the preference for weeks, days, or hours depends on the candidate’s choice. You should also be aware that the more often you take a break during the sessions, the fewer study sessions you will get. So it only makes sense to adhere to the recommended study time and sessions.
- Even before you start the preparation, you should be well aware of the syllabus. Knowing the syllabus topics and their respective weightage in the CFA Level 1 courses can help in making a strategic plan for the preparation. The best way to score higher is to do comprehension studies where you can concentrate on the subjects with greater emphasis. That way, you will be able to answer more questions and thus get a higher score.
- As the CFA Institute keeps updating the CFA syllabus based on contemporary financial topics and tools, candidates must be well-read and up-to-date on it. After knowing the syllabus, one should start preparing based on the weightage of the subjects. Start preparing for topics that will have a higher percentage of questions in the exam. For example, in CFA Level 1 Financial Reports and Analysis, Ethics, Equity Investments, and Fixed Income are the ones with the most marks and so you should be on top of these subjects to succeed in the Level 1 exam.
- And finally, after the first six months of study, keep the last 3 months of preparation for revision and practice. Both revision and practice are extremely important for preparation as this will give you the necessary exposure to the likely questions and the question pattern and time management.
Although everyone hears about the difficulty of the CFA exams, no one believes it unless they experience it firsthand. With the big one CFA course, there is a minimum percentage that you must acquire to qualify for the Level 1 exam. The all-time average CFA pass rate is 42%, but all candidates who appear for the exam work hard to achieve at least that much. If you want to be successful and aim for a glorious career, you must have a strategy and study plan. Hopefully, the above strategies can help you as they have helped many others.