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How to Study for the CFA® Exam
1. Start early - CFA program tests are designed to test your breadth of your knowledge as opposed to the depth. Study guide provided by Chartered Financial Analyst Institute (the textbook you receive when you register) is over 2000 pages long. So, give your self good 6 months of preparation if you are currently working or going to school.
2. Get support- Create study group. Get support and motivation. Three years of dedication takes lots of patients and motivation, so get together with your fellow test takers and pull each other through this tough journey.
3. Study each book thoroughly- Every single page of it counts. No, every single paragraph counts. It seems CFA loves to test you on topics that majority of people think it is less than important. As you progress towards level II and III this principal becomes more significant.
4. Do lots of practice questions- Purchase question banks. Search online for past exams.
Just as SAT and GMAT, being smart and knowing material doesn't necessarily lead to higher score. Practice tons of questions and be a good test taker.
5. Find balance between your life and CFA preparation- Everyone knows preparation for CFA designation is extremely time consuming. I've heard people complaining that they can't find anytime for their family or leisure. Although, it is important challenge, it is never worth it if this challenge compromises quality of your life.
What CFA® study materials do you use and why?
There has been many discussions about which materials are best to use. General opinion is that since most of publications are sufficient enough to get you through the program. However, third party publication such as Schweser and Stella are more consice and easier to digest compared to official CFAI textbook which is provided to you with your registration for free. Rule of thumb is to study with whatever you feel comfortable with, but make sure you do questions on CFAI textbooks and mock exams that is available on CFA website few weeks prior to test date, because it is better reflection of what real test will look like.
Project CFA endorses the Ace Exam iPhone app which is available free for download.
This app is a free app containing CFA practice questions in a portable manner,
which makes it useful for revision on the move for all practitioners taking CFA, PMP and other related business certifications.
I've downloaded it and found it to be very useful for my students.Download it free here.
What's more, it is designed to simulate an actual exam environment.
4 April 2013 Lee Myung Jung, Korea, HP Holdings
Appreciate the sharing of this free resource on the internet. Thank you!
22 Feb 2012 Patty LaBourne, Senior Finance Manager with IFN Securities, Italy
Thank you Project CFA for the useful resource. The level 1 and 2 questions are appropriate for revision and it would be nice to have level 3 as well. Thanks once again!
5 Apr 2011 Seung Hyun, Hana Bank, Korea
Thank you for the CFA Tips for Level 1 and Level 2. They have been helpful to aid me for CFA study.
22 Dec 2010 Jonas G, IDRP Investment Analyst at the Hancock Natural Resource Group
Great site for a little extra review and practice.
22 Dec 2010 Anna Schmidth, California
Dear CFA website owner, Currently I am preparing for the CFA exams in the first half of 2011, and found the questions, especially the flashcards very relevant and useful. Please continue to keep this website free and updated. Thank you!