CFA Level I Ethics represents 15% of your exam and should be taken very seriously.
Broadly speaking I’d divide Ethics in three parts:
Part 1: Overview of CFAI Professional Conduct Program; overview of Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct. (I estimate this part to be about 5% of CFA Level I Ethics)
Part 2: Detailed application of the seven standards. (I estimate this to be 85% of CFA Level I Ethics)
Part 3: GIPS (I estimate this to be 10% of CFA Level I Ethics)
Ideally I suggest you study Ethics from the CFAI curriculum, but if you don’t have much time here is an alternate strategy.
Do Part 1 (which essentially corresponds to Reading 1) using your favorite Prep Provider notes and/or listening to a video lecture on this topic (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qth1CGPPaC4)
Part 2 corresponds to Reading 2 in the curriculum and this essentially is where most of the exam questions will come from. The first thing to do here is learn each standard. For example, you should know that Standard 1A, Knowledge of the Law, says: Understand and comply with all laws, rules, regulations (including Code & Standards) of any government, regulatory agency, association governing professional activities; comply with more strict law, rule, regulation; do not knowingly assist in violation; dissociate from any violation of law.
Next you need to understand the guidance and recommend procedures for each standard. The fastest way of doing this is to listen to the relevant video lectures.
After getting a sense for a particular standard you must carefully read the ‘Application of the Standard’ section in the curriculum. Absuolutely no short cuts here. The examples you see here are excellent and a very good indication of what you’ll get on the exam. You should read the example.. think about whether the standard has been violated and then read the comment.
Repeat the above process for every standard.
Once you are done with all the standards then do the 40 questions in the curriculum in an exam-like setting. Give yourself exactly one hour. After that grade yourself and carefully read all the answers.
Try to go over the curriculum questions two or three times before the actual exam.
With GIPS you can you can save time reading some good Prep Provicer notes and/or by listening to video lectures. Also skim through the curriculum… especially the sample GIPS presentations at the end of Reading 4. Do the 3 questions in the curriculum. This is not enough though… so you’ll have to rely on questions from Prep Providers.
Finally, you should try to do the Ethics questions from past CFAI mocks exams. These are the best possible practice.