How to start studies for CFA level1??

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shozy's picture

hi guys i have registered for June 2011 exam..

I have the CFAI books but i am not understanding how to start with it.

I am confused regarding which subject to start first and how many hours should i dedicate every week to studies as i am  working?

I need help as to when should i start my studies as i will get my schewar notes in november.

How many hours should i dedicate in a week to clear in june and where could i get the practice test?

Shozab Fazal

Reason #2: No Expiration Date. You get free updates until you pass.
mohammad.belaal's picture

I started with Fixed Income, Quants, FRA, Corporate Finance, Portfolio, Equity, Derivatives, Alternative Investments, Ethics, Economics.

Used to study 2 hours a day normaly but in chunks of 20 minutes each.
Did all topics from Schweser and Ethics apart from GIPS from CFAI books. You should complete your first reading by mid march and then revise all the course. Make sure you organize your study material in a way that you are able to incurr less time while revising. Schweser QBank is good for practise.

Good Luck

This is a game that rewards patience and balance. Think like a man of action and act like a man of thought.

Cinderella's picture

Give us some more background info and you might get some more tailored advice.

Mstudy's picture

The order of studying the subjects does not matter very much. I assume that most people will study in the order of the prep provider’s books, which should correspond to the CFAI’s books. The hours are up to you. You study for as many hours as it takes to know the material like the back of your hand. (The more the better.) You want to give yourself the highest probability of success. You never want to say, I should have studied more.

WarrenB1's picture

Below is an excellent study approach for all three exams with the CFAI text only, the candidate that developed it passed the level 3 exam this past June. Enjoy.

CFA is really hard to get.
What makes me laugh is to read on forum how easy it is to get prepared for it (2 months look like being overtime to many people). Well in the end, people writing these posts might be very smart, but only around 30% manage to pass level I and merely 50% for level II and III (knowing that these people have already successfully passed level I, ie. they do know it’s not a piece of cake at all => population is not the same => 50% pass-rate cannot be compared directly to 35% passrate of level I).
These pass rates are already quite low, keep in mind that CFA Institute does not take into account no-show people when computing it. => It’s really 35% of people who did sit down at the exam day (and not 35% of people registered to take the exam, ie. passrate would be lower than that!). More over, on average it requires 5 years for candidates to pass all three exams…
What’s the conclusion of all of the above? Passing CFA exams is not a piece of cake, but it’s not unachievable either.
You just need to be organized and dedicated.
Basis for my schedule
My own experience.
I’ve successfully passed level I, and right now I am ending 5th book of level II, about to start the 6th (and last book) to hopefully pass the june 2010 level II exam.
Basically, content for level II (6 books) is as enormous as content for level I (6 books too) => I expect it to be the same for level III.
My schedule is also loosely based on CFA study recommendations:
• not less than one week per “study session” (there are currently 18 of them in both level I and II)
• keep 4 weeks prior to exam date to be able to assess your weaknesses (using mock exams) and focus on these areas
I personnaly agree with above two recommendations (less than one week per session is hard to achieve and makes forget data quicker).
Objectivity
Keep in mind the following aspects:
• slow reader: yes, I am a slow reader (I was born like this) so you might be able to read quicker than me
• tendancy to overprepare: I always overprepare exams, in the end rating closer to 90% than the required 70% sthg pass rate. Reasons for this are first that I don’t like being wrong | not knowing an answer, second is that I find it more interesting to study to increase my knowledge than rather pass the exam (=> I don’t target the minimum pass rate) and third (there’s always a third point), I cannot ignore the content of a single page (=> I don’t read only summaries, but almost all pages from all the six books of cbok – except for the index )
• background: my own personal experience is that I needed far much hours of work than recommended by CFA Institute (this might depend on your background – financial in my case – and your profession/experience)
• strategy: mine is that it’s better to work very hard and get the exam the same year rather than work less harder and have the possibility to fail => then you will need to work hard one more year (and waiting one year is quite long!) to be able to give it another try. So play safe, try to nail it on your first attempt, it will be more profitable in the end.
My recommended schedule
These schedules are indicative only, you should adapt them to your own case and not follow the religiously.
I identify two different scenarios:
[You can study full time]
If you’re in this case, ie. you can study CFA full time, then my advice is to :
• register as soon as possible (to get the best discount!)
• start your study 3 months plus two weeks before exam date
• review content at average speed of 1 book every half month (=> 2 books per month * 3 months = 6 books + 2 weeks for reviewing content)
it’s true that some books are far bigger than others, but it’s just an average. It might be better to follow your schedule per study session (90 days (= 3 months) / 18 sessions = 5 days per study session) I don’t recommend going lower than 5 days per study session
• within last two weeks:
1. review all summaries from all books
2. redo all exercices from all books
3. perform mock-exams
4. review your areas of weaknesses (identified with mock-exams and redone exercices)
5. perform sample exams
6. review all summaries from all books
7. you’re ready!
[You’re working and cannot study full time]
• first of all, avoid the ‘bully’ strategy (ie. studying a lot, incl. taking holidays, right before the exam, and not long before) instead prefer studying constantly a couple hours every days (wake up one hour earlier and sleep one hour later) and more intensively the week end, during a longer period (learned content will go to long-term memory rather than short-term memory)
• register as soon as possible (ie. september) to get the best discount!
• start studying 31 weeks prior to exam date
• try to learn 2 study sessions every 3 weeks (ie. 1.5 week per study session), ie. 18 * 3 / 2 = 27 weeks. For some sessions, one week will be enough, for others two weeks might be necessary (esp. if you’re under hard time at work)
hint: try to go a little bit faster than 1.5 week per study session since you might need the equivalent of 4 standalone weeks to review already finished books each time you finish a new book
• use the last 4 weeks to:
1. review all summaries from all books
2. redo all exercices from all books
3. perform mock-exams
4. review your areas of weaknesses (identified with mock-exams and redone exercices)
5. perform sample exams
6. review all summaries from all books
7. you’re ready!
Whatever your profile is (full time|part time), you should try your best to avoid ‘learn & forget’ effect.
Do the following:
• study regularly (every days – even if it’s just to review already learned content)
• prior to starting your new readings, review the (summary of) last 3 readings (ie. a moving average)
• each time you finish a book, review all readings within all previously finished books (recently finished one included)
• redo all the exercises from the entire book finished right before recently finished book
Do your best not to be late on your schedule, otherwise it will hard to catch up.
Well, that being said, good luck.

shozy's picture

cinderella i have done my bachelors in commerece and right now am doing CA.
I am also working for an audit firm..
Hope this information will help you to guide me better.

Shozab Fazal

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