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How much study needed given work experience?

I have registered for the December CFA Level 1 exam, and have been going through the materials (reading, making some notes). I was wondering how much study would be recommended - most of the recommendations I’ve seen have factored what sort of major you did in college, but I haven’t found much about how this changes depending on work experience .

I was a STEM major but did take some accounting, finance and economics. I have work experience, and between my internships and full-time work I’ve spent time in investment research, sales and trading and investment banking. In those roles I’ve had professional exposure to fixed income, derivatives, equities and corporate finance, with fixed income being my main focus now.

Given the fact I have a decent amount of industry experience, should I still be treating the exam like someone with a limited academic background? Are there a lot of areas in the CFA that are treated more academically than in industry?  

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I will say to be honest, just start reading or use 3rd party study notes.  No matter what we say, it is only our opinion.  Your true ability/knowledge cannot be measured based on what we say.  No matter what major or background you got, you will never know if you know the stuff until you actually read it. So again, start reading!

nubila wrote:

I have registered for the December CFA Level 1 exam, and have been going through the materials (reading, making some notes). I was wondering how much study would be recommended - most of the recommendations I’ve seen have factored what sort of major you did in college, but I haven’t found much about how this changes depending on work experience .

I was a STEM major but did take some accounting, finance and economics. I have work experience, and between my internships and full-time work I’ve spent time in investment research, sales and trading and investment banking. In those roles I’ve had professional exposure to fixed income, derivatives, equities and corporate finance, with fixed income being my main focus now.

Given the fact I have a decent amount of industry experience, should I still be treating the exam like someone with a limited academic background? Are there a lot of areas in the CFA that are treated more academically than in industry?  

Best way to know is to take some mock exams and write them in exam environment, give yourself 6 hours and no peeping for formulas or googling, and see how well you score! 

NANA

Just read everything. Your work experience and academic background will help grasp the concepts quickly.

I have a completely unrelated degree, but have worked in the industry for a few years and qualified as a chartered accountant (the UK equivalent of a CPA). Passed L1 in December with around three months of moderate study after work and on weekends.

In my experience, there really is no way of telling beforehand whether your practical knowledge and experience aligns with that of the CFA Institute. I went through the entire syllabus using Schweser only for confident areas and Schweser + CFAI for new areas. You’ll be able to cover confident areas very quickly - for me, I covered FRA and CF in a few days, knowing most of the material quite well already - however it is definitely worth to read through everything, especially to boost confidence going into the exam.

As a starting point, I would download the study session summary (https://www.cfainstitute.org/programs/cfaprogram/courseofstudy/Pages/stu...) for L1 and have read through to establish what you may or may not know. Then just hit the books as usual and treat any confident areas as easy wins.

In terms of your last question, I’d say PM and Economics are the more academic parts of the syllabus (and FRA may be conceptually challenging if you’re not used to accounting), but otherwise the content is fairly practical.

Best wishes and feel free to ping me a message if you have any other questions.