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Study Strategy Confusion.

Hello guys,

hope everyone is doing well!

I would like to take your opinion in what I am about to do studying for the level I. 

First of all I am a full time employee and I hold a bachelor degree in Finance & Banking. 

I just started studying using the CFAI book and I feel my progress is very slow due to the huge amount of talk in the book and I dont have much of time as I study roughly around 2 hours daily. I have seen IFT free videos on utube and I liked the way Arif Irfanullah tackles the material, so what I am about to do is watch the videos and write down notes and after each reading to solve the EOC questions from the CFAI book and from other resources and do the practice questions on the website after each topic is done.

So my question is this strategy gonna be effective to pass the exam or is it not enough and I have to rely more on books?

Thank you so much in advance and wishing everyone the best in preparing for their exams

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CFAI gives you six books to study. It’s baffling over how many questions there are about how to study for the exam.

Read the freakin books CFAI gives you, do the practice problems they give you. Do that and you’ll pass. The ‘strategy’ for passing could not be more obvious.

Dear Topperharley,

Thank you for your reply. The question that I have asked is what I am about to do is going to be any effective or not? I didn’t ask for the perfect strategy since I believe everyone knows that studying the 6 books and doing problems should be enough to pass the exam. If you have no idea about it then please spare whatever you have for yourself. Thanks again


I am doing almost the same thing as you and I think it is the most efficient way forward. IFT videos give a quick and rich introduction into the content of that reading. Once you watch that, the reading of the curriculum becomes so much easier. And then, the real learning happens with solving questions. I solve the textbook questions, questions on the website, and almost every question bank I can get access to.

I have been through the popular Kaplan Schweser notes and it scares me because a lot of things are missing from the notes. I am not comfortable going into the exam knowing that my study material did not include about 20-30% of what can be asked in the exam. That is a dangerous, borderline strategy in my opinion. I rather do all of the content in the shortest amount of time, than do 80% of the content twice-thrice.

Note that some sections will take much longer than others. Quants will take time and it is worth giving it more time. It is the foundation of everything to follow. Some sections you will sprint through. But make sure that you take good notes. My policy is that once I read through the text, I should never return to it. Rereading the text will be super inefficient.

Thanks a lot for the insights, highly appreciated!


I have been struggling with the “study strategy” as well.  I am also a full time employee with a bachelor degree in Business and Masters in Finance and I study not more that 10-12 hours per week.

I just finished studying Ethics from the CFAI books, but for the rest of the modules I will be using Kaplan Schweser videos and notes, as there is no way to cover the whole CFAI material.

I hope this + all the practice questions and mock exams will be enough.

Not looking at CFAI material is a risky strategy, as far as I understand. And even if you get through level 1, the shortcuts will come back and haunt you in later levels. By the way, why did you start with Ethics? Ethics requires a lot of retention, which is why it is better to do it in the end, just before the exam. Recommended approach (in my limited knowledge) is to start with Quants and then proceed with Finance, Equity, Corporate Finance, and Portfolio Management. After that, deal with Fixed Income, Derivatives, and Alternative Investments (which is very short and easy). Then go with Economics (that is not really related to any of the other subjects). Finally, Ethics, because that is a good time to start mugging up stuff. If you do Ethics now, you won’t remember much in few days, and will anyway have to go through it in-depth later on.

Agree with your approach.

I stared with Ethics just because I had plenty of time to read in November and I will go back to it again at the end, once I’m done with the rest. This should assure me a good score in Ethics!