CFA 1 in 72 days? Suggestions required.

Hello Fellow CFAers,

This is my first post on this forum so firstly, let me introduce myself. I’m Parth, an info tech engineering student currently in the final year of engineering. Due to my engineering background, I don’t have much trouble understanding the concepts in CFA.

Now, I have registered for the December 1st, 2012 examination and although I have been attending tutoring classes since mid July upto now, I haven’t really been practising (except for attending the 4 hour class every Sunday).

I have the following material:

  • Schweser Notes (5 books)

  • Schweser Vol 1 and 2 Examinations

  • Schweser Pro QBank

  • Loads of other question banks from my classes.

My plan is to try and read all 5 ‘schweser notes’ and do a SchweserPro QBank after every study session but I really want suggestions on a faster approach to study for the examination because there is such a shortage of time. I can dedicate about 2-3 hours everyday to study for the examination although I am doing engineering simultaenously.

1 of my friend suggested that I directly start with the question banks. But, I don’t understand how can I directly start with the question banks without reading through the topics?

I am only trying to clear the examination, I do not care about the grade I obtain in it. Any help will be greatly appreciated.



What kind of answers do you expect to receive?

Everyone learns differently; some people need 2 hours of studying to grasp a concept, for others 20 hours is not enough.

It is up to you to find the optimal solution if you had put onto yourself such tight deadlines. My advice would be not to get too confident - just because you are studying engineering does not mean you automatically have an edge over other candidates.

The low pass rate of the exam probably stems from the fact that candidates underestimate the level of the exam and the time needed for thorough preparation.

Why did you decide for CFA if you are studying info tech? I see no sensible relation between two areas. Are you really interested in finance related subjects or you just decided for candidacy because you heard it was easy and an engineer can make it quicker than others?

Hi cykor21,

Sorry if I came across as arrogant. I actually mentioned my engineering background just to give you’ll an idea that I am not completely new to quants unlike some of the other people who may be appearing for the CFA.

While I am pursuing info tech engineering I have recently developed an interest in public equity investment. But, since I do not have a background in finance and cfa-1 gives you a good idea of a large range of topics, I thought it would be a good idea for me to register.

But, the 3rd year of engineering in my college turned out to be harder than I anticipated (due to a change in cirriculum) and I had to devote a lot of time to studying for my examinations. I have only recently completed my exams and wish to give full focus to the cfa exam now. My 4th and last year is relatively less intensive.

Now, since I have paid the fee, I want to try and clear it. A bit too late for me to start caring about the grades.

My question to you’ll is: How do I go about it with the time constraints that I am facing? What materials should I use? What aspects should I give more importance to: Reading the notes in detail or solving questions? Is there any other material that I can use?


I see no arrogance.

Mathematics/statistics is very basic and this is no problem. The difficulty of the exam lies not in the complexity of particular problems but in the breadth/scope of the material covered.

In my opinion cfa lvl 1 is very basic/introductory and for a numerate, analitycal person 70 days should be enough time to get through the whole material and write the test succesfully (assuming you do not have other things to do). Problematic is usually financial reporting (if you have no accounting background you’ll spend on this subject more time than you assume). Macroeconomics might be also cumbersome.

Advice I got from those who passed:

  • even if you don’t like the materials from the institute you should go through the practice problems included there

  • you do not learn much just by reading - do as much practice problems as possible

Thanks for the reassurance cykor.

My dad is an ardent investor (although he too is an engineer), so I will have help for topics I have trouble with.

Some questions I have for you:

  • Right now, I have only been practising the schwezer concept checkers and challenge problems at the back of each topic.

But, I want to do the EOC questions provided by the cfa institute too. Where can I find these questions? I cannot find them on the internet.

  • I understand you do not learn much by reading and practising is the key, but to get a basic outline of the topic at hand doesn’t reading prelude problem solving? Or is it possible to start solving problems w/o any reading whatsoever.

Again, thanks for the help.


EOC questions = End Of Chapters questions at the end of each chapters of your official books

@ Ivan

It does seem daunting but with the amount of free time I have on my hands I am sure it is feasible.

And no, although it is long its just the kind of comprehensive reply I was looking for. In fact I am going to copy paste your post so I can refer to it anytime. Thank a millions!

And I would like to say…oops! sorry guys times up! gotta study!

My suggestion would be to read through all the material as quick as possible and start practicing with the mock exams right away. That way you can see which areas you need to work on and whether you understand the style of the questions. Also, don’t bother writing down formula sheets, check out

Hey, thanks Oliver. I checked out the website you suggested. Its pretty cool.


Thats the blue print for success, nice lay out Ivan, a monkey could pass in 70 days if it followed that schedule

True story man. That’s really a great post Ivan.

FYI, I have been studying 4 hrs straight everyday from the time I read your post. Guess it just gave me confidence that it is possible :o

THX all the above, just about to hurry up!

I have just graduated from university and get a job not related to investment area.

I wan to get into finance and investment area so I take the CFA exams.

Although after working I am tired to read the notes, I will catch up with your suggestions, @Ivan, THX…

@Parthn, it seems you have better situation than me…

Its alright Raejay, now that I have actually started, I feel it is very much possible to pass the CFA. You can do it.


Guys, in the Schwezer QBank Pro there are 3 types of questions : basic, intermediate and advanced. Out of these, I am guessing basic will be very easy so I wont tick that during the exam creation. What about intermediate? Should I solve intermediate questions or only advanced?

I find it pretty funny that you say you don’t care what grade you get now that it’s a time crunch. Other than a scale of how you scored in each area, you do know that you do not receive an actual grade for your performance? Not that it matters anyway. You would look like a complete ahole if you flaunted how you scored on the exam to people. The whole purpose of the CFAI not supplying grades is so that it provides the appearance that each candidate has the same or similar knowledge as every other candidate that passed that level.

Sorry for not providing any advice to your situation. The others have actually done a pretty good job. Just a pet peeve I have when candidates make a big deal about their grades. Shoot for a PASS, that’s all that matters, no matter the level.

Good luck.

So you are excellent at iOS coding or programming?

Wow, that’s envious.

Men in financial area with good information technology backgrounds are hot…

After looking at the exam weights, I noticed statistical concepts is not listed. In the weights is it combined with Economics or Ethics