CFA Level 1 exam: what material is best, essential to prepare


I have a strong IT background (education and work experience) but 2 years ago I also got an MBA; I’ve been working in investment finances IT consulting/management for past 7 years.

I intend to take the June 16 Level I exam. With my background (week in investment finances) and based on your experience, could you let me know if:

Is it enough if I use the CFA Curriculum material to prepare for the exam? That is what I intend to do ( time and cost efficiency), I intend also to buy the Schweser QBank later on, that’s all.

Thanks in advance for your feedback.


yes, for sure that is enough. The problem with the curriculum, in fact, is it tends to be too much. It tends to take the scenic route when explaining things. (wait until you get 6 “phone books” in the mail… and it’s about as exciting as reading one at times!). Focus on your ability to solve the end of chapter problems and the extra QBank will be perfect to make sure you absorbed the right stuff from the text. Make your own flash cards as you study and you are set. Given your background, much of the material will be review for you.

Do you want to break into finance with cfa?

Thank you for your feedback and advice. Yes, I was thinking that having your own flash cards is much better than buying third party material… still it is a big project ahead, lots of work.

thanks again

Hello, I am not sure what you mean by break… my intention is to learn, better understand the investment banking industry in which I have been working (with in IT hat), and make career progress.

I highly recommend the Schweser exams.

Official CFAI materials are sufficient (from my personal experience).

So you are an IT guy in IB? You got to seriously think about the feasibility of this. Because exams are hard and you really wanna know ROI before you jump in…you know what I mean…

Thank you for further replies about materials… for the time being i will stick to CFAI material, but will look at Schweser first should i decide to buy exams. Yes, definitely, doing exercices and exams is never too much for me. Actually, I had similar experience with PMP, the PMBOOK was too big, so I bought another book to quickly grasp the concepts, but at the end the PMBOOK ruled.

About the feasibility of doing this for me, with my strong IT background + MBA, yes, I agree it will be difficult. But I think it is worth it and feasible (provided I work hard).

Since I want to stay in the investment banking industry. I can take courses here and there about IB, capital markets, but that takes time too and is not as widely recognised. With CFA mention in your CV, you can prove that you are seriously interested, it can make a difference in my field, management IT, when looking for a IB project or account director.