How "dangerous" is it to skip a topic?

So I’m on my way to studying and writing the CFA Level 1 exam Dec’2012. Working fulltime with most of the weeks working 60+hrs/week has already put me behind on my study schedule. I started back on April and until now all I have finished is the Ethics and Quant. SS2 readings.

To give you a little bit of background, I am a CA… But this stuff, especially the quantitative statistical concepts I haven’t visited in years back from my undergrad days… and even then, I am finding myself with no energy and a nervous feeling trying to finish the material especially Quant SS3 (dealing with probabilities, etc…).

The obvious answer would probably be “no” if I asked whether I should skip a section of the reading. But at the same time I understand I cannot be expected to anything and everything. I believe I have a strong enough financial understanding (TVM and IRR NPV concepts) to hopefully get a decent score on the Quantitative part of the exam. So I’m thinking of just skipping Quant SS3 (except for the Technical Analysis reading) in hopes of having a chance to catch up. I hope with my accounting background I won’t need as much time for the Financial Report and Analysis sections also.

Would you guys recommend this strategy? Until now I haven’t even done any of the Qbank questions (except for the 100 or so I did for Ethics). I am eager to finish reading the technical analysis (reading 12) and hopefully writing some Qbank questions and practice questions I bought from Elan for Quants to gauge myself.

Any opinion or advice on my strategy above is appreciated.


It’s possible if you’re score very high in all the other sections but don’t count on it…

I don’t think it’s a good idea anyways even if you think you have 0 understanding of a particular area.

Not all of the questions are of the same difficulty level… at least try to master the basics of whichever sections you feel like “skipping”. In other words, go for the low hanging fruit if you don’t have enough time.

You have a long, long time until the December test.

You should at least read each section once.

If you’re unable to read things you don’t want to read - or nerves are getting to be too much for you with 166 days until the exam, you may want to change how you’re approaching the curriculum.

I can tell you that I punted economics and still managed to pass L1. There’s just too much material to cover for only 10% of the exam.

There are mini-topics you can skip but make sure you have a rough idea. It beats me why lotsa people skip tax yet every other question on the qbank has DTA or DTL on it. Things like technical analysis are boring, I know people who’ve entirely skipped it while reading

skipping a topic… not recommended at all…

give more time to your studies… yes its a tough exam. if you are facing difficulty in understanding any topic area, try to get help… you can ask other candidates around you or you can get help from any good prep provider…

reason i wont recommend skipping is that some times we feel we are very good in some area and not that good in others but when we try practice exam result is exactly oppoiste…

good luck.

Do not skip any topic. You must try your best to cover all topics.

You will probably appreciate that people speculate the MPS to be 70% i.e. 84/120 questions per paper. Every single point matters and can really decide between a pass and a fail.

Even if you know NPV and IRR, do you know the specific nuances that the CFAI will expect you to know? The CFAI questions are written a specific way. Being unfamiliar with these seems like a terrible idea, because they’ll have correct looking answers based on the extra information or the common mistake on the info given. For example, using D/E ratio as the weight of debt in CAPM.

Realistically, you can likely skip one of the smaller sections for L1 and get away with it. Weights are fixed at this level I recall.

But it doesn’t work anymore at 2 or 3, and whatever you skipped at L1 you’ll likely have to learn it anywayu

Bottom line - it’s risky to skip topics, but least risky in Level I. As there are 240 questions topics will be fairly distributed but if you try and skip in Level II and III you may find a whole item set mainly focusing on something you skipped.

My advice is not to skip - you need the foundation and the discipline to cover Level I if you’re going to survive Level II and III.

it’s not recommended … nevertheless, i skiped macroeconomic (June 2012) and i think that i have the chance to pass … where i did well for the other sections.

In Level 1 skipped Derivatives and Level 2 Quantitative Methods. I passed both exams. But I had to spend more time studying derivatives for Level 2 as I didnt do it in Level 1 and I now feel stupid that I skipped QM in Level 2.

In summary, it is possible to pass if you skip 1 topic in Levels 1 and 2 but I would not reccomend it if your aim is to master the material. But if you just want to pass the exams then it is doable as long as you have mastered the other 9 topics.

My sincere advice, if you don’t have enough time to properly study then dont aim to give exams in 6 months. Candidates’ Focus must be on to learn as much as they can rather passing exams.

I didn’t skip anything at any of the levels but I certainly put more or less energy and effort into certain topics. I think that’s only natural given each candidate’s blend of skills and interest in the topic.

I skipped Alts and still cleared easily.

BTW does being a CA gives you an advantage??. I have seen in recent times, many CAs in India who dont know nothing.

I think ICAI is responsible for all this mess.

Also for CFA L1 and L2, u need to know US Gaap as well, alongwith IFRS. The questions won’t be like solving the sums or writing big descriptive questions (lol Income Tax Act) which you did for CA Exam.

Sure you will have fundamental knowledge, but still you need to study. I suggest if you wanna skip somethig, skip Alts and not Quants. Quants is a big scoring area for me.

Don’t skip ANY topics, including Alts… that’s my recommendation.

There are free points in every section even in the ones you find very difficult. If you want to “skip”, skim instead.

^I second blackomen.