How do you find time to study while working full-time?

Maybe I’m not cut out for this, but I work full-time Monday to Friday, roughly 9-6. I like to work out, eat, and sleep, like many normal humans. Thus far, I’ve only been able to study on weekends as I’m simply too tired after work to open a book. To actually pass this thing, it’s clear that I’ll need to do some studying during the week, so if you have any tips or suggestions I’d appreciate it. Thinking about getting up way earlier (I currently get up at 8–sometimes 8:30) and getting the studying done first thing in the morning, but that’s easier said than done for me (night owl).

What do you do after work from 6 - 12?

I am not quite sure why wouldn’t you be able to squeeze out more time because…

  1. You work barely normal full time hours (no overtime mentioned)

  2. You do not have any other obligations after work (again, none mentioned)

  3. You do not have kids to take care of (I am assuming)

You need dedication and hard work to pass ANY exam, especially this one. If you truly WANT to, you should be able to do it, much like you would WANT to go work out after work.

And yes, it is tough and exhausting to study and work at the same time, but many people do it, and some just are not cut out for it. You have to decide whether you really want or need to do this - if not, don’t waste your time, as this is not an exam where you can do it half-heartedly.


He eats, sleeps, and works out. Because that’s more important to him than passing the CFA exam.

In the words of the famous philosopher Phil Knight, “Just do it.” Another great philospher said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

There are 168 hours in a week. You work 40 hours. That leaves 128 hours to study. You have the same number of hours per week that all the rest of us have. The same number of hours that Benjamin Franklin and Isaac Newton and Teddy Roosevelt had. That Warren Buffett has. That Barack Obama has. That Bill Gates has. That Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have.

I agree with your first statement. If you can’t find 15 hours per week to study when you have no kids, no overtime at work, or other peripheral responsibilities, you’re not cut out for it. Even if you could pass the exam, it would be wasted on you because you can’t put forth anything more than the bare minimum. And that will get you nowhere fast.

(I can already hear people screaming at me for being harsh and being negative. But none of those people will be CFA Charterholders, though. They will all agree with me. The ones that are whining will be the ones that haven’t passed Levels 1 and 2 yet.)

Whoa. You wake up at 8 and work until 6? I get tired just reading about your day.

When I was studying for and wound up passing L2 I was working 45 hrs a week on a project that was 100% travel. I would sometimes wake up at 5-5:30 am so I could study and maybe hit the gym before I went to work. I would leave work, go to dinner with people and wind up drinking, or pick up take out and eat while studying for 2-3 hrs, then sleep, repeat. The goal was 3 hrs a day, somehow, either before, during, or after work. I usually alternating evenings with people with evenings studying to avoid going completely insane. You want to pass, you’ll figure it out. Drink more coffee or whatever you need.

This is a joke thread, right?

And it’s only 4-5 months of your life you still have the rest of the year to party if you wanted to…

Good thing you’re anonymous on this board because I don’t think anyone would want to hire you for a CFA related job.

Wake up earlier and go to sleep earlier.

Must be trolling.


I know investment bankers who work 90-110 hours a week and still manage to study and pass these exams.

If this thread is real, your lazy self is going to get reamed if on the 1% chance you “make it”.

I feel your pain…

Remember at the end of the day no matter what people say the first 2 exams are all multiple choice with ONLY 3 choices. A, B or C.

Serisouly, you don’t really have to study hard for these anyway. Even a fool can guess the right answer every 3 questions. You just have to do slightly better than a fool and answer 2 out of 3 questions correctly. Have faith in your answer, remember to glace at other people’s answer sheets and just go to church every Sunday if possible.

If you do that for a month or two you should be able to pass this exam in a breeze. Don’t let the naysayers discourage you.

Also don’t bother studying 6-8months before the exam. It’s a waste. Just open the books around late October and study about 15-20mins a day. You have plenty of time. Stop worry and live a little.

I think you’re being optimistic there.

80% (or so) of your results come from 20% (or so) of your actions.

Use and abuse the 80/20 Rule to manage your time…

This includes:

  • Your time at work (esp if leaving early is an option… you want to get as much done in as little time as possible.)

  • Your free time (what are the important goals in your life and how is every minute you’re spending contributing to the goals?)

Stop wasting time on things that are not in the 20% that give you 80% of your desired results. Then use the time you’ve freed to study.

Another useful habit… everyday after work, try to get yourself to study at least 30 minutes, even if you really don’t feel like it. Just set an alarm for 30 minutes and do it (and try your best to shut out any distractions and stray thoughts during this time.) Sometimes, just by studying a little bit, I build enough momentum for myself to go on and study more. However, if after 30 minutes you still don’t feel like studying, you can go ahead and do whatever you feel like doing (i.e. watch tv, play video games, surf on Facebook, read these forums, etc.)

Poor you, waking up at 8:00-8:30. Suck it up and commit! I woke up at 5 every day for 6 months and studied 2-2.5 hours before work, and then put in a solid hour or so after work. I also found enough time to work out as well. If you want it bad enough, you’d do it.

Haha, I wasn’t trolling. It’s only July, so I’ll more than ramp up studying as necessary. Just wanted some tips or strategies, motivational or substantial, that could’ve helped quell the complacency–but patronizing, self-righteous sh*t talking works too. I guess.

Looking forward to passing in December. Best.

Thank you.


Eh, I passed a while ago, but I get up at 5 because that is when it is easiest for me to work out. My advice would be to study a bit during the week, shoot for a Shweser chapter a day (probably an hour or two commitment). Then on the weekends get after it like it touched your sister, reviewing everything you looked at during the week. Wash, rinse, repeat.