How often to review topics

Independent of the order in which you all go through the curriculum and prep provider you use, how often do you guys review previously covered notes? I go back to the previous topic every time I complete the following topic (i.e. just finished Equities, go back and review Corporate Fin. and so on, chronologically). Everyone’s different - just want to hear all your thoughts.


I’ll be honest, I had a hard time keeping all the prior topics clear in my head as I completed subsequent topics. The material was just too broad for me to keep it all in my head. Instead of reviewing the prior readings again and again, I focused on taking several mock exams. I strongly recommend getting through all the readings while doing at least 100 questions (or if there aren’t 100 questions, then the maximum question amount) for each topic from the official questions in the CFA Institute’s Learning Ecosystem (on their website after you log in). I would try to get through this as quickly as possible without getting overly bogged down in the reading stage.

Then do about 3-5 mock exams for Level 1 and, importantly, study hard why you get any questions wrong. Then repeat the sub-readings applying to any topic areas you where you particularly may be struggling on mock exam questions. The mock exams bring all the material together in a way that prepares you to actually pass the test. Make sure to do all the CFA official mock exams on your Candidate Resources section of their website, with the rest coming from Kaplan or another provider.

Otherwise you may risk repeating the Princeton professor in “A Beautiful Mind” getting slowly overwhelmed by a wave of endless micro-topics and niche formulas. Prepare yourself to beat the test, instead of trying to master all the material subjectively as one would in a traditional school coursework setting. Cheers and good luck, you will ace the test surely!

One final note in case it’s useful… Schweser is very good for Level 1 and does a sufficient job in my view, but still do the CFA official questions for your review questions and make sure to use the CFA mock exams as part of your study. Because Schweser doesn’t write your CFA exam, the CFA Institute does. You need to focus on how they write and word questions.

For Level 2, Schweser is “okay” but not great. Folks who rely entirely on Schweser can still pass but it’s not as clear cut as Level 1 because Schweser’s approach and the CFA Institute’s approach can start to differ. For Level 3, you’re putting yourself at risk of not passing if you rely entirely on Schweser. The wheels start falling off the car at Level 3 for Schweser in my view. There are too many short cuts that Schweser takes plus Schweser gets a bunch of key formulas INCORRECT at Level 3 somehow. If you are relying on Schweser to teach you the Taylor Rule during your Level 3 studies for example, you can memorize their formula on their Quicksheet perfectly and you still will fail that exam question because their formula is incorrect. This happens a bit at Level 3 with Schweser. I used Chalk & Board for Level 3 and I do really think it probably saved me from flunking. Waiting for my test results in August.