Just started studying; how do you retain?

I will be signing up for a review program but waiting because I am applying for a position in another state. Depending on if I’m here or there, I’m signing up for a review program through the local CFA society and university if I stay, or Schweser if I get the job. Anyway, fully on my own for now, I’m just reading through the textbooks. I’m halfway through the Ethics/Quan book but I’m a little puzzled how to ensure I retain what I’m covering. So far it’s a lot of ethics memorization and formula memorization and I’m pretty sure in time I’ll look back and be doing this all over again. I feel dumb asking, but how do you retain effectively?

Repetition i believe is the only way to retain the information. Lots of practice questions including the EOC’s. One big thing for me is to not go fast through the readings and grab hold of as much as I can the first time through. This makes it a lot easier to really bring things together when I review.

Yes repetition/review, especially near the exam date. As long as you’re truly understanding it the first time around, have faith that it will come back to you for the exam. Just one or two weeks of review makes a huge difference for me. At the beginning of the review, it’s like I don’t know any of the material but by the time the exam roles around, I’ve learned it well eneough to pass.

One more thing to add. I used the CFAI texts and Schweser video classes on CD. It really helps me to have the information coming in different forms (video vs. reading). It can really enhance your understanding and retention especially if you really dont know your best learning style.

Got it. How often do you review what you’ve covered? Or do you just accept that you’ll have to refresh yourself on most things at the end? I would do more practice questions but do you mostly get these from the review programs? I can’t sign up for a few more weeks. Thanks guys.