Number of hours studying for Level 1 Exam

I am considering registering for the June 2015 Exam. For those of you who just took the Level 1 Exam, can you give me an idea how many hours you spent studying for the exam? And how many months in advance did you begin studying? Any information would be appreciated.

Started studying in November 2013 for the June 2014 exam, used Schweser books.

Book 1 (Ethics/Quant) - 33.5 hours

Book 2 (Econ) - 25 hours

Book 3 (FRA) - 10 hours

Book 4 (CF/FI) - 19 hours

Book 5 (Deriv/AI) - 24 hours

Schweser’s special sauce - 12 hours

After the above, I started doing practice exams and reviewing topics that I got wrong answers for intermittently:

Practice exams/Qbank - 55 hours

Topic review - 55 hours

Total hours: 232


  • Don’t take notes, it’s easier just to go back and reference the textbook (I spent a lot of time making detailed notes, wasn’t worth it in hindsight)

  • Conversely, queue cards are very useful

  • The approach of doing questions and then debriefing to hash out what you need to review was amazing ly successful. I went from getting a 68 on my first practice exam to consistently getting high 80’s the week before the Level 1 exam.

  • I would recommend starting early so you have time to read through the CFA1 curriculum materials once and pick up any concepts or definitions that aren’t in the schweser or Elan guides, if you’re using one of those products.


I am an accountant, so I spent significantly less time on FRA than a non-accountant would. Plan to tack on an extra 30-50 hours to your overall time specificaly for the FRA book

It’s not necessary to start in September, most people start in January. I’m an auditor so this wasn’t an option for me, I planned to not (and ended up not) studying at all from January through March

Good luck,


For level 1 I probably put in about 400 hours, but I didn’t have a finance background (at least not one that was very relevant). Started studying in April for the December exam (2012).

I have a finance background and started in October. Logged about 40 hours a month to total 300 hours by the end of April and spent 50+ hours in May solely devoted to mocks