Hi all, I wanted to get other peoples opinion on self note taking as part of their study routine. I worked through the CFA book for ethics and Quant Methods and took very few notes on ethics, but wrote down formulas and any associated interpreatations for the Stats section. Now that I am 25% through the economics book, which also has very few formulas, I am wondering if I should be taking high level notes for later review or will this just slow me down too much? I plan on going through the schweser notes after the cfa materials, so perhaps those along will serve as condensed notes to the material I am reading now. Any opinions would be appreciated.
later in my exam review I took notes on specific sections where I had issues remembering it. I didn’t get a lot out of reading the notes after the fact, but I did remember the stuff because of writing it down.
I am just a little bit ahead of you in studying (just finishing econ up today) and noticed that I was taking a ton of notes on everything and when i went to review them last week i realized that i was spending way to much time on my notes. So I just started highlighting things that i knew were important as I read and then after i finish reading i go back through and look at everything i highlighted. If there is anything in that highlighted material that i don’t know i then make a note about it in my own words explaining it to myself. That has shorted the amount of notes i have had to take by a significant amount an had allowed me to speed up my studying by a decent amount. Don’t know if any of that helps you but it seems to have made a difference for me.
It really just comes down to personal preference and what works best for you. I personally thought that taking notes was a waste of time and that I was spending far too much time on it. As you’re studying and going through each LOS, make sure you understand and can conceptualize what each formula means, not just memorizing them. If an area gives you trouble, work on it until you fully understand it, then mark that area for review later. In college, writing things down helped me remember them and understand them better, but I just found it to be too much with this. The Schweser notes are more than adequate to pass L1 alone. While some people prefer only the CFAI texts, other’s find them too verbose and prefer the condensed version of Schweser.
I agree with kevin on this. I took notes throughout and in the end not once did I ever go back to them. I found that going back through the texts and doing questions was much better, and in many cases I couldn’t even make sense of my notes. If you understand why the math is the way it is in quant and thus can apply the formulas, you’ll find it much easier.
Limit your note-taking to formulas (at least initially). In my first pass through the material, I spent FAR too much time taking notes. Save the note-taking for later, and concentrate on the things giving you trouble.
I initially tried to take notes. It was taking a lot of time, so I started doing highlighting in 2 shades. One color for what i thought was important and another for what i thought was very important. That way, it helped me in revising. I was able to quickly revise material with some confidence, knowing that i am covering all important areas. But i think it is your personal preference and you should do what works best for you.
My CFAI books are colored all over… as I hate taking notes! That said, however, I tend to take high levele notes, formulas etc when doing a second or even a third review of the material. I started early but note taking during first reading is a total waste of time… Cheers!
I have go with "grohlmeier " on this one. I did the same, initially took lot of notes while doing economics, quant and fixed income. Realized i am falling behind on the practice of questions. Now i changed my strategy, if i have time now, i am doing schweser videos one more time, going through the schweser notes one more time before attempting QBank questions. While going through books second time, i use pencil to highlight some key points. It is just my personal preference. However each individual has their own learning style. Depending on your own learning style, you should approach the exam.
I have go with "grohlmeier " on this one. I did the same, initially took lot of notes while doing economics, quant and fixed income. Realized i am falling behind on the practice of questions. Now i changed my strategy, if i have time i am doing schweser videos one more time, going through the schweser notes one more time before attempting QBank questions. While going through books second time, i use pencil to highlight some key points. It is just my personal preference. However each individual has their own learning style. Depending on your own learning style, you should approach the exam.
From my experience what I can tell is, note taking will pay huge dividends when you’ll revise if you are taking notes then here is some advice : 1) make compact notes , 1 or 2 pages for a reading, or max of 3 for some readings like tax one. 2) don’t write obvious things there , no formulas or definitions, you already have schweser, use it for reference when revising . 3) write precise explanations of challenging concepts, so if you forget that you don’t have to brainstorm the concept again to understand it, write the explanation such that the concept will be clear to you instantly by reading that explanation. 4) when you brainstorm on something , you usually think of lot concepts connected to it and the way they will be affected by the concept you brainstorm that time, so write those, of course with precise explanation. Because these will turn into difficult questions of exam, but, voila; you already know this crystal clear. e.g. when you’ll brainstorm ARO, you may think of deffered tax, Debt to equity ratio etc etc that will change due to it. so if you get your “Eureka!” moment then write it precisely with a star :). When you will revise, you’ll have wrong answers for sure, and some of those will be silly mistakes and mistakes due to not-mugging-up “like differences between IFRS and GAAP”. These mistakes will diminish with practice but there may be some wrong answers, when you’ll say “Holy S**t, this detail is sooo easy to miss” , well; write those so you won’t miss that in exam, you know we all forget things and do mistakes many times, all we can do is minimize it . Of course some people with great memory won’t need all this. Last thing is that, all these things are particularly useful for FRA and Economics and if you are not having math background then for Quant and Derivatives also , for rest of stuff utility of above exercise is not much , don’t do it if don’t have much time. But, a sincere advice, for FRA and ECON ; MAKE NOTES ! going through FRA and Econ just once is not any helpful, you’ll fell the need to go through them again and again and again to absorb them fully. So compact notes, quality notes with good explanations will be like goldmine. if this works? Me and my friend did this . We are from non-finance background , we did this seriously just for FRA, Econ and FI, and mildly for corp-fin and portfolio management, we both had above 90% in all mocks (CFAI ones and schweser ones) and real exam also(as we believe, we got more then 70 in all sections :)). and I think, it may pay dividends in L2 also, anyways Best of Luck to everyone.
Flashcards are a much better study aid than notes, and more portable. LOS’s streamline and focus your notetaking on what is important. Use each LOS on the front of each card, answers/discussion points on the back, overflowing back to the front if need be. Worked really well for me in passing L1, and I plan on doing same for L2. FWIW!
I do however plan on taking lots of notes for L2 when I begin studying in a couple of months.
I did something slightly different. I photocopied each chapter of Schweser and kept them in clear plastic wallets. I kept all the chapters for each study session in a separate folder, so 18 folders in all. For each chapter I went through carefully, underlining, colouring and making notes in the margins. For areas where I knew I was weak I went back to the CFAI texts and added more notes / examples. I also made between 450-500 flashcards covering all the main concepts, which I kept in two boxes and used dividers to mark out into the 18 study sessions. Dividing the notes and cards up into 18 separate folders / sections helped me to feel on top of the material. I’d work a study session at a time, blitzing the notes and the cards, then do 100 questions on Q-Bank. I revisited each study session over and over again using this method. My background is non-finance and this definitely helped me to negotiate the material and pass the exam.