Questions about CFA Exam level 1

Hello Fellow Analysts,

I am new member and would like learn as much as I can from fellow analysts. I planing to take the Level 1 CFA exam in December 2015. I was told that Kaplan has the best study guides. Are they the best? Has anyone taken the classes at Kaplan? Are they worth it? I know the CFA institure also has study guides. I know the CFA institutes send the materials for the exam when registering for the exam. Are both study guides needed or is one better than the other. Any help would be very helpful.


IMHO, level 1 you probably don’t need to take classes, because the concepts are straight forward and you likely don’t need to have people explain to you (at least majority of it is not that difficult to understand).

You may want to purchase study guides to condense the material, but if i were you, i would read the curriculum since it’s level 1 and you want to make sure you understand EVERYTHING!

Ill let you know in a few weeks…

level 1 is a joke, don’t need classes. L2 and L3 I can see it.

I see your point. What kinds of materials do you think is good for level 1, Kaplan or Wiley?

Yeah let me know bfry, looking forward to your input!

I see, The CFA institute sends out materials for the exam. Is extra materials needed like Kaplan Schweser, or Wiley to get a better grip of the material ?

Extra material is not needed, the CFA provides you with everything you need and more.

That being said, my issue is with the “and more” part of my statement above. I used Schweser exclusively for level I because it condenses the material and presents it well. Also, the extra pratice exams and Qbank are very helpful for level I. If you have a background in either finance or accounting the Level I material should be fairly intuative and most of it you’ve probably already learned in your undergraduate studies. If you’ve never done any finance, accounting, nor math, I’d consider starting now and going to a class or two.

Good luck!


I understand your point. I know that the CFA provides materials, I would like to be well prepared. Though i have heard that one can not be completly prepared for the CFA. Throughout this post I understood that classes are not needed. I have a background in Managerial Economics and an MBA. So I have taken the Finance, Accounting and Math. I was thinking of buying the Kaplan Essential package, do you think that would provide benefits to the CFA materials? or is the CFA materials enough. Apologies for asking twice!

Your input would be much appreciated.


CFAI is enough. The only reason to use 3rd party is is you don’t have time to read CFAI. And even in that case, I’d recommend skimming CFAI rather than reading 3rd party cover to cover. CFAI writes the exam and prepares 6 volumes of curriculum. The answer to every question is in those 6 volumes. Considering you’re starting your studying so early, use the CFAI.

You don’t need classes…but to call L1 a joke…is a joke. I found L1 harder than L2…honestly. I walked out of L1 thinking it could go either way. Walked out of L2 knowing I killed it. Also, studied less for L2 than L1. L1 is anything but a joke. Relatively simple material, but very tricky and ambiguous questions.

Third party study materials don’t have anything “extra” in terms of content. If they do, meaning it is outside the official curriculum, it won’t be tested. The official curriculum is the way to go in my mind. I have a finance background and found the official curriculum was presented in a much more “academic” and applied manner. Essentially, CFAI books had a stronger backbone and did a better job of linking material to the real world, and Schweser notes were just that-- notes without any real support (but if you cough up MORE money, you can get videos, and extra study sheets, etc).

I think if you truly want to learn, spend the time with the CFAI books, or be prepared to use many more additional resources with the third-party materials.

I think it’s awesome that you feel this way. I thought the exact same thing about the Series 7 and 66. I heard people say that the 66 was “the hardest exam of their life,” etc. I walked out of both thinking, “Seriously? Was that it?” I know Finra exams are no comparison to the CFA, but I sure hope I walk out with the same confidence. My only quesiton is- if level I is so easy… why on Earth is the pass rate only ~40%?