Slackers guide to pass Level I

I passed L1 in 2008 after studying for about 180 hours over 3 months. Got >70% in each section. Thought I should try help them them slackers like myself by sharing my strategy. I just started my prep for L2, and they say it’s gonna be very tight. Note: This guide is not meant for those who are already kickin ass. Its purely for slackers. And every slacker has his or her unique style, so this might or might not work for you. Furthermore, I am a three-quarter CPA and was just 2 years out of the college (Finance/Accounting major), so I was familiar with a little more than half the material. I started with the CFA texts but was totally overwhelmed with the amount of detail. CFA texts are great for those who have the time and intent to understand the fundamentals. I had the full intent but not the time, so I decided to skip. They say the CFA texts are for those who want a perfect score, while the study notes are for those who just wish to pass. So I started reading Schweser Notes. In light of the little time left, I made a conscious effort to maintain a quick pace, while trying not to get bogged down with issues and difficult areas. I did, however, make notes of areas I did not understand. Every week, I used the Schweser Q Bank to review all completed topics to ensure my concepts do not get rusty. Although I did make a lot of mistakes and had several weak areas, this strategy helped me cover a lot of material in quick time. About a month prior to the exam, once done with Schweser Notes 1-5, I decided to up the ante. I did 2 things simultaneously. I reviewed the Schweser notes while focusing on my earlier issues (from my personal notes). This time I constantly referred back to the CFA texts for any areas where Schweser seemed inadequate. While at the same time, I did all EOC Qs from the Schweser Notes and CFA texts. All this helped me get a better grip of the critical concepts just a few weeks before the exam. Now, the absolute best thing I did was to take a week off from work prior to the exam. I bought the Schweser Secret Sauce, read every word of it 2-3 times, and started with the Schweser Practice Exams. Finally, a couple of day before the exam, I did the CFAI mock tests (an absolute must to give you a feel of the real thing). The day before the exam, I worked out and went to the movies to help me stop thinking about the exam. Try not studying the day before, or else you might find yourself solving questions in your dreams the night before. Incidentally, my girlfriend’s cat jumped out of my balcony, and I spent 3 hours looking for him. It was a welcome change, though I’m glad I found him. Exam day - It was a beautiful day in San Francisco. So I chilled out around the pier instead of re-reading the Secret Sauce during the test break. Luckily all went well. And I hope, it does for you too. Good luck, and please wish me luck for L2. They say L1 is a cakewalk in comparison to L2, so I’m a little freaked out :slight_smile:

Thanks for the insight, rish. I’m ripping through the CFA texts, should be done reading and taking notes by mid-April at this pace. To review, I’m going to do questions from the chapters, and 2-3 mock exams. I’ll get the Secret Sauce in May so I can jam everything into my brain efficiently. Definitely taking 3-4 days off from work before exam day. That Friday, I will study briefly in the morning but chill the rest of the day. I hate last-minute cramming and it really doesn’t mean sh-t if you haven’t dedicated time to reviewing/answering questions/practice exams. I may have some questions if you’re willing to entertain them, after I’m done reading the texts. You’re not taking L2 this June, are you? If so, WOW. Good luck! -DC

I’m aiming for 80 hours of CFA studying, and 80 hours of SOA studying (a different exam). Add that onto 40 hours/week of work, and it’d be 60 hours/week of work+studying from now until the exam.

DC- you seem to be well on track. Feel free to shoot any questions over to me. My email address is I’ll do my best to help, but it has been about 2 years so I might not remember the details. Will serve you better to simply post your questions on this forum. Yes, I’m taking L2 this June. I’m a little behind, but hopefully I’ll be fine. Thanks. Good luck to you as well!

Student1- I don’t know how far are you already with the material, but a ‘total’ of 80 hours of studying sounds at least 100 hours short. Hopefully you already know the material well, or you’re really freakin smart. I think 50-80 hours should be spent of reviewing the material. Good luck