What college courses help prepare for the CFA Level 1 exam?


I’m a sophomore majoring in economics. So far I’ve taken intro macro and micro, intermediate macro, and financial accounting. This semester I’m taking intermediate microeconomics and business stats, and next semester econometrics and another econ course.

What courses ehlp prepare for the CFA level 1 exam and should I take it during college if I can prepare for it during the year/breaks?

Thank you

IMO Financial Statement Analysis and Portfolio Management would be helpful.

Accounting, coporate finance, portfolio mgmt or anything more specific to investment finance. Your econ classes should help.

Treat the CFA books as separate classes, don’t assume you can skip stuff, make sure to look at it all.

there was nothing on level 1 that I hadn’t seen before…doesnt mean I was good at it lol, just had seen EVERYTHING except ethics of course (its proprietary)…here were the relevant classes that showed up in level 1:

financial accounting (a little bit of FRA), managerial accounting (moreso FRA), microeconomics(econ), macroeconomics(econ), managerial economics(econ), business statistics(quant), business finance(PM, Corp Fin), debt and money markets(FI and derivatives), equity and capital markets(equity and derivatives), financial management (Corp Fin, FRA)

I would say any accounting you can do that focuses on the higher level accounting, (think understanding the financial statements not debits vs credits) will be beneficial to you on a personal, professional, and CFA level. but they wont be easy so weight risk v return in terms of your GPA

You’re a sophmore in college and you’re taking CFA? I thought I wanted to be a lawyer when I was a sophmore in college.

Most economics classes are relevant for CFA level 1. The econometrics classs are probably not relevant until level 2 (regression analysis) if you take some basic business stat courses. But you will ned econometrics classes at level 2, so I would take some classes in econometrics if you plan on completing the entire CFA program. Both statistic, corp finance, portfolio theory, financial management, investment analysis, micro, macro and statistics are relevet. If your college offers courses in alternative investments, derivatives and/or equity/fixed income I would suggest you take those as well. However, if you take courses that are not CFA related (math, engineering) you will get a broader knowledge base. Remember that good number crunching skills are mportant for financial analysts. I work as a financial analyst in a management consulting company analyzing the seafood industry. I sat for level 1 on the 1st of December and I have a bachelors degree in electrical power engineering and a masters in electrical/financial engineering.

Intro econ, Intro accounting and intro stats I would think. But why not learn other more interesting stuff in college, and learn CFA stuff from CFA materials?

If you are interested in the CFA, I would recommend checking with your school how many overlap classes there are between Finance and Economics. If I recall correctly, I was able to subsitute some required courses with the electives of another. The double major is definitely pertinent to the exam–and if you plan to take some of the courses anyway then you might as well consider it.

(as a side note, I think some schools do not allow overlap so go ask your advisor what the requirements would be)

If you really want classes that will prepare you for the CFA exam, abandon Economics and go to Accounting or Finance. Economics is relatively lightly tested on the CFA exam (compared to the finance and accounting material).

The absolute best class for you to take would be Intermediate Accounting 1 and 2. These two classes comprise about 25% of the material in Levels 1 and 2.

It’s assumed that a person has taken (or at least has a basic understanding of) Micro- and Macro-economics. Other than that, the following classes are probably required for all business students, and are also taught in the CFA curriculum:

  • Statistics 1 and 2
  • Principles of Accounting 1
  • Basic Finance (time value of money)

These courses are not required for all business students, but go hand-in-hand with what’s taught in the CFAI curriculum:

  • Principles of Investment
  • Intermediate Corporate Finance
  • Derivatives
  • Econometrics (Multiple regression and Time Series)
  • Fixed Income Analysis
  • Intro to Portfolio Management

If you’ve taken all of these classes, you know almost everything you need (other than Ethics) to pass Level 1, and gotten a good start to Level 2. Level 3 begins a new course that most colleges won’t teach.

If I recall correctly you cannot sign up for the CFA until your final year in college. So take your time. The positive side of being an Econ major is that you will not need to study a lot for the CFA Econ section. The same is not true for accounting. When I took accounting in college everything was only taught in US GAAP. IFRS was only mentioned as the alternative system you don’t need to know. So I would avoid majoring in accounting JUST to be more prepared for the CFA. You should take corporate finance classes. Having learned CAPM and DCF’s in college made level 1 material more manageable for me.

Corporate Finance, Financial Accounting, Fixed Income, Equity Analysis, Statistics will be in the curriculum. Derivatives will also save you a lot of learning. You can also benefit from taking first/second year econ classes but imo the stuff isn’t that difficult as long as you have an intermediate understanding of economics (micro and macro).

I would suggest looking at CFA readings and authors from the curriculum as I had read a lot of the text in the actual curriculum in their textbooks. If you check the textbook lists for your Uni courses you could check what textbooks they’re using. Not all the chapters will be relevant but there is definitely overlap. In some ways the textbooks are more indepth than the Curriculum, so if you can absorb the textbook the information will be easier to integrate.

Authors like Fabozzi (Fixed Income, Financial Statements) and Hall (Derivatives) are staple textbooks in some of the universities offering Finance Undergrads, so by the time you pass L1 and learn L2, there isn’t much you haven’t read already. Note, there is a big difference from having read, and actually being able to answer the question!