Why do I need study guides?


I’m a 2nd-year investment banking analyst (Math major in undergrad) and decided to sign up for the CFA as I’d like to make myself more marketable for investment management roles – i.e., I’m at least somewhat familiar with a lot of the financial/equity/debt analysis material on the Level I and will likely be comfortable with whatever quantitative methods are thrown my way as well. That said, I have the study guides provided by the CFA Institute at registration and am wondering why everyone seems to buy supplemental guides (e.g. Schweser) and what I should actually be using to study. Are the CFA-provided materials insufficient? Is Schweser more condensed which would be better for someone with my background? (Or is it too condensed?)

Most people will say the same thing: Schweser (or a similar reference) is just organized better and is more straightforward than the CFAI textbooks. You will probably save a significant amount of time by picking up one of these references. “Condensed” is probably not the most accurate term to use. From what I can tell, unless you really need hand holding, there is no noticeably loss in content in the third party guides compared to the CFAI textbooks.

they’re a way to save time. In the old days, they were a way to save money as well , but these days, CFAI make everyone buy the readings (they used not to)

Study guides are pretty straight forward, concise, comprehensive and written with exam’s point of view!

You don’t NEED study guides, but they help. Simple. If you already know all the material, you don’t NEED to study anything really. Previous replies already banged this nail on the head repeatedly though.

There’s a blog about about this very topic: http://www.financialanalystexam.com/do-you-need-third-party-study-material-for-the-cfa-exam/

I’m using mostly the CFAI curriculum for Level II. I predominantly used study notes for Level I because that exam is tons of memorization. Also, I signed up for Level I on the deadline, so I needed a more concise version. Everyone is different, so YMMV.

I just used the free CFAi materials for all levels and went 3/3. I actually prefer the CFAi materials and had several of my friends switch from Schweser back to CFAi once they started looking at the free materials. If you’re super pressed for time, Schweser may be better as it’s more of an outlined compressed cliff notes. CFAi has a little more depth to the material and spends more time on the explanations, which is why I prefer them. It’s simply a matter of preference.

We really need a FAQ sticky thread for these questions that appear ALL THE TIME. But I have a conspiracy theory that it won’t happen, because repeat questions will drive more posts and more traffic.

Big brother is watching you iteracom.

Please post a summary of why you need study guides and I will post it to the FAQ.