CFA Exam Preparation: My Foolproof Method to Pass the Exam

Passing the CFA exam on first attempt is tough. I was fortunate enough to make it. I actually used a certain method for CFA exam preparation, which I want to share in this blog post.

The truth is that there is no magic formula. It is all about hard work and determination.  In particular proper planning and execution of the plan is probably the most important factor in passing the CFA exam.

PHASE 1 (2-3 months)

1. Subscribe to this blog: Even though this blog did not really exist when I gave the exam, I will share all the tricks and tips I used to pass CFA. You wouldn’t want to miss those. don’t wait and write your email address on the top right space for subscription. Press the “subscribe” button and confirm it from your email inbox.

2. Register at AnalystforumAnalystforum is the best networking platform for CFA students. I used this forum extensively for some much-needed motivation. That is not the end as people share great notes, help each other out on difficult topics, share questions and what not. Overall a great community to be part of.

3. Finish textbook once: Finish the textbooks once (either CFAI or Schweser). CFAI books are recommended, but I (and others) did pass all three levels with Schweser as my primary reference book.

4. EOC from CFAI Books: Finish ALL the end of chapter questions from CFAI text-book. Don’t bother with questions from Schweser or other 3rd party guidebooks. All questions that you were not able to solve in the first attempt or looks complicated (or you got correct on fluke) should be marked for future reference.

5. Formula Sheet: Make a comprehensive formula sheet and take a glance at it from time to time.

6. Mock Exam: Give your first sample mock and if required keep the formula sheet with you on the first attempt. Try to stick with CFAI mocks and avoid 3rd party mock exams. Tabulate all the scores by segment in an excel sheet. Check the answers and see where you went wrong. Highlight all questions you were incorrect in or got correct by fluke for future reference.

Now you have created a strong base. The next step would be to internalize all the concepts.

Exams are coming up soon. Do not miss this writeup on how to best utilize the last 30 days before the exam.

PHASE 2 (1-2 months)

1. The Mock-Revise loop: THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT SEGMENT FOR MASTERING THE CFA. What you need to do is take a look at your scores and find your weakest areas. See where you went wrong by looking at answers.Then give another mock exam and repeat the cycle. Track your scores and see whether you are improving in your weak areas. I would recommend that you give at least 3 full mock exams.

2. Examples from CFAI textbook: The CFAI textbooks have excellent examples in all the chapters. Go through all of them and highlight the ones that look tricky or important.

3. Fill in the blanks if you used 3rd party guidebooks: One problem that 3rd party reference books users face is that these books sometimes skip important concepts to condense concepts. MAKE SURE you read the important chapters (like deferred tax) from the original book. Also Analystforum members sometimes make a list of topics that Schweser may have missed.

4. Memorize formulas from the formula sheet:  Carry the formula sheet around wherever you go.

PHASE 3 (Last 30 days)

1. Go back to highlighted questions: Attempt all the questions you have highlighted or marked before and keep doing them until you can get all of them correct

2. Revise entire syllabus by LOS: Go through all the learning objective statements and make sure that you have mastered (not memorization. Memorization does not work) the concepts. Again use the elimination method here as well.

3. Give one last mock exam (Optional): You might want to give a final mock 1-2 weeks before the exam to see your scores. However don’t attempt one too close to the exam as bad scores might affect your confidence.

4. Relax: Don’t forget to take breaks and enjoy time off during the process. I read many novels during my CFA prep time. The key to success for me was proper planning and execution without trying to cram at the 12th hour.

I have also written another piece on ‘how to utilize the last 30 days before the CFA exam‘ which should have extra resources. Be sure to check that out.

Asif Khan, CFA

Asif Khan is presently a Research Analyst (Financial Sector) for Exotix which is a frontier market focused investment bank. He has more than 6 years of work experience as equity analyst in both buy and sell side roles across Asian frontier markets. Asif is a CFA Charterholder and has a dual major in Finance & Economics from North South University.

118 thoughts on “CFA Exam Preparation: My Foolproof Method to Pass the Exam

    1. I feel they take up too much time. Best to stick with books unless you cant understand a concept. Audio lectures can be useful as you can listen when you are stuck in traffic. However I only used audio in level 1.

      1. ভাইয়া আপনার গাইড লাইন অনুযায়ী Schweser notes পড়া শুরু করলাম। আমি Curriculum Book এর Fixed Income Study Session EOQ তেমন ভাল করি নাই। Average ছিল ৬৬% কিন্তু Schweser এর EOQ এ আমার score 85%. Schweser পড়ে Fixed Income Session এর অনেক জিনিস Clear হয়ছে। কিন্তু Curriculum Book এর Study Session Score এ একটু ভীত আছি।

  1. Thank you for this most awesome of posts Asif bhai. I have started preparing for L1 for June ’14 and was planning to read the CFAI books. Now reading this post, I am starting to think that Schwaser would be a better option. Is that correct bhaiya?

    1. Like I said the ‘recommended’ book would be the CFAI books because they not only contain materials from the syllabus but widens your knowledge base significantly. However, if you are pressed for time then you can use a combination of the two like I did.

        1. Actually you are right but my question is bit different. Am asking bout not the materials but bout examples And questions For practice !!!

  2. Nice guidance and nice try to help society all around…
    I have attempted in dec’13 and was not able to clear and scored scoreband 7

    Now going to attempt in June 14
    and at ny cost want to clear
    By the way you are fortunate to clear all the levels in first attempt

      1. Actually I am confused that what to do now as a part of prep.
        Whether to solve only questions coz have lag of almost 1.5 months after attempting L1. I think I need to revise once and than where to stick so far as practice of queations are concerned.
        Bit depressed after getting this kind of results.

        1. Hi asif
          I am really interested doing cfa at age 28. I did b.com and mba and did irrelevant job for 4 years in saudi. Now i am very serious to get something prestigious, gave up my job and start full time study cfa..i wanna ask what are my chances to pass and how hard cfa is? Your motivation means alot. Thnks in advance..

          1. CFA is fairly difficult but quite possible with effort. However, one thing I must warn you is that CFA does not guarantee a job in finance. The ideal situation is where you are already working in the financial sector and then pursue the CFA. However, I see that your intent is to use the CFA exam as a means of getting into the right field.

            Age is not a issue at all. I have seen people aged 50+ complete the CFA.

  3. Hav enough tym I think coz hav started prep. And wanna complete the whole stuff in around April end..but !!!
    Would the questions frm curriculum be sufficient. .?
    Asking coz I have not solved that in my Dec 13!!!

    1. I found them to be sufficient.

      1. Do ‘all” EOCs and repeat all the ones you got wrong.
      2. Check out all the examples from CFAI books.
      3. Try to give at least 3 mock exams.

      I feel that should cover it.

      1. Do you think I will be at a disadvantage since I was a history major and have barely studied any Econ/accounting/math since freshman year of college?

        1. Relatively speaking, a finance or econ major would find the content easier. Having said that, a large number of non finance background people passed the exam also. So, its not a problem in my view.

  4. Hi Asif,

    Is Schweser enuff for L3 as well? Like you said I plan on doing d schweser notes followed by eoc from cfai. Plan to start now do you think I have enough time to prepare? What other tips for l3 preparation?

    1. Hi Andy,

      Thanks for your question. It is possible and I have seen people do it. But you need to push yourself to your limits if possible to have a good chance of passing. Make sure you do EOC, Examples and Mocks from CFAI.

      I personally think that in L3 using only Schweser would be stretching it a bit. You would be better off using a combination of Schweser and CFAI books. For e.g. you should check out performance attribution from CFAI books as it is quite complicated and hard to understand from Schweser. For L3 in general I think the main challenge is time management in the AM section. I am pasting some tips I just gave another person on the Linkedin candidates group.

      “Sure. I think the key to essay format question is definitely time management. I usually never have any problem in managing time but my L3 am was just barely finished. I also know many candidates who couldn’t finish it.

      Here are my suggestions in no particular order

      1. Keep your answers very short and precise. Use bullet points only.
      2. Practice as many essay questions as possible. I believe CFAI website has quite a large number of past papers available for download (free).
      3. Don’t waste time on ANY question. If you can’t do it skip to the next one. Particularly in the IPS questions many people waste time.
      4. L3 questions can be quite tricky. Sometimes there are questions that appear out of the syllabus but are actually from the syllabus. So be prepared to use your common sense to answer those.
      5. Some questions carry low marks but many people waste time on those. Try not to do that.

      As for the content the two key areas are definitely Portfolio Management (IPS) and Performance Attribution. Typically there can be 2-3 different IPS type questions in AM session. One for individual, one for a type company etc. ”

      Also you might want to check out the tips on the level 3 segment on this other article on using the last 30 days effectively.

      Sorry for the large reply. Hope that it helps. I will try to make a separate writeup focused entirely on L3. 🙂

      1. Hi Asif,

        Thanks for your detailed response.. I am a bit worried on d time I have left to prepare as I have been having a difficult schedule off late. Plus its diffult to motivate urself to study at d end of day.. Still not registered as want to b 100 percent sure on time commitment reqd.. can you advise on avg if I start now how many hrs per day u put in and on weekends? Besides ur tip on attribution from cfai books was helpful. What else needs to b covered from cfai? Did you also do d schweser q bank and tests for practice?

        Thanks a ton buddy!

        1. Its very hard to say a specific number of hours because it varies from person to person. If you can manage 2 hours on weekdays and 4 or the weekends you still have a very decent shot. You can consider waking up early in the morning and studying because the brain is fresh after the sleep. But for that you need to go to sleep earlier.

          I did not do any question from Schweser q bank or practice test for L3. The main thing is mastery of material. The questions on the exam might look very different from what you have practiced. So unlike L1 or L2 try to put more effort behind understanding the material.

          Ask yourself “Why am I reading this? How can I use this? What kind of questions can come? How would an actual equity/fixed income analyst or portfolio manager ” while going through the material.

  5. Thanks, Asif.
    Very helpful. I just passed my level 1 and plan to register for 2015 June Level 2. Just want to give myself some more time to prepare.
    Yes, agree. I combined CFA course book with other notes and materials. If Any question that I needed clarification, I turned to the course book.

  6. Really nice post !!
    I took this as a governing guideline and prepared a required timeline for my level 1 exam on this June.
    Thanks for the post Asif bhai !!

  7. Great post !
    Im actually reading Schweser Book 3 and i’m less than 4 month away from the test day? May i dedicate almost a month per book and then dedicate last 30 days to full practice and memorize formulas? What about Schweser Practice tests? are they useful? Thank you very much !

    1. My recommendation is that

      1. Skip schweser practice tests. Do CFAI mocks if you can get them.
      2. Use last 30 days for mocks, revisions and formulas. Check out my article on how to use the last 30 days.

      1. When you say CFAI Mock if you can get them you mean those available in the Candidates Resources section in the cfainstute.org? (there’s only 1 AM Mock Exam, 1 PM mock exam, and one full AM-PM Mock exam? Are there more mock exams out there to acquire?. Thank you very much !

  8. hello, first i want to appreciate your effort
    and i want to know your advice and other candidates who take l2 exam
    i ll take my exam june15 and i ll start from 15july14
    but i need to know if it is required from me to review any part in l1 or it is not important to do that , and if it is important could you please tell which areas and topics required to review

    thanks

    1. Well, the first thing you should know if that L2 difficulty is much higher than L1. The syllabus is also longer. So I recommend you start as early as possible. You wouldn’t really need to review anything directly from Level 1 other than probably derivatives.

      While I recommend that you go through the entire syllabus pay good attention to Equity, Financial Reporting and Derivatives in level 2. Those are the big 3 in level 2. Also there are a lot of formulas that you need to remember.

  9. thank you for your advice
    so what you want to say is review derivatives and equity and review formulas
    and i want to ask you that start from mid of july is a good time or too early to start ?

  10. Hi Asif.

    What do you think is typically the MPS for L3. I appeared for L3 this year and had to leave last 15 minutes of the AM section. I am confident in scoring approx 72 – 75% of the 165 minutes I attempted in the AM section. In the PM section, I expect to score approx 72%. Combined both these, I am expecting approx 68% over all. Do you think this is a reasonable score to pass L3?

    Regds.

    AP

  11. Hi Asif,

    I just completed my undergrad majoring in Finance and Risk Management. I am planning to appear for CFA Level 1. Will there be any exemptions in CFA for my majors in my undergrad? Since I have limited knowledge regarding CFA, could you please advise me which materials to use if I want to appear for Level 1 exams in Dec ’14

    1. Hi Etimad,

      There are no exemptions in CFA under any circumstances.

      Once you register for the exam (Pay) CFA Institute sends you the course materials. Alternately you can buy third party material from Schweser or Stalla (and others) and study those even without registering for the exam.

      Asif

  12. Hi asif,

    Just got married! Want to appear for my cfa level 1 for this December.i have my MBA finance and banking for a. Reputable institution In Lahore, Pakistan. I am moving to calgary , Canada this month. I have zero work experience. Just a couple of months at the coca cola company in Yemen as a financial accountant and treasury assistant..

    My question is it’s. wise decision to do CFA level one at this point in time? I have zero experience. I doubt my MBA degree will v valuable in calgary.

    1. Hi Rashida,

      Congratulations on your marriage. Frankly speaking I do not have a good answer to your question. Having said that, these are my two suggestions for you.

      a. Please reach out to CFA Charterholders in Canada to get an idea of the job market in finance there. You can find them at http://www.analystforum.com. This is your best bet.

      b. Generally, completing CFA Level 1 or 2 does not guarantee a job. Most people recommend that you get a job in finance first and then go for the CFA exam. I would probably recommend the same thing. Only in case where you are absolutely unable to get a job and have a lot of free time should you consider either the CFA exam or any other educational programs that would be more relevant in Canada.

      Regards
      Asif

  13. I am from Nepal and CFA course isn’t available in here. But I got that CFA course by rumors. I searched and found also but I want to just study after joining CFA. And I even don’t know how to start , what is the educational requirement to start it?

    1. Hi Govinda,

      The minimum requirement is a 4 year bachelors degree. You can appear for the first level in your fourth year. For you I guess it makes sense to give it from India as it will probably be the closest.

      Asif

  14. Hello there, just stumbled across your blog and it appears quite helpful. I’m doing my BS in Accounting & Finance, and would get enrolled in my 5th semester from September 2014. What time do you think would be ideal for me to start with CFA Level I? I’m overall a good student, have a CGPA around 3.70, so managing hopefully wont be an issue. However, I do plan to go abroad for my Masters.

    1. Hello Farheen,

      The earliest you can go for CFA is in your 4th year. So you can start studying towards the end of 3rd year if you want to go that path.

      However, since you want to do your Masters abroad you can postpone CFA until you are done with that. One of my friend however did CFA with his Masters.

  15. Hi Asif,

    I just wanted to know what study materials should I refer to while preparing for CFA Level 1 – June Chapter. I haven’t ordered anything right now and haven’t even registered for Level 1. And one more thing is the cost of study materials from cfa institute included in the exam and registration fees( I don’t want the printed version).

    P.S. : I am from India, don’t have any specific backgrounfd of Finance but a lot of interest in the field. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and masters in Operations Research(Finance).

    1. Ideally I recommend people to study the books from CFA Institute. Back when I used to give the exam the cost of the book was included but these days I think they have segregated it. You will however have to pay for the books at the time you register for the exam. A lot of people (me included) took help from study guides like Schweser or Stalla.

      As for your background I have seen people from alternate backgrounds pass CFA. However, it will be fair to say that you will probably need to put in a bit more effort. Maybe starting as early as possible can help you. Also make sure you check out http://www.analystforum.com to be part of a community. Try to find a few candidates who will also give CFA l1 so that you can discuss topics that you find tough.

      Asif

  16. Hi
    Thanks for the hints, I failed level 3 band 9. Would you recommend to read cfai or schweser? People talk about key word for AM session can you elaborate more on that if you know, thanks.
    Some people do not recommend schweser for level iii what do you think?
    Best

    1. Hi Sia,

      I used a mix of Schweser and CFAI text for all three levels. But in L3, my reliance on CFAI textbook was higher relative to other levels.

      Regarding the AM session, I would recommend using short bullet points. I am not aware of the ‘keyword’ strategy.

      Asif

      1. Hi did go through all the books first and then start to do EOC and blue boxes for level 3 or you did the question after each study sessions? Did you take any note and would you recommend to take cause it requires a lot of time.
        Do you think schweser answer for essay session is enough ( bullet point) sometimes I think they are too short?
        Thanks

        1. I usually finished text books and then did all the EOCs. However, I don’t think the sequence matters and you should follow what you are comfortable with.

          I can’t seem the remember the Schweser answers but I think that very short answers should work if phrased correctly.

          Asif

  17. Hello Asif,

    First of all I want to thank you for taking time out of your schedule to try to help as many people as possible.

    I have registered for the L1 exam for this December 2014. I have just recently received my Schweser Books and plan to attend NYSSA classes starting September 10 that run through November 10. Taking into consideration the shortened time I have to exam time (about three months instead of the five to six months that you have outlined above) how would you modify your outline above to three months? Just as an FYI I plan to start putting in 2 hours everyday weekday ( four hours on class day) and approximately 8 hours on weekends starting now.

    Thanks in advance.

    Jesse

    1. Hi Jesse,

      I actually studied around 3 months for Level 1 because I registered pretty late. Some of the things you can do is study directly from Schweser, skip end of chapter questions from Schweser and do the CFAI textbook ones.

      Just make sure you did the following things
      1. Went over syllabus 2 times
      2. Give 2-3 practice mocks
      3. Have formula sheet memorized
      4. Practice or just look at end of chapter questions from CFAI text.

      Asif

  18. Asif, great post.

    I am starting my Level II prep and am 100% with you about doing the CFAI curriculum over any other.

    I’ve noticed on the CFAI site, practice tests (Subject Vignettes with questions) for each section: Ethics 6 tests; FPA 16 tests. CFAI suggests doing your first full Exam after doing all theses section tests at least once.

    Where in your study guide would you put time to do these tests if at all? My thought would be to do , say, all 6 Ethics vignettes after the 7 days I’ll spend on the 1st pass of Ethics, not during as I will likely not know the full material yet…then move on to the next topic in the first pass untill the whole first pass is done and I take my full first Mock Exam.

    This would slow down the 1st pass schedule substantively. The other thought would be to use these topic tests in the 2nd pass or last month before the actual exam.

    Thoughts on how to integrate these tests if at all?

    Nick

    1. Hi Nick,

      There is no hard and fast rule on what one should follow. I would recommend that you try out these tests. However, you can do them either during the first pass (segment by segment) or after you have finished the whole thing at least once.

      My personal preference is to finish the syllabus once and then do all practice exams and mocks.

      Asif

  19. Hello Asif, i have a lot of free time over the the next seven months, is it possible to cover the coursework of CFA level 1 in six months? ( i am hoping to register for the june 2015 exams)

  20. Hi Asif,
    So here is my issue… I have taken the CFA before and spent a lot of time on studying… However, I didn’t succeed. My worst moment is the fear I feel when I am taking the test… I am freaken out on standardized testing… I feel all the questions are very general most of the times … and it feels like I am never well prepared for it… plus the stress I feel doesn’t even help as you know… I really dont want to give up though… I can not think of giving up on this dream of mine… any good advice?

    1. Hi Eleni,

      This is a very difficult question to answer and thus my answer will be fairly long.

      While I passed the tests on first attempt I was always scared of failing and losing confidence in myself. Failing any level of the exam is actually not a problem at all. It can happen to the most intelligent of people. The problem is the loss of confidence.

      In any case these are my tips

      1. Acknowledge that it is okay to fail. NOBODY will judge you for not passing the CFA exam.
      2. Try to figure out what you did wrong. Finding a few study buddies will be very helpful in keeping up motivation.
      3. Register at Analystforum.com and see how others are preparing.
      4. Start your preparation as early as possible.
      5. Think not only about passing but also the knowledge you are gaining.

      People very close to me have failed certain levels only to pass on next attempts. Don’t let your failure get to your head.

      Asif

  21. Hi Asif,

    I’ve registered for Level 2 in June 2015, and while I understand also using the CFAI material alongside, I was wondering if the Schweser L2 videos are helpful and can be used instead of the schweser books?

    Thanks!

    1. Hello,

      I personally felt that the videos are quite unnecessary and time consuming. 1 hour spent in the books helps much more than an hour spent in videos.

      However that is just my take. Even though I have a blog and passed the exams fairly convincingly I am no expert on CFA.

      Asif

  22. Asif,

    Greetings! I happened to see your profile in The Daily Star, and the fact that you’re a Charterholder caught my eye. I second your recommendation for books over video for the sake of efficiency, and see working through exercises and doing the mocks as essential–for myself, though I idealized doing both Schweser and the CFAI curriculum, I ended up basically using only Schweser for all three levels–but making sure I understood what I was reading (an approach that Scott Young advocates as well). The book Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning also supports “retrieval practice” as one of the most effective tools for learning.

    One thing I’d do differently–or at least idealize doing differently–if challenging the exams again would be to put information in Anki or another SRS. If one isn’t routinely dealing with the heteroskedasticity of a data set or designing a portfolio for certain constraints, a lot of the curriculum content is fairly “leaky”, and it seems a great shame to have the effort and expense invested in gaining this knowledge slowly erode away. I was excited recently to learn that CFA Institute does offer “refresher readings” of current curriculum to members.

    Anyway…I’ve just signed up to receive posts by e-mail, and look forward to seeing your thoughts! It’s great to see a fellow charterholder investing in the country!

    1. Hi Joel,

      Many thanks for your comment. Personally I also used Schweser + CFAI Text for all three levels. Somehow worked with me better than just CFAI text.

      I do agree with you that without practice a lot of the knowledge goes away. Coincidentally I downloaded a lot of the refresher readings myself. However, the base that is created by CFA can remain. I found that it takes little time to refresh the concepts.

      Keep in touch.

      Asif

  23. Dear Asif,

    Do you know David Hetherington, CFA, who works for Schweser?

    I wanted to find his video -clip with simple explanations of options strategies (covered call, protective put, straddle, etc.) for Level 3.
    Where can I buy or take it?
    How did you coped with the problem of remembering such ugly formulas of Profit/Max profit/Max loss/breakeven price for covered call/protective put/straddle etc.?

    1. Hi Nadin,

      I actually did not see any videos for level 2 and level 3. For the option strategies here is what I recommend

      1. Study with a partner to understand the methods conceptually instead of memorizing formulas.
      2. If possible discuss with someone working in the treasury department of a bank
      3. Make short notes on these strategies

      If I remember correctly I probably tried to remember the diagrams also.

  24. Hello Asif,

    I read your blog and the Questions you had answered. I found your replies alot convincing. I recently passed the Dec 2014 Level 1 exam and i got myself registered for the L2 exam June 2015. Do you think its doable considering such less time period I am left with?? Although I have taken up this but I want to know your take on this and also advise me what strategies to employ to pass L2 June 2015 exam .

    Awaiting your speedy response

    1. Hi Shumaila,

      You have around 4 months in hand. Having a great preparation is tough but still possible in 4 months time. You would however need to commit yourself greatly and if you cannot manage time to study it will be difficult.

      Regarding the preparation, my advice is almost the same across all three levels. Study whole syllabus (don’t skip anything) and do AT LEAST one revision. Do enough mock exams. For level 2, special attention to formula sheet is mandatory as there are quite a lot. I personally found derivatives quite difficult followed by financial reporting. Equity is fairly large but relatively easier to understand.

      Asif

  25. Hey, I will complete my graduation in may and start the preparation for level 1 attempt Dec’15. Are 6 months enough for preparation and is the material given by the CFA institute sufficient.Do I need to join coaching classes for CFA or one can do by self-study as I am a commerce student from Delhi University with good academic knowledge?

  26. Really motivating Asif !!
    I am planning to give CFA level 1 but I am still little confused which book to refer – CFA Curriculum or Schweser Notes?
    Your guidance would be of great help 🙂
    Thanks

      1. Thank you for the post above, I found it very helpful.
        Looking through different forums on the internet, it’s my understanding that it’s best to learn straight from CFA materials, using Schwester (or, better still, Wiley) as a supplement. Is this really the best strategy? Or, perhaps, rely only on CFA materials? I find it really overwhelming since there’s so many options available & I do wonder what is the optimal way to go (I’m studying for Level 1, btw)

  27. Hi Asif,

    Thanks for your advise.

    I have completed not more than 10% of syllabus as of now, and I will be appearing for June 2015 Level III exams, I understand that its too late to start but I just want to give my best efforts to pass. I ll really appreciate if u can give any suggestions for completing the syllabus atleast once.
    (exam oriented tips)

  28. Thank You Asif for your insights about the CFA exam. I still have a little doubt in my mind. Well I am an engineer from an ordinary college and henceworth i did my mba in finance from an average college.I am a mediocre in academics . I got placed from my mba college recently in a sales profile job. Now i am planning to do CFA for long term career advancement in finance field as i want to see myself as a fund manager in an Asset management company.I dont have much basics of finance.I know its kinda late but i am planning to start studying hard and give a full force attempt for CFA level 1 in june 2016.Please guide me that will my present job experience be counted to be deemed of CFA charter holder if i clear all the levels .I know its late but i aim to be a fund manager by the age of 29. I would really appreciate if you mail me with your advice.
    Regards
    Akash

    1. Hi Akash, you have plenty of time for june 2016 exam. However your sales experience will not be counted. I recommend that you try to meet a few asset managers or analysts to check whether you will really enjoy the work.

  29. very helpful discussion i must say.
    I have one question. I have 2014 schweser material and i am planning to give my level 1 exam in dec 2015. Will the old material help or should i buy the Newer one?

  30. Hi Asif,

    Thank you for your kind help.

    Just a quick question, is it better to do EOC questions or as many mocks as possible?

    Thanks

  31. Hi Asif Bhai,

    Thanks for all your help and guidance. I am mighty impressed by your knowledge and determination having passed the CFA in first attempts. However, my situation is a bit different.

    I reside outside Pakistan and unfortunately there aren’t any good institutes for preparing for CFA. I am planning to take a month off work and contemplating whether spend that time for self-study or registering myself for a course somewhere in Pakistan. What would be your recommendation? Further, could you please also suggest some good training centres in lahore?
    Thanks in anticipation.

    1. Hello,

      I am actually from Bangladesh and thus I am not sure about training centers in Lahore. However, I think self study is the best way to go. There are also online forums like Analystforum where you can get help from the other members extensively.

      Asif

  32. I really appreciate the great job you’re doing on this forum. I am a graduate of Economics and I just registered for December 2015. I currently run a tight schedule due to the nature of my job (with free weekends though) but I think I fall in love with the use of the CFAI materials due to their knowledge-widening benefits. So my question is: How many hours of study on a daily basis including the weekends can I put in to cover the CFAI? and In your opinion would you recommend the strict use of the CFAI for someone like me without giving schweser a shot at all? Thanks

    1. The number of hours varies from candidate to candidate. Thus you have to judge for yourself how much you need. The more is always better though. If you can’t study at all on weekdays then you have to make it up by starting early (now) and really studying a lot in weekends. While I recommend people to use CFAI text, I know a lot of people who passed using Schweser.

  33. Hi Asif ,
    I m 21 year old guy from India, completed my b.com(hons) through distance learning in last year and my problem is i have cgpa 4.8/10 . But i am interested in finance sector and want to do cfa as well as clear them in first attempt. so will my marks in graduation hinder me from job opportunities and what shall be my best approach to deal with cfa on each level. alongwith shall i gain some other degree’s or certification so while taking job it can shine my resume. my marks in 10th and 12th are good. so please help!!!! I’m greatly confused, but want a good career in corporate sector. and can i have a decent job after clearing cfa level 1. as they say a candidate need to have 4 year work experience.

    1. Hello,

      I am unfortunately not qualified enough to comment because your question is specific to India. Its best if you spoke to your people who are already employed in India.

      Asif

  34. Dear Asif Khan

    i am in Abu Dhabi i want to do CFA and before arriving i planned to buy CFA books but due to lack of time i was unable to find books.
    now books here are hard to find and are too much expensive. is there any solution to this problem??

    1. You can search in google and see whether you can find them for free. Not sure whether they will be available though.

      However once you register for the exam you will get books automatically.

  35. Asif,

    Thanks for the article. I am in a situation where I passed level 1 and found out that I would be doing level 2 in January. I also have full-time job and 2 children, so I don’t have an enormous amount of time. Any suggestions on which books to read from CFAI books and which from other sources? My plan is to get through all the materials by mid April to allow for review and lots of questions, but it will be tough. Thanks for any insight.

    Chris

      1. Thanks, I really appreciate the prompt response. I found in level 1, Schweser left some gaps, like you mentioned. I was planning on doing the most significant readings, in terms of importance- Equity, Financial Reporting. After that I was wondering if getting Schweser on Derivatives or others and which ones? I realize depends on someone’s background. Any thoughts? Thanks again.

        Chris

  36. Hi Asif,

    How useful would you rate the QBank questions of Schweser for Level 1. I am sitting Level 1 in Dec 2016 and will use Schweser books as primary reference source. However is it worth spending $250 more to get the QBank?

    There are not that many EOC questions from the official textbook, so what do you think ?

    Thanks,

    1. To be honest I didnt find them useful as they were very different from actual questions. I would recommend you purchase mock exams from CFAI instead if available or spend time on the curriculum.

  37. Asif Bhai in Lahore where can i buy CFA level 1 original text books or they are available at any known source to you please tell me about that

    thanks

  38. Hi Asif,

    Thank you so much your post.

    I’m studying for CFA level 1 December 2017 exam. I have finished studying the first book, Ethics & Quantitative Methods, and practiced all EOCs problems. However, I don’t feel confidant. I mean I don’t feel that I mastered Quants. So I was wondering if it would be better to review the book again and then start studying FRA or to start studying FRA and worry about reviewing the curriculum once I’m done with the 6 books?

    Also, I’ve purchased 3rd party Qbank. But as you said above, the questions are different to the curriculum EOCs problems. But since they are timed questions, I was thinking it’s good to use them just to get to answer the questions quickly. Not quite sure if it’s a good idea or waste of time. I would like to know your opinion in this regard.

    Do you think EOCs problems and end of topics questions (CFA website) are enough to practice? I’m worried about having only 90 second to answer each question. It takes time to read and understand the question, let alone answering it correctly in 90 seconds.

    Again thank you for your useful posts and comments.

    1. Hi Susan,

      You can review the book but do it later. The curriculum is large and we always feel that we can’t remember a lot.

      Regarding Qbank, I did use it in Level 1 but felt its not as useful as I expected. But you can use it to practice. But use qbank only when you have exhausted all other available things (examples, EOC, mocks).

      Asif

  39. Hey, thanks for the useful article. I had the following query :
    Should I join any classes or studying from Schweser and Curriculum (parts) is sufficient?
    I have a very basic knowledge of finance and am appearing for level 1 exam in Dec 2017.

    1. I usually recommend people to study by themselves. However some people do need extra classes. Try reading the curriculum first and if you need help go for schweser. The last option is outside tuition.

  40. Hi Asif,

    Hello and thanks for the article. I had the following query :
    As I am attempting Dec’2017 CFA Level 1 and there is very less time left and at this point I am getting confused whether to study from Curriculum completely or Schweser notes plus CFAI question only will do the magic.

    Please guide me on that as Schweser is half of CFAI and this is making me little worried as I do not wanna miss anything from CFAI.

    Thanks

    1. For level 1 Schweser Notes + CFAI questions generally do the trick. In fact I have followed this strategy (with some mods in later levels) for all 3 levels. So don’t worry. The trick is to notice if anything looks unrecognizable while solving CFAI questions so that you can read that part up from CFAI text.

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