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How to prepare for CFA?

by Paul Petersen


Before you get into study tactics and ways to beat the exam, what is CFA? The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute offers one of the most prestigious certifications in terms of financial analysis. The exam does not only test the intellect of the person but diligence, endurance and creativity too. The exam would test the commitment of a person to become a CFS charter holder. Learning to take the exam is as important as its syllabus. Though all the three levels require self-study, it is important to stay committed.

The program can be completed in as little as 18 months, but that is difficult. The pass rate for 2007 to 2017 has stayed at 43% across all the levels, with Level 1 having the lowest pass rates. However, there are some key strategies that can help you get prepared during this lockdown.

Developing a proper strategy for study

Before you attempt the exam or even before you do the CFA registration, you need to start developing an exam strategy along with study skills. This will include skill assessment, time management and taking previous exams and looking at sample papers. Time management will involve taking out the time to study and taking the exam. You should not be wasting time answering difficult questions and leave out the potential to score more marks. This will become clear only with proper practice. Skill assessment will help you figure which sections are your strengths and weaknesses.

Pursue self-study but do not rely on it

There have been a lot of people who have passed the CFA exams by self-study, it is the most difficult approach. The candidate has to grab a huge volume of information and it can be quite overwhelming. The students will get a lot of freedom in managing time and resources. However, students who are not too diligent has the risk of getting diverged somewhere along the path. This is why proper coaching is necessary for this financial analyst course. An abundance of study materials is offered by the CFA Institute and others. They even include how to approach the subject.

Pursuing a proper course

You will find a lot of study-course options. You will find everything from classroom programs to immersion courses that run short. There are CFA societies as well that run preparation courses. The advantage is that the courses would force the students to concentrate on the portions of the syllabus on a regular basis. The courses will even require students to take times sample exams. This helps to uncover weaknesses. You should get in touch with CFA charter holders and find out how the answers are graded.

The bottom line is that passing the exams would require a passion for the certification and a commitment to studying. It also requires you how to approach the exam and form an idea in your mind how the information would appear as exam questions. If you can gauge this and put in the rigorous effort, you would be successful in claiming your CFA certification.