10 Tips to Help You Succeed in the CFA Level 1 exam

June 1, 2017
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The CFA exams are one of the most difficult assessments known to us, and those that take up the challenge should be applauded. Now for successfully coming through there are many things you have to follow other than the obvious, studying.
 

Here is a list of tips and tricks that we hope will lead you to success in your CFA exam:

1. Engage in long study sessions, forget the number of hours!

The CFA institute tells us that we need to study for 300-400 hours in over a course of 6 months for the CFA Level 1 exam.  The more time you spend studying the better your chances are of doing well in the exam. Now would be the perfect time to start studying for the CFA Level 1 exam that will take place in December.
 

2. Prepare a schedule you can actually stick to

6 months of preparation time is very long, one can easily get carried away. This is exactly why you will need a well balanced schedule, this will help you from neglecting study hours and postponing what should be done on that very day. You will need to design a schedule that covers everything, revision, studying, CFA practice exam, etc.
 

3. Work up a study plan that works best for you

If you’ve followed study plans in the past and it has given you positive results, go back to it and follow it at your own ease. When we say own ease don’t mistake it for skipping study time, study in a time and place that best suits you.

Some people work best in the mornings, others at night. Some like to go to the library, others will work in their office or at home – each to their own!

Also you can meditate to clear your mind and help you absorb information better. Meditate 5-8 minutes a day, ideally before getting ready to study.

Meditating clears the mind, calms the nerves and relaxes the body, In other words, it creates the ideal environment for deep concentration, problem-solving and memorization – and the research backs this up.
 

4. Make the most of the materials offered to you

The CFA offers materials that you need to study. It is your responsibility to make the most out of what is offered and also complete a CFA practice exam every now and then.

With your login and password you can access a heap of information and advice from the CFA site itself. Students nearing the end of their study period look at the list of ‘Learning Outcome Statements (LOS)’ provided by the CFA Institute. They’re especially good for running through during a commute, or on the morning of the exam.
 

5. Practice makes perfect

Many candidates spend an awful lot of time on practice questions, obsessing, memorizing, and drilling into them. You should focus on the curriculum and topics and try to do at least once CFA practice exam every week.
 

6. Study everything

Each of the ten units is important for CFA level I, you can’t leave anything out. Even the smallest little details will make a difference to your exam grade, so study EVERYTHING!
 

7. Have a plan

No one really knows the passing score of the CFA exam but it is said to be 70%, so to achieve that you need to know everything from the materials provided, as mentioned earlier.
 

8. Take care of yourself

You need to kind of treat yourself like an infant as the exams approach, because the state of your health will reflect on your papers.
 

9. Don’t do something wrong on the big day and get yourself in trouble!

The CFA website has important information on the materials you can take into the exam – read it carefully. Make sure the information on your passport conforms to what you’ve written on the CFA entry forms. Recharge your calculator batteries. Give yourself enough travel time – remember that quite a few people will be converging on the exam hall.
 

10. A few simple things you should remember:

  • Start with the easy questions.
  • Always give an answer. You have nothing to lose.
  • Make an intelligent guess if you don’t know the answer.
  • Don’t panic. At worse this is just preparation for your next attempt!