How can I best prepare for CFA exam?
February 12, 2009 10:34 AM   Subscribe

CFA Filter: Ok, I just registered and signed up for June 09 CFA test. I am looking for information on supplemental study guides and hints for better preparation.

I found several sites but can't tell which one is best. Some people I know have used Schweser by Kaplan, but not sure which package is the best for me. It also seems the 12 week classes is too late for me to start.

I am thinking of spending 20-25 hours a week to study as suggested. If you have suggestions on what study plan worked for you, I'd appreciate any kind of info. i.e. difficult areas to emphasize during studies, how much time to spend on each sections, etc.

I read that level I is more of a regurgitating exam that I need to memorize as much information as possible to be able to apply to the questions. Is this true? I can't tell just by looking at the sample questions.
posted by icollectpurses to Education (4 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Assume you saw this earlier question?

My then firm bought Schweser in bulk so I can't speak to anyone else's offering. Also at this point I took Level I 7 years ago so I'm not sure my own personal experience counts for much. I always thought AIMR was way overestimating the amount of studying needed if you already had some background in the material.

And I'll repeat it again - because of the way the scoring works on the exam it is imperative you own ethics. Its a small amount of straight rote memorization that is 10% of the exam. If you own it you can get probably 50% of the remaining questions right and still pass. If I remember correctly the pass level is set at 70% of the top decile's score
posted by JPD at 10:55 AM on February 12, 2009

I got mine a few years ago and I, like pretty much everyone else, used Schweser. I'm not sure if it is as relevant today as it was 4 or 5 years ago, since they've put the entire reading list into a stack of books for you.

The people I know who spent hundreds or thousands on preparation with classes and CDs and videos or whatever all tended to wind up failing a level once or twice. The study materials aren't going to decide whether or not you pass, it's if you actually know the material. Do some practice exams and be honest with yourself about where you need work and focus on those areas. If you can count on yourself to do the assigned reading, then I'd be inclined to not worry about paying for any extra stuff.
posted by milkrate at 10:59 AM on February 12, 2009

I took Level I last June and passed, but I have a finance background. I bought Schweser's Secret Sauce and their laminated cheat-sheet. I used the Secret Sauce book to review things I knew fairly well and then read the official material for things I didn't know so well. I'm taking Level II this summer and plan to do the same thing.

And JPD is right on about the ethics piece--definitely use the official materials for that and know it well.
posted by mullacc at 11:14 AM on February 12, 2009 [2 favorites]

Hello there - I took the L1 exam in June 07. I used Schweser exclusively passed relatively easily.

I don't think this is a regurgitation exam - the way I studied was to read the Schweser texts, highlight bits I thought were important, and do the end-of-chapter questions.

Then, about a month before the exam, I started doing the practice exams (both Schweser and those offered by the CFA Institute). After each practice exam, I'd look at my wrong answers and then note in longhand the concept/fact that was being tested. The only other notes I took were a list of the key formulas.

The only pure memorisation I did was to memorise these longhand notes. I figured that everything else must've sunk into my subconscious. In summary, the practice exams and concentrating my memorisation on the things I got wrong on those exams were the most useful part of the preparation for me.

Good luck!
posted by laumry at 12:20 PM on February 12, 2009 [2 favorites]

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