Professional CertificAtion NEws and Exam Strategy

Stay current with the latest FINRA and other professional certification news and proven test prep strategies.

Posts about CFA:

A Tutor's Guide to the Best Online CFA Prep Options

private-cfa-tutorWelcome to the start of your CFA journey! You are embarking on an adventure that can lead to immense benefits, both in terms of professional designation and recognition, and also personal investment acumen and edification which can help you and your loved ones manage your financial affairs with deftness and command. Do not overlook the latter benefits, as improving your economic understanding of the world just may end up yielding a higher ROI than hanging the coveted charter on the wall. So, now that we are sufficiently motivated, where to begin?

CAIA vs. CFA: Similarities, Differences, and Implications for Aspiring Finance Professionals

We provide both CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) tutoring and CAIA (Chartered Alternative Investment Analysis) tutoring. In most cases, students come to us having already decided which exam is for them and why they want to earn one designation or the other. On the other hand, many of our CFA tutors also hold the CAIA.  

When Should You Start Studying for the CFA?

One of the most frustrating situations for a CFA tutor is to be connected images-1.jpgwith a nice, capable, seemingly committed CFA student who simply started studying for the exam too late. The rule of thumb for level 1 of the CFA is that it should take you about 300 hours of preparation. I believe that the pure amount of material covered on the CFA is why most CFA prep solutions are classroom and video based. There is just so much material, it’s far easier to help people work through it as efficiently as possible by explaining the key concepts clearly and providing extra practice. In that sense, the most valuable tool in your toolkit when it comes to CFA preparation is time. Just begin the process far enough in advance and, generally speaking, you’ll be OK.

Preparing for the CFA exam: Financial reporting of defined benefit pension plans

gre-verbal-score.pngThe financial reporting and analysis section is one of the more heavily weighted topics on levels 1 and 2, making up 20% and 15-20% of each exam, respectively.

Therefore, it is very important to spend a considerable amount of time on this entire section in order to have success on exam day.

The employee compensation reading falls within the scope of financial reporting and analysis and is one of the more challenging sub-topics for many students. The reading is separated into two further sub-topics: pensions and other post-employment benefits, and share-based compensation. The former topic is much more difficult for students and will be the focus of this blog post.

Preparing for the CFA exam (all levels): A General Study Guide

The CFA program is a rigorous set of exams that not only stretches a wide range of topics, but also challenges the test taker on the intricate details of each - it’s a mile wide, and a mile deep.

The topic areas include: ethics, quantitative methods, economics, financial reporting and analysis, corporate finance, portfolio management, equity investments, fixed income investments, derivatives, and alternative investments. Once you decide to enroll in the CFA program, the CFA institute will mail you a stack of books that is almost more overwhelming than the exam itself. It is not uncommon for students to use the CFA program’s material to prepare for the exam, however, many students will purchase additional third party software. The software is expensive, so I recommend reaching our to your employer or another sponsor to see if they will purchase it for you. The main benefit of having third party software is the question bank that comes with it. The CFA curriculum comes with about 200 questions and a few practice exams, third party software will come with 3,000 – 4,500 questions (depending on the level) and several practice exams. It’s really important to get through as many practice questions as possible, which is why I strongly recommend purchasing third party software. An additional benefit of purchasing third party software is they will also provide CFA review material that is a condensed version of the CFA curriculum. This is a more efficient way of getting through the material. Anyway, without further ado, here is a quick guide to preparing for each level (with the exception of the written portion of level 3):

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