Finance & Accounting Exam News and Strategy

When Should You Start Studying for the CFA?

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Jun 12, 2017 3:32:07 PM

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.

Now, given all of the material, a structured study plan that allows you to bypass areas you understand well and focus on areas with which you struggle is critical. And, when you get stuck on a concept, avoiding the process of spinning your wheels for too long is important. A CFA tutor can be very valuable for both of these reasons.

With this context, the below note was written by an experienced MyGuru CFA tutor. In it, he reinforces the importance of time when it comes to preparing for the CFA, shares some of his personal experience with the exam, and explains where and how he helps students prepare.

The CFA exam for all three levels was Saturday, June 3, 2017. I remember sacrificing many sunny Memorial Day weekends studying for each respective level. Whether you believe level 1,2 or 3 to be the hardest is up for debate, what is not up for debate is that you probably want to keep the Memorial Day weekend sacrifice to the minimum (3 Memorial Days if you pass each level consecutively).

I received multiple last minute request for help. In CFA speak requesting help a few weeks before the exam is less than ideal. I managed to provide guidance and strategy, helping candidates focus on the “low-hanging fruit” and helping them through a few difficult concepts that a high probability of showing up in the exam. Even though these candidates attempted to learn multiple concepts before the exam.

If you are considering taking the CFA Exam, it is crucial to stay on track. You must finish all of the material at least three weeks before the exam. That means you must have read through each chapter and done all the homework and quizzes. If you are having trouble keeping up with the material, it is best to contact a tutor sooner rather than later.

Many candidates will retake the exam, for at least one of the levels. Candidates lose track of time or frequently experience burn out, due to the complexity of the material. Contacting a tutor before this is important. A tutor can help you see a complex concept in a different light. If you are spinning your wheels on an L.O.S. while getting frustrated in the process, you should stop and seek help. Sometimes simply walking away from a concept and revisiting later is enough. But you may find that an investment in a few tutoring sessions to be a wise investment. One of my primary goals when pursuing the CFA was to not sacrifice more Memorial Day weekends than necessary. Being able to have the CFA designation in the review mirror is the most important goal but so is maintaining a good lifestyle.