7 Simple CFA Exam Study Tips

Most successful candidates spend at least 300 hours studying each time they take an exam.

Most successful candidates spend at least 300 hours studying each time they take an exam.
According to the CFA Institute, on average it takes four to five years to become a Chartered Financial Analyst and this is what your study hours should be for each of the CFA exam levels:

  • Level 1 Exam: 303 study hours
  • Level 2 Exam: 328 study hours
  • Level 3 Exam: 344 study hours

Passing the CFA exam requires tremendous discipline and dedication. That's why it's so important to create a workable study plan that incorporates both a CFA prep course and the CFA Institute’s various study tools and resources. Study plans consist of reading the curriculum, working through flashcards, creating and taking customisable exams, doing practice questions, taking mock exams, and practicing until you know the material well.

Everyone learns differently, so you'll also need to determine what study methods and techniques work best for you and adjust your learning and study process accordingly. Doing this will set you up for success as the course and your study habits work together to support one another.

Construct Your Study Plan 

Figure out how long you will need to study to pass your exam and then set a date to take your exam. Get organised and plan ahead so that you can make the most of your daily time. When you look at your own work and life priorities, consider them carefully. What do you want to accomplish, each day? 

Many CFA candidates set themselves up for failure when they develop a study plan too ambitious for their lifestyle. So, it’s worth taking some time to figure out what makes the most sense for your unique circumstances.

Follow Your Study Plan

Creating a study plan is great, but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t follow it. The CFA exam is a test of both discipline and intelligence, with the former being more important. Half the battle is keeping to your study schedule, which can sometimes be more challenging than learning the actual material. Here are a few ways to make sure you are staying on track to pass the CFA exam as quickly as possible:

  1. Set small, attainable goals
  2. Reward yourself when you reach those goals
  3. If you miss a study session, make it up another time 
  4. Keep your study environment organised and free from distractions
  5. Build a support system with family and friends
  6. Join online CFA exam forums or organisations 
  7. Find someone to hold you accountable

In Conclusion...

These tips will help you continue pushing forward as you reach your goals. If you study diligently for a given amount of time, follow a study plan and avoid procrastinating or deviating from that plan, you’ll definitely pass. Sticking to your study plan ensures that you meet your goal of passing the exam in the time you set for yourself.

The CFA exam is a considerable investment of your time and energy, so make it count! Especially when investing in yourself is an important step towards a successful career, but it’s an even bigger investment when the investment is in your own success.

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