"Old habits die hard" We've all heard this before.
Whatever the situation, there is always another saying that is equally true: “The only constant is change.”
So, when faced with circumstances that force us to choose between clinging to an old habit versus embracing change, how do we navigate changing our old habit when it is so difficult?
Hard doesn't mean impossible. It just means you'll be putting in a lil' more effort. Like transitioning from print to online study materials. But we promise, it's for the best!
Here are five ways to transition from print to online CFA study materials:
1. Open Mind, Open Doors
As humans, most of our achievements begin in our minds. New challenges and new behaviours are more comfortable for us when we're willing to push ourselves to try new things. When faced with change or going beyond your comfort zone, the sooner you embrace the new reality, the easier it will become to adapt. In addition, you never really know what you're capable of until you try.
So, when it comes to changing your study habits from print to online CFA study materials, have an open mind, and you might just be surprised by the outcome. In a good way. We hope.
2. Adopt a Growth Mindset
Flexibility and adaptability are two essential traits for success in the business world. Having a growth mindset is one of the most effective ways to be flexible and adaptable to change. Individuals with a growth mindset, believe their potential isn’t limited to their talents and believe that they can be developed through hard work, strategies, and input from others. As a result, these individuals are willing to get out of their comfort zone to improve or grow, including changing old study habits and adopting new learning strategies.
On the other hand, some people believe that their success depends on their natural talents, innate gifts, or longstanding habits. This fixed mindset means that your beliefs about what you can do in life are based on a belief in your limits and not your abilities.
These concepts apply to transitioning from print to digital materials when studying for the CFA exam because they affect your outlook on the transition and, ultimately, your experience.
If you have a growth mindset, then this is a chance to learn something new and improve your ability to learn and remember information.
Conversely, if you have a fixed mindset, you might attribute your success in previous exams to your test-taking ability or a particular study habit, eg, preparing using printed materials. Thus, you might be hesitant to switch to using online CFA study material to prepare for the CFA exam.
3. Ease Your Way In Slowly, But Surely
If you’re used to studying with textbooks and are concerned about switching to online materials, start by trying something that is pressure-free, like reading an ebook to get familiar with how similar the experience can be to reading a print version. You'll discover if you enjoyed that experience, you'd begin to dispel any preconceptions you may have about reading and retaining information you read online versus offline.
Ebooks, e-learning modules and study notes make it easier than ever before to study for an online prep exam without any actual tests. When you know that online can be just as effective, if not more so than what you’re used to, you will feel less apprehensive about employing it going forward.
4. Keep the End Goal in Mind
Ultimately, your goal is to become a certified financial analyst (CFA). To do that, you must first pass the CFA exam. As of 2021, the CFA exam is now a computer-based test, so it would be smart to get familiar with the online interface. The best way to prepare for the exam is by studying using the same tools, and in the same (simulated) environment you will encounter on test day.
When you prepare by using online materials, you’re building the confidence to succeed on your exam because you will have practiced in the same online format in which the exam will be given. Students can also create mock exams and then retake them over and over again until they’re satisfied with their scores. Moreover, online exam interfaces allow you to do practice questions. This is a form of active learning, and it’s been shown to be one of the most effective ways to study and learn.
5. Take Mock Exams
Mock exams are simulated experiences designed to test your knowledge under the same conditions as the actual exams they emulate. When you're transitioning your study habits from print to digital, your best friend will be mock exams. Get mock exams from the CFA Institute before you take the Level 1 exam. A third-party CFA prep provider may also be a good option for you.
Change is often a challenge, but it’s important for success. It’s possible to succeed online if you are willing to work hard enough and believe that it can be done.
You may be surprised to find that with an open mind and an understanding of the CFA exam process, a print to online strategy transition is possible. You can even prepare for the CFA exam in the same computer-based format as you will encounter on test day with confidence.
We wish you the best of luck on your CFA Journey!