Tips to Prepare for CFA Exams

Clearing Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams is not difficult, if you apply right approaches in advance. Before starting your preparation, you should be aware about CFA program.

What is CFA?

CFA is a professional financial analyst program offered by CFA Institute situated in Charlottesville, United States. An applicant who clears it is awarded as a ‘CFA charter’ and called as a ‘CFA charterholder’.

Designation

After completing CFA, you can work in fields like financial analysis or investment management of bonds, stocks and other assets.

Eligibility Criteria

1. You should have a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university.
2. You should have at least 4 years of work experience acceptable by CFA Institute.
3. You need to become a member of CFA Institute, even it is necessary to apply for a membership in a local CFA member society.
4. Adhere to the standards of professional conduct and CFA Institute Code of Ethics.

Preparing for CFA

Less than 20% people are able to achieve their set targets for CFA. The challenge is tough but not impossible. You can easily approach for the exam with an organized planning and disciplined approach.

Get Organized

After taking your final decision for the upcoming CFA test, it is important to create a strategy. Following are some useful tips:

1. Early Approach: As per an estimate of CFA Institute, candidates require minimum 250 hours of training to clear its each exam. In simpler words, if 6 months are left for the exam, you have to devote at least 10 hours per week to studies.
2. Reviewing Material: Once you register for each exam, you will get a curriculum divided into 18 sessions. Review all the sessions thoroughly so that you will come to know your familiarity with them. If any doubt comes to your mind, you can quickly look at the each preparation page one by one.
3. Make a Game Plan: You can make a proper schedule for studies. Ensure that you add it into Outlook, MS Excel or similar types of schedule-creating programs. A proper scheduling can help you to finish the course of study before a month of the exams. This way, you will get extra time for revision. If you think that changes are required in your schedule, then do so in time.
4. Selecting the Right Review Course: A right review course can help you a lot by clarifying the concepts in which you may be facing troubles. It is better to select one course at a time so that you can focus more on Common Body of Knowledge (CBOK).

Creating a Productive Study Program

A productive study program can make a huge difference to clear CFA exams. Consider the following for a productive study program:

1. Carry Homemade Flash Cards: You can easily become master with effective homemade flash cards. These are lighter and portable than the whole CFA curriculum. You can review homemade flash cards during breaks or commuting to home or work.
2. Studying the Learning Outcome Statements (LOS): CFA Institute describes LOS as abilities, skills and knowledge that you can easily apply after reading and exercising problems. In order to become a master of each LOS, you can write-down important terms, formulas, definitions, and develop an outline.
3. Apply Memory Techniques: There are some mnemonic devices that you can use to increase your memory power. Spell first letter of each and every word in a right way. There are some other techniques as well like catchy slogans.
4. Study Quantitative and Qualitative Stuff Separately: It is important to work on problems while reading quantitative stuff. Study the concept by learning problems time and again. After understanding the solution of problems, return to the same topic to know it properly. Ensure that you read the qualitative subjects like behavioral finance or ethics before working on the main problems.
5. Go Through Lots of Practice Questions: Simply open the curriculum given by CFA Institute to find out the problems in which you should work. Resolve as much practice questions as you can to become familiar with them so that you will resolve them quickly. You can even find some additional problems from previous years of CFA exams or similar types of examinations.
6. Practicing with Calculator: The ability to solve questions in time is effective to compete in exams. However, you need to practice a lot for a short period to resolve each practical question. Calculator is allowed in exam, so during preparation you can use it.
7. Stay Motivated: Think about the job which you will get and other rewards after completing the CFA exams. It will boost your confidence to achieve your goals.
8. Healthy Lifestyle: A good health and healthy lifestyle can help you to stay fit and prepare for the examination in a better way. Eat healthy food, avoid excessive caffeine or alcohol, and sleep well. Healthy students are better learners.

Conclusion

If you are planning to register for CFA exams, you should plan in an appropriate way to the get success. Properly organize your study, material and review them. This way, you can easily pass each level of CFA in your first attempt.