Tips to Help You Prepare for the CFA Exam

Updated October 6, 2023

Anyone that is looking to further their career and education should look to become a Certified Financial Analyst, or CFA. To earn this designation, you will need to pass three different CFA exams, which continue to have the reputation for being difficult. The Level 1 and 2 exams have success rates below 50% while Level 3 is around 55%. If you want to pass the exam and receive very positive CFA exam results, several tips should be followed.

Start Planning Early

When you want to pass the CFA exam, you will want to start studying and preparing early. The CFA exam is self-guided and is typically completed by people that have graduated from college and are working professionals. Due to this, you need to have the dedication to stay focused and prepare for the exam. As there is a lot of material to cover along the way, you should start preparing early. It is often suggested that you start preparing as early as 6 months out from the exam date.

Take Practice Tests

As you are going to start preparing for the exam, you will also want to understand where you are starting. Even if you had a major in finance or economics and work in the field, there are bound to be a lot of subject areas that you are not familiar with. Due to this, it is very important that you always understand what your strengths are and what you need to improve on. A great way to do this is to take a practice exam that will then analyze your results and show your areas of strengths and weaknesses. Ideally, you should take one practice exam when you start preparing and one a couple of months before the final test.

Take Breaks

Anyone that has taken the CFA exams and passed them will tell you that there is a lot of work involved to properly prepare. While you may feel that you need to spend all of your free time studying, you can quickly feel burned out and frustrated during this process. Due to this, you should always make sure that you are taking breaks from studying along the way. This can help you clear your mind and can help you do better on the test.

Focus on the Right Materials

The materials that you receive for the CFA exam tend to be significant in abundance. Due to this, you can feel overwhelmed by the amount of work that you need to get done to properly prepare for the exam. Those that would like to pass the test need to make sure that they are focusing on the right materials along the way. There are certain types of questions that are asked more frequently. Further, you should focus on learning concepts and learning formulas as opposed to practicing the same math over and over. This can help you stay efficient and save time while you prepare for each level of the test.

The CFA exam continues to be a very difficult one to pass. Due to this, finding ways to pass the exam is very important and can help improve your chances of success. These tips can help you do well and get the best score possible.

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