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Guidelines for the Novice CFA Level I Applicant

I have always said that one of the utmost problems of the CFA Level I is really knowing what to do as far as studying. Here, I assembled tips for first-time candidates that can give you an idea of what to do next.


Generate a good study plan and stick to it

This can be actually difficult, particularly the ‘sticking to the plan’ portion. However, it is one of the most significant steps in your CFA level 1 exam prep. Be genuine: don’t create your planning too tight as you would certainly fall behind agenda at a certain point. I used the TimePrep app (you have to purchase one for every level), and while it is costly, it certainly pays off. These apps are actual complete as well as you could even regulate them toward your reading quickness plus rearrange your agenda if you miss a reading session.

If you consider that’s too expensive, 300 Hour has a free reading organizer that you could use.

The CFA Institute also offers a reading planner that could be useful. However, it is not as good as the other 2 options.


Time is not on your side

Time is your most awful enemy, thus continually have in mind how much time you have left until the exam. Perhaps you see the examination date actually far away. However time flies by quicker than anticipated. Recall that you have more than 3,000 pages to read plus the practice period.


Get to know your calculator

Do this early. This would save lots of time and headaches. There are lots of lessons on YouTube and the web – have a look at them out. Some favor the TI; others favor the HP 12C. I will say it doesn’t matter which one you choose as long as you place emphasis on mastering it.


Do not undervalue the exam

Probabilities are that you have by now covered most of the topics in the curriculum but that does not mean that it is going to be stress-free.  One big as and very common mistake is going over the readings and thinking “this is stress-free” or “I by now know this.” Even if this is really easy, you perhaps covered the topic a few years before and will overlook some significant details. However, if you actually think you do not have to read something, use a CFA Question Bank, answer most of the questions related to this topic and move on if you got more than 70% right answers.

This is furthermore implied into the 300 Hours study guide – applicants with accounting backgrounds have revealed to really underperform applicants with Finance backgrounds.


Use the right CFA prep provider

I would recommend using one. I personnally found it practically impossible to read the CFAI Curriculum, since the readings are boring and thick. Prep providers go straight to the most important points and save you lots of time.

However do not throw away the Syllabus! If you are having a rough time understanding a topic go back to the prospectus. This would help you a lot. Furthermore, a CFA Question Bank is actually a good practice material since the questions are close to to the kind of questions you would get on the day of the examination.



You may want to make this segment the last to read on your agenda.

Though it is very significant, I found this segment kind of boring (really very tedious) to read. If you start through it you may get you bored and you are likely to fall behind schedule early in the study process. Cover this segment while you are close to feeling the stress of the CFA level 1 exam and cannot afford to fall behind schedule.


Don’t try to become an proficient at each subject

Emphasis should be on the most important subjects. You do not have to master 100% of each Learning Outcome Statement, so don’t waste your time attempting to do so. If you try, you would get frustrated and lose focus.

Finally, it could not be overemphasized enough how significant it is to use the best study materials and doing mock exams.