Read This If You ABSOLUTELY NEED to Pass the CFA Exams

Now that I’ve got your attention, I should tell you that this thread will not help you pass the exams that are coming up in three days.

So why is it so important that you read it? If you are the ‘average’ candidate, you will take the exam on Saturday and then forget about everything CFA until three months before next year’s test.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this is not the way to passing the exams.

Putting your plans firmly in the ‘average’ category is the fastest way to being a part of the unhappy fifty plus percentage of candidates when results come out.

I’ll make this quick because I know you need to get back to studying for THIS YEAR’S exam.

Below is a quick list of things to remember for next year’s test that will dramatically improve your chances.

Don’t start too late!

How many of you started a couple of months ago and are now freaking out? You’re going to need around 300 hours of studying to learn the material. Do not think you can cram this into 12 weeks and that nothing will happen to upset your schedule. Life happens and you need to allow extra time for studying.

Be organized.

Set out a reasonable study plan that will allow you to cover the material multiple times and involve active learning (practice problems). Failing to make out a study plan means you are going to jump around the curriculum, most likely focusing on the easy stuff and avoiding the topics you really should be studying. We put together a post of our best tips for a study plan and how to pass the exams in a previous post.

Be efficient.

I tried every year to get through the official curriculum and every year I had to re-learn that it was not the most efficient way to study. You are going to see 95% of the most important material in condensed study guides but you are going to be able to cover it in half the time. Spend your time on the activities that will lead to the highest level of recall in the shortest amount of time like practice problems and study guides.

Stick to your plan!

Burnout is not an excuse. Procrastinating all week until you have to cram 15 hours of studying into the weekend will lead only to a fail band. There is an incredible breadth and depth of material and it will tax your commitment. Avoid the temptation to take the easy route because it’s only easy in that you get to spread your studying over two or more years.

We’ll continue to do a post a week here on the FinQuiz blog.

Check in every once in a while and we’ll keep you on track for next year’s exam.

Good luck on Saturday!

Joseph Hogue, CFA

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