The Essential Post-exam CFA Checklist

The first thing you need to do is most obviously, relax. Congratulations, you have made it through another year and one step closer to earning your charter.
While you have a few months of well-earned rest and relaxation coming there are a few things you can do now to make things easier next year.

  • Set your reminders. Setting an email reminder to be delivered when you want to start studying is a good way to make sure you start early and stay on track. I use http://www.memotome.com/ for quite a few different important dates, it’s free and simple to use.
  • The 2012 exam calendar is available at https://www.cfainstitute.org/programs/cfaprogram/exams/Pages/cfa_exam_calendars.aspx and will give you an idea of the 2013 calendar. Pricing discounts are available through mid-September and many local societies offer scholarships, so make sure you register early. At our society, we typically have about 10 exam scholarships and a few from 3rd party study providers. Getting involved with your society now through volunteering can help your chances at getting a scholarship in the fall.
  • Check your passport for expiration! Get this or any needed corrections taken care of before next year. The processing time may take up to six months so don’t delay.
  • Take a moment to reflect on your study schedule for this year’s exam. Did you start too late? Were you able to stick with it? Were there things beyond your control that got in the way? I have advocated starting early and usually started around October/November myself, but I realize this is too early for some. A phased start might be something to think about, starting with just five hours or so a week in November/December then ramping up to a full schedule in January. This will help you get started early but avoid burning out before exam day.
  • Remember, the average candidate spends around 300 hours studying for each exam. Don’t count on being able to study more than 15-20 hours per week unless you are a full-time student. Life gets in the way, plan accordingly.

Understand that the strategy for passing each level is different from the last. While the curriculum is similar, usually just more detailed in different places, the format of each exam is different and the core topic areas change. Check out our previous posts for each exam level for specific suggestions:
http://www.finquiz.com/blog/2012/05/14/how-to-pass-the-cfa-level-i-exam/
http://www.finquiz.com/blog/2012/05/15/how-to-pass-the-cfa-level-ii-exam/
http://www.finquiz.com/blog/2012/05/15/how-to-pass-the-level-iii-cfa-exam/

If you plan on reading through all of the official curriculum, you need to start early and leave plenty of time. Besides reading through a few thousand pages, you will need to work the practice problems and other resources. Study guides and question bank software was always a staple of my own study schedule, though I did use the curriculum as well.
Let me know if I forgot anything. Thanks,
Joseph Hogue, CFA

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