Becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst is not a piece of cake. It requires serious commitment alongside necessary sacrifices and ample efforts to pass the examinations. While preparing for CFA, candidates must invest their time and energy into the preparation of the examinations to increase their chances of passing. Those with a strong command over the subject matter will require less preparation time compared to those with a poor command over the subjects.
In this blog, we will discuss everything you need to know about preparing for CFA while also looking into the best study material & courses you can take to pass one of the hardest exams in the field of finance.
What is CFA?
Before we start talking about the right study material for CFA preparation, it is important for you to understand what CFA is. The Chartered Financial Analyst is a professional qualification that is recognized globally. Everything related to CFA is regulated by the CFA Institute.
CFA aspirants have to pass all 3 difficult levels of the CFA examination that include topics such as economics, security analysis, money management, accounting, and ethics.
Known for being one of the most challenging & toughest qualifications to achieve in the field of finance, CFA is also considered as the Gold Standard in the finance field.
A respected designation in the finance industry, CFA is a qualification that requires hard work, dedication, and determination.
Tips to Help You Pass the CFA Examination
The key to cracking CFA exams is to prepare smartly and effectively. A proper plan and guidance from a good mentor alongside the right study material can help you achieve your goals. In this section, we’re here with 8 pro tips to help you in the preparation process:
1. Don’t Try to Study Everything
It is not vital to know every single word of the CFA syllabus to pass the examinations. CFA’s official website often provides the topic weights for every level. Going through these weights will give you an idea of which topics have more questions in the exam and which ones appear less frequently.
Doing so will allow you to focus on fewer topics and study effectively. This proves to be a smart strategy and helps candidates increase their chances of passing the exams.
2. Value Time
As per the Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) Institute, candidates are recommended to study for 285 hours. However, depending on your efficiency, ability to manage time, background, and course preparation skills, you can reduce the study time significantly. Remember, time is valuable and you should do everything in your power to ensure you don’t end up wasting it.
3. Come up With a Solid Plan
Give yourself six months to prepare for each level of CFA examination. Giving yourself ample time will ensure that you can spread the course material evenly and create a strong routine for studying & revising effectively. No matter how many hours you plan to study, it is vital to stick to the routine and stay on track. Only then it’ll be possible to crack the examinations.
4. Get Your Hands on a Preparation Course
While a lot of candidates have the required dedication to sit through hours of studying without getting distracted & preparing smartly, every candidate should get a prep course to help ease out the process. CFA exams aren’t easy to tackle, and trying to pass them all by yourself can lead to overlooked details, missed syllabus and deadlines, and misuse of time.
Getting your hands on a course will ensure that you get guidance throughout the process, get information about the important topics and have effective time management.
5. Get a Grip on Your Concepts
The CFA examination revolves around your understanding of concepts and requires you to have a strong command of the concepts instead of trying to learn everything word-by-word. Thus, you should get a grip on your concepts while also leaving the part of the syllabus aside that you find extremely time consuming.
6. Practice Makes the Man Perfect
Each level of CFA examination is 6 hours long and requires solid time management. Being able to study the course material and learning everything is only a part of the process. The trickiest part is being able to understand the questions and quickly write the answers so that you complete the examination on time.
CFA Institute & other CFA prep courses often develop numerous mock tests so that students can practice giving the lengthy examination and get an understanding of what they should expect. You should practice giving the CFA examination by appearing in the mock examinations to get an understanding of your strong suits and work on your weaknesses.
7. It Isn’t Wrong to Take Breaks
Yes, you have to put in a lot of time and effort while preparing for the CFA examinations, but that doesn’t mean you need to overwork yourself. You’re allowed to take breaks whenever you feel overwhelmed or feel the need to refresh & relax your mind. Whenever you feel like you’ve overworked yourself, take a 30-60 minute break to allow your mind to reset before you start studying again. Doing so will ensure that you stay at the peak of your efficiency and are able to cope with the vast syllabus of this qualification.
8. The Financial Calculator Should be Your Best Friend
Candidates are allowed to use a financial calculator while writing their CFA exams. A financial calculator is to help make calculations easier for you.
However, if you don’t practice using it and don’t know how it works then it can become problematic and time consuming for you. So it is essential that you practice using a financial calculator from the beginning so that you can crack some questions easily and score well in your exams.
Best study material for CFA
Now that you know how vast the syllabus of CFA examinations is & how intense they can get, it is vital to get your hands on good study material to clear CFA. The best study material will ensure that you don’t waste your time and study effectively.
It will also ensure that you don’t skip the important syllabus while leaving the unimportant topics behind. In this section, we’ll discuss the best study material for CFA:
Free E-book from IMS Proschool
IMS Proschool offers a free e-book to CFA aspirants to help them kickstart their CFA journey by understanding the content of CFA in depth.
The book’s contents are written in a power-point format which allows the candidates to understand everything quickly and easily. The e-book also comes with a sample MCQ list with their answers & thorough explanations.
Kaplan-Schweser Guide Books
Considering the CFA syllabus is never ending, it becomes challenging and almost impossible to study everything given in the syllabus. This is where guides like Kaplan-Schweser come to play. The Kaplan-Schweser guide book will help you distinguish between important topics and unimportant elements of the CFA course material.
This guide will help you study smartly & effectively while ensuring that you don’t miss out on any important topics of the CFA examinations. The guide makes for an amazing supplement to the CFA books and they prove to be helpful during revision sessions right before the examinations.
Wiley Efficient Learning
Wiley Efficient Learning provides various packages of course materials for different levels of the CFA examinations. Each package covers different topics and the students also get the option to email the instructors for clearing their doubts. Wiley’s courses for CFA preparation are updated regularly and they only include the latest syllabus and topics of the examination.
Study Materials Alone Aren’t Enough, A Mentor Will Help You Become A CFA
The right study material can ensure that you study efficiently and don’t waste time learning unimportant concepts during CFA preparation. However, is good study material the key to cracking the CFA examinations? No. To crack the CFA examination, you need a combination of the right study materials and a good mentor.
Study material alone can only help you study smartly, but a good mentor will ensure that you manage time, learn quickly, understand the concepts properly, and make the best use of the study material. To crack the CFA examinations and become a qualified professional, you’ll need a good mentor who’ll guide you through the process and offer A-one assistance.
The mentor will also make sure that all your concepts get cleared and that you don’t have any doubts related to the concepts. Thus, you should get a mentor to ensure that you pass your CFA examinations with flying colors.
How IMS Proschool Helps Students In Acing CFA In The 1st Attempt
Do you want to become a Charterholder but don’t know where to start? IMS Proschool is here to help you. IMS Proschool is a renowned institution that offers The CFA Program to help candidates ace CFA examinations in the 1st attempt.
The CFA Prep Program offered by IMS Proschool cover various topics of the CFA examinations in-depth and candidates also get various certifications after the successful completion of these programs.
The candidates are trained under industry experts who ensure thorough understanding of the concepts of the students and clear their doubts at every step of the way. These skilled mentors at IMS Proschool are dedicated individuals who will ensure that you clear CFA in the 1st attempt.
The Bottom Line
In this blog, we have discussed what CFA is, pro tips that’ll help you prepare for CFA examinations, the right course material, the need for a good mentor to crack CFA, and the best CFA prep course available on the market.
If you want to start preparing for CFA examinations, you can rely on IMS Proschool to help you through each level. The mentors at IMS Proschool will ensure that you prepare well and get ready to ace the CFA examinations.