CFA CFA General CFA in 18 Months: How & Why I Did Level I

CFA in 18 Months: How & Why I Did Level I

  • This topic has 75 replies, 30 voices, and was last updated Jul-18 by Shah8216.
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    • Zee Tan
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      CFA in 18 Months: How & Why I Did Level I

      By Sophie,  Guest Contributor .  Check out her  previous posts  to learn how to optimise your life and ace the CFA exams in 18 months even with a full-time job. How does one obtain the CFA…

      Read the full story here

    • Maroon5
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      @Sophie, I need some of your superpower here. Following your schedule for June L1 and (still) trying to finish reading through the materials before April! :-B

    • tacheman
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      This post never fails to inspire. I’m not saying that I will, or want to emulate @sophie, but knowing her case always helps me push on 🙂

    • Sophie Macon
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      Aw thanks guys! :”> I’m always here to keep you guys going!”

    • Hussain
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      Hey Sophie, Thanks for fueling me with a great amount of motivation.
      I would like to ask whether I’ll be eligible to sit L2 exam in June 2014, the thing is that I’ll only be graduating with a degree in April 2014.

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hi @Hussain, you are definitely starting your CFA studies at a young age! Unfortunately, according to CFAI rules, you can’t register for Level 2 until you got your degree. Having it by April 2014 is too late as mid March 2014 would be the final deadline for L2 June 2014 registration, I’m afraid.

      Try for June 2015 definitely @Hussain.

    • Snippy
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      This is such an inspirational + motivational read! Every. Single. Time.

    • Zee Tan
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      @sophie’s just really hardcore. 😀

    • Sarah
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      @Zee you are in the same league as Sophie

    • Zee Tan
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      @diya I failed Level 2 once. I should get the Sparta badge actually 😀

    • Sophie Macon
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      I just got lucky guys. @Zee is the real whiz kid – the only reason he failed was he was studying French at the same time as Level 2 while working!

    • Sarah
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      I want to duplicate @Sophie’s success (though technically it wouldn’t be as awesome since I’m not working) and whenever I feel frustrated I just think of @Sophie for a motivational boost.


      @Zee
      being a charterholder makes you hardcore by default in my opinion. I admit I am also being a bit biased since I think you are totally awesome. :p oro oro…

    • Zee Tan
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    • Ishita
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      So I’m a university student from Toronto studying in Niagra doing a BBA with a concentration in finance. I am seriously confused about what to do when I graduate, I know more than anything I want to do my CFA but I’ve always wanted a Masters as well. There are many universities that offer combined Mfin/CFA programs but to do both I have to take vigorous tests for them, many masters program require work experience, which I have none relevant to my career path, however some also say that if I want to be just as competitive as those with work experience I should do my CFA level 1 exam, my dilemma is I don’t know which one I should start studying for, or if I should even think about a masters at all and how do I start accumulating work experience?

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hi @Ishita, welcome to 300 Hours 🙂

      First up, most people don’t know what the want to do when they graduate, and that includes me. So don’t worry, your dilemma is normal!

      It depends what you want to try as a career at this point. I assume it’s finance related at this point for my answer.

      However, having a Masters AND a CFA seems like an overkill to me personally, I doubt it adds much more to your career (it starts to hit the point of diminishing return). I have both myself, and my personal recommendation is to go start accumulating work experience and study CFA on the side.

      Why? CFA is better recognised internationally and allows better career mobility if you have such aspirations. Plus CFA is like another postgrad qualification anyway. And you gain useful work experience on the side, which helps towards your charterholder qualifications later on. So it’s killing 2 birds with 1 stone.

      I’d say look for a finance-related junior role if you can upon graduation, and embark on your CFA studies on the side. Another Masters isn’t necessary here.

    • Zee Tan
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      @diya may also be able to add something here @Ishita. CFA/Masters programs aren’t something I’m too familiar with (although I have both I earned them separately).

      Practically, I’d agree with @Sophie although I suspect your motivation for wanting to do a masters is more personal. If masters + CFA is something dear to you then your options can be to either do as @sophie suggested (drop masters and start CFA on the side), or work for a bit (to gather work exp) then start your combined program. My understanding based on your question is that they will require some work experience anyway, so might as well start. 🙂

      Welcome to the 3H Community! 🙂

    • Sarah
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      @Ishita welcome to the 300hour’s community.

      If you want to go to the more prestigious universities for a masters work experience is essential. Queen’s lets you get away with the work experience requirement if you have already passed all 3 CFA exams (this information is a little old – they might have changes things since then).

      University of Toronto’s Mfin program is a part time program and requires that you have at least 2 years experience and are still working (though that isn’t explicitly a requirement but that is why it is structured as a part time program and what the recruitment guys told me when I talked to them ).

      I was talking to someone I know that works at Scotio McLeod and he was telling me that their investment banking side of the business only hires MBA (for better or for worse) so if you aren’t sure what you want I’d suggest putting your Masters on the back burner and starting your CFA on the side and work on gaining work experience.

      Also why would you pay crazy Master tuition for the same information you are gaining by studying for the CFA on your own. I looked into the combined CFA/Masters program but finally decided that the ROA didn’t justify this project.

    • ARGOS7
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      Dear Sophie,

      Do you think yhat is possible when english is not your native tongue, any advice ? to work in spanish and study in english is like swiching a tv channel from an ordinary movie to a terror one.
      Thank for all
      Argos

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hi @ARGOS7, that’s definitely possible. I get what you mean on switching TV channels. On the bright side it’s Spanish, imagine switching from Mandarin!. So I’d say more practice papers would help, and unfortunately is one of the few remedies. Brushing up English in general through watching English films, reading English books etc would be more interesting and help immensely too (but priority should be reviewing your CFA materials of course).

    • Ishita
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      Thank you all so much! everyone is so helpful here, I’ll definitely be back with more questions 🙂

    • hairyfairy
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      Let us know what you’ve decided when you do @Ishita!

    • AjFinance
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      @ARGOS7 When learning/adapting yourself to a language, it always helps to “think” in that language. Por ejemplo, when you are watching a football match, when you find it really interesting, you might think in your head “Que gran partido!”, try thinking to yourself “What a great game!”.

      I’m not a native English speaker either, but I always had exposure to the language, and overtime while trying to adapt to languages, I felt it works best the way I described it above. Apart from that, just like @Sophie mentioned, try practicing the language whenever you can. And use the above technique I mentioned, it would help. Buenas Suerte Amigo! Piensas que “Sí te puedes” :-bd

    • ARGOS7
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      Thanks to all, you are very kind people, in particular Sophie and AjFinance, this allow me to be more confdent, I sat for the CFAexam and fail in economy but in the other subjects got good mark, so I thought, my english is still weak for this, I have to double the bet, that´s the way I think we should live. Again thanks very much to your support lets keep in touch.
      Argos

    • Sophie Macon
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      No worries @argos7, we are all here to help each other out. Have a browse in the forum and you’ll already learn loads. Start a discussion too if you have any questions! See you around 🙂

    • ARGOS7
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      Thanks Sophie I´doing this dayly, I´ve got old exams and questions, starting my review, any advice…I saw that there is an event on sunday… what is is about…skype ?

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hi @argos7, sounds like you’re on the right track! Event on sunday? Oh, you mean here at the forum? Oh yes, we have a competition to win Elan’s 11th hour guide. Check out the rules here, it’s really easy to join and it’s gonna be fun.

    • ARGOS7
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      Thank´s i´ll try to be there,

      Argos

    • _MisoMiso_
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      Hi Sophie, I am a lawyer. I deal mostly with commercial agreements and I have gotten more interested in the financial aspects of things especially corporate and project finance. I wonder if the CFA will be a worthy certification. I am thinking about writing the Level 1 exams in December 2013, However, as I have no prior financial background, do you think that is enough time or will it be better to wait for the June 2014 exams? Thanks

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hi @_MisoMiso_ ! First and foremost, I love your name and welcome to the community 🙂 With consistent hard work, even without a ‘proper finance’ background, you would have enough time for Dec 2013. There’s quite a few of us here in the community who are from non-finance background too (e.g. IT), and they are progressing fine to take Level 2 this June. So no worries on that point.

      On your comment on whether CFA would be a worthy certification for you, I think it depends. It’s definitely not necessary, and can be build up through transactional experience, but if it’s something that interests you, and you would be willing to put in the hours for the studies, I think it’d be a huge plus as it helps to understand the finance terminology in your area of speciality too.

      Personally I work very closely to lawyers (+ accountants), and I find myself learning the legal terminology quickly as I am the ‘commercial person’ that work with them to effect certain financial transactions – so in a way I’m the opposite case of you, and I do wish I was better at drafting things the way they do, but unfortunately I’m less interested in learning all aspects of law, and pick it up as I go along.

      I hope this helps! Let me know what you’d decided on finally then.

    • hafsasmalik
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      Hi sophie…
      Im appearing for level 1 in june 2013, i have done bba, n no working experience yet as i hv finished my degree last year.. Im very upset as i think im not well prepared.. :'( though i hv been preparing since nov bt it was on n off.. N now im left with 23 days only.. Will start practice exams in a week or so.. I think im late n im very upset.. :'(

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hi @hafsasmalik, don’t worry. Why do you feel you’re not prepared? Have you seen my suggested 5 step plan for the last month? I think it’s time to move on to practice papers now and just keep on revising and practising. If you’re in this full time you have loads of time left. But just make use of it wisely.

    • hafsasmalik
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      @sophie.. Thanks for a quick reply..
      I started preparation using the approach to just read it all at first… I am done with reading all books 3 times and my 4th go is about to b finished but i feel that im lacking the deep knowledge and understanding.. Like the formulas etc.. I don’t know im just confused and sometimes feel like crying which is disturbing my study routine too..
      I got a new mitivation by reading ur forum.. And 1st time in my life i was forced to signup for this and have a talk with you, i felt it may help me to get motivated.. Because may b this is what i need.. Because i feel depression when i count days.. I started counting when i was left with 78 days and now just 23 days.. 🙁

    • Sophie Macon
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      Look on the bright side @hafsasmalik, the pain will be over soon once you work hard these 23 days. And you’re gonna make sure your hard work is worth it! Panicking and worrying doesn’t help you, but focusing to revise does! 🙂

    • arslan19
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      Hi @sophie.. I’m planning to start CFA and hoping to give my first attempt in Dec 2013. I’m from an ACCA background (did Paper P4 as well), so how helpful will that be in CFA..??

      Secondly, I heard that this CFA exam is really hard to pass so what you think are the key or critical factors that results in pass or fail of this exam..??

      Lastly, I want to know the possible resources which would be helpful in passing Level 1 exam apart from the sheer volume of study materials provided by CFA Institute…?? Like I mean the practicing stuff u were talking about…. From where could I get the Practice Materials and any Study Notes if possible… ?? I heard something about Schweser books but don’t know much so I want your guidance on that.. Thanks…..

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hi @arslan19 – welcome to the community!

      ACCA would be helpful for the accounting / FRA sections in CFA, but wouldn’t be as detailed. That’s a good start, but from our experience it helps in terms of speed of understanding but guarantee better results, without hard work.

      Just like ACCA, it’s a qualification that you need to spend time (productively of course!) on to earn it. As long as you put in the hours to grasp the materials and check your understanding (many times) by doing practice papers/questions under timed condition, you should stand a good chance. There’s a lot of information on our blog and forum on tips and best practices. It’s too long to explain here in the comments so I hope to see you around in the forum!

      Resources: study materials, practice papers and our community is a good bet. Don’t worry about practice papers, it’s something that I collate and highlight in the forum as we get nearer to the exam (Sep / October), you normally try practice papers in the last 1-1.5 months.

      Study notes – it depends on your preference @arslan19. As you know I didn’t have time to review CFAI’s sheer volume of materials and resorted to a study provider. Check our Reviews & Offers section has plenty of discounts for our readers 🙂 . Happy to discuss in the forum of what works better for your study style!

    • Verona
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      Hi Sophie,
      I read your article and I must tell you straight away it was very informative. I would like some advice.
      Here is my background. A 2.2 from a UK Target university in Stats with some finance modules.
      I have to sit for dec 2013 level 1 and I will start study on the 15 Sep. I will have both schewer and cfai notes.
      I have no work so I am free everyday.
      What strategy can you recommend?
      One last thing, I live in a country where there are no coffee shops/libraries and you can get killed anywhere out of your house. 🙂

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hi @Verona, welcome to the community, good to see you here 🙂

      Starting on 15 Sep with 2.5 months full time may be tight in terms of cramming so much information in, but with consistent study, taking care of yourself and lots of practice, it’ll work.

      With this in mind, I’d suggest starting right away, just going for Schweser notes given your tight timing (in terms of learning information), just to end of chapter questions of CFAI notes if you want extra practice.

      Get the qbank questions and practice papers (and CFAI mock paper when it’s out) – reserve the last 3 weeks before exams for hitting the practice exams and questions full time.

      So from 15 Sep until first week of November you need to focus on going through all the materials at least 1 round, and doing the end of chapter questions. Download this study guide as a basic planner to track and plan your deadlines for each topic. So you’ve about 7 weeks to finish all materials revision, make sure you adhere to your deadlines as you need to give yourself 3 full weeks to do practice questions, and revise sections that you’re weaker in.

      Oh, by all means, study at home 🙂

    • christine
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      @verona study at home but not in bed! 😉

    • belfastcandidate
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      Hi Sophie,

      Some really useful advice here. I was hoping to squeeze some more from you though!

      I am an equity analyst and a CFA level 1 candidate. I’m studying at a decent rate. Everything sounds ok, only that I began studying at the end of September. And I’m quite far behind, by all accounts.

      Is there any advice you can give me on what to do if starting very late? Unforuntaely I did not have your oversight to begin studying in good time.

      Thanks,

      Duncan Ferguson

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hello @belfastcandidate, glad to see you pop by 🙂

      My question to you is can you cover the whole syllabus by end of this month? If not it’s gonna be quite tight as I’d like to preserve a whole month dedicated to practice questions etc.

      In your case, I’d finish as much as I can in terms of syllabus (and I mean, really try, study whenever you’re not working/sleeping) until the end of this month, and start doing practice questions (timed as per exam) and question banks and learn as you go.

      These 2 articles I wrote should also help:
      The Last Minute Guide: How To Cram For the CFA Exams

      Increase Your Chances of Passing the CFA Exams Now

      Hope this helps!

    • belfastcandidate
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      Hi Sophie,

      Thanks for your prompt response. Those links are very useful. The big issue for me is that I can’t go through the material ruthlessly. I should really have stayed in academia, but I like to read into the material with great depth. And I haven’t done any questions yet at the end of any of the chapters/study sessions because its the only way I move beyond snails pace.

      I hope you dont begin to think that maybe I’m a lost cause because of that! Its the way I worked in all levels of education, and I find it hard to deviate from that.

      So I guess my main question is whether there is a secret recipe beyond those last minute plans? I am studying the material every hour of the day that I’m awake and not working, but as I’m sure you know, its difficult because work spills into the night, and into the weekend.

      Also, are there question packages that you’d advise (if I ever get around to doing questions)?

      Thanks,

      Duncan

    • Sophie Macon
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      @belfastcandidate – it depends what your goals are. If it is to pass the exams this December, you wouldn’t have time to thoroughly go through things in detail, since you’ve started so late, hence my suggestion previously to have a (good) chance at passing this.

      Am afraid there’s no secret recipe really!

    • Zee Tan
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      I second @sophie’s advice. If the goal is to pass, one should adapt a passing-oriented approach. I completely get your ‘go through in-depth’ approach, but the candidates that I’ve seen that stuck to this seldom fared well.

    • belfastcandidate
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      Hi @Sophie and @Zee, thanks for your advice, which seems sound. I will just have to become more ruthless in my approach. This will be tough for me, but I’ll let you know how I get on (don’texpect much!).

      Also guys, any advice for exam week or on the day?

      Thanks. Duncan.

    • Zee Tan
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    • edulima
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      Hi @belfastcandidate, if you can’t deviate much from the in-depth style, why don’t you defer your exam till June ’14? Although I am exam focused (in that I try EOC questions and will take the last month to do q-banks and mock exams), I like to spend enough time to understand what I’m studying. The only way to reconcile the two is by starting early and keeping a strong pace throughout the prep time.

    • JayR
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      @sophie . ^:)^

    • belfastcandidate
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      Hi @edulima, I think you have probably hit the nail on the head in that the only way to incorporate studying in depth and passing the exams are to begin early. Unfortunately, I didn’t carry out the latter, and thus the former is difficult.

      However, I will persevere. Ultimately I’m doing the CFA’s to learn (not as a gold star on my CV although those sorts of things are very welcome), and thus if I learn and don’t pass, then at least it will be net net a little bit positive.

      Thanks for the advice. Very helpful indeed.

      Duncan.

    • edulima
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      I hear you @belfastcandidate, I’m in a similar position as you: doing this more for the learning and a title would not be refused. :>

    • Zee Tan
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      @belfastcandidate & @edulima – admire your efforts! =D>

    • Jennifer
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      Hello! It is indeed an inspiring post that motivates me to take up Level I which I had procrastinated for a long time. I need some advice here. Are the study materials from CFA Institute sufficient? or is Schweser (6 volumes) books a better alternative? Appreciate your feedback. thanks!

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hello @Jennifer‌ – glad to see you join 300HC 🙂

      CFA Institute materials are sufficient certainly, as it forms the comprehensive syllabus for the CFA qualification. However, some candidates find the material too extensive and lengthy, and due to time constraints, prefer to use books by third party provider such as Schweser, Elan, Fitch etc (you’ll see them all in our Offers section). There are plenty of people who used one or another – it’s a personal choise really!

    • Jennifer
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      Thanks @Sophie for your advice. I went through the e curriculum and it is really lengthy, compared to Schweser’s notes which are less lengthy and more exam focused. My friend has Schweser for June 2014. However I plan to take December 2014. Can I share the notes with my friend although it is of different version? Will there be huge difference between the two?

    • Sophie Macon
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      It’s always a tricky question @Jennifer‌ . My preference is to go with new materials to avoid not knowing the changes (and not having to worry about that(. That said, since it’s only 1 season apart, the changes should be minor and you can check the syllabus changes on CFA’s website to make sure you are aware of the changes (if any).

    • usman_fazli
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      Hello Sophie.
      I am Usman, CFA Level 1 qualified. I am finding it difficult to get a start in finance sector in my country.
      Previously I have completed my ACCA examinations and now working as ERP consultant in PWC Pakistan. Can you kindly guide and suggest where and how should i research for vacancies and pursue my career objective.

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hi @usman_fazli‌ , first of all, welcome to 300Hours!

      It’s quite a big question, and I’d suggest you start a new topic in the forum itself so you can share it with the community too. There’s a big yellow ‘new discussion’ button on the top left of the forum. Speak soon!

    • josiahj91
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      Hi there! Just out of curiosity, did you buy the most expensive package from Schweser? The one for $1400?

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hi @josiahj91‌ – I only got study notes and practice exams.

    • KevinFernando
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      Hi Sophie and Zee,

      I’m glad I chanced upon this website! I have an undergrad degree in mech engineering and will be pursuing my MS Finance come August. I’ve been networking pretty heavily in hopes of getting into corporate/investment banking. After connecting with the director of corporate relationship’s at my school, he advised to keep Valuations at a Big4 open because we have a lot of traction in those companies. Now, he’s also told me that a CFA might not be ideal but it’s something that is “looked upon positively”. He said the school’s managed to place quite a few of it’s students in EY and the like and all of them have CFA level 1. I’m all in for IB but truth is I’ll be coming from a non-target school as an international student and want to keep my options open. I’ve decided to start studying for the CFA. I have a few questions for you if you have the time:

      a. I’m like you Sophie and cannot stomach a lot of text and given the short amount of time I have, I really want to get the meat of the material. Is the 2nd option at Kaplan’s ideal, i.e. Schweser notes + Practice questions?
      b. I’ll be looking to take the exam in December 2014. Is there a difference between doing well at the CFA and just passing? Do recruiters/employers care?

      I’m looking forward to hearing from you and reading more on the website!

      Keep up the good work.

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hello @KevinFernando‌, good to have you join us in this community, welcome 🙂

      To answer your questions:

      a. Sounds like getting 3rd party material is your thing then. Back in my time Kaplan was the only provider I knew (and before 300 Hours existed) – there are other excellent providers like Elan and Fitch too. It may be worthwhile doing some research to see which suits you best (for main materials). Kaplan was a good choice for me then, but with more options now you can mix and match stuff from different providers to get some variety (e.g. practice exams etc).

      b. Great! Sounds like a good time to start your prep then. Normally advice giving yourself around 6 months – see a rough guide here on how to form your study plan. And no, recruiters/employers don’t care about detailed scores – just passing it will be a great achievement itself!

    • ayushjain
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      Hi sophie
      Your information and tips was really very helpful.
      I am having my bachelors degree,further I am pursuing law. I want to get into the finance sector,so doing CFA be helpful?
      And also will law subjects help in my CFA preparation,if I opt for it.
      Can you also tell me know what other courses can I opt for with my law(if you have any idea).

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hey @ayushjain – CFA should be helpful for your career switch into finance, any sectors you’re interested in particular?

      CFA does not assume nor require any finance background, so there’s no need to worry about that there. As long as you work hard on the syllabus and practice questions, you’ve equally (if not better) chance of passing. I’m not familiar with any law subjects that may help with CFA, but this point is irrelevant given the previous point.

      Hope this helps, and welcome to the community!

    • ayushjain
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      Hi sophie

      Yes your comment and your advice really is beneficial
      Is CFP a better option over CFA?

    • ryanf7215
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      Hello Sophie,

      I read that you got the Schweser books. Did you just get the books or did you get one of the packages? Are the books sufficient or do you recommend a package with additional information and tools? Thanks for your blog it’s very encouraging

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hey @ryanf7215‌ , yes only Schweser books were available years ago when I took the CFA exams. There’s more choices now and they are good too.


      I only took the books as I work well with paper and not any online methods – old fashion perhaps! So do choose packages that suit your personal study style 🙂 

    • ryanf7215
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      One more question. Are there comparable differences between the content the different companies provide (Schweser, Elan, etc)? In your experience and from what others have told you is there one you’d recommend? Are the Schweser Notes sufficient to pass the exam?

      Thanks Again

      Ryan

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hey @ryanf7215‌, the CFA curriculum is excellent with very detailed explanation of the concepts. However, sometimes for practical passing-the-exam purposes, there may not be enough time (especially for candidates with full time work) to cover all the pages given how extensive the curriculum is.

      This is where the third party books come in. They provide a pretty good summary of the concepts and cuts the time you take to study. As I had only used Schweser in my time (as it was also the only main provider at that time), I can’t comment on other providers. That said, here is a general gist/gut feel from what I gather from others (300H-ers, feel free to add in your thoughts too to help @ryanf7215‌ out):

      1. In general, to save time, a lot of candidates use third party books, supplemented by End of Chapter questions from the curriculum for extra practice questions
      2. Notes from the third party providers tend to be similar (as they have to cover all sections of the curriculum to make sure you pass after all!), but the style of explanation on certain topics may differ. Some candidates prefer one to the other. The key differentiators between the providers are sometimes things OTHER than the material itself. E.g. it could be price (cheaper), better video lectures, certain lecturers, whether it has classes, and other add-ons that you prefer etc. 
      3. That said, Schweser, Elan Guides, Fitch are probably the top 3 out there and are widely used. We’ve heard good things and ratings for all of them. Probably good to check out their Offers, Profiles (under the “Materials” section) for a quick snapshot.

      And yes, the third party notes themselves are sufficient to pass the exams, I did it that way too. Sometimes some providers are better at certain levels than others, e.g. I heard many comments that Elan Guides is better for L3 than Schweser. But I guess you can always mix and match and try different providers as you progress!

      Hope this helps, and welcome to the community!

    • sumon
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      I also attempted all three CFA exams in merely 18 months. Unlike those whose goal is to simply pass the CFA exams, my goals was to learn/understand the CFA curriculum material – yes, call m stupid. Thus, I read the entire 11,000+page CFA actual curriculum and worked all end-of-chapter problems. I also logged over 1,200+ pages of detailed study notes for the entire curriculum.

      I attempted CFA Level 1 exam in Atlanta along with 600 CFA candidates. I finished the exam in 4 hours and was the first to leave in both the morning and afternoon sessions. I passed all sections, and I surmise I missed no more than 12 problems. I was pumped after the exam and was determined to take Level 2 exam in 6 months.

      I completed Exam Level 2 in 5 hours, and I easily passed – pumped again. (Don’t buy into he CFA mumbo jumbo there are no trick questions)

      I put in the same amount of time for Level 3 as I did for Levels 1 and 2 (800-1000 hrs per each exam) and placed in the top decile of those who did not pass (The failure rate was the highest in the history of the CFA Level 3 exam).

      Unfortunately, the CFA exams resemble a tennis match rather than a basketball game. It matters not your margin of success per exam. They simply register whether or not you won (passed) or lost (failed) in each exam. Thus, a marginal winner is deemed no different from a slam dunk winner.

      Bottom-line,
      1) I learned a hell of a lot
      2) I worked my ass off for each exam
      3) I did not obtain the CFA Charterholder by a smidgen

      Will I attempt Level 3 again? – Hell no!!
      My goal was to learn as much as I could in an abbreviated timeframe.
      I accomplished that feat. Passing for passing sake is not my goal.

      Did I mention all exams were attempted at age 50+?

      Only 4 of 1,000 CFA candidates are age 50+, much less even attempt Level 1.

      I sat for all 3 exams in 18 months and have not shame.

      I still maintain have my 1,200+ pages of handwritten CFA curriculum notes as evidence of my commitment.

      I proudly place my exams results against CFA Charterholder.

      Have fun studying – I mean memorizing.

      Brian K. Lee

    • jaghjough
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      Hello Sophie,
      I’m just beginning the preparation of the CFA level I exam for December 21016, i’m in a full time work in a consultancy firm and I really need tips on how to plan and organize my strategy preparation.
      So a lot of friends told me that you can just use the summary in each reading (CFA books) and go through the practice problems and you will be efficient for the exam.

      So do you recommend me same or should I go through whole readings which will take more consequent time preparation

      Thank you for reverting back .

      Rgds

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hey @jaghjough – thanks for writing in. Time is a little tight for Level 1 Dec prep if you haven’t started at all. I’m not sure if summaries would help much, a lot of learnings do come from question-based practice and understanding of the concepts. It depends on your background as well, but if you can, whole readings are best, although I understand extremely tough given the time remaining.

    • mkazma
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      Guys can I study with Schweser level I 2015 books for the June 2016 session ? is it okey ?

      Thanks!

    • Faisal
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      Hi Sophie this is faisal from Pakistan working as Manager Accounts in reputed shipping company and married also having two kids, very busy life dont know can i do CFA or not,
      thinking to start study without registration just to check that its easy for me or not plz let me know how can i start?

      Second option to apply for internship in any CFA society in USA?

      awaiting for kind reply

    • Shah8216
      Participant
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      Hello Sophie,

      First of all thanks for the helpful post. I am planning to sit for June2016 CFA level I exam and will start studying from January 2016. Could you kindly guide me whether the currciculum material of CFA institute is sufficient for the preparation?, also whether Schweser “Self-study package” is sufficient or is it better to purchase and work with “premium-plus package” for the preparation of level-I?
      (some of my friends told me to work with “Schweser Notes package” or “Wiley Efficient learning Self-study course” only, and use practice and mock exams from websites such as “Analystnotes.com”. In your opinion is it sufficient?)

      Thanks in advance for your reply.

      kind regards,

    • Sophie Macon
      Keymaster
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      Hi @Faisal – we have plenty of community members that talk about juggling CFA with a family, so you’re not alone and it is doable with discipline and hardwork. Here are a couple of articles that may be helpful:

      Hope this helps!

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hi @Shah8216 – it’s a tricky question to answer really as it varies by individual and study style. It’s all up to what format works best for you really to get the job done.

      CFA curriculum alone is sufficient for the preparation definitely, some of us studied using 3rd party provider’s ‘self study packages’ and that works fine too. It seems that you’re leaning towards the self study route anyway, so it’s a matter of choosing whether to stick to CFA curriculum itself (very thorough, detailed but excellent source of knowledge), or if time is little (you may have to spend extra to get condensed versions from 3rd party providers). If you’re going for 3rd party providers, it’s probably best to go with something basic (just the study notes for example), and then supplement it with mock papers from a variety of providers (reason explained in our constantly updated Ultimate Guide to Practice Exams) through the 300 Hours Store.

      Hope this helpful.

    • Shah8216
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      Thanks Sophie! you guessed right, I’ll be preparing with self study program.

      If I get the gist of your reply, “””it’s better to focus mainly on CFA curriculum and supplement it with 3rd party study notes, and for last weeks before the exam I’ll just focus on mock exams and practice questions while clearing concepts regarding the questions which i got wrong.”””

      Thanks  🙂

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