CFA CFA General Revision Optimization

Revision Optimization

  • This topic has 16 replies, 10 voices, and was last updated Jun-17 by psh33942.
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    • Sarah
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      After @christine’s lovely blog post on keeping calm and focusing on improving your test score, I felt obliged to share my revision methodology. This is more level I focused at level I candidates.

      I’m sure every candidate has heard “do any many practice exams as possible” and in general do as many questions as possible. As the old adage goes, “practice makes perfect”.

      So now that you have finished going through the curriculum at least once, you are tackling a whole different animal called practice exams, a six hours exam. Just thinking of doing a full six hours exam simulation gave me shivers. So I’ve tried to break down the revision into manageable parts.

      Start with a full session simulation (3 hours). It is enough just to do one session to assess the clarity of your understanding. When you are doing the first practice exam don’t be too worried much about keeping time because take the extra time to write down your reasoning of how you reached your final answer. After that I broke down my revision into three components:

      1. Topic Management : Go through every single question and check for two things: a) that you’ve gotten the right answer b) your reasoning was correct. After this narrow down which topics you are having trouble and preferably narrowing it down to the chapter that is being troublesome. Rank them by topic weight. Topics with the greater topic weight should be reviewed first.

      2. Revision : It is impossible for a three hour exam to have covered six books of material. So go over the chapter you are having trouble with in it’s entirety. It is possible that the question you got wrong is a symptom of a weak understanding of another interrelated topic. If you have been studying using a prep provider I’d suggest switching over to the CFAI material because you get a different perspective and that might just crystallize that particular topic for you and work through the EOC questions.

      3. Practice : Do another practice exam but this time only with the sections you had trouble with and this time be strict with timing. Be confident in the material you understand and focus on the problematic topics. This allows you to review your answers before the long study session starts to wear on you. Because lets admit it a three hour exam is tiring and not the best use of your time.

      After this start the process again and again until you are satisfied with the score you are achieving. When I was doing the a practice exam session I would only give myself two hours and forty-five minutes to compensate for exam day stress. And keep all the previous exams answers sheets you have down with the notes you made while you were doing the exam. If you have time after a week and half do the same exam over again and compare if you are making the same mistakes. I tended to make the same mistake over again. It really takes time to unlearn something and relearn it the right way.

      Happy Studying!

    • Sophie Macon
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      @diya, thanks for sharing your strategy with the community on this. It looks epic. But before we discuss, I think @christine ‘s gonna cry now. Like this :(( :((

      While I’m honoured to think that I could write such an epic post, the glory should be @christine ‘s and hers only :)) – as she wrote the post!

      PS – I think you can still edit it 😉

    • Sarah
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      I can’t seem to edit from my phone @Sophie. What do I do!

    • Sophie Macon
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      I really like your methodical approach here @diya.

      Especially the part where you give the reasons for an answer and check if they are right.

      Many times there is an element of guessing, of which if you don’t write it down and compare, it would have been missed if you got that question right by chance. Well done!

    • Zee Tan
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      @Diya your comment about checking your reasoning is spot on. I’m often guilty of not doing that :p

    • lulu123
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      @Diya

      One of the best tips I heard so far! (for any kind of studying)

    • Snippy
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      These tips are really really useful @Diya. Thanks a bunch!

    • christine
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      Great post @diya! 😉

    • mcricky
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      very useful post!

    • Sarah
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      It means a lot coming from you @christine ^.^

    • tacheman
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      @diya great point about unlearning. I have the same problem but never thought of it as a process of ‘unlearning’…

    • Sarah
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      @TacheMan it is especially difficult if you’ve memorized something incorrectly.

    • mattyc
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      Very helpful @diya. Your methodology targets problem areas very effeciently. One thing that I’ve read on this site and would just like to add is that doing the 3 hour tests in full can really improve your mental stamina for exam day, so towards the end it would behoove you to build up that test taking endurance. Good luck to all!

    • psh33942
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      Thank you @Sarah for this methodology. It reminded me of some exam-test taking skills I had forgotten about! I am curious about something and wondered if anyone can shed some light as I am starting my prep for Level 1.

      I am taking the Creighton University MSAPM course (though I am heavily considering dropping it, see another post). I also have the Schweser PremiumPlus package for Level 1. I downloaded TimePrep to create a study schedule.

      1. When should I do my first practice test? (Do the Schweser Practice Tests differ vastly from the Mock one via CFAI? This really concerns me.)
      2. Is the TimePrep app better than Schweser’s Study Planner?
      3. I’m getting a little nervous since the Schweser material for 2014 is not out yet. (Even though I got the 2014 CFAI books from Creighton back in August via VitalSource) I bought a download of previous Schweser 2013 material via eBay ($19.99 :-O )which has been helpful (especially QBank)….. Am I at overkill level with the materials I have at this point? Would getting Elan’s question bank be a good addition?

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hi @psh22942

      To answer your questions:

      1. I’d suggest the leaving the last month wholly for doing (timed) practice papers and practice questions. CFAI vs Schweser are generally slightly different in emphasis (with the latter more calculation-focused, in general) – but nothing to worry about if you’re prepared well.

      2. I haven’t tried either before as I did my own simple study planner, so would let the rest in the community to comment on that. Overall, it doesn’t matter who is ‘better’, it’s whether it gets you to stick to your schedule really.

      3. In general we suggest candidates do at least 4, but around 6 full practice papers, timed preferably. I assume you’re preparing for June 2014, and that’s a lot of time and may be a tad too early. Best to use the latest materials really to account for syllabus update. I’d say don’t be in a hurry to get a lot of materials as yet, just focus on using one set of notes (Schweser/Elan/CFAI) and get some practice papers and question bank from one provider should be sufficient.

    • psh33942
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      Thanks, @Sophie!

      I tend to be a major worrier over exams where you have to wait such a long time to do the re-take. I compensate by doing vastly too much and starting much earlier than most.

    • psh33942
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      Just completed my PTO (Paid Time Off) schedule for next year and I have the whole week prior to the exam off! WAHOO!!! I won’t have to worry about work for a week. No phone calls or e-mails. Just take it easy and do some last minute mental calisthenics to keep my CFA Level 1 candidate ninja-brain in gear. #:-S Hopefully on the day of the exam I won’t look like this =P~ or ~X( or worse :-&

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