I’m finding many people on the forum are asking for advice regarding the upcoming level 1 exam so I thought I’d share a few quick thoughts before I disappear again to conquer my latest music score.
My first advice if you haven’t started studying, start. Now.
Assuming you won’t touch your books till August, you have four months to cover six volume and set aside the final few weeks for review and practice exams. That means you need to get through approximately one volume every two weeks and that isn’t accounting for the fact that some topics require more dedication and care. Something like financial reporting analysis. Like I said, it is time to crack open the books and look at what is hidden inside.
On a completely different but related tangent.
Music and studying for the CFA have much in common. With the June exam behind me and job searching ahead of me I still have leftover time to do other stuff. One of those “other” stuff is learning music. And I’ve found that much of the discipline required to learn an instrument is useful in studying for the CFA exam. University exams pale in comparison to the CFA exam and comparing it to the CFA exam is useless. Music on the other hand has many useful parallels.
Such as repetition. Repeat the concepts you have gone over previously, again and again. Much of the material isn’t difficult to grasp and watching the video lectures may almost make the material seem exceedingly easy. Remember the difficulty of the CFA lies in the breadth of the material so repeat. And then do it again for good measure. Generally at the music school I go to, students start preparing for a piece six months in advance to a recital, yikes (and much like CFA prep)! So don’t let people convince you that you have ample amounts of time – you really don’t.
Be familiar with the jargon. This isn’t just a lesson we can learn for music. It applies for any professional group, know what the words means. Different words means different things for different sections and if you have a academic background in finance pay even closer attention to the meanings. If I remember correctly some of terms I used had a slightly different meaning in the CFA curriculum.
Warm up before you start your study session just like you’d warm up with scales. This is a perfect time to review the formulas you have covered and main concepts. Write down any tricks or useful idea you think are worth remembering and review them daily until you have them internalized and you can hum them in your sleep.
Practice doing question. The CFA exam will test your comprehension and the time allocated is ample however if you don’t have enough practice doing question you will fumble and trip over tricks that they embed in the questions. Be comfortable applying the formulas and be sure you can recall them correctly.
Don’t brush past ethics because you think you are an ethical person, you probably are but CFAI has it’s own guidelines and regulations you have to adhere too. No ethical person would somehow know that client records should be kept for seven years, it is just something you have to sit down and learn.
And most importantly be patient with yourself. It is alright if you don’t get everything down on the first try. If you put in the time required and study following a disciplined study plan hopefully you’ll find the results you are looking for.
And if you have questions you can ask us at 300 hours.
I hope to see you around,
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