CFA CFA Level 1 CFA Study Guide vs. Schweser, or both?

CFA Study Guide vs. Schweser, or both?

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    • Richmond1
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      Hello – I am taking the Level 1 exam in June 2015 and have a general question regarding which study resource should dominate the bulk of my attention, if either.

      I have been self-studying for two months now and have developed a habit of studying the Schweser material first for a topic, then reverting back to the CFA study guide bc I think I’m missing important details. In essence, double-studying each section.

      From my perspective, the Schweser material cuts through detailed mathematical formulas and allows one to quickly solve problems; however, the CFA guides do a better job of explaining purpose (somewhat tediously) and giving applicable, real world examples. I also currently default to the CFA materials for text-heavy sections and skip Schweser.

      Has anyone only studied Scheweser and found there were problems/concepts on the test that were not introduced? Other thoughts or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

      Thanks.

    • k1rups
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      Hi I’m in the same boat to an extent in that I have the CFA books as well as the Schweser material too. What I have gleaned from reading a couple of books before starting is that the Schweser material is good enough to pass from as they cover the content sufficiently. However, for Ethics, it is perhaps more useful to focus on the CFAI books as Ethics is quite an important topic and can have an impact on your final result if you are borderline. As it carries such importance, it makes more sense to study the topic straight from the CFAI book and then use the Schweser book to look at it from another angle if you are struggling. For Ethics on Level 1, the real world examples are not as useful as you may think but as you have been studying for a couple of months now it won’t hurt having covered them. That is a personal opinion though.

      That is what my approach will be for now regarding Ethics but for the other topics I will use the Schweser books and then use the CFAI books if I need another angle and for the additional questions.

    • saltman95
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      Interesting, with this much time I plan on doing the opposite. I am plodding through the CFAI books and soaking in as much as possible, hoping to use Schweser material to fine tune after the fact. The problem with the CFAI is that I find the problems sets online are becoming very redundant.

    • Shah8216
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      Hello Richmond1,
      I’m planning to sit for level-I exam in June 2016 and struggling with the same question as you mentioned, since you have experienced it in June 2015, could you kindly guide which approach is better? i.e. CFA books and then Schweser or whether only Schweser notes are sufficient?
      Thanks.

    • PaulAdaptPrep
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      Keep in mind that originally the CFA exams were based on various source texts. If you talk to CFA old timers, they will talk about the effort of putting the pieces together to study. Schweser revolutionized everything by condensing everything into a series of volumes. The CFAI reacted by putting together their own volumes – the CFA curriculum that you have now. I think the CFAI was shooting to create something even better than Schweser – in effect competing directly with Schweser. 

      So the real question is, do you need both? For some people it works well to read six volumes from CFAI then read another six volumes from Schweser. But even to me (and I love reading) that’s a lot. 

      We usually recommend changing it up either by hitting practice problems real hard and spending more time studying solutions (our question bank is good for that), watching video lessons (here’s ours, which teach the shortcut tricks too), or reading abbreviated study guides (ours we call our “Manual“).  Practice problems are of course the key, because that really verifies if you know your stuff.

      We’ve got a good blog post along this line: Save days of CFA studying with this one weird trick

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