CFA CFA Level 1 Where to Begin Level 1

Where to Begin Level 1

  • This topic has 8 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated Nov-17 by tng2928.
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    • WannaBeePM
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      I am pre-registration because I’m waiting on my passport, but do have my printed materials ordered and also ordered the online stuff now. I should be getting access to the online materials soon, but currently am starting the 1-4 Readings that are offered for free.

      How do I get organized straight from the beginning? What is everyone doing to put notes together, flashcards, or even session binders? I know I am already behind the curve, but am hoping that some omg my past experience can help me catch up quickly as I do have an MBA in Finance concentrating on securities as well as taken all 6 CFP modules (although I did not pass the CFP). With that said I wasn’t very interested in that…this I am very interested in.

      Any insights?

    • wm247
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      Hi WannaBeePM,

      I’m also a newbie, but I will also take the Dec14 exam. IMHO, L1 is all about general finance. My colleague who has earned his CFA charterholder in Hong Kong advised me to take lots -and he means HELL lots- of mock exams. The idea here is to blitzkrieg our way to victory on the exam day.

      There is a catch, though: the real deal comes on the L2 exam. While our target is blitzkrieg, my colleague strongly suggested me at the same time to build a rock solid foundation on ETHICS, FSA, and EQUITY parts to lighten the burden on L2. Most people who underestimate them and miraculously pass L1, tend to pay the ultimate price on L2.

      In short, blitzkrieg. But pay special attention to ETHICS, FSA, and EQUITY.

    • djsg
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      Hi WannaBePM,

      I’m preparing for Dec14 exam as well. Right now, I’m using the detailed schedule planner that can be found here:
      http://www.300hours.com/blog/300-hours-rough-guide-to-a-solid-cfa-study-plan#.U6A3PvmSySo

      While reading the Readings, I have been taking notes, but the pace is quite slow IMHO. Nevertheless I find it useful to do so, as I am not just scanning through briefly the Readings. Everyone has its style of learning and I find this appropriate for me. I agree with wm247 that it’s essential to build a strong foundation right now at Level I with the intention to move on to higher levels. 🙂

      Back to studying now, see you guys around later. 😀

    • WannaBeePM
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      My concern is how much do I need to “absorb”? I ask this question because its one thing to be able to read a passage and a “Reading” section and answer some questions afterwords, and its another to memorize. I ask this question because if you take the first LOS and put it in quotes “describe the structure of the CFA Institute Professional Conduct Program”… and search Google, and look at the second one “Analysts Notes”, they might as well be just reprinting the book. So do I need to start memorizing? Because if I just take notes, I think I might be wasting precious time. I guess what I’m trying to ask is “How” people are studying verses what they are studying. I’m not worried about timeline because I’m a studying machine and can study for hours on end. I just wonder how people are compiling their studies into something that is useful to review?

    • vincentt
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      @WannaBeePM‌ I’ve tried various methods over the 3 levels, but the 2 most prominent one are as follows:

      1. as you going through the LOS, you take notes (i only use post it memo pads) and keep it simple, only memo stuff that you think you will forget, but if you already know something by heart (e.g. the long portfolio risk formula) i won’t bother memo. Also, try to find patterns in formulas, for example if formula B, C and D are actually based on formula A or looks similar to A just with slight differences I will memo and highlight the ‘differences’ rather than memorising 4 different formulas.

      It takes longer to go through LOS and if you’re new to the syllabus you might find everything important and ended up taking notes of everything.

      2. go through the syllabus without taking any notes but quickly highlight important words and key facts. Use arrows and a few words to describe important facts within the books itself, and make sure those words make sense when you come back to it many weeks later. As long as you understand the concept, move on, don’t bother memorising at this stage.
      Then, spare more than 4 weeks for your mocks, as you review your mocks start taking notes of questions you did wrong or got it right but wasn’t too sure. Refer back to your books and memo facts that you think is important. When you are done with around 6 mocks you should have a pretty good chuck of notes.

      It feels a little unorganised at first because your notes could jump around on just few LOS within a reading depending on the questions in the mock, but sooner or later you’ll pretty much cover everything.

      And make sure you keep your L1 notes as you might need to refer to it when you’re in L2 (i can’t be bothered with the L1 refresher notes that comes with schweser notes in L2 as I think my own notes suit me better).

      Memorising and consolidating the entire syllabus only takes place when you’re working on your mock. My first mock is always a screw up anyway, but just go for it and that’s how you learn.

    • Yomaha
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      Pre-registrant here – where can I find the “1-4 Readings that are offered for free” as mentioned in the first post on this thread?

      TIA!

    • djsg
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      Pre-registrant here – where can I find the “1-4 Readings that are offered for free” as mentioned in the first post on this thread?

      TIA!

      cfapubs.org/doi/pdf/10.2469/cpb.v2013.n1.1
      I hope this helps, Yomaha! 🙂

    • Yomaha
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      Thanks!

    • tng2928
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      Hmm not sure how you’re “behind the curve” as you have some background in finance and there’s still 5 months till the Dec exam. The material isn’t super complex for L1 but the breadth is quite wide. While you would know your own studying style best, I would recommend notes (not highlighting) the 1st time through, then maybe compact notes of your notes or flash cards when you do your first review (the assumption here is during your first detailed read through, by the time you reach SS18, you’ll have forgotten chunks of the earlier sections), then after that just do practice questions/mocks. The goal is to hit 70% (around 170/240 questions), so it’s completely insignificant if they throw a question out of left field that you draw a complete blank on. Only other thing I’d point out is maybe the length of the exam? It’s a 6 hour exam (2 3-hour sessions) so I made sure i tried my best to simulate that experience while doing mocks (ie. write in the morning, take a lunch break, write again). Best of luck

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