How Mixing Things Up Can Help Your CFA Studies

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By Mike

You’re committed to studying for the CFA exams. But did you know that the choice of where you study for the CFA exams, or how you approach your study topics, will also affect your final outcome?

For those of you who are into fitness, you might have heard of something called ‘muscle confusion’, which is the process of mixing up workouts to ‘keep your body guessing’. This practice is believed to improve your body’s fitness faster, as your body is constantly developing to try to adapt to the ever-changing workouts you are giving it.

Whether or not muscle confusion techniques work, research has shown that similar ‘mix up’ techniques can help students prepare for exams. Read on to find out how this applies to your CFA preparation!

Mix Up Your Study Locations (We Recommend Once A Week)
Research undertaken by cognitive scientists have shown that a lot of ‘traditionally good’ study habits are not really that helpful. One instance that can help CFA candidates are study locations. For those of you who are tempted to set up a huge base camp for the entirety of your CFA studies, research has shown that alternating between different locations improves study retention.

Some of us at the 300 Hours team have also used this technique even before we found out about the research, finding that it keeps things fresh and reduces burnout. We found that sticking to one location for about a week gets best results.

This is also recommended in more detail in our CFA Insights guide, where you can also find recommended study schedules, as well as a host of data-backed tips that will help your CFA exams from Level I to Level III.

For suitable study locations, you can review the top study locations that work best for CFA candidates here.

Mix Up Your Topic Areas (Improves Focus, Reduces Burnout)

At 300 Hours, we’ve previously recommended the best order to approach study topics for Level I and Level II. However, research have also shown that alternating between ‘distinct but related skills or concepts in one sitting, rather than focusing intensely on a single thing’ improves study retention.

How does this work in CFA preparation? For those of you struggling to focus on a particular topic (say, Quantitative Methods), it might be helpful to bookmark your place in that topic area, and pick a more appealing topic area (e.g. Derivatives) to focus on for the next half hour or so.

Have you tried this, or do you already use similar techniques in your CFA preparation? Let us know in the comments below!

Zee Tan
Author: Zee Tan


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