CFA Program exam preparation – third approach

Many CFA Program candidates are considering study materials for the June exam. There are various options available. Some will prefer to read from the original official curriculum. While others may look for study guides from third party prep providers like Schweser, Wiley or Bloomberg. Some will look for the third approach which is supported by FinQuiz.

This third approach is a blend. Candidates read official curriculum page to page. Only one such reading is needed. Notes from FinQuiz are used for review and exam preparation. This enables candidates to learn all necessary concepts and yet retain enough information to excel in the exam.

Notes should be supplemented with practice questions. CFA Institute provides a number of practice questions as well as mock exams for level 1, 2 and 3. However, some students find these questions insufficient and feel the need for more exam preparation material.

Many third party prep providers offer additional practice questions. However, FinQuiz offers PDF files for ease of candidates. Many students are able to prepare for exam with more ease if they have access to downloadable PDF files which can be printed as well. 

Another important consideration is use of video lectures. Listening to an experienced instructor talking about finance concepts is a great way to improve understanding of difficult and technical topics. You need to like the accent of the teacher as total number of hours of videos can run into hundreds of hours and it gets very difficult to keep listening to a voice that you are not comfortable with. The lecturer may not sound like that lead singer from One Direction but at least should be pleasant and interesting.

Mock exams and summaries play a critical role in the last month of exam preparation and this is where your selection of prep provider may become important again.

You want to mix and match exams from different prep providers as no one has access to actual exams and all are trying to come up with their best guess of what is likely to be there on the exam day.

You can check list of prep providers approved by CFA Institute. The list separates online prep providers from live classes institutes.

One more factor to be considered is availability of time for your exam preparation. If you are starting early, you are in completely different position than someone who opens books in the last month. Completely different CFA exam study tools are needed in such situation. Candidate will not have time for reading thousands of pages and will rely on very short summaries to quickly go through all the readings.

Exams are always difficult and stress levels rise during the preparation and this may make you feel uncomfortable. This is part of the process and will enable you to focus your attention on important topics and leave out unnecessary and time wasting activities.