4 mistakes to avoid for Level I CFA® Students

Regardless of whether you’re preparing to sit for the CFA exam for the first time, or you’re planning to retake the level, it is important to consider the factors that could lead to an unsuccessful result.

Understanding the most widely recognized reasons for failing the Level I CFA® exam will enable you to build up a consciousness towards the various pitfalls. Here are seven reasons candidates don’t make it past the CFA exam, and some guidance, so that you improve your chances of success.


1. Neglected to Study Enough Hours

The CFA Institute strongly mentions that it takes at least 300 hours to pass each level of the CFA exam. The difficulty associated with balancing one’s work, social life, and education commitments is one of the key reasons the CFA course is extremely esteemed by companies.

Level I is the base level in view of core financial terms. It contains a considerable measure of standard information, and numerous candidates would have come across these terms during their previous financial education. This implies that the minimum time put in for Level I will differ significantly based upon a candidate’s earlier information and experience.

Regardless of how committed one aims to be, one simply doesn’t have enough energy. Therefore, a smart thought is to begin sooner than later, start with the material prior, and accomplish more practice than offered in classes. Keep in mind, you should aim to enhance your weak topics, maintain your strengths, and ensure that you have accounted for any educational module changes.

2. Specialized Gaps in Knowledge

Endeavoring any level of the CFA course with gaps in your content is a risky decision. CFA Institute does not release past exams and disallows candidates from talking about the content of the exam which implies one should have a clear understanding of the LOS. While it is important to practice topics that you strongly believe will be tested in the Level I CFA exam such as the ones with the highest weight-age, fewer weight-age topics are also crucial. CFA topics that you believe are of less importance will prove to be crucial especially if you aren’t strong in the main topics. These topics are usually left for the end and could be the defining point between a pass and fail in your CFA exam.

If you lack a clear understanding of multiple topics, your first move will be to clarify those misunderstandings either through the CFA study notes, CFA classes or through trainer assistance. Considering how the educational modules change every year, it is a smart thought to repurchase CFA study materials to guarantee adequate practice in new areas.

3. Ineffective Study Method

Live or online CFA exam prep courses are intended to quicken your comprehension of the core CFA content. Nonetheless, the productive utilization of one’s spare time is vital.

Most students believe that a good strategy would be to study the content and create your own notes to cover the educational modules. Although, the sheer size of the CFA educational modules implies that setting up your own notes with no external help is just too time-consuming. The likely consequences will be the inability to cover the entire syllabus, therefore, leading to gaps in your insight, due to doubts and lack of mock exams. The longer you prepare and practice, the more prominent the odds of achievement. Hence, dedicate the whole last month for review and practice.

4. Lack of enough practice

The most efficient way to pass any level of the CFA exam is to practice as many questions as possible. The significant issue that students face is that even though the content has been understood well when attempting mock exams, they are often confused or lost. Therefore, the more questions you practice, the more comfortable you will be. Some important study materials to go through before the Level I CFA exam are end-of-section questions, mock exams, and question bank tests. These questions will equip you with tricks, tips, and methods for quicker problem-solving.


Now that you are aware of the pitfalls, you can create a better plan to ensure greater success for the upcoming exam.