How to prepare a successful CFA study plan
The CFA program requires candidates to pass three separate exams. Each CFA level requires candidates to prepare a lot of material. To be successful, you need to prepare an effective CFA study plan that includes a detailed prep schedule.
Having a study schedule can help you organize your study planner around the topics on which you will be tested. To master these curriculum topics and utilize the time you have we have outlined our recommendations for the CFA Charter and provided you with tips for creating an effective CFA study plan.
Tips For Creating an Effective CFA Study Plan
1. Stick to your CFA study schedule and don’t fall behind.
Once you create your study schedule, be disciplined and stick to it! To provide the motivation to stay on task, take a CFA Program review course and prepare for it like a university course; read the relevant material ahead of time, get at least a big picture of the topics to be covered, and write down any questions you want to ask.
Another great way to stick to your study plan is to form a study group that meets on a regular basis. Studying with others who are facing the same challenge you face provides motivation and support. In addition, being able to ask questions or explain a concept to someone else helps develop your own mastery of the topics. Build the class times and study group meeting times into your schedule, and, once again, stick to it!
2. Prepare, Practice, Perform.
A very useful organizing structure for your plan is based on the three key stages of learning: Prepare, Practice, and Perform. The path to success is to focus on the Learning Outcome Statements (LOS) provided by CFA Institute.
These are performance-based objectives that provide detail on exactly what you are expected to be able to DO on exam day. For example, one LOS might be “Calculate and interpret Net Present Value (NPV).” The command words “calculate” and “interpret” are what you should be able to do correctly.
3. Review regularly.
The material you learn when you begin will not stay with you until exam day if you don’t go back and revisit it once in a while. Plan to spend a few hours each week going back and reviewing material you think you’ve already mastered. Do some CFA practice questions and, if you make any mistakes, dig into those concepts again until you know them.
4. Cover all of the material.
Don’t play the prediction game by guessing which Learning Outcome Statements from the CFA Institute won’t be tested and then ignoring that material. Every LOS is fair game for the exam, and you have to be ready for anything to be tested.
5. Study Ethics and Professional Standards last.
We recommend studying Ethics and Professional Standards after you are comfortable with other CFA topics because preparing for these questions mainly relies on using the ROTE learning method, which is the process of memorizing information based on repetition.
6. Reserve the last month for CFA Mock Exams.
During the last month or so before the exam, begin to take practice and CFA mock exams in realistic settings. Take the exam on your own with no notes, and be sure to block off at least 3 hours to simulate one session. The key is to use the exams to identify how prepared you are by assessing your areas of weakness and addressing them. If you get a question wrong, note whether the issue was the application of your knowledge to the question, or a fundamental lack of understanding of the concept. Keep track of your scores and look for an upward trend…by exam day, you should be scoring above 70% consistently.
7. And finally, reward yourself.
Make a plan to do something fun and relaxing on the day after the exam…golf, hiking, time with family, video games, or simply sleeping. You’ve earned it!
If you are interested in joining hands with a leading CFA tuition provider to help make your CFA journey easier, then Kaplan Professional Middle East is here to offer you the expertise of having helped students to successfully ace their CFA exams for several years with the industry’s leading trainers. If you are looking for CFA training, join us as a student to kickstart your CFA exam preparation.