How to study for CFA level 1

how-to-study-for-cfa-level-1There are many guides on this. Fear not for we have selected the top 3 advices that will make your study manageable.


  • Give yourself ample preparation time


CFA Institute encourage candidates to spend roughly 300 hours for each exam. The next question is how should you distribute this 300 hours? Suppose you plan to spend 2 hours every day to prepare for CFA, this translate to 150 days of preparation which is roughly 5 months. This means, for June candidate, you should start your study in early January (early July for December candidates).


For those who feel that they need less than 300 hours, you may start later but be aware that the risk is on your side. On the other hand, for those who need more than 300 hours, you should start preparing earlier than the stated months above.


  • Prioritize your study


Read through the syllabus with the intension to find out which topics hold a higher weightage. For level 1, the topics should be financial reporting analysis and ethics. Both topics have a combined weightage of 35% out of a total of 10 topics in CFA level 1.  Therefore, it is natural to have more questions coming from these 2 topics than others which means that the return on time invested in studying these 2 topics is higher. Topics like quantitative methods, economics, equity investments and fixed income should be your next focus. Not to say one should forgo alternative investments and derivative as this will form the foundation for level 3 as well. And we know the passing rate is circa 70%.


  • Practice, practice, practice


After you have spent sufficient time in studying and focusing on topics with higher weightage. The next step is to practice actual exam format questions. The text books’ end of chapter questions and mock exam, both provided by CFA Institute follow the actual exam format. You could get a sense of the questioning style in the CFA level 1 exam and at the same time gauge yourself whether you have understand the syllabus well.

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