24 days to prepare CFA level 1

Background: PhD student in Chemistry. Zero knowledge in finance. Was working prior to starting my PhD programme, enrolled in the CFA programme right before I quit my job as I was very bored in a small town. Then a Professor I know got some funding and asked me to go back to the uni to do a PhD with him. Did not revise because I was too busy with uni work, like working 14-16 hours a day. I am also a non-native English speaker.

Now I have 3 weeks off, gonna use the next 24 days to start from zero and see how far I can go. Will update the post every now and again about the progress. I know most people spend 3+ months to prepare so I do not expect to pass anyway, I am genuinely doing it for fun. Any advice is also appreciated. Let's start!

30th night update (18 days left, exam on 19th MAY):

QM: 5/7

Econ:1/7

Financial statement:1/12

Corp Fin:5/6

Equity:0/6

Fixed income:3/6

Derivativs and Alt.Inv: 1/3

Portfolio Management:4/8

Ethics: 1/5

All topics that I have covered got 80%+ correct in schweser qbank (closed book). For Qbank if there are more than 50 questions I will do 50 and check if I have 85%+, will move on to next topic if I do.

I internationally not finish 1 big topic at once, keep myself less bored. Every time I move on to next chapter of a big topic I quickly go through the Schweser summary of the previous chapters, kind of refreshing those concepts again.

Comments (48)

Apr 24, 2022 - 10:44pm
Give me internships, what's your opinion? Comment below:

My study plan is: watch analyst prep free videos on YouTube to get a brief understanding -> Schweser notes -> Schweser qbank.

Will do end of chapter exercises and maybe a mock or two before actual exam.

It is almost 4am in the UK, cannot fall asleep, so just went through Chapter 39/40 (first two chapter of fixed income) and completed the qbank. 

Apr 25, 2022 - 12:04am
Give me internships, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks man! It is not really for my career, it is more for fun lol! But we never know where we end up, maybe one day I will work in corp fin and that pass actually helps!

Let's see if studying 10 hours a day x 24 days works! 

Apr 25, 2022 - 5:24pm
Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Give me internships

Thanks man! It is not really for my career, it is more for fun lol! But we never know where we end up, maybe one day I will work in corp fin and that pass actually helps!

Let's see if studying 10 hours a day x 24 days works! 

Oh dude you have 10hrs x 24 you'll be fine. Take breaks, study efficiently, and hit up the gym 1-2 times per day. Don't underestimate the difficulty of the questions. It's only 3 choices, but they are very crafty. Study Ethics everyday.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
Apr 25, 2022 - 5:11pm
Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Get Q bank, take practice tests as the exam date gets closer. Do 1/2 to full mock exams.

https://www.schweser.com/cfa/level-1/study-materials/qbank?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=ks_sem_gsa_con_ecomm_br_cfa_general_ext_nam&utm_content=qbank&gclid=CjwKCAjwjZmTBhB4EiwAynRmD3eDgNSy5jEoDOkyS6i5Qa4tPOJUUW5GK5nLTduSrj5UXbc02a3Q5xoCkWAQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • 2
Apr 25, 2022 - 6:14pm
Give me internships, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey Isaiah! Thanks for the comment, yes, I do have Schweser qbank, I'm going through the Schweser notes then the qbank. Do not expect to pass but it is good  to put myself under pressure to learn some new stuff!

Apr 25, 2022 - 5:14pm
Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey man good luck with this - you will probably fail, just do a lot of questions. You're probably going to have to do a quick skim of the material before the questions though.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • 1
Apr 25, 2022 - 6:20pm
Give me internships, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Something happened in the lab so went to uni today and did not get much done.

Still, went through four easy chapters and done Qbank for them today: 54  Technical Analysis, 55 Fintech and the first 2 chapters of corp fin… See if I can get chapter 41 fixed income valuation done before sleep!

Apr 25, 2022 - 7:15pm
Whatever1984, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Unlike Isiah, I'm not a big Schwesser fan.  Do you think you can read the CFAi material thru once in this time?  If so, do it.

my biggest fuck-up was relying on them my first go-around for lvl 3.

The only difference between Asset Management and Investment Research is assets. I generally see somebody I know on TV on Bloomberg/CNBC etc. once or twice a week. This sounds cool, until I remind myself that I see somebody I know on ESPN five days a week.
  • 1
Apr 25, 2022 - 7:27pm
Give me internships, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I am not a native English speaker so I think it will be more manageable for me to read Schweser. I will still go back to CFAi materials to do the EOC questions though!

Apr 25, 2022 - 9:37pm
Incoming cfa level 1 charterholder, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Honestly you should move the exam. Use those days off to travel and enjoy your life. Do you not have anything better to do with your time? MBAs have had trouble with cfa level 1, the exam is no joke.

Array
Apr 25, 2022 - 10:21pm
Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Give me internships

I know that the exam is not easy, in terms of the volume of materials. I am not aiming to pass anyway so I am not really bothered if I fail.

This is the wrong strategy and mindset to have. You are going to pass and you will pass. 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • 1
Apr 25, 2022 - 10:51pm
Frybird101, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Godspeed brother- let us know how it goes and what works well/doesn't work well to help you grind that much. Should learn a lot about how to learn if nothing else.

Apr 25, 2022 - 11:03pm
Give me internships, what's your opinion? Comment below:

That's pretty much what I thought! After going through 6 chapters my feeling is that it is quite a bit easier than those chem courses I took at uni but there are so much to memorise for CFA! Will keep updating the post and let you guys know!

Apr 26, 2022 - 12:19am
Give me internships, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Will do official qbank, doing Schweser one first coz i can do it by chapter. Once I finish a whole topic I'll do the official one.

Apr 26, 2022 - 3:07am
Sio, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I would say you threw that money down the drain. Did 285h (this was over 6.5 months), didn't use any material outside of CFA Institute and barely passed. Note: I have a BA in Econ and an MA in Quant Econ, so I wasn't going in with empty hands. 

I hope you make it though, cause that would be a VERY impressive feat. 

Apr 26, 2022 - 7:49am
Impractical., what's your opinion? Comment below:

Respect your determination. I will be graduated from my undergraduate program in May and I also planned to take a CFA level 1 test during summer vacation. I think it would be quite helpful for a career in asset management and my study in MSF program. If you passed the test, please share some of the insight on how you rush through it! 

I also wonder if you tend to do some investment research or equity research on chemical industry in the future. I know many people who do well in mutual funds by using their grad school education.(Macroeconomics, Engineering, Biology, Biochemistry, etc.)

Most Helpful
Apr 26, 2022 - 8:06am
bhejafried, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If it gives you any hope, I consider myself to be of average intelligence and an extreme procrastinator (as opposed to your hard working nature). I have to confess that I did have an undergraduate degree in accounting but thats about it. I literally spent a sum total of 3 hours "studying" for the CFA L1 exam one night before and still passed it. This was back in Dec 2013 for context. I am sure a person of your caliber and hard working nature would pass the exam provided you stick to your plan despite not having any background in finance. Wish you all the very best!!

Apr 26, 2022 - 9:29am
Give me internships, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I hope you realised that you're actually super smart if you manage to pass with minimal study. I'm 8 chapters in and already starting to forget what I have learnt 2 days ago.

But yeah, I think it's nice that I posted here. It is like now people are watching and I cannot let myself fail. Also thanks for all the insights!

Apr 26, 2022 - 5:31pm
Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Ethics. Every. Day.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • 1
Apr 26, 2022 - 5:34pm
Give me internships, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I just had a quick look at the ethics portion. It is HUGE... gonna cover the first topic before I sleep.

Thanks for telling me in advance Isaiah, would have been totally fucked if I was not told...

  • 1
Apr 26, 2022 - 7:47pm
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Only on WSO is a 10-hour study day considered vacation and light hours compared to a regular work week.

Array

  • 2
Apr 26, 2022 - 7:56pm
Give me internships, what's your opinion? Comment below:

i personally find it more daunting than standing in front of a fume hood for 16 hours continuously. 
it is a bit frustrating to learn new stuff I guess…

Apr 28, 2022 - 9:42am
FinnesseGod, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm not sure of the Schweser QBank, so take my advice with a grain of salt. The CFAI QBank is split by the different sections of each reading. For instance, if there are 100 Questions for Economics 1, then the later sections of the Reading aren't tested til the 75th question. The order is not randomized, it's chronologically progressing across the content. So if you stopped at the 50th question, then you wouldn't be tested on the later stages of the readings.

Apr 29, 2022 - 8:33am
Sio, what's your opinion? Comment below:

That's how it should be though. You should see what those peanuts at the CFA Institute do. You'll be solving the material on LES (which is their online learning ecosystem or something among those lines) and they'll be asking you questions about the topic which comes literally right after the previous one. It's like they reordered the contents and forgot to reorder the questions with them.

Apr 29, 2022 - 10:07pm
financeabc, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Enrolling in the CFA program for fun?  Keep in mind that to be awarded the CFA charter, there is a work experience requirement. 

Apr 30, 2022 - 12:52pm
Give me internships, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Updated my progress, a bit behind schedule because things happened in uni (work-related), but I am damn sure no body will bother me in the next 2 and a half weeks.

Will try to get 1/2 more chapters done before the end of today.

Currently living with my ex's sister, she is sweet and know that I am doing this. She will start cooking me food etc till after my exam so only thing I need to do is to shower and study.

Apr 30, 2022 - 1:41pm
retard, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Wow dude that's insane. I hope you make it tbh.

I suggest hammering the questions on the ecosystem. I did all the questions twice in the month leading up to the exam and scored in the 90th percentile. Idk if you're really that smart but again hope you pass. If you don't, dont beat yourself up.

Apr 30, 2022 - 2:16pm
Give me internships, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks bro! Of course I will try my best in the exam, but I'm just aiming to learn as much as I could. If I manage to pass that is a nice bonus.

After going through around 20 chapters I think I understand the society I am in a lot more, maybe it is an overstatement but I guess you all get what I mean. 

Jun 3, 2022 - 9:09pm
Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:
earthwalker7

any updates on your progress? When's your test date?

19 May test date 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Jun 4, 2022 - 7:04am
Give me internships, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Exercitationem aut sit earum nisi dolor. Asperiores sit impedit culpa molestiae accusantium.

Repellat officia qui velit fugiat qui in. Itaque libero tenetur sit rerum quidem ad. Id doloremque excepturi nobis aut voluptas consequatur eius praesentium. Nobis reprehenderit doloremque numquam quasi.

Jun 5, 2022 - 6:38pm
Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Illo recusandae excepturi aut id recusandae. Incidunt ea eaque laboriosam est deserunt. Eaque sapiente dolorem rerum consequatur quibusdam harum.

Corrupti harum aliquam ut necessitatibus. Quisquam maiores reprehenderit velit vitae. Reiciendis voluptas libero ut error sint et.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Jun 6, 2022 - 2:33am
Give me internships, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Sunt incidunt et dolorem recusandae quo esse tenetur magnam. Libero laboriosam quos voluptatibus. Delectus et tempore qui molestias sit. Voluptates maiores sit ab et vel. Eos ullam voluptatibus praesentium autem deserunt. Labore quos voluptates aut consequuntur et asperiores.

Error iusto ut et eum ullam cupiditate in. Possimus facere iure hic. Culpa quia quaerat nulla ut.

Start Discussion

Career Advancement Opportunities

August 2022 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company (▲05) 99.6%
  • Lincoln International (= =) 99.2%
  • RBC Capital Markets (▲09) 98.8%
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch (▲03) 98.4%
  • Macquarie Group Limited ABN (+ +) 98.0%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

August 2022 Investment Banking

  • Lincoln International (▲06) 99.6%
  • Jefferies & Company (▲11) 99.2%
  • Greenhill (▲07) 98.8%
  • PJT Partners (▽03) 98.4%
  • Macquarie Group Limited ABN (▲22) 98.0%

Professional Growth Opportunities

August 2022 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company (▲06) 99.6%
  • Lincoln International (▲03) 99.2%
  • RBC Capital Markets (▲12) 98.8%
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch (▲05) 98.4%
  • William Blair (▽01) 98.0%

Total Avg Compensation

August 2022 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (10) $613
  • Vice President (37) $394
  • Associates (204) $256
  • 2nd Year Analyst (124) $163
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (17) $156
  • 1st Year Analyst (402) $151
  • Intern/Summer Associate (79) $147
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (304) $92