...for the money. Looking to start studying for level 1 now. Your guys' input would be great. Thanks in advance.
My background: non-bus major, IB analyst, taken finance/accounting
Schweser study guides. That's about all you need for Level 1. Maybe Schweser practice exams. Do the CFAI mocks.
I'm sure there are already threads on this topic. Use the search.
"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."
Used Schwesser for L1 & L2. Using it again for L3 this Spring. It's not that different than Stalla material. Schweser has the Q-bank and Stalla has PassMaster, or whatever it's called these days. You should be fine with either and doing the CFAI EOC questions. Good luck.
Kaplan acquired Stalla (and decided to email and leave voicemail announcing the great news!) so you're really down to Schweser, Elan, and some lesser providers. Schweser, EOC questions, and as many practice exams as you can get your hands on and you should be solid as long as you stick to a studying schedule.
I used Stalla for 1&2; since they have been acquired I would suggest Schweser. Study guides weren't necessary for 3, but practice questions and exams are a must.
Schweser+EOC+mock will get you through. But if you have time go through the CFA textbooks, helps in level II.I have a CS degree ,took only a couple of basic eco classes in college and only used the CFA text for level I (4-5 month prep)
I used Schweser exclusively for June 2011 Level I and passed with a 70%+ in 6/9 categories including all the biggies (FRA, Ethics, Equity, Econ, Fixed Income, Quant) without even taking the official CFAI books out of their package.
I would however recommend supplementing Schweser with the CFAI EOC questions as they are more similar to the actual exam then the Kaplan Mock Exams which I thought were a bit more quant-oriented then the exam.
My name is Nicky, but you can call me Dre.
I used Schweser for all three levels and went 3/3 -- definitely recommend that path as the CFA books are crap, but use the CFAI end of chapter Qs as someone else noted. Level 1 is easy, but focus on the big ticket items first and make sure you have those cold.
What are you doing now? Equity Research? Asset management?
ER at a hedge fund
Gents. Hope you are all well. I barely failed Level 1 last December and I am looking to re-take it this coming December 2013. I bought the Schweser PremiumPlus(tm) Package last year but was looking to re-use this material this year as well as take one of those NYSSA prep classes in NYC. Does anyone think this is a good plan? Are those NYSSA prep classes with Nathan Ronen any good? I would appreciate any honest feedback. Thanks
winning10is:Gents. Hope you are all well. I barely failed Level 1 last December and I am looking to re-take it this coming December 2013. I bought the Schweser PremiumPlus(tm) Package last year but was looking to re-use this material this year as well as take one of those NYSSA prep classes in NYC. Does anyone think this is a good plan? Are those NYSSA prep classes with Nathan Ronen any good? I would appreciate any honest feedback. Thanks
barely failing is still failing - doesn't matter how close u get - just accept reality
USE SCHWESER - i only used schweser for lvl 1 and passed - u can get by on lvl 1 w/ just using the schweser materials (and lvl 2 to a certain extent)
"so i herd u liek mudkipz" - sum kid"I'd watergun the **** outta that." - Kassad
CFA Prep Programs: Worth it or not? (Originally Posted: 05/21/2012)
I am looking to take the CFA Level 1 in December. Has anyone used the Prep programs for additional help? If so, were they helpful. For example, I am looking at using 7 City Learning and was wondering if their tutoring was worth the money?
the curriculum is fucking huge. if you stack the books they send you up, its prob like ~8 inches tall. You stack the review books youd get up, prob like half that. Its really just a time thing, more than anything else imo. The prep books extract the fluffy bullshit. I personally used their books for L1 cuz i didnt/dont have a job so time wasnt of the essence. If you're busy, I'd say use a prep program though
So at my office there were a few of us taking Level I a few years ago. Our company only paid for the test/CFA materials, and I was cheap so I decided to use CFA materials only. A buddy in my group bought the Schweser books, and I took a practice test from those a couple of weeks before the test and found out that I was going to fail if only used the CFA books. I bought the Schweser QBank and ended up passing. Followed the same strategy for Levels 2 and 3 and passed both on the first try.
The CFA books are actually pretty good on their own, but like any class you've taken it can be hard to tell from the textbook what will be on the test. I'd personally recommend Schweser from my own experiences, but no matter what prep company you choose it helps to have someone show you what is going to be on the test.
tctc33:So at my office there were a few of us taking Level I a few years ago. Our company only paid for the test/CFA materials, and I was cheap so I decided to use CFA materials only. A buddy in my group bought the Schweser books, and I took a practice test from those a couple of weeks before the test and found out that I was going to fail if only used the CFA books. I bought the Schweser QBank and ended up passing. Followed the same strategy for Levels 2 and 3 and passed both on the first try.The CFA books are actually pretty good on their own, but like any class you've taken it can be hard to tell from the textbook what will be on the test. I'd personally recommend Schweser from my own experiences, but no matter what prep company you choose it helps to have someone show you what is going to be on the test.
Approximately how many months did you spend preparing per level? Which level did you find the hardest to prepare for? How useful would the CFA be in unison to a master's in finance for example? And how useful is it when applying for trading positions (both paper and physical)?Prospective applicant here haha.
The HBS guys have MAD SWAGGER. They frequently wear their class jackets to boston bars, strutting and acting like they own the joint. They just ooze success, confidence, swagger, basically attributes of alpha males.
SonnyZH:Approximately how many months did you spend preparing per level? Which level did you find the hardest to prepare for? How useful would the CFA be in unison to a master's in finance for example? And how useful is it when applying for trading positions (both paper and physical)?Prospective applicant here haha.
Level 1 I didn't spend much time on at all. The curriculum basically is a summary of undergrad accounting and finance, and once I got my hand on a few practice tests to see what I needed to focus on it was fairly simple.
Level 2 has the most info of any test and IMO is the most difficult. I spent the most time on this test, mostly making sure I knew the answer to every question in Schweser's QBank.
Level 3 I thought was the easiest multiple choice but the essay section is no joke. It isn't hard but with the time constraints you have to go fast.
I don't know much about master's in finance. Just looking at Princeton's curriculum as a random example, the master's looks more difficult, especially in terms of math required. I would say Level 1 is undergrad finance/accounting level, level 2 is a step up from level 1, and level 3 isn't that relevant unless you're in PWM.
As for its usefulness, it just depends. My guess is that traders generally won't care too much - it's more for Asset Management or private wealth. There is some stuff on futures and options, though. For reference, at the fund I was working at, very few of the front office guys were involved in the CFA program. It was mostly back office and IT guys. Wouldn't surprise me if that wasn't uncommon (sorry for all the negatives in that sentence)
Interested as well - I planned to use the CFAI stuff only however would like to hear people's opinion. OP, I'm also taking it in December.
Use Kaplan Schweser.
For L1, you don't need the CFAI materials at all. Debatable for levels 2 and 3.
What Kaplan Schwesser program does everyone recommend? Schwesser notes or the essential study? First one has 3 practice exams and the other has 6.
kaplan video lectures are pretty damn clutch. if you can get a hold of them somehow, i would highly recommend.
Money Never Sleeps? More like Money Never SUCKS amirite?!?!?!?
They uploaded a torrent to PB with the lectures.
CFA LvL 1 Prep - any thoughts/reviews/experience on analystnotes.com ? (Originally Posted: 12/21/2011)
Preparing for level 1 exam in June, any thoughts/reviews/experience on analystnotes.com? Fraction of the cost versus schweser and good reviews around the net so any pros/cons other than price versus schweser?
or any other reasonably priced options?
Analystnotes is solid.
If utilized correctly it is probably better than Schweser. Make sure you get the expensive package w/ everything.
Pros:Plethora of materialHardest CFA mock exams/questons you will findDownloadable App filled with tons of information & test questions
Cons:Can be a challenge to study from a computer screen vs. a book for that long of time
If you don't mind ALWAYS studying from your computer then I would say go for it. However if you are better off studying from a book, I would recommend getting the Schweser notes ($300) and then getting some mock exams from Analyst Notes.
Thanks rothyman for the feedback!I can just print everything from analystnotes though, right?I'm good with 'solid' and can study a number of different ways, especially at a fraction of the cost.
Anything particular you mean by 'utilized correctly'? I'm very open to suggestions and constructive criticism so feel free to be blunt.
Have a good one!
SteelNerves:Thanks rothyman for the feedback!I can just print everything from analystnotes though, right?I'm good with 'solid' and can study a number of different ways, especially at a fraction of the cost.Anything particular you mean by 'utilized correctly'? I'm very open to suggestions and constructive criticism so feel free to be blunt.Have a good one!
Yes meaning if you take advantage of the Anaylstnotes application & the community that is behind it. A big benefit is the community. In the app, there are forum responses below each prep question. Basically if you don't understand it, someone in the forum already has/will explain it to you. And it's built right into the desktop application. Pretty cool.
Yes you can print out the mateiral, although that can be a pain too. I'd say for the money it is a great deal.
Analystnotes is a great value. For less than $100 you get tons of practice questions and a structured interface for covering the material through condensed notes.
A few drawbacks though:
Nope... I am using FinQuiz & Schweser for LII.
Best CFA Prep Course? (Originally Posted: 01/10/2014)
Looking to start studying for the CFA level I that is administered in June. Anybody have any suggestions for the best prep courses as well as material to purchase? Any advice will be helpful! Thanks in advance!!
I put my vote on Schweser, their stuff is pretty squared away and by most accounts perfectly adequate for passing L1 if you devote enough time to practice. You can also find plenty of their old and current materials online (just to assess the quality of course). For full disclosure in this regard, I do have a peg leg and a parrot on my shoulder (argh). Best of luck!
Schweser for sure. Their Level 1 content on derivatives is a bit confusing but certainly more than adequate to get you passing.
See my other WSO blog posts>
Get busy living
i used Schweser for all three levels
Does anyone ever use anything that's NOT Schweser? That plus the official texts will do you fine.
Currently: clinical psychologist (in training)Previously: investor relations (top consulting firm), M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM)
Thanks everyone turns out Schweser is the only available prep course in DC anyway!!!
CFA level 1, exam prep tips (Originally Posted: 02/15/2011)
Anyone with successful CFA exam experiences please tell me how you prepared for the level 1 exam?
Im currently in my last year of university and also major in finance so I thought the level 1 shouldnt be too hard for me, so i decided to sit for the dec 2010 exam. unfortunately i didnt pass.
I really wonder how other people managed to pass the exam and I hope to get some study tips or suggestions from you including time management, study material, practice exam...anything related to the prep. or simply tell you how you studied. thanks!
Do you have the Schweser notes? I read those then did a bunch of practice tests to see where my strengths/weaknesses were.
Try to give yourself 3-4 wks before the exam to fully review everything you've gone over.
yeah i did i even bought the video classes and practice exams...but i didnt have the time to go through enough questions... i assume that's one of the major reason why i failed. poor time management and too little practice.so did you solely use the notes or together with the texts? i was reading the textbook at the very beginning but then i found myself suck in the first curriculum for like forever so i quit...
you may want to lok into analysrforum.com. I would say for a solid finance major guy, you will need at least 300 plus hrs plus practice test from the institute. Gluck
again it is www.analystforum.com/
this seems like a good site, thanks for letting me know! and yeah i realized that practices are extremely important after i failed!
I passed level one this December (I bet just barely, but who cares). I would first look at your results from December and figure out which sections you need to work on. Then get the Schweser notes (if you didn't use them last time) and read through those especially focusing on those weaker sections. Once you get through Schweser take the practice tests and section review tests over and over to identify which concepts you still don't know and then study those.
Send me a PM if you have any other questions.
ignore the link to busty russians on the second linkto cut shit short people use the books themselves or schweser.
you may be able to procure schweser at cheaper prices from people who've already finished with them
I just used the texts themselves and took practice tests the week before. > 200 hours total study time. Was taking 18 hours of mostly finance classes at the same time though.
The CFA Program is a rigorous one that requires hundreds of hours dedicated to studying and revision. I've passed all three exams on the first go and find that proper planning makes the task a whole lot easier. Also, to pass the CFA exam it is imperative to practice using mock exams that simulate the environment of the exam to a certain extent to prepare you for the big day. There are many sources for such material. For example, the CFA Review website provides a good live mock exam for the level I exam.
Personally, I read through Schweser notes, wrote down everything I didn't already know.Memorized Schweser's Quicksheet thingRead through my notes as a re-fresher (you won't remember everything you read 2 months ago)
Took the practice (3 of schweser's + the 1 offered for free).Circled every question I wasn't 100% sure on.
Went through tests and reviewed each circled question as well as anything answered incorrectly.
Complete the schweser notes, qbank, and 6 practice exams and you'll be good to go for L1. L2 is a different story.
CFA Level-1 preparation for a complete finance new-bie (Originally Posted: 11/25/2010)
Hello All, I am to begin my CFA level 1 preparations by the first week of Dec ,2011. I have booked for the level 1 exams to be held in June,2011.
I can allot 4-4.5 hrs on an average per weekday and a total of 20 hours in the weekend. That totals to 40 hrs per week and 150 hrs(approx) per month.
I have the following questions:
1.Would I be able to successfully complete the examination if I continue this for 4 months(600 hours (Dec,Jan,Feb,May)) ? Subtracted 2 months in order to allow for final year capstone project at college and end semester examinations.
2.I have the CFA institute material in hand. how do I go about it now. Sit and read the entire material or go about with the help of Schweser notes or the like ?
3.Also I don't know to operate the HP 12C calc that I bought for the exam. does learning to operate the HP12C require additional time? Is it all that required?
Please answer, I am in a state of fix. Thanks in advance.
Background :Don't know a word in financeComplete new-bieScored 800 in GRE quants (not bragging, but to give you guys an idea of my mental capability)UG : Bachelor's in Information technology
Reason for taking CFA :Integration of finance and IT in ERP implementation
How badly I require CFA :I dont have any strong points in my resume, nor any full-time experience , I believe a CFA would give me that confidence to interview with major companies(personal opinion).
I have multi-posted it, sorry for that , I never knew which was the best topic to post it under.
Read the Schweser notes. CFA textbooks are a waste of time. Use the textbooks if you really have no idea what the Schwesers are saying, but the CFA text writes in 100 pages what the Schwesers teach you in 25 pages. 600 hours is a shitload of time. You can get thru the Schwesers in a week with a business background but for you I think you'd get thru it in a month but you'd probably want to read them more than once.
If you don't know how to work your calculator to it's fullest extent, you will push yourself a lot closer to failing. Easy marks in TVM, NPV and bond type questions. The Texas Instruments BA2 Plus is a lot easier to use than the HP 12C so if you're having trouble with the calc then I suggest trying the other one.
As everyone says - the info covered is not very difficult, just a lot of it - mile wide and an inch deep
@Bob - Thank you for that prompt reply.
It is not that I am finding it difficult to use the calculator but I dont know how to use it at all. The manual is very big to read. Suggest me how to learn using ti.
Also do you mean to say I could be through with just one month of preparation. I am really excited hearing that.
Do you still stick by that statement after knowing that I have completely zilch financial knowledge.
Also I am told that the CFA text books are the best bet for ethics , is it so ?
I used Schweser books as primary study material, then if I didn't understand something or needed a better reason why I wasnt answering a certain question right, I would use the CFAI books for more information.
As far as the calculator goes, get the schweser books and Q bank, there is a free video tutorial on both the HP and the TI that will get you up to speed. The first book has a lot of time value of money (TVM) and cash flow (CF) chapters/problems, so this will get you very familiar with the calculators.
One month is no where near enough, especially if you have no financial knowledge. You WILL need all six months. Also with the Schweser program you can use their study calendar option that will tell you exactly what to do every day until the test day (choose 2 or 3 days off, so if you get behind you can catch up during those days).
To get up to speed on basic finance knowledge, read financial news, here you can find out a lot about ethics, economics, portfolio management, product knowledge. Come to WSO daily, often users ask questions regarding complex subjects you will encounter in CFA that often have very detailed explanation from the experienced WSO users.
Investopedia.com is your friend. When you come across a term in CFA you are not familiar with, use investopedia search engine, 80% of the time, you will find a good explanation there that is geared for someone like you.
Always feel free to post here or on analystforum.com with questions (NEVER use real questions directly from CFAI or Schweser texts, this is against the code of standards which as a candidate you are required to abide by) stick to general topics, themes, etc.
@Trailmix8 - Thank you for that elaborate reply. Seems I have a lot on my plate now. Anyway , the way you explained all those questions was awesome, I feel like being shown the right path.
Also I cant dedicate the entire 6 months, could you please tell me if 600 hrs ain't enough.
Also tell me if I could follow the same path as you did, by studying from Schweser notes and looking into CFAI material for doubts.
If you cant dedicate six months, it is not a big deal, just make sure you start now. As you get familiar with the material and go through it over the next three months, you will realize how much you need to spend over the last three months and allocate your time accordingly.
Unfortunately as somoene who does not have a good finance base, im afraid that you will defeinately need to be in the 400-600 hour space. 600 is definately enough though.
Yeah I would start with the schweser notes studying if I was you, sign up for the package that includes the videos as well. Sometimes I found that if I dont fully understand something on paper, I would understand it in a lecture, and vice versa.
Just make sure to get started and dont put it off. PM me if you have specific questions down the road.
Thank you trailmix8, I would start going in Dec. Hopefully pull it off. Definitely would contact you if any doubts arise. Once again thank you for the support.
CFA level I has wide coverage and less depth in terms of knowledge. For Calculator, I think the best way is to learn by practicing, whenever you have to solve a NPV or IRR (or anything related with Cal), use it, and try to use it fast, since during the exam, time can be tight in finishing all the questions, and you do not want to waste any time on Cal. I remember there are instructions on how to use Cal from Schweser notes, really useful and when studying the sample questions, do not just read them, but also do it yourself for once or twice till you get the answer right.
Good luck with exam, I am preparing for 2011 level II.
In regards to the Schweser notes which one do you guys recommend, the basic package for 349?
Also has anyone ever bought the ghetto versions on craigslist, if so what was your experience with them?
Schweser, I'd say 150 hours of dedicated study is fine
Focus your studying on the study guide materials from either Stalla or Schweser. This will eliminate some of the noise and really allow you to concentrate on the beefy topics of the exam. Basically exactly what you have been hearing from everyone else. And the recommended study time from the CFA Institute is 350 hours. It sounds like your more a quant person, like myself, so the best way to familiarize yourself with the information is by doing a ton of questions. This will also get you using the calculator. Also, check out the CFA Institute website ... They have a tentative schedule of what readings should be covered when leading up to the exam and they basically outline everything for you. Obviously, you should pay attention to your strengths and weaknesses and address those areas accordingly, but it will give you a good start to making your own schedule.
try this website for using the calculator. i didn't know how to use the BAII Plus as I had always used my TI-83. It helped a lot.
Some general notes about the CFA from a student:
I took the CFA last December and managed to pass it studying only from the CFA texts; however, from everything I have heard Schweser seems to be the way to go. As others have said, the CFA texts are long, boring, and unnecessarily wordy; but you can study from them if you don't want to shell out the extra $$ for the supplemental materials (like me).
Just to give you an idea how I passed, I was taking 18 hours that semester alongside my CFA prep, and I would estimate I spent under 200 hours studying from the CFA texts themselves. I read through each book once and would do the example questions at the end of each section as I read. During the two weeks leading up to the exam, all I did was redo the example questions, take about 3 practice tests, and re-read the ethics portion. While no one knows the true grading policies of the CFA, it does seem clear that the ethics portion will make or break you if you are a borderline pass.
I will admit, I felt I was slightly under prepared after taking the test; however, I was a middle of the road pass so I guess I was prepared enough to be comfortable. Seeing how you are a self described finance "newbie," you might want to spend a little more time. Most of my 18 hours that semester were in depth finance classes as well. Just some food for thought, take it how you will.
Thank you for all your comments,I got direction now. I read Quantitative methods from the CFA curriculum , in my opinion it is unnecessarily verbose. So I bought the Schweser and Im going to continue reading the rest from it.
Advice on pre-CFA exam prep (Originally Posted: 10/31/2014)
I am a first time writer on WSO and was hoping to get some feedback from individuals out there who have taken the CFA exam.
I am a junior in college and was wondering the following questions regarding the CFA exam.
1) Generally, when does the average person take their CFA exam? (first year out of school? First year on the job in the finance industry?, etc.)
2) What advice would you give to help prepare for the CFA exam while still in school, besides the obvious of taking finance courses etc.? Any books to read?
Thanks WSO community!
I think doing it in your final year of school just allows you to put CFA level 1 candidate on your resume (since by the time you find out your exam results recruiting season is over) and it helps if you're applying to certain industries where they value the charter. Advantages about doing it after you get a job is that the company might reimburse a part of that... assuming you pass of course.
Also suggest you look into applying for their Access scholarships. It wasn't hard to get imo (write a short essay, show financial need), and it lowers your exam cost to just $250. :)
For L1: Read the Schweser notes, do lots of practice exams, and you should be fine. I didn't even read the CFA textbook, though I heard it's a good idea to go through the Ethics portion of it. Undergrad finance/stats courses definitely covered most of the material.
I would look into analystnotes.com cheap and solid. I'm a sophomore registered to take L1. I think getting it done in school while you have a good learning capacity and brain is a great idea.
"Fugazi, Fugazy. It's a wazi. It's a woozy."
Material to pass:- Schweser Notes- Schweser QBank ad nauseum- Schweser practice exams- CFAI End of Chapter (EOC) questions- CFAI practice exams
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw
To clear things up for some people, you're not actually allowed to take the exam until you're in your final year of study. I graduate in December and took the Level I exam in June and passed. I can't register for Level II until I actually graduate.
I studied for a full 4-4.5 months and put in about 400 hours, even being a finance student. Granted, I may have studied more than I needed to make sure I passed because I really wanted to have "Passed CFA Level I" on my resume before applying to jobs this fall. At my exam center, I was one of a few seniors taking it. I believe seniors in college taking it has become more popular, but definitely not the norm. Most test takers were 22 - 30 it appeared.
I would recommend:-Analystnotes.com - This is a very cheap source that provides good chapter and section summaries with practice questions as you go that show you how compare to other test takers. They also provide decent practice exams, but I don't believe they match up well with the actual exams.-Schweser notes - These can be expensive if you have to pay for it yourself. I had to pay for the exams myself, but was lucky enough to have my boss provide me his couple year old Schweser texts. If you use older Schweser books, be aware that some of the sections change from year to year. They provide great summarized version, end-of-chapter questions, and accurate practice exams-CFAI Books - Most don't actually read these as the text is just too much. However, at minimum, I recommend reading the Ethics portion from here as you'll need to know every little trick in the book. Also complete all the end-of-chapter questions from these texts. The practice exams that the CFAI provides are also great. I would recommend doing these last.-Look for scholarships. Check your university or local CFA society website. Makes it much easier to pay for it and I wish I would've known before.-Do as many end-of-chapter/practice questions and practice exams as possible. Your first practice exam scores will be low, but don't get discouraged.-Create a study schedule and stick to it. I bought "Direct Path to the CFA Charter" by Rachel Bryant and used her style. It worked well for me.
ask why, asshole
BenchPrep CFA Prep Course vs Analystnotes.com (Originally Posted: 02/08/2012)
Any opinions on one over the other? Both are priced well but curious of others' experiences that have used either or both. I understand there's no shortcut to preparation for the exam, just looking for the most cost effective supplement(s) as I don't want to pay the $400 to $1000 for the Schweser packages. Thanks everyone!
15% off on BenchPrep for WSO visitors here: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/wall-street-oasis-d...
...along with a bunch of other discounts. Good luck!
Ace PE InterviewsHF Interview Course
thank you, just signed up for 'Savored' and recommended some friends to do the same
I used analystnotes and passed the June 2013 level 1 exam. The 10 mock exams of the site were extremely challenging and helpful. I am using its level 2 package which I think is ok but not as good as its level 1 question bank.
Advice on using mobile platform for CFA L1 prep (Originally Posted: 08/29/2013)
Help! I am a Level 1 candidate (please be nice to me ;) Any experience/ideas on which is a good app to use. I am an android user.
Don't care if its a paid app, and don't care if they are a non-Kaplan/stalla provider either.. Just want to get the basics, needs to be well presented etc.
Schweser q bank on the ipad is v useful
Hey guys, thanks for your replies. Has anyone used an app for studying the material, i tried downloading vitalsource which is crap. Considering buying an app from a new app provider called 5 a day CFA, they seem to be new but their sample product seems pretty nice.. Just want to know if anyone else is considering any similar provider
CFA preparation -- 4 months (Originally Posted: 01/18/2013)
Hi all,I am almost new to finance. I have economics and engineering background. I would like to take exam for level I in 4 months, does it seem doable?Thanks!
Sure, just make a schedule, stick to it and hammer it through. Personally, I liked reading through all of the chapters twice, once through the books, do some practice tests, then through the entire set of books again.
Should be fine. It's about 3,000 pages worth of material. None of it is overly difficult. I did it in about that time frame while also working full-time and attending a part-time MBA nearly full-time. I work in finance/IT, but I don't deal with the large majority of topics day-to-day so a lot of them were not fresh in my mind and much of it was new.
Thanks for answer.
After reading a few posts, I think I should buy Schweser. Which book or package would you recommend (best ROI) ? Are Schweser notes enough ? Is ebook provided by CFA after registration enough to cover the content of CFA, at least is it good start or should I look exclusively at Schweser ?
Would appreciate that you describe the material you used for preparation.
I have a long commute by train, so I read the text books through, made sure I could do the end of chapter tests, then acquired the Schweser notes, read them through.
While I was going through, I made flash cards of every concept, calculation and definition I thought I might need to know and ran through the flash cards when the train was too crowded to pull out a text book.
Once I finished going through both sets of books once, I took the mock exam from the CFAI, and read through the CFA books again (double or triple speed on the train only).
I went in with four other people and we got the two Schweser mock exam books (six exams in all ~$120ish?) and for the seven weeks before the test wrote a practice exam each Saturday. After writing a test, mark it, make a list of every question I had trouble with, during the week go read the section or chapter on that subject until I was scoring 80%-90% on every practice test. I passed all three on the first go, but I put a lot of effort into being prepared.
Did you follow a set study schedule or list that you followed when preparing to help make sure you were as prepared as you were?
CFA prep: curriculum or kaplan? (Originally Posted: 03/12/2015)
as many equity researchers wannabes, I am beginning to study for becoming CFA as a way to enhance my chances to get called for interviews. but, I was wondering, where should i study? Kaplan or the official curriculum?
fact is the curriculum is awfully long and time consuming but I want to be sure that I won't be missing stuff with the condensed version.
I looked up different posts on the subject but they tend to offer divergent answers so i thought it would have been better to ask the community that, no doubt, is filled with many CFAs.
thank you for your time
kaplan. they teach you what's on the LOS, so you won't miss anything.
"The four most dangerous words in investing are: 'this time it's different.'" - Sir John Templeton
"The investor's chief problem - and even his worst enemy - is likely to be himself." - Benjamin Graham
For level 1, Kaplan is absolutely sufficient. All of this debate has been had on analystforum, I would go there for CFA talk. Also, the consensus seems to be that the CFA is not really helpful in 'breaking in'- I have only passed 1 level but it did not result in a high rate of call backs for ER. Just know that you will invest at least 800 hours and $4k for the credential and once you finally obtain the charter (if you are able to fulfill the work experience requirement), loyd Blankfein and jamie dimon dont show up to your apartment with bottles of champagne
For L1, Kaplan. For L2, Curriculum.
Oreos, CFA here: L1, Kap; L2, Kap; L3, Kap + CFAI
"After you work on Wall Street it's a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side." - David Tepper
thank you all for your answers. to @"Barcadia" , I am painfully aware of that, simply I just don't want to be instantly discarded because of my lack of it. for some positions it is simply mandatory (I am not enrolled in an MBA nor I will in the future although I have a Msc in Finance [I am based in Europe]) and I fear my CV might be binned as soon as they read it... as I have read, the CFA for ER and AM is like a degree, it's nothing special but you are expected to have it.
L1&2 Kaplan is sufficient.
Also, totally agree that having those CFA exams done just checks off a box. I've never really paid attention to it for juniors (especially since you have a MSc Finance) but some people do and many HR blindly follow checklists.
Help for CFA Level 1 exam preparation (Originally Posted: 07/18/2011)
Hi All,I am registered for my CFA level 1 exam this December. I have specific questions regarding the exam preparation:--> I am from an IT background in the financial services sector. I am engineer by education and currently work as a IT Risk Advisory consultant.
I have about 4.5 months starting tomorrow. I firstly want to know whether or not it is possible for me to clear the test in this period, considering that I do not come from a finance background? If yes, how many hours will I have to dedicate per day considering that I am starting from scratch? I am willing to work up to 3 hours a day if need be.
--> Adding on to my first question, I want to know from you seniors out there how I should structure my exam preparation? I have the schweser notes and practice tests with me. Which sections should I start working on first and which next, and so on.
Any help in this regard will be highly useful to me. I really want good advice, as I am going to focus my full attention to this exam in the coming months.
KingtutThe pharoah's curse liberates Egypt!!! :)
I passed level I with only the Schweser notes and did their practice exams afterwards, passed with flying colors in under two months of study. But I have a background in Finance. So you should be more than fine with 4.5 months.
This was the order that I found to be most efficient based on my experience...
1) Finish the quant section first2) Then fixed income, alot of applications of time value of money that's covered in quant3) Then corpfin,(npv analysis, more applications of time value of money)4) Equity or accounting or econ, doesn't really matter which first, (equity is the easiest section of level I imo, it is also the most heavily weighted if i'm not mistaken, so this is the section you should try to ace)5) Don't doze off on ethics, just devote half an hour a day reading it. The sentence structure and syntax of this part can get tricky, and this section is difficult, if not impossible to cram for last minute6) tbh i dozed off on derivatives and skipped alt investments entirely, I did well enough on 1-5 where I can afford to miss these. It's ill-advised, but if you're under a time constraint, these are the sections I would devote less time towards (they are not as heavily weighted anyways).
Everyone's mind works differently, but this is what worked for me, hope this helps and best of luck.
P.S. I didn't touch the actual curriculum CFAI gives u, i don't think its necessary and u can just use them as reference if you have a hard time understanding the schweser notes.
"I respect your courage for coming this far alone! However, you are still going to die!"
You can pass the exam in 4.5 months but you might have to put in more than 3 hours a day since you do not have background in Finance, and not to mention Accounting (heavily tested on level I). I passed level 1 with less than 3 months prep using Stalla, but like Lubu, I have a Finance background and did not open the CFAI books either.
Since you don't have Fin, Acct, or Econ background I think you should be fine if you read ALL your Schweser notes and do ALL the EOC question and the example problems from the CFAI books and Schweser. CFAI EOC question is a must for you.
I do not think the order in which you study matters as long as you study everything, I studied Ethics last and spent the most time in Accounting (heavily tested) and worked my way down to the lightly tested topics. Per the Stalla website the weighting for level 1 topics is:
Ethical and Professional Standards, 15 percentInvestment Tools, 50 percent Quantitative Analysis/Methods, 12 percent Economics, 10 percent Financial Reporting and Analysis, 20 percent <span class='keyword_link'><a href="//www.wallstreetoasis.com/guide/finance-development-programs-an-overview-of-acclerated-corporate-finance-careers-fldps">corporate finance</a></span>, 8 percentAsset Valuation, 30 percent Equity Investments, 10 percent Fixed Income, 12 percent Derivatives, 5 percent Alternative Investments, 3 percent<span class='keyword_link'><a href="http://tinyurl.com/432ywy8" target="_blank">portfolio management</a></span> and Wealth Planning, 5 percent
Study accordingly, all the question/topic get you equal point, pick the low hanging fruits and master the topics that get you the most points.
How do I prepare myself for the CFA? (Originally Posted: 04/05/2008)
I'm going to enroll myself into college next year, I just finished an associate degree in financial services management. I realise that I can only enroll into the CFA program in my last year of college, but how can I prepare myself for the exams, starting today?
Get the schwesser review, read the book, do the exercises, and then do ALL the practice exams.Well although this is not completely legal, but a friend of mine downloaded the CFA schwesser level I notes online for free on some site (use your google skills). You might want to take a loot at that, but if you like it and use it to study: don't be a pirate and buy the actual books.The people writting the Schwesser review did a really good job, and seeing people shamelessly using their work for free is very unpleasant.
Remember, you will always be a salesman, no matter how fancy your title is.- My ex girlfriend
I'm working on LIII right now. Have yet to fail a level.
First off, don't even think about the June 2009 exam yet. If you plan to take LI in December, you're still a little early to begin work. It takes 5-6 months total.
This is my strategy (and it has worked for me and many others): Read ONLY SChweser notes. CFAI texts will be mailed to you after you register, but they suck - long-winded and too much info. SChweser covers t6he essential shit in 1/3 the time.
I do use CFAI texts for the practice problems. They must be covered.
If you want to go crazy, you can order the SChweser question bank which has 5000+ questions, but I think it's overkill if you do Schweser Notes and CFAI practice tests.
LI is easy (It gets tougher on LII). I passed with maybe 125-150 hours, but most people do 200-250 over a 5-6 month time period.
I would suggest that you omit Schweser and concentrate on CFAI textbooks. Schweser practice exams might be good in the final stages of preparation, but not a must of course.Though, for Level 1 it doesn't really matter, this cirruculum is mostly covered during the university studies.
If you want to pass, go with Schweser. Mark my words: Many, many people pass these exams with just Schweser. Reading CFAI means reading an additional 1500 pages of crap that isn't really required for the exam.
If you know Schweser inside and out, you will pass with flying colors - and spend 100-200 less hours in prep than the CFAI people.
Did most of you get through Level I when you were in your final year as an undergrad? I'm probably going to take the approach of studying for the GMAT over the summer (hopefully I'll have some time) and during the first semester of my final year to make sure I get that out of the way. At this point, I think it is more important for me to concentrate on the GMAT.
However, the CFA designation is something that I've been thinking about pursuing. Even though I've heard differing opinions on it, I'm still trying to determine when I would even get the time to study for it once I graduate and start working full-time.
I, for one, enrolled into CFA Program after graduation (though I think enrolling earlier rather than later is actually a good idea).
joemontana: I of course respect your opinion about Schweser as a better source for preparation. Just given that for me personally, CFAI textbooks served very well at all 3 levels, and I didn't use Schweser (other than Schweser practice exams for L2), of course I have no reasons not to recommend using CFAI materials.Besides, everyone who registers for exams automatically gets all CFAI materials, so Schweser is also an extra cost :)
you should check out www.analystforum.com if you have questions about the CFA
CFA Prep - Any suggestions/strategies? (Originally Posted: 12/25/2012)
Tried searching for best CFA prep programs and books. I read that Stalla and Schweser were the most commonly suggested, but I also see that both were acquired by Kaplan. Can anyone speak to their quality under Kaplan management?
Or if you have any other suggestions/strategies, that would help a lot
I'm using Schweser for June 2013 and they're very good. No complaints. Can't speak for Stalla myself, sorry, but heard that they're pretty good as well.
Read my blog: Bateman Begins
Free CFA Level 1 Prep Material (Originally Posted: 12/01/2010)
If anybody wants a big stack of practice tests and/or prep notes for any purpose (whether you're taking the test or just want to learn), PM me. I won't give the name of the provider but it's a popular one.
Please include an email address in your PM.
Are these notes for 2011 by any chance?
PM'd you. Thanks for doing this!
This is a troll. I messaged him right away. Then he asked for an email, which I instantly sent. Still no response in PM.
He's not a troll dude...at all. GoodBread has significant brand equity here. Just because he didn't respond to your frenzied request for free shit instantaneously doesn't make him a troll. He has you know, one of them job things.
If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
Prep Material for CFA ... (Originally Posted: 03/04/2007)
I have lot of prep material for CFA Level 1 & 2 exam...anyone intereted, send me a PM....
better contact me at [email protected] as I use that mail more frequently....
as i just passed level 1, I have the 2006 schweser level 1 material available to sell.
PM me if you are interested - I work in Midtown
How much more marketable does the CFA make your resume for IBanking? I've seen many a post on here say it's irrelevant? Care to comment?
CFA Prep Advice (Originally Posted: 08/26/2010)
I'm a first-year analyst with a basic knowledge of Finance (not coming from a finance background, taken some basic intro classes (stat, econ, acct., finance), work with financial information/accounting). I just started studying for the CFA last week for the Dec 2010 Level 1 Exam. What's the best way to prepare given my timeline (about 3 months)? What materials did you use (Kaplan, Stalla, flashcards, other)? How much time should I put in (I work 40-50 hrs/wk)? Any thoughts?
since you have already taken acct and fin courses, you should do fine. the new info you will learn will be in the form of fin regulations and ethics.
also, talk to your local CFA society and try to set up a study group if you can. it will also be a good networking opportunity.
budget for about 250 hrs from now till the exam.
L1 is not that dificult, relative to L2 or L3.
everybody i know who used schweser notes said they were invaluable.
man made the money, money never made the man
CFA level 1 final prep/mocks (Originally Posted: 11/18/2015)
Coming up on crunch time for lvl 1 in December. Any recommendations for final prep / mocks to take? I am using Kaplan Schweser and have done 2 mocks thus far (68 and 72) and about 800 qbank questions. Plan to do prob 3 more mocks including CFAI's mock prior to the exam so I should be able to get it up to high 70s low 80s. Anything else I should be doing? Are the mocks pretty consistent with the overall difficulty of the exam?
Don't use Schweser Q banks anymore. Those just test your fact knowledge. Schweser mocks are closer to the real deal but nothing beats the real CFA mocks. Dig up all the historical ones from the past few years and focus on the CFAI mocks. Unless there's been a huge curriculum change I would focus on historical CFAI mocks, not Schweser mocks.
Try to make as many example questions as you can!! Old mock exams are the best. Schweser is pretty good or rankyourbrain .com/games/finance.
Yes they are pretty consistent. Only make sure you practice enough questions within each category as there a lot of sub-categories, exams can have the impression they are quite different in terms of coverage.
I would say CFAI mocks are actually harder than the real exam. Don't get panic if you don't get a good score in the online mock exam.
Second what everyone has said. For me, doing the Q-bank on the weak areas identified from the result of my mock exam helped.
CFA Prep Course (Originally Posted: 04/07/2014)
After carefully searching the archives, it appears that Kaplan Schweser is the preferred CFA prep course... but they offer several tiers of prep packages, which one is the best value??? Do you really need all the extra bells & whistles like notes & study planners?
*Taking Level 1 in December.
For L1, the package with the kaplan books, secret sauce, practice exams, and Qbank is what I used. If you're really not getting a topic, just lookup some videos on youtube
No. Best study method for every standardized financial test I have taken is to create bare bones review guides from the reading and do every practice problem available. Kaplan sells review guides but I have forgotten exactly how they are marketed. Basically memorize the guides, they are so condensed its almost all intel vs explanatory fluff. Then do practice problems from the Qbank for that section until you can score above 75%. I don't open the expanded books, almost a waste of time when the practice problems will teach you the application in exactly the way your understanding will be tested on the real thing. Also if you're asking this now I assume your starting your study process? Study the material in order of its weight on the test (duh), Financial Reporting=>Ethics=>Quant etc etc.
Just my 2c.
Rarely will any of my posts have enough forethought/structure to be taken seriously.
*-Just saw that youre sitting in Dec.
Thanks! I haven't really started the studying yet... wanted to develop strategy first. This is super helpful. I'll probably do the classes since that ensures accountability.
Sure, personally I don't do the classes but that has more to do with personal learning preference than the quality of the instruction. Just look over all the material that is covered, then look at the success rate, then look at how much time you have left and if that isn't enough to keep you accountable than you are doomed to procrastination.
CFA Level 1 study materials and Level 2 prep (Originally Posted: 08/12/2011)
I'm planning on taking the CFA Level 1 this coming December and had a question about prepping (which I haven't started). My friend gave me his 2009 Schweser study guides. Are these OK to study from, or should I buy the 2011 notes?
I want to complete Level 2 by December, 2012. If I delay Level 1 til June 2012, will 5 months be enough to study for Level 2? Or do I need a full year of study for that SOB?
Are the Schweser notes good enough to study from for a 3-4 month period, or should I take courses to supplement?
2009 should be OK, but don't take my word for that. Sometimes they slightly change the LOS to decrease/increase what you need to know. But really the basics stay the same year to year.
If anything see if you can get the LOS list for this year (I could prob help you out w/ that) and compare it to 2009 and see what's different.
I know several individuals who studied for L2 for 3 months & passed. Then again, I know even more who studied for 5 months and failed. L2 is known as the hardest level because of all the memorization of formulas. L3 is more PM theory & writing.
If I were in your position I'd take L1 this December. First because if you take L1 in June, you're definitely going to want to take a break after 150+ hours of studying. Trust me. Second, if you fail L1 i December, you can still take it in June.
Also.. do they even give L2 in December? I didn't think they did..
Y don't you just get the 2011 notes? Google is your friend.
For searching from a list of qualified providers and to buy the notes of course...I'm not advocating any other method/methods of obtaining the guides/practice questions/question banks/secret sauce/educational videos.
Level 2 is only offered in June.
Some of the Learning Outcome Statements are changed/revised each year. So portions of the 2009 study material might be irrelevant.
Thx guys. Looks like 2011 notes it is!
CFA Prep - Methods used to study? (Originally Posted: 06/25/2009)
For anyone who took the June 2009 or previous CFA exam, what methods did you use to study?
I am most likely sitting for the CFA level I in December, and trying to plan out my studying over the next few months. Are the different resources like stalla or schweser worth the price? Is studying on your own enough? What are some things that helped you the most or tactics that you used?
Also, where are you located? I am trying to get a study group together in Atlanta, GA.
I honestly get so tired of people being like "Oh level 1 is not that bad if you study for a few hours.." or "I'ts so easy.."
You need 150 hours of studying. Minimum. I would recommend 200-250. I passed it the second time I took it. The schweiser books are worth the money if you want to save yourself 50-75 hours of studying.
MoneyKingdom:I honestly get so tired of people being like "Oh level 1 is not that bad if you study for a few hours.." or "I'ts so easy.."
Were you a finance major?
I did it in less than that... albeit I wouldn't recommend it.
I am thinking of signing up for next June.Do you think 150 hours is still necessary if I did undergrad finance, and two years as an analyst?If so, aside from the ethics section, what type of material would someone with my background not necessarily know?
I second the above spend at least 200 hours. I had no previous financial experience I was a practicing attorney at the time and was able to Pass Level 1 in 2008 with only the Schweser materials they are very good, but you have to put the time in. I did not have the chance to study as much as I should have for Level 2 which I took earlier this month, and I am almost certain I failed.
go to analystforum.com much more depth on this topic.
Schweser all the way. Passed all 3 levels (never failed a level) using schweser. It is more than worth the money in terms of time saved. Schweser covers in 1000 pages what the CFAI text covers in 2000. It is concise and fully covers the essential stuff.
"Schweser all the way. Passed all 3 levels (never failed a level) using schweser. It is more than worth the money in terms of time saved. Schweser covers in 1000 pages what the CFAI text covers in 2000. It is concise and fully covers the essential stuff."
same here, schweser is the way to go
Econ / Math
For those of you who used Schweser, did you get the Premium or Essential Solution? (http://www.schweser.com/cfa/products/solutions.php)
I only did the basic package (texts only, and a cool crib sheet).