Studying for the CFA Level 1 in One Month

Drive's picture
Rank: Monkey | 50

I will graduate from a Finance undergrad program in April and will have the whole month of May to study the CFA level I . Has anyone here passed it this way? Do you think it would be enough?

I started to study last month but the problem with this strategy is that I tend to forget the bulk of what I have studied previously hence it is not very efficient.

Preparing for the CFA with Limited Time to Study

Generally speaking it is doable to study for the Level 1 exam with only a month of preparation time but this will depend on your background / education and the amount of time you have to prepare. Coming out of a finance undergrad program it is wise to take a practice exam cold in order to see what level of preparation you already have coming out of school.

Our users recommended skipping the CFA prep books and focusing on the Scheswer notes. One user shared his advice below.

JunkBondSwap - Private Equity Partner:

Definitely use the Schweser notes and focus on the most heavily weighted topics (FRA, Ethics, Equity, Fixed Income, etc.).

Learn more about this topic in the video below.

Read More About the CFA on WSO

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Comments (16)

Mar 19, 2013

Completely depends on the amount of material you learned and then retained in college. I would recommend you take a practice test cold and gauge how ready you are based on that test. If you were a good student in college and have a solid base for accounting I think it can be possible.

Mar 19, 2013

Last year I was in the same situation as you and I passed. Do not go through the CFA books but focus using the schweser notes.

Mar 19, 2013

I got both Scheswer and Elan books from a friend and think the latter is better (and cheaper).

Mar 19, 2013

Did Finance in undergrad, too. Skimmed through each book averaging about a day or so per book when I did my L1, and went through maybe 3 practice papers. Managed to (barely) scrape through with a pass.

So... doable. Probably not recommended, though.

Mar 19, 2013

Definitely use the Schweser notes and focus on the most heavily weighted topics (FRA, Ethics, Equity, Fixed Income, etc.). Doing 1 book per day and actually retaining the information well enough to pass doesn't sound feasible but nicely done I guess.

Mar 20, 2013

1 book per day? That seems a bit far-fetched doesn't it?

Maybe I wasn't clear. I have a full month without anything else to do. Let's say 50-60 hours per week * 4 = 200- 240 hours in total + 20 hrs already done. I was curious if anyone did this.

Anyway, thanks for the comments !

Mar 20, 2013

I agree with junkbond - definitely focus on the heavily weighted topics.

I took a similar path last year and passed. I registered in January but I didn't feel the fire under my ass to study until about mid-April. I went through the shweser secret sauce, referencing the books on anything I didn't really understand, and making a formula sheet along the way. From there I took practice tests until I was blue in the face. I feel like my having 7 different practice tests to go through a couple times each was the key to my passing.

Also - I would wait to do Ethics until last - and you can essentially learn Ethics from practice tests depending on how many different practice tests you can get your hands on.

Mar 20, 2013

Friend of friend passed the exam with 10 days of cave-mode preparation. Said he didn't use any book but referred straight to some notes.

So it's doable but I guess you need to have some great mental stamina. He was target/engineering guy.

Mar 20, 2013
fours:

Friend of friend passed the exam with 10 days of cave-mode preparation. Said he didn't use any book but referred straight to some notes.

So it's doable but I guess you need to have some great mental stamina. He was target/engineering guy.

This is what I did (for 14 days though); I think a whole month should be fine, especially given your background and projected time commitment.

Mar 20, 2013

If you're not doing anything else for that month you absolutely can do it. Spend the first week or two powering through the Schweser books (all day every day), then spend the remainder going hard on practice problems (Qbank) and mocks. The exam isn't hard per se, most people just underestimate the sheer volume of information you've got to retain.

The real problem would be burning out half way through the month.

Mar 20, 2013

Just saw your comment, if you can get the 250 hours you'll have no problem. I think recommendation is 300 hours, I did it in about 230, almost all of which was crammed into the last 6 weeks or so (while working full time)

Keep in mind that most people don't retain a lot while reading, its the last 3ish weeks of practice questions and mock exams that you actually cement the knowledge in.

Mar 20, 2013

Thanks for the comments ! really appreciated.

Just did a practice session with 120 questions from all chapters. I scored 72%. I got mainly rocked during the last chapters like Fixed Income and Alternatives Investments.

Surprisingly, I passed the ethic part. I used common sense and some memory of skimming through it when I had to study for an I-Banking course at my school. Must be luck though.

  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Oct 9, 2015

hello, im in the same situation as you were , im also a fresh grad of finance and currently havig atleast 7 hrs a day available for studying .im sitting for the Dec level 1 exam, however im insisting to go through the material first in this month and do the practicing next month . im asking about those 120 Qs of practice session you mentioned . where would I find them, and if you can give me any further advice . thanks in advance .

May 12, 2013
Drive:

I will graduate from a Finance undergrad program in April and will have the whole month of May to study the CFA level I . Has anyone here passed it this way? Do you think it would be enough?

I started to study last month but the problem with this strategy is that I tend to forget the bulk of what I have studied previously hence it is not very efficient.

Thanks.

How're you holding up? T minus 20 days, goooooo

  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Oct 15, 2015

Did you pass?

May 20, 2016
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