The CFA® exam covers a vast amount of material, and to reap its benefits, you need a powerful arrangement of tasks and deadlines to be thoroughly prepared for the exam day. Following are some essential guidelines as you set up your own examination study framework.
1. Start an early and dedicated study schedule
CFA Institute emphasizes on 300 hour-long periods of study as the base in order to have a successful learning plan. In order to complete 300 hours over 6 – 9 months, one should invest their energy and time consistently. Scramming together during the last couple of months due to a late start is a formula for disappointment.
2. Adhere to your timetable and don't get distracted.
When you make your schedule, be persistent! One way to gain greater confidence in the CFA® Program curriculum is to read the relevant CFA study material beforehand as well as to constantly take CFA tests and review sessions. This will help identify areas for improvement, help raise questions for clarification and provide an overview of the topic.
Another valuable method to learn and grow theoretically is by forming CFA study groups with students facing the same doubts or are well versed in topics that you are poor at. Having a CFA support system helps provide motivation, prevents the feeling of speculation and will help to gain greater clarity and mastery regarding topics through differentiated point of views. In order to stick to the CFA study timeline, it’s imperative to add CFA training classes along with group study plans as a part of your schedule. Any small time lag or sense of procrastination could lead to a follow up of changes and lead to failure of the plan.
3. Prepare, Practice, And Perform
The effectiveness and benefit of the CFA study plan can be enhanced through the three key phases of learning: Prepare, Practice, Perform. The first way to progress is by highlighting the Learning Outcome Statements (LOS) given by the CFA Institute. They clearly outline the expected performance based objectives for the CFA® exam. For instance, one LOS may be "Compute and explain Net Present Value (NPV)." The main words "compute" and "explain" are what you ought to have the capability to do accurately.
The prepare step is the point at which you start to take in the fundamental ideas. This stage is generally a learning exercise of retaining data, content of vocabulary, hypothesis ideas, and standards identified with the LOS.
The second stage is practice. This is the point at which you really apply the information from the earlier stage by working practice issues. In the event that you should compute NPV, the most ideal approach to understanding would be by solving at least 10 practice problems for the same. Majority of CFA students spend a lot of time preparing and not practicing.
The third stage is to perform. The perform stage focuses on reenactment of real exam conditions by taking a mock exam, evaluating your assessment, identifying your strengths and shortcomings, and retaking the mock CFA® exam to attain more practice in required areas.
4. Refresh frequently
One chapter studied and excelled at thoroughly in the beginning, doesn’t guarantee that it will be well remembered before the exam. You need to consistently review the CFA® Program curriculum at least once a month if you have studied it well before. Spend a couple of hours every week reviewing and learning the CFA material until you are through with it. Do some training questions and, on the off chance that you commit any errors, dive into those topics again until you are assured of the content clarity.
5. Cover ample amount of the material
Don’t get into the game of speculation regarding which topic won’t be crucial and won’t appear in the CFA® exam. At the least, this could lead to leaving the chapter for the end and not being able to study well for it. At most, it could lead to complete ignorance of the CFA topic. Each CFA topic exists for a reason and this is a fair game, therefore predictability and patterns can’t be relied on.
6. Save the last month for self - evaluation
During the last month before the CFA® exam, start to take CFA mock exams in realistic settings such as with actual time limits and difficulty. Take the exam without any prior CFA revision to evaluate how much you remember and then after CFA revision to evaluate how much you have improved and need to re-study. Failures need to be analyzed based on whether it was an issue due to lack of understanding or merely false application of one’s knowledge. Monitor the scores and identify the trend, two weeks prior to the CFA® exam, you must be able to score more than 70% consistently.
7. Lastly, take time out for relaxation
Create plans with your friends and take frequent breaks so that your mind and body have enough time to refresh and focus. Although, ensure that they aren’t time-consuming and have follow up activities such as binge watching a show. Balance is key!
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