Career opportunities for CFA® (Chartered Financial Analyst) charterholders

he CFA® (Chartered Financial Analyst) designation is a globally recognized mark of distinction in the finance industry. Being an extensive program, it requires candidates to invest a significant amount of time, money, and effort, which can leave them with the thought of whether it’s truly valuable. Upon reviewing numerous blogs and forums, we found that supporters of the CFA charter outnumbered those against it by around 80% with many claiming that it has helped them climb the corporate ladder and helped enhance their existing skillset.

According to the 2020 Middle East Salary Guide by Robert Half, the compensation scale annually for financial analysts range between AED156K and AED217K while senior-internal auditors can earn between AED 287K to AED 295K.

Based on a survey conducted by the CFA Institute about the job roles held by CFA charterholders in 2019, we have summarised the top careers that pursuing or certified CFA candidates can attain.

Research Analyst

Over 13% of CFA charterholders hold the coveted position of being a research analyst. Research analysts play a key role in the world of business and finance as they use qualitative data to analyze past financial history and make recommendations for the future. The information that they gather is crucial for organizations as it helps prioritize and develop investment decisions.

Corporate Financial Analyst

A hybrid of a research analyst is a corporate financial analyst. The financial analyst, unlike the research analyst, goes beyond data input to frame conclusions. During venture choices, they offer research and guidance on budgets and income statements along with other financial data. They account for over 9% of CFA charterholders and are one of the commonly opted-for job roles soon after the qualification has been achieved.

Consultants

Approximately 7% of all CFA (chartered financial analysts) charterholders work as consultants. They offer an external and personalized view of the organization’s practices, changes and deal with crucial monetary decisions related to savings, investment, or insurance. Their skillset includes business valuation, financial investigations, and identifying methods to increase shareholder profitability.

Portfolio Manager

Over 5% of chartered financial analysts are employed as portfolio managers. Portfolio managers facilitate the purchase and sale of assets constantly. Effective asset sale requires interaction with clients, analysts, and researchers to remain up to date with the market trends. An extraordinary portfolio leader can see past the surface and settle on educated choices for their customers because of insightful expertise.

Risk Managers

Risk is an inevitable aspect of every flourishing business. To grow and earn greater profits, a certain amount of acceptable risk is continuously undertaken to achieve and excel in organizational goals. 5% of charterholders have the job role of a financial risk manager, a role that identifies potential monetary risks that the organization could face in the near future and helps highlight risks that can be converted into prospective opportunities.

Chief-Level Executive

Top-level executives are the most imperative and influential individuals in an organization and branch into CEO, COO & CFO. Being the apex of the organization, the significant choices that they finalize, drive the accomplishment of strategic, tactical, and operational goals contingent upon the organization’s structure and market.

Relationship Manager

Networking is crucial for effective business management. A relationship manager offers both a financial and humanistic aspect which is imperative during mergers, acquisitions, or other business relations. The relationship manager also prevents or rather limits the extent of unpredictability by constantly assessing the current financial status and elements that impact it. 5% of CFA (chartered financial analysts) work as Relationship Managers.

Financial Advisor

Advisors are usually known for being the go-to professionals that assist customers with speculations, assess laws, and take insurance decisions. They help individuals formulate short and long-term objectives, and additionally a budgeting framework that helps them accomplish their financial goals. Some of the advisors also make investments for their clients and provide levy assistance.

To know more about our CFA training programs, click here

Are mock exams important for CFA candidates?

You have invested over 300 hours preparing for the exam, attended classes by an experienced training provider and your books look like they have just returned from war. What’s next? Now it is time to put all your hard work to the test with a CFA mock exam.

There are multiple CFA mock exams on the market, but the most effective ones are designed to simulate the actual CFA exam format, difficulty, and length. It should be the closest you can get to attempting the exam before sitting for the exam.

We would advise appearing for the mock exam, a month prior to the actual exam as taking it too early will not help you remember your mistakes, and taking it late will not offer you a lot of time to improve your performance.

How are the CFA Practice Questions and Mock CFA Exam different?

Nearly all CFA providers incorporate practice questions and tests into their curriculum. For instance, Schweser offers the QBank, a tool used throughout your preparation to ensure you understand what you have already studied and are prepared to move to the next topic.

CFA mock exams are designed to assess your mastery of everything you will be expected to know when you sit for the actual CFA exam. Mock exams and practice questions are not a substitute for each other, both serve their own purpose and have unique benefits.

Attempting the mock exams

Ensure you have extra sheets of paper, a calculator, and most importantly a timer, prior to attempting the mock exam. Since the aim is to replicate the actual exam, you should write the answers just like you would during the exam and write the answers preferably in pencil to simplify corrections and adjustments.

During the mock exam, aim to attempt all the questions within 3 hours while devoting 1.5 minutes per question for 120 questions. The key skill that mock exams teach you is knowing how to save time by prioritizing the questions you know over the questions you are uncertain about.

Honesty is the best policy!

After the mock exam, be strict when marking yourself as this ensures that the score you attain represents an honest assessment of your exam preparation. While we acknowledge the fact that the score you achieve in a mock exam isn’t an accurate predictor of your final score, it will help you understand how much more you need to prepare.

The best strategy involves giving more attention to questions that you got wrong as this is the only way to close any existing gaps in knowledge. We advise candidates to not only analyze the answers but also go back and read the concepts again. By doing so, you are most likely to accumulate more extensive knowledge on a given topic, and you won’t have problems tackling similar but slightly tweaked questions.

How do you appear for the Kaplan Schweser mock exam?

Kaplan Schweser offers mock exams in over 100 locations worldwide but the rise of covid has led to live mock exams being made unavailable. Fortunately, online mock exams are still available. While you will not be able to simulate testing room conditions with the online version, an online mock exam will still be comparable in format, difficulty, and length to the actual CFA exam. From 2021, all levels of the CFA exam will be computer-based, hence the online mock exam will be closer to the real thing.

If you are looking to cut down your exam preparation time, a mock exam might provide exactly what you need to cap off your studies. It will highlight your strengths and your weaknesses while ensuring you understand the question patterns.

The Kaplan Schweser mock exam is paid, but you can access a free version of a mock exam created by our team here – Free CFA Mock Exam

How have the CFA® Exam Formats and Schedule changed?

From 2021, all the levels of the CFA® exam will be offered in a computer-based testing format, a new shift from the 60 years of paper-based testing. Furthermore, the exams will be offered over 10 days rather than one uniform date depending on the location.

In this blog, we will clarify the key highlights and changes of the new testing with clarification on the next steps ahead.

 

How Is It Different from Earlier?

  • All levels of the CFA exam will be computer-based.
  • The Level I exam will be offered four times a year.
  • The Level II and Level III exams will be offered twice a year.
  • There will be exam windows of up to 10 days instead of one uniform date.
  • The total testing time for all levels has been reduced to 4.5 hours instead of six hours.
  • The Level I exam will continue to be a multiple-choice format.
  • Level II and Level III will use the same item set (vignettes) and essay format (Level III) used for the paper-based exams. The total number of item sets on the exam might vary slightly.

 

What Are the New Schedules for all the exams?

A special exam schedule will be released for Levels II and III in 2021, and then a regular cadence will begin in 2022. The planned 2021 exam windows for Level I are still in effect. The exam windows in 2021 are:

  • February, May, August, and November for Level I
  • May and August for Level II
  • May and November for Level III

Beginning in 2022, the schedule for all exams will be:

  • February, May, August, and November for Level I
  • February and August for Level II
  • May and November for Level III

 

I Registered for the Postponed June 2020 Exam. What Do I Do?

There are several options you can opt for based on your registration status:

  • If you have registered for the final paper-based exam in December 2020, you can continue with this option or switch to any of the available 2021 windows based on the level.
  • If you had registered for the June 2020 exam and chose to defer to the June 2021 paper-based exam, you may register for the December 2020 paper-based exam by August 19, 2020. Candidates also have the option to select any of the available 2021 computer-based options.
  • If you would like to move to a computer-based exam, you have until October 20, 2020, to do so.
  • For the February Level I exam, registrations are currently open. Registration for all the levels will be open on August 20, 2020, with the dates for 2021 computer-based exams.

 

What If I Need To Postpone My Exam In The Future?

If you are trying to decide the right exam date, you must check the guidelines and rules of the government and health advisories in your test area. CFA Institute follows the guidance of local governments. Therefore, exams will only be held in locations where CFA Institute can meet public health and safety requirements.

If you were registered for the June 2020 postponed exam, and the exam you subsequently registered for is also postponed, you will have the option to defer again. Also, you can request a refund for the registration fee you paid for the June 2020 exam.

 

Why Is CFA Institute Making These Changes?

The world that investment professionals experience today is increasingly digital. Hence, CFA Institute has decided to embrace the new changes and transition its exam from paper-based to computer-based henceforth. The COVID-19 global pandemic was the impetus for CFA Institute’s decision to accelerate the move from paper to computer-based testing. The computer-based testing environment and additional dates and times available means that fewer candidates will sit for the exam at the same time, which reduces personal risk compared to the high-capacity venues used for the paper-based test.

Now that you have a better idea about the upcoming Level II & III exam changes, start your journey with Kaplan and learn in a manner that suits your learning needs best. To learn more, call us at 800346 or click here – https://bit.ly/studycfa

4 Reasons a career in Investment Management is the best choice!

Investment bankers advise companies on large, corporate-level transactions such as mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity issuances. They help management teams market and sell companies, find potential targets to acquire, analyze the financial value of a project or recommend the best terms for a capital raise to investors.

It is an extremely rewarding industry that offers you the flexibility to develop, innovate, and deliver solutions that could change the financial journey of individuals or the way a business and capital moves forward.

Why is it the right career choice?
1. Diverse career choices
The investment management field offers candidates opportunities across banks, brokerage firms, credit unions, and insurance companies. You could choose to be a financial analyst, fund manager, portfolio manager, risk manager, hedge fund manager, alternative investment analyst, stockbroker, risk analyst, and more.

With the right education and knowledge, you are more likely to work in well-known financial institutions like Vanguard, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and HSBC, companies that manage the investments of both individuals and businesses.

2. A fast-paced industry
As an Investment Associate, you will need to advise clients both individuals and companies on what to do with their money. One day you might be helping a fashion designer, and the next day, you might be helping a company raise funds for an innovative app. With each day being different from the previous, investments can be affected by global changes, weather conditions, and even human emotions. So, you have to keep coming up with investment strategies that direct the funds of your clients in the most profitable direction.

Since the position is in demand by companies like Goldman Sachs, Citi Bank, and JP Morgan, candidates can earn from 100K to 500K in the UAE each year based on their expertise and qualifications.

3. The Hiring Outlook Is Bright
With so many different financial products, it’s no surprise that most industry analysts expect strong employment growth in the investment management field in the upcoming years. This field has much higher job prospects than the average for occupations, especially if you are tech-savvy and hone financial modeling skills.

4. Multiple Qualifications aren’t essential
In addition to a bachelor’s degree, a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) qualification is all you need to enter and grow in the investment management industry.

Since the CFA program equips you with strong technical and analytical expertise in key areas of finance such as quantitative methods, financial reporting, investments analysis, and portfolio management, it offers you the skillset required to excel throughout your career.

Chartered financial analyst® vs MBA Finance: Which one’s more valuable?

The choice between the CFA qualification or MBA degree depends on which best suits an individual’s vocational goals and lifestyle better. This article aims at highlighting the specific attributes of each option and doesn’t aim to quantify how either is better than the other. Some individuals prefer to pursue both at some point in their career to add greater educational value to oneself.

A comprehensive set of questions have been mentioned beneath to evaluate the most favorable qualification for an aspiring financial candidate.

 

What is your end goal?

One of the most crucial decisions when deciding whether to procure the (CFA) chartered financial analyst qualification or achieving an MBA is identifying the future target. Generally, finishing the CFA Program is a rather individual experience, while an MBA program is ordinarily an all the more socially common experience, with an emphasis on networking and group courses.

For an individual who would like to grow into a financial analyst or portfolio manager, the CFA Program would be an ideal choice. The CFA Program exam is a foot-wide and a mile deep as it is intensely focused on one goal – creating a better speculation leader with a specific range of abilities for effective resource administration.

On the other hand, the MBA follows a rather extensive approach. The skills attained during the program aren’t centered on a solitary industry. Rather than a serious spotlight on a specific range of abilities, a holistic learning experience is offered on all business areas. If the choice of which ideal industry to work in still prevails, the MBA degree is better as it offers relatively greater practical exposure into business practices.

 

How much is your educational budget?

Although the career goal is the end objective, the cost is a crucial factor when settling on an MBA and the CFA (chartered financial analyst) charter. The CFA Program is generally reasonable when weighed against an MBA, particularly if an individual plans on attending a renowned business college.

On the whole, an individual can finish the CFA Program with premium CFA exam study materials for around $12,000 while the MBA educational cost can cost $80,000 or more. Therefore, it really matters what one aims to pursue with their qualification so that it can provide value for investment in the long run.

 

Which qualification are you eligible for?

To enlist in the CFA(chartered financial analyst) Program, either of the CFA Institute’s qualifying criteria must be met:

  • Have a bachelor’s (or proportionate) degree
  • Be in the last year of a four year certification program
  • Have four years of specialized work experience
  • Have a mix of expert work and university experience that sums no less than four years

While Business college necessities vary from one another, it is crucial to identify the provisions of the interested college. Mostly, each university will require that a candidate:

  • Has a four-year certification
  • Completed the GRE or GMAT exam with an attractive mark
  • Has proficient work involvement
  • Completed extra program essentials

 

Which course works best according to your timetable?

On the off chance that the candidate is pursuing a full-time undergraduate study, the MBA program can be completed in two years or less. While the CFA Program can be completed in a year and a half if everything works smoothly excluding the time spent preparing for the Level I CFA exam. The CFA course is an exceptionally serious designation and therefore requires 300 hours of learning for each level of the CFA program exam.

The CFA Program offers candidates the option to take a year off between the levels on the off chance that it’s required. Taking a year off may although negatively implicate one’s chance for completion or increase the education cost. All variables considered, effective applicants take four years to procure their CFA (chartered financial analyst) qualification, as indicated by the CFA Institute.

 

What is your expected future income?

While greater monetary pay is one of the topmost factors for pursuing further training, it shouldn’t be the greatest factor in choosing between the CFA Program or an MBA. As per Business Insider, the middle remuneration for a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) charter holder with 0– 5 year-long periods of experience is $72,900. The middle remuneration for a business college graduate with 0– 5 year-long periods of experience is $57,700 and Business experts with 0 – 5 year-long periods of experience who have finished both the qualifications have a middle compensation of $87,200.

Currently, you are in a position where numerous other individuals have been and still are in. During this research process, it can be identified that there isn’t a solitary, ‘set-in-stone decision that works for each person. What one may see as a constructive decision may be an adverse choice to the subsequent individual in line. Therefore while evaluating the variables, undertake a holistic view and settle on a choice based on what suits you best. Regardless of the choice, a decision for a brighter future has been selected!

The ultimate guide to improve your CFA exam scores

The CFA exam is a globally renowned financial qualification valued by organizations across industries and countries. It’s extensive curriculum which focuses on topics such as economics, financial reporting, investments, and ethics ensures candidates understand concepts from its grass-root level.

Each level aims to test a different skill set or level of understanding of the candidates such as Level I aims to test your understanding of key financial concepts, Level II tests your application of these concepts in real-life scenarios while Level III focuses on testing how well you can answer a question with integrated topics in an essay format.

Here are some key strategies that have worked well for our students and helped them improve their scores significantly:

 

1. Study according to the exam topics 

While Level II & III of the CFA exam are known to trickier than Level I, they aren’t difficult to pass. With the right exam strategy and study materials, you will be able to successfully pass your exams. Here are some of the key topics for the exams:

  • Level I – Financial Reporting and Analysis, Ethical Standards, and Quantitative Methods.
  • Level II – Financial Reporting and Analysis, Ethical Standards, Equity, Fixed Income, and Portfolio Management.
  • Level III – Portfolio Management & Fixed Income.

While some topics carry a higher weightage than the rest, you should not neglect the topics with lower weightage. It’s important to ensure that you learn key concepts from all topics as this can help you assure marks from a topic rather than lose all the marks instead. Within a limited time period, give the utmost value to the highest weightage topics.

2. Prepare based on the exam format

Each level of the CFA exam has different formats, level I has MCQs, level II has itemsets while level III has itemsets and case studies. While they all aim to test your knowledge, the testing method can make a huge difference during your preparation phase. You need to clearly understand whether the questions will be analytical in nature or conceptual focused, straight-forward, or indirect.

3. Practice as much as you can

Quite a few students understand the theoretical concepts well but stutter when they must be practically applied. To thoroughly assess your skill, you need to practice at least 5 examples of each concept. Something that quite a few candidates do is to either create a list format for each chapter or tie concepts together as a cause and effect relation through a story format. According to CFA Program examiners, you have understood a concept well when you can perform the question backward.

4. Leverage on an approved training provider

By choosing a specialized training provider, you will have the advantage of training with someone that is well aware of the curriculum changes and proven exam strategies. Good training providers usually employ multiple certified trainers to teach different topics as this ensures that candidates are learning from a trainer who is well aware of the specific topic, and can predict key areas that may appear in the exam based on their experience.

5. Use your study resources wisely

97% of CFA candidates recommend Kaplan Schweser as their preferred study material. Kaplan Schweser offers candidates resources such as practice exams, a quick-sheet with formulas, an online resource library, and a detailed study plan.

Another valuable resource that you can leverage is the one free mock exam for each level by the CFA Institute, which is downloadable from their website. This is the closest you can get to the actual exam in terms of difficulty and tone, so it is a very useful tool to calibrate your practice.

End-of-chapter questions will give you an overview of what areas are tested on the exam, so you can be more focused on these areas. Additionally, these questions will reveal the weaker areas that you must focus on to improve.

6. Study breaks are crucial

Everything has a tipping point and so does your brain. If you are planning to cram 2 chapters worth of content in one day at a stretch of 9 hours, it’s likely that you haven’t thoroughly learned every concept. Your objective should be to learn well the first time with months left for the exam rather than stress about re-learning a month prior.

Therefore, give yourself frequent study breaks and choose to hang out with your friends and family occasionally rather than being buried under your books.

Best Review Strategies for Level I CFA exam

March quickly turns into May or September into November if you are appearing for the CFA® Program Level I exam in June or December. Losing precious hours over daylight savings or lack of an effective review strategy can prove to have a greater negative impact than perceived.

The preparation phase should be completed by the end of March and the last three weeks of May should be used for mock exams. Use April and the first weeks of May for question practice and debrief. This does not refer to taking a quiz, marking it, and moving on. It’s important to ensure you spend an average of 90 seconds per question and much more debriefing it.

 

Strategy to Debrief the CFA Program Exam Level I

You can start your debrief by ensuring that the questions you got right were because of your span of knowledge and not by chance. Strengthen your CFA course material for all the wrong and guessed answers by practicing at least 5 examples of each type of calculation. CFA Program Examiners are known for indirect and tricky questions, therefore practice repeatedly until you are able to perform the question backward (a popular CFA examiners’ trick).

If you were unable to remember lists related to a model or a theory, Tie facts together where you can, your brain is wired to remember stories. Cause and effect relations will stick a lot better than disorganized memorization.

On the other hand, if you are finding difficulty with calculation analysis, go back and find an example of the calculation or change the numbers with hypothetical numbers of your choice if required. For example, always having a simple balance sheet and income statement at hand to help with ratio analysis is a good choice. Put some numbers through your simple statements and calculate the result if you are unable to identify why the answer was an increase, decrease, or neither. This approach can be used when you need to conduct a detailed examination of the elements or structure of something, typically as a basis for discussion.

 

Understanding the process is key for correct answers

By taking a couple of extra minutes to understand how an answer is derived will ensure that you are able to answer similar questions in the near future as well.  When deciding the amount of time to dedicate to different topics, consider your strong/weak areas and the syllabus weightings. Economics, Derivatives, and Alternatives combined are worth less than Financial Reporting and Analysis. Spending weeks studying derivatives knowing that it’s worth only 5%, isn’t the smartest of choices.

All in all, Focus on improving your understanding of all the topics through question practice and debrief. This will put you in a strong position to hit the mock exams in lay.

5 tips to pass the Level II CFA® exam

Everything you need to know about the Level II CFA exam

Passing the CFA Level I exam means that you have passed your first milestone on the way to becoming a CFA® charterholder, Congratulations! As we often receive a variety of questions from candidates preparing for the Level II CFA exam, here’s a compiled list of those questions and answers for your reference and understanding.

  • How are Level II and Level I CFA course material different from each other?

Level II tests your ability to practically use your financial understanding from Level I while Level I tests your understanding of investment valuation. The Level II exam will present you with real-life scenarios and focus on evaluating your knowledge of investment management and portfolio concepts. Furthermore, the exam is only offered once a year and on different dates in June based on the area, you live in unlike the Level I CFA exam.

 

  • What is the exam schedule for Level II of the CFA exam?

The exam will no longer be offered in June but instead will be offered twice a year. For 2021, it will be offered in May & August while from 2022, it will be offered in February & August. There will also be an additional exam window being offered only in 2021 during the month of November.

The exam windows of up to 10 days instead of one uniform date with the total testing time is reduced from six hours to approximately 4.5 hours. If you would like to reschedule your exam date, a USD 25 fee will be applicable.

In addition to the time reduction, candidates will be free to walk out of the exam session as soon as they finish, even if the exam is still in session.

 

  • What can be expected in terms of the exam format for the Level II of the CFA® Program?

From 2021 onwards, the exam will be offered in a computer-based testing format. The exam will have two 135-minute (2.25 hours) long sessions. The number of questions will be lower than in previous years, but the average of 3 minutes per question will remain the same.

Unlike in Level I, the Level II exam is comprised of item sets, or “mini-cases”. Each item set has a vignette (or case statement) of varying length and either four or six questions related to it. While questions in an item set can be solved independently of each other, they are all based on information provided in the vignette. There will be 44 multiple-choice items in each of the two sessions, for a total of 88 for the entire exam, each worth 3 points.

 

  • What are the topics and weights for the Level II exam?

On a year-to-year basis, the Level II CFA exam topic weights are subject to change, at the discretion of the CFA Institute. For the exam in 2021, topics are weighted as :

  • Ethical and Professional Standards: 10 – 15%
  • Financial Reporting and Analysis: 10 – 15%
  • Fixed Income: 10 – 15%
  • Derivatives: 5 – 10%
  • Corporate Finance: 5 – 10%
  • Alternative Investments: 5 – 10%
  • Portfolio Management: 10 – 15%
  • Equity Valuation: 10 – 15%
  • Quantitative Methods: 5 – 10%
  • Economics: 5 – 10%

 

  • What’s the amount of time required to study for Level II?

Candidates stated that they spent an average of 328 hours preparing for the exam when asked in the June 2019 CFA Candidate Survey by the CFA Institute. The time spreads over a 6 month period with 12.5 hours per week. Although, candidates don’t always start studying early and tend to compress their study time into a shorter window. The intensity of your study schedule depends greatly on how early you begin preparing.

 

  • How much does the Level II CFA® exam cost?

Registration plays a huge role in determining the cost of the exam. There are three registration windows called – early, standard, and late. The fees are $700 for early and $1,000 for standard. Registering early will not only help you save $300 which you could invest in a CFA Program exam prep course but will also help you start preparing sooner.

5 Tips to pass the upcoming CFA® exam

Achieving the CFA charter is not only an essential part of starting your journey towards a successful career but also shows employers your level of commitment and mental discipline. You are required to invest over 300+ hours to study for the program as the knowledge you gain throughout the exam preparation is crucial to make profitable financial decisions.

While some candidates might find the exams easier than the rest, there isn’t a guaranteed way to ensure that a candidate will pass the CFA exam. Although there are many techniques that you may use to strengthen your exam knowledge, certain methods, in particular, can increase the chances of success. Some of those methods are mentioned below:

1. Make the most out of your study resources

After thoroughly learning the CFA Program curriculum, it’s time to test your knowledge through a mock exam. Mock exams not only help you assess your level of understanding but will also help you identify your weak points. Being well versed with the structure and the type of questions in advance will help you prepare and practice successfully. Mock exams are highly recommended by the CFA Institute as they help psychologically prepare you for the exam day.

One method that has proven to be effective is the Prepare > Practice > Perform technique. In the preparation phase, you learn the content through reading and attending training sessions while practice includes recollecting the material and identifying gaps in your learning so that you can perform well during your mock exams. Ensure that you spend 30 – 40% of your time during the preparation stage, 40 – 50% practicing and 20% performing.

2. Study in long intervals

The CFA Institute continually emphasizes the need to prepare at least six months in advance for the upcoming exam. Hence, Candidates are required to study for an average of 300 to 400 hours per exam. If you plan on appearing for the June exam, then you must start studying from January onwards and prepare for the December exam by early June.  Candidates are prone to get confused during the month prior to the exam which is why the longer your preparation phase, the higher your chances of success.

3. Give the CFA Program priority during your day to day tasks

The majority of the CFA candidates are working professionals or university students, therefore being able to balance and prioritize your commitments is essential.  You can prevent being overwhelmed through careful planning. Create a daily, weekly and monthly reading plan and ensure that if your goal is to read for 5 hours a day but couldn’t study on one day, you still end you completing 35 hours for the week.

It’s equally important to prioritize time for relaxation as overexerting your brain can do more harm than benefit. Prevent having a burnout by including a couple of free weekends and fun activities in between.

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 an 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 activities such as binge-watching a show. Balance is key!