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CFA Level 1 - December 2014 - Behind Schedule - Need Advice

ec_testec_test USAPosts: 38 Sr Associate
edited September 2014 in CFA Level I
Hi all, 

I started studying for the CFA Level 1 taking place in December 2014. I started at the beginning of May 2014 and made the mistake of spending too much time on the first readings and now that the day of the exam is coming closer, I'm like oh sh*t! I'm so damn behind! O.O. I have completed LOS 1 through LOS 26. Basically, I am finished with Ethics, Quantitative Methods, Economics, and I'm half way through FR&A. As I looked at my planner, I realized I took too long for Quantitative Methods and Economics. If I read at the same speed and put the same amount of effort on the remaining topics, I won't be able to finish by November 6 and start the practice tests, which I really don't want to miss! I have the Schweser videos, books, and the CFAI printed and digital books. What do you think about reading the end of the chapter summaries, watching the videos, doing the end of the chapter questions, and skip most of the reading? I don't think it is the ideal approach, but at this point I feel that if I try to understand every single item in the curriculum and read about it, I won't be able to finish. Any recommendations are welcome :smile: - Especially from those of you who passed the test successfully. 


  • Hi @ec_cfatest‌ , it's good that you realised this early, there's still time to save this.

    I think another simple method (if you prefer reading), is look at the amount of pages remaining, and divide them by the number of study days you have left. So that means you have to cover a set number of pages in your book per day, until Nov 5, come rain or shine. If you didn't finish it on a particular day, you have to skip to the next set of pages next day, and mark those pages you haven't read/covered.

    This way you give yourself a set target to cover as much as you can and move on to practice papers. Your area of weaknesses should reveal themselves in the last month and you'll have time to patch up the knowledge gaps until then. 
  • @ec_cfatest‌ Hey. I think @Maroon5‌ , has given a fantastic idea. That's how I study too and it's pretty effective.   

    From my experience,  Schweser Videos are good for revision but they cannot substitute reading from Schweser Notes.

    Are you working somewhere? Do you have a finance background? How many hours per day can you dedicate to studying? If I know that then I can give you some more tips.

    Here are a few links to blog posts on this community that will help:-

    Hope this helps! 


    PS - I am appearing for Level 1 in December too!
    Also, I love your profile pic! What a cute cartoon! 

  • I have to agree with @Maroon5‌ and @jessmat‌. I have a little whiteboard with the day I started the book I'm on, how many days have elapsed since and what page number I'm up to to track progress.
    I am well aware of how many days I have left to study and how many pages this leaves per day. I'm studying from the CFAI curriculum and thus this does up the page count somewhat, but I think that it's worth it for the added depth. It is good that you have realized your shortfall now rather than in another 2 weeks, but I do think it's probably rather dangerous just reading the summary and doing the EOCs as I'd imagine that trying an exam with no real study would be a recipe for failure. The curriculum is there for a reason and if you could pass just in this manner, then the curriculum would only be about 100 pages long with a load of EOCs for added measure.
    You probably can condense it down quite a bit by not re-reading the endless spiral of detail that the curriculum goes into at times, but if studying from the CFAI curriculum then you're up to a good 45 pages per day required reading to finish by November 6th now.
  • @ec_cfatest‌

    I did a small calculation for you. If you're studying from schweser notes you have to get through 25 pages per day, which may take approx 3 hours. 

    Now if you're not working/working part-time,  studying three hours per day for CFA can be possible. 

    If you're working full time,  depending on the hours and how demanding your job is, it may not be possible to put in 3 hours regularly per day. In that case,  you'll have to target getting by 175 pages in one week (25 per day × 7 days per week). This could be done by getting through some parts on the weekdays and covering majority of the target over the weekend. 

    If you're studying from the curriculum, as @Maverick‌ rightly suggested,  you'll have to get through 45 pages a day.

    Your first reading has to be from some notes - CFAI/ third party as this lays down the foundation. Qbanks,  EOC, Summaries, videos are excellent revision tools that will help cement what you have already learnt (from the notes that  you've read) and  will help to polish some rough ends. But these cannot substitute reading from the notes unless you have a finance background.

    Jessica :)
  • Hi all,

    Thank you so much for all your suggestions, there are fantastic and gives me an idea of what other CFA candidates are doing to tackle this. I am barely reading this and before checking the forum, I actually did a LOS count per day, and my conclusion was one or two LOS per day should be my goal, which come up to seven LOS reading per week. I work full time Monday through Friday 8 to 5 and while my job is not extremely demanding, like most of CFA test-takers, I get exhausted by the time I come home, and find it hard to study. However, I manage to study regularly for about 2 or 3 hours in the evenings during the week. As for the weekends, I study about 8 hours a day (Saturday and Sunday), a total of 16. My hours range from 20-30 hours a week depending on how late I come home (I work at different sites all the time). My educational background is an MA in Economics (why?!! I've never liked Econ), I have ten years of accounting experience (have had an accounting job before I even graduated from college), and minored in Finance.  

    @Maroon5- I do like the page count, I will definitely start keeping track of what I have left and how much I have accomplished. Also, I do agree that the areas of weaknesses will show up during the practice tests, which is why I don't want cut time on those!

    @jessmat- I described my background above since you asked. Thanks for posting those links, I read all the articles this morning (at work). Oh I know, I'm a bad girl, reading blogs during work hours, ha ha. The tips offered there are very helpful and there are some I already follow but some new ones I'll apply to my prep. Also, thanks for making the page calculation! I didn't do a Schweser notes calculation since it is not my primary studying source; however, maybe I'll change my mind since things are more condensed there. It totally helps figuring out the amount of reading I have to do per day. It is good to know there are more candidates in the forum suffering like me, ha ha! Oh, and thanks too for liking my profile pic, it shows exactly how I feel about this whole CFA business. 

    @Maverick- I am too studying from the CFAI books (they're my main source) and I'm using the Schweser materials to clarify concepts that are not clear to me from the CFAI readings. Last week, I actually started doing exactly what you suggested. I think I got caught up in the details before but when I realized I was behind, I began doing "more selective" reading. I started doing light readings for topics I already know and spending a bit more time on topics I have trouble with. 

  • @ec_cfatest‌

    You seem to be doing everything that I would've suggested:-

    1. 3 hours on weekdays
    2. 8 hours per day on weekends
    3. Not spending much time on stuff you already know (I have a feeling that the accounting experience and finance minor will help you save time in FRA and other subjects like Corporate Finance,  Derivatives,  Fixed Income, Equity etc)

    What you could do is: 

    1. Figure out whether you're going to be able to get through 7 readings a week, using the curriculum. If that's working,  then excellent. If not, I'd suggest you to consider studying from Schweser and looking at curriculum for clearing your concepts. Also, Schweser and Curriculum EOC  questions are quite good for revision.

    2. You could try revising the material that you studied in the evening,  on the next day while you're on your way to work and on your way back.

    Hope this helps,  

    PS - I love Economics. I did my Masters In Commerce, but now I feel I should have done MA in Economics instead. Lol.

  • @jessmat

    Thanks for all the suggestions, I will definitely incorporate some of your tips into my prep. Another thing that is helping to speed up the studying process - during this last month, is plugging my tablet to my car stereo and hear the CFAI readings while I commute. Granted, it sounds robotic, but it does the job! I try to take advantage of the long commutes that way. 

    You love Economics, oh no! Why? Lol. It is so confusing! 

    Thanks for the tips once again and good luck on the test! :smiley: 
  • hi guys!

    Thanks for the tips!

    I'm having much of the same problem as well, I'm studying from the CFAI course material. Finished with Ethics&Quantitative Methods, Alternative Investments&Derivatives and almost done with FR&A. I heard FR&A was the longest section in the curriculum, i'm also pretty scared that i won't finish before nov 6th. Furthermore, since I'm also studying actuarial studies at university, i have university finals during that time while studying for the CFA in parallel prior to my final exams.
    I know the more materials that you use the better prepared you are for the actual exam, however, is it absolutely crucial that I go through the Schweser notes or is the CFAI course curriculum enough preparation?

    Thanks! :smiley:

    PS- Currently in my penultimate year at university studying a Bachelor of Commerce (Majoring in Finance/Actuarial Studies w/Minor in Accounting)
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