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Anyone using just the CFAI curriculum?

I received the curriculum (printed books) yesterday. Its just 6 books and assuming I can start studying in the next week or so, seems pretty doable to me. Any pros/cons of using just the curriculum? I plan to supplement it with mock tests and questions banks from other providers.


  • Hey! I am using Kaplan Schweser for my usual reading. I use the Curriculum for the Practice Problems and Examples.. and reading in those cases where Schweser doesn't make this clear to me 

    Pros: Brilliant practice questions, the difficulty level should be near to what we're gonna face on the exam.

    Cons: Some areas the material can go dry/boring/un-necessarily complicated.

    This is my personal experience
  • I used solely the CFAI curriculum when I studied for L2 and found it to actually not be THAT boring of a read....I found Schweser to be less fun to read as it didn't go into the same depth and involvement as the CFAI material.

    Its horses for courses I guess but if you start now, you have definitely got enough time to use the CFAI stuff for your main reference material if you so wish.

    My thinking is that it's the CFAI who write the exam you'll be taking in June so why not learn straight from the source. You can rest safe in the knowledge that anything you can be tested on in the real exam WILL be in the curriculum study material. Can't say the same for Schweser.
  • @sam_hoosier I used the CFAI curriculum as my primary source for all 3 levels and highly recommend that approach. 

    Is @harshit_tahiliani correct in noting that the curriculum can be somewhat less-than-compelling or overly-detailed in places? Absolutely. I found that in such cases, I'd refer back to the relevant LOS and ask myself what exactly they intended for me to take away from this in preparation for exam day. Are there going to be questions on the exam that seem unfair because they test a relatively trivial point that was buried in the 14th paragraph of an in-text example? Probably.

    However, as @Stuj79 correctly notes, CFAI write the exams, which are based exclusively off the curriculum, so there would have to be a compelling reason to use other materials - or so I believe. Indeed, I've found that non-CFAI materials can be detrimental to the studying process because they aren't written in the same way as the curriciulum - ESPECIALLY the practice questions.

    I guess I'd put it this way (and I'm guessing that you're American based on the "hoosier" part of your handle, so forgive me if I'm wrong): If I were a star high school running back with dreams of playing in the NFL, I might find it an interesting challenge to take up rugby. They both require similar skills (ie. running while holding an oblong-shaped ball and avoiding getting tackled by giants) and I'd probably get the hang of it over time. And, who knows, I might pick up some technique or wisdom that would make me a better (American) football player. But would I turn down a scholarship offer from Ohio State and move to England or Australia or South Africa or wherever to learn rugby? No. The best preparation for getting drafted by an NFL team is to play college football (and, y'know, play football as opposed to playing rugby).

    That's a long-winded metaphor, but I hope it makes some sense. My advice is to use the curriculum to the greatest extent possible. If you have questions about a particular section, post them in forums like this to get a sanity check from CFA survivors who can tell you not to worry about the 14 pages they spent explaining some arcane concept that is highly unlikely to get tested on exam day. But I know from my experience that I always felt better on exam day knowing that I'd covered everything in the curriculum - painful though it might have been at times.

    Hope that helps.
  • Thanks everyone for your inputs. I will go ahead with the curriculum as my primary sources and notes from third party providers as back up.
  • @sam_hoosier, the main downside of using CFAI curriculum exclusively is the sheer volume. I use Schweser for reading then CFAI for the questions. It's nice to cut the page count while still getting the practice from the official source.
  • I am thinking that if I start now, reading the curriculum atleast once should be possible. Moreover, the Schweser note will not be available for another few weeks. That said, I fully expect to go to the notes for some of the more dry topics where more concise material might be better from a learning perspective.
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