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Work & CFA (3 Months to go) - Time Management Help

archer90archer90 San Jose, CAPosts: 8 Associate
Hi all, 

How's everybody doing with their studying? Three months to go! :#

To those who have already passed Level I or feel confident with their current routine, I'm here to ask for your time management and studying tips.

I have the following material:

- Scheweser Books (with 6 full exams)
- QBanks (thousands of questions); how should I correctly use these questions? Answer all of them every time I finish a reading/book?

Also, I work from 8:00 AM to 630/7:00 PM Monday through Friday with a 45-minute commute each way. Work has kept me quite busy and has influenced what I've accomplished with my CFA studying (not much).

I have gone through Book 1 (ethics and quantitative methods) and I'm halfway through Book 3 (Financial Reporting and Analysis, just finished Inventories).

I really need your help with creating a detailed/strict schedule to follow in order to be able to manage work and the CFA. I know many people have done that and I really want to learn from other people's experience. Only three months left and I feel like I'm not going to make it...  :s

I would really appreciate any response. THANK YOU so much, everyone!



  • Here are some of my experience points that worked for me, might help:
    • Might be worth doing Quant Methods as soon as possible as well, either after you finish FRA or right now if you're flagging in Book 3. Quant Methods is long but might help in later topics.
    • Definitely aim to finish the 6 full exams including the CFA Institute mock.
    • Mock exams + self-grading + ensuing revision took me a solid day / day and a half to get through, so budget your time accordingly. Suggest to start practice exams maybe at latest a month before exam day.
    • If you need to speed up in your studies, the first thing I would cut would be Schwesers concept checkers - they usually don't really follow the exam difficulty or format and are just there to double-check that you've read the material correctly.
    • Don't overspend study time in a particular topic because 'you find it interesting' or 'it's relevant to your job' or 'you're good at it'.
    • You'll probably need to look at taking a week off (or two if you can) to study. Try and raise that with your boss as soon as you can and see where that goes. Even if they don't give it to you, at least you'll know and can plan accordingly.
  • archer90archer90 San Jose, CAPosts: 8 Associate
    Hi there,

    Thank you so much for your advice!

    As for Quant Methods, I finished it prior to starting FRA. "I have gone through Book 1 (ethics and quantitative methods) and I'm halfway through Book 3 (Financial Reporting and Analysis, just finished Inventories)."

    I will be taking a week off prior to the exam, and I'm definitely trying to speed up my studying in order to start practice exams at least a month before exam day.

    What I'm having difficulties with is:
    • Speed up my studying due to wrong work/CFA balance. What do you guys suggest about this?
    • How can I properly use QBanks?
    • How should I break down my daily studying (weekdays and weekends)?
    I really appreciate your help. I LOVE this forum.


  • mi888mi888 switzerlandPosts: 1 Associate
    Divi your remaining material up over the next 6-8 weeks. You need to make sure you cover all the material. Forget about taking notes - it will just slow you down. HIGHLIGHT areas where you feel require focus (for when you come back to review). Do 1 practice exam after those 6-8 weeks. It will show you your area of weakness. Spend the next few days going over weak areas. Do another practice exam. Repeat weak areas. Rinse and repeat until practice exams done and you have all your bases covered. Do not neglect Ethics. If anything, spend extra time on it. This is true for all levels and will in most cases decide whether you pass or fail.
  • Schweser has a study planner. Should be on your login dashboard. 45 min commute each way is exactly what I have from my job. When I was studying for level one I bought the audio notes. Thats an extra 90 min of studying a day, it adds up quickly and was my saving grace. I passed level one with relative ease but I studied almost 650 hours. My work hours are not as intense as yours, 8AM-5PM. Qbank is very powerful for level one. I suggest to make a 15-30 question practice exam via Qbank after each reading. Every Saturday I would do a 120 question Qbank exam covering all previous readings I have covered. These exams have a lot of breadth so its a shame to spend hours learning something in January to only realize you completely forgot it come June. It is important to constantly review old concepts while learning new ones. Your work week hours are inconvenient to say the least. You will need to request a couple weeks off prior to the exam to sprint to the finish in June. Weekends are crucial for you and you will need to get in about 15 hours aggregate Saturday and Sunday. You are very behind, in my opinion. You need to pick up the pace and get that 15 hours on the weekend, couple hours on weekdays (audio notes will help by getting you 90 mins right there).
  • ensenmasonensenmason Los AngelesPosts: 38 Associate
    I imagine after working that long and driving, you're spent.  I wouldn't do any studying after work.  Perhaps get up early and knock out an hour first thing.  This is important to maintain momentum and to keep your head in the game.  You need to do something every day.  Your main studying has to be done on the weekend.  I would do 8 hours Saturday and sunday.  I use a pomorodo app to help me maintain focus over longer periods of time.  

  • scarebaerscarebaer Denver - COPosts: 15 Associate
    I work the same schedule. My advice is to not leave work. I know for a fact i am less efficient at home. I literally leave work as soon as I can, go straight to the library and don't let myself leave until 3 hrs has passed. It is a lot better than going home and seeing the old xbox sitting there....I also do notecards as a I fall asleep. Not only does it help you fall asleep but theoretically it helps you remember it better. 
  • It is very essential for you to balance work and studies. Being a working professional myself i also follow almost the same schedule. i have strictly put in 2 hours of study daily in my schedule. believe me it was not at all easy, but i had the motivation to become a CFA . 
    You have all the study material with you, the only thing you need to do is take out atleast 2 hours (find your motivation) from your leisure time to study. 
    Read this , it might help -: 
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