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When to start mock exams?

Hi all, first time poster here, first, and hopefully only, attempt on CFA Level 1.

I'm finishing up on my reading soon, and realize I don't remember jack about Quant and Equity and the rest of the stuff I read at the beginning, although I'm sure it should be familiar upon second reading. I'm trying to decide what to do after I finish my reading - review the notes again, or go straight to mock exams.

How does everyone here do it? Thanks in advance for the advice.


  • MarcMarc TorontoPosts: 186 Portfolio Manager
    Everyone has their own best way of studying and I can only speak for myself, so take this for what it's worth. My habit was to start the readings in January and hope to finish them by mid-March. Then I would take the rest of March and April doing as many practice problems as I could get my hands on. This is actually a very effective way to review readings and try to get a better understanding of how the material is likely to be tested. I preferred to save mock exams - especially the ones available through CFAI - until May or late-April at the earliest. I didn't see the point in "wasting" a good mock exam before I felt likely my understanding of the material was reasonably close to where it was going to be on exam day. There are few experiences more depressing for candidates than sitting down to write a mock exam and encountering questions that you have no idea how to answer because you need to spend more time covering the material.

    Of course, the timeline is a bit different this year because the exam is later, which means that you should feel even less pressure to be writing mock exams now (assuming you find the above comments helpful). Mock exams, at least good ones, are in short supply and there is no harm in saving these until you're within five or six weeks of the big day.
  • Hi Marc, thanks for the response. Given the exam is about 3 weeks later, does that mean you're recommending early April for practice questions, and mid-May for mocks?

    You mention good mocks are hard to come by. I have the CFAI mock and Kaplan Schweser Volume 1. Do you recommend more, and who do you recommend? Thanks so much again!
  • MarcMarc TorontoPosts: 186 Portfolio Manager
    That sounds like a reasonable timeline, provided it works for you. Where are you with the readings?
  • I'm just finishing up Ethical standards, my last one. Tempted to just scan and finish and get on with practice, I'm getting quite confused with all the must-dos and record keeping and so on. I feel like with this topic I'm better off practicing rather than reading the theory.
  • MarcMarc TorontoPosts: 186 Portfolio Manager
    I agree that a "Questions first, readings later" can be helpful for Ethics - or at least more helpful than for other topics. Overall, I'd say that you appear to be well positioned and taking April to do practice questions before starting mock exams in earnest sometime in May is a very reasonable approach.
  • Jumping in on this topic: when is the latest that is recommended that we should start mock exams? It's taking a bit longer than expected for me to finish up. I'm still stuck in Equity and not touched at least half the topics...
  • MarcMarc TorontoPosts: 186 Portfolio Manager
    @genetemp It can be tricky to find the ideal time to do mock exams. Do them too early and you may not have obtained enough knowledge to fully benefit from the experience. Do them too late and you minimize the opportunity to learn from the mistakes you make (while also maximizing the potential for panicking in reaction to making mistakes).

    Personally, I would say that leaving mock exams until within 2 weeks of the exam is not advisable.  At the other end, unless you feel that you already have a comprehensive understanding of every topic (something I doubt that any candidate ever could honestly claim), starting mock exams more than 8 weeks before the exam is probably also not advisable. As unscientific as this sounds, you want to have a good rhythm to your studies as you build up to exam day.

    For a June 23rd exam date, starting mock exams in early/mid-May is probably about right.
  • genetemp said:
    Jumping in on this topic: when is the latest that is recommended that we should start mock exams? It's taking a bit longer than expected for me to finish up. I'm still stuck in Equity and not touched at least half the topics...
    I find that about 4-6 weeks before exams should work best. I would try and finish up studying the curriculum completely by then regardless of thoroughness.
  • Thanks both! I'm still only about 50% through but will aim to finish by end of this month...
  • bakytkbakytk MoscowPosts: 3 Associate
    Hello folks, sign for 10h of my personal coaching & you'll get two 3h mock exams for free !! My website is: Pls pm me if interested
  • taratara IndiaPosts: 14 Associate

    CFA Level 1 exam consist of following topic and to complete preparation of all topic it takes 300 hours.

    Ethical and Professional Standards –15%

    Quantitative Methods –12%

    Economics –10%

    Financial Reporting and Analysis –20%

    Corporate Finance –7%

    Portfolio Management –7%

    Equity –10%

    Fixed Income –10%

    Derivatives –5%

    Alternative Investments –4%

    Once you are done with the preparation, you can start Mock test. Keep last 10 days before the exam for mock test.

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