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Zag_grad2010's avatar

Has anyone taking the CFA level 1 exam?

Asked by Zag_grad2010 (203points) January 19th, 2011

I want to take the level 1 exam this June. Do I have enough time to start studying? Also, what materials do you recommend. I have read that Kaplan and Schweser are good. Thoughts?

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5 Answers

bob_'s avatar

I did. I took it in December.

You would have enough time if, and this is a big if, you commit yourself, meaning studying for 2 or 3 hours every weekday, and more than that on Saturday and Sunday. Trust me, I’m not exaggerating, you need a lot of time to prepare for this, especially if your academic background is not finance-related.

I studied with the official books the Institute provides. The Kaplan Schweser books are a condensed version of it, some people say they’re essential, I think they’re helpful but not indispensable. What you really should get are sample tests: practice is key.

Overall I spent close to 200 hours studying, counting three full practice tests. Results will be released next Tuesday, I’ll let you know if my method was successful.

bob_'s avatar

Update: my method was successful, I was notified today that I passed :D

So, my suggestion stands. Study a lot and practice even more, but most importantly, have the commitment to get it done.

Zag_grad2010's avatar

Congratulation on passing, I envy you.

I was planning on studying a few hours every day and treating it like a class, but thanks for confirming I have enough time. Do you know if there are review classes or is this completely independent studying? Also, I saw somewhere about videos to aid in the studying process. Do you have any input on that?

bob_'s avatar

Thank you!

Yes, there are many reviews out there, the most well-known of which is the Kaplan Schweser. As I said, they are helpful, but not essential. They are also not cheap (but then, neither is retaking the test). If you can buy them used, you’d save quite a bit, and the curriculum does not change all that much (and you’d still have the official books to study from).

If you have the motivation and drive to study on your own, do that. If not, do check around for online reviews and study sessions.

maudie's avatar

I would agree with bob’s answer. My brother took the CFA level 1 and passed after eight months of continuous study before the exam. His schedule was 2 hours a night 5–7 days a week. He took a few months’ break after the first exam and then returned to the brutal study schedule (he also works like 70 hours a week) for the second level, and he missed passing by a couple of points. Ugh. He’s trying for it again this June, but if he doesn’t pass the second time he’s not sure he can keep it up.

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