study habits

Five Study Habits To Make Sure You Pass Your CFA Exam

When you look at the average pass rate for the CFA exam, you may start to worry because it isn’t very high at 43%. If you want to be part of this small number of people passing, you need to know how to study correctly. There are certain study habits that you should get into which will help you pass your CFA exam.

Know That Study Sessions Are A Marathon Not A Sprint

If you want to pass the exam, you need to prepare correctly and start studying well in advance. It is recommended that you spend at least 6 months preparing and complete 300 to 400 hours of studying before the exam. You should never leave your studying for the last minute because cramming for the exam will not help you pass.

You should also look at scheduling your study sessions further apart. Leaving a few days between studying will actually help you retain information. Relying on long-term memory is recommended because it offers a more intensive retrieval effort and will help you when it comes to writing your exam.

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Find A Study Method That Suits You

One of the study habits that you need to get into is to use a method that suits you. There are some people who find working with flash cards to be the best method while others find writing everything out helps them remember. It is important that you find the method that is best for you and not give in should people tell you about their method.

Every person is different and the way that your brain handles information will be different. If your study partner studies best late at night, this does not mean that will work for you. There are times when this is a bit of trial and error, but you will be able to tell what is working for you.

Make The Most Of The Materials On Offer

The CFA has a lot of study materials that will help you prepare for the exam. You should take advantage of this because it is coming from the CFA itself. It is recommended that you take a look at the Learning Outcome Statements that are provided by the CFA because they will help you.

You should also look at getting study aids and any mock tests that you can find. Of course, you will need to ensure that all of the materials you are using are up to date. Older versions of the materials might be missing information that will be on the exam.

Do Not Leave Anything Out

Each unit of your course will be important and will possibly make up part of the exam. This means that you should never skim over something. There are some people who skim the 300 pages of economics information because it only makes up 10% of the exam, but this could be the difference between passing and failing.

The units that do not have a lot of coursework should not be taken lightly either. You need to know these units very well because one wrong step and you could fail the entire exam.

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Look After Yourself

While it is important to have good study habits, this will mean nothing if you are not looking after yourself. As the exam nears, you need to ensure that you eat regularly and are getting enough sleep. You should also take the time to get some fresh air every day to ensure that you remain healthy. If you have a full-time job, you might want to think about taking some half-days to help you relax before the exam.

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How You Can Prepare For Your CFA Exams

Preparing for your CFA exams is important because these are very hard and come with a pass rate that is below 50%. If you want to be one of the people who pass the exams, you need to start preparing early and take the right steps in your preparation. Fortunately, there are some steps that everyone can follow which will help your chances of passing.

Start Early

The CFA Institute states that you should study for at least 250 hours independently in order to pass each exam. However, a study conducted in 2016 found that candidates are actually studying for 322 hours per exam. This means that you should start preparing for each exam around 6 months in advance.

During these 6 months, you should be spending around 13 hours per week studying. Most of your time should be spent reviewing the curriculum and any mock exams. You should also include independent exam preparation materials in your studying.

Develop A Plan

6 months is a long time to spend preparing for an exam. A lot of people can get sidetracked and wobble in their studying during this time. That is why you need to have a plan for your studying that you stick to.

You should look at your calendar and determine what you need to review by when. You should plan to finish reviewing all of the material at least a month before the exam. You can then spend that last month revising the work at a slower pace.

Study All Of The LOS

The LOS or Learning Outcome Statements are defined by the CFA Institute as the knowledge, abilities, and skills you should be able to employ after completing all of the reading and exercises for a unit. It is important that you read through these LOS and that you master them. When you have this knowledge and the skills mastered, you will be able to take on the exams.

In order to master each of these statements, you should create an outline and write down all of the important items. When you do this, you are more likely to remember the information later on.

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Use A Study Method That You Are Comfortable With

There are some people who study best with flash cards while there are other people who use different memory techniques. The study methods that work for you might not work for someone else because the way you retain information is unique. This is why you need to find a study method that you are comfortable with and stick with it.

If you are constantly changing your study methods, you are not going to be able to pass your exams. This is due to the fact that the information will become confused in your mind. You will also take longer to get through all of the material when you have to change study methods.

Work On Problems Offline

Each unit of the curriculum will have problems and questions at the end that you need to work through. When you do this, you should work on the problems offline. It is important that you tackle these problems in the same way that you would the exam.

When you study and practice with the exam in mind, you will be better prepared. When working on problems, you should avoid using Excel and tackle them with your approved calculator and some paper. This will ensure that you are comfortable in the exam when you have to solve these problems in this manner.

There are a number of steps that you should take to ensure that you pass your CFA exams. Studying well in advance is important, but you also need to ensure that you use a study method you are comfortable with.