The Best Way to Prepare for the CFA Level I Exam

Preparation for all three ranges of the Chartered Monetary Analyst (CFA) exams requires a severe dedication to following a structured examine plan. In accordance with the CFA Institute, the common annual move price over the past 10 years for the CFA Stage I examination has been 44%. For the Could 2022 examination, the move price was simply 38%. This statistic signifies that solely devoted candidates are seemingly to move the examination, so be ready to make the mandatory sacrifices and put within the required effort. And keep in mind, passing Stage I is just step one to receiving a CFA Constitution – there are two extra rigorous exams to go.

Your greatest funding within the CFA Constitution is your time, so spend it effectively. In accordance with the CFA Institute, profitable candidates report that they spent on common about 323 hours in complete making ready for the CFA examination, and the CFA Institute, which administers the examination, suggests a minimum of 300 hours of examine.

The required preparation time could be better for these with a poor background in the subject material and fewer for many who have a powerful background within the topics that the CFA curriculum covers. As a information for a examine plan, let’s use this estimate of 323 hours of studying and follow hours as a benchmark.


Key Takeaways

  • Passing the CFA Stage I examination, which has round a 40% move price over the previous years, requires following a strong examine plan.
  • Profitable Stage I candidates spend greater than 300 hours making ready for the examination, on common.
  • One of the best technique is to go away a minimum of 4 months (roughly 17 weeks) to complete all of the studying materials.
  • Don’t neglect end-of-chapter questions, nevertheless. They are going to assist reveal weak factors.
  • Permit 4 weeks previous to the examination date to evaluation questions and have follow periods, whereas additionally setting apart a minimum of in the future to simulate examination situations at residence.

Go Your CFA Exams on the First Strive

Studying Materials

The CFA Stage I examination covers 10 subjects, 19 examine periods, and 57 readings. Every topic carries a distinct weight within the examination. A great way to handle your examine time is by allocating examine time based mostly on every subject’s weight.

Picture by Sabrina Jiang © Investopedia 2020

The desk under summarizes the distribution of 323 hours of studying on the completely different examination subject areas. It’s usually finest to go away a minimum of 4 months for readings and the final month for revision and training. Should you learn two hours per day on weekdays and eight hours on the weekends, then it would take about 17 weeks (4 months) to finish the entire readings.

Weekends and nonworking days are the perfect time to check for the CFA. Through the week, you seemingly won’t have time for follow questions, along with end-of-chapter questions. Subsequently, plan to spend an extra two to 4 hours through the weekend on follow questions. Don’t forget that the extra you follow, the upper your possibilities of being profitable on the examination.

The letters “CFA” can’t be added after your identify till you may have handed all three exams and earned CFA Charterholder standing.

Finish-of-Chapter Questions

Don’t forget end-of-chapter questions, and all the time write down your outcomes to trace your progress. Finish-of-chapter questions offers you an outline of what areas are examined on the examination, so that you could be extra centered on these areas. Moreover, these questions will reveal the weaker areas that you will need to concentrate on to enhance.

The next desk summarizes learn how to finest allocate your examine time for the assorted CFA examination subjects, when you had been to provide your self about 323 hours and 4 months (120 days) to check. Use this desk as a benchmark and customise your examine routine to fit your circumstances.

CFA Stage I Examination Subject Areas
Subject Space Weight Hours based mostly on 323-hour schedule Days to allocate
Moral and Skilled Requirements 15%–20% 54 20 days
Quantitative Strategies 8%–12% 31 12 days
Economics 8%–12% 31 12 days
Monetary Reporting and Evaluation 13%–17% 46 17 days
Company Finance 8%–12% 31 11 days
Portfolio Administration 5%–8% 20 8 days
Fairness Investments 10%–12% 35 12 days
Mounted Earnings 10%–12% 35 12 days
Derivatives 5%–8% 20 8 days
Various Investments 5%–8% 20 8 days
Whole 100% 323 120 days
Supply: CFA Institute

The Final 4 Weeks 

After a long time of paper-based exams, the CFA exams have modified to computer-based testing. Starting in 2022, the Stage I examination is now provided in February, Could, August, and November, the Stage II examination in February and August, and the Stage III examination in Could and November.

Taking these dates into consideration, enable your self 4 weeks previous to the examination date to evaluation questions and have follow periods. Throughout this era, it’s best to follow extra intensively than in earlier durations. The CFA Institute offers you mock exams.

It’s really helpful that you simply put aside a minimum of in the future to simulate examination situations at residence with the mock take a look at. Two 2.25-hour periods with an optionally available break in between are suggested, to mirror the situations of the brand new laptop examination. The mock examination will allow you to to be effectively ready physiologically for the examination.

It can be worthwhile to take a two- to four-week examine depart from work through the closing part of your preparation.

How A lot Do I Should Research to Go the CFA Stage I Examination?

The CFA Institute recommends finding out greater than 300 hours for the CFA Stage I examination, and profitable test-takers report devoting round 323 hours.

What Is the CFA Stage I Examination Go Price?

The general move price for the reason that CFA Stage I examination started in 1963 by Could 2022 is 45%, and over the previous 10 years (by Could 2022), simply 44% of take a look at takers have handed. The Could ’22 examination noticed solely 38% move.

What Is the Minimal Passing Rating for the CFA Stage I Examination?

Every year, the CFA Institute computes a minimal passing rating (MPS) for its exams, which adjustments every time the examination is given. The CFA Institute doesn’t make this rating accessible to the general public, however take a look at prep suppliers consider that scores above 70% ought to normally represent a move. Additionally they estimate that in some years the passing rating may very well be as little as 56% and as excessive as 74% in others.

What Occurs if I Fail the CFA Stage I Examination?

Should you fail the CFA Examination, you may have the chance to retake it, however candidates who don’t move their examination should wait for no less than six months to take it once more. You may solely try an examination twice per calendar yr and have a complete of six most makes an attempt per examination degree to succeed. Additionally, you will must pay the registration charge every time you sit for the examination.

How A lot Does the CFA Stage I Examination Value?

To take a seat for the CFA Stage I examination, you’ll first must pay a one-time $350 enrollment charge into this system. Every examination then prices $1,200 (or $900 for early-bird registration).

The Backside Line

The important thing to making ready for the CFA Stage I examination is to check in a structured method over a interval of a minimum of 323 hours. Hopefully, after finding out in a structured method for the examination, you received’t have any points with passing it. Finishing the CFA Stage I examination is just a bit of receiving a CFA Constitution. You may want to sit down for 2 further exams – CFA Stage II and CFA Stage III – earlier than being eligible for this prestigious business credential.