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Study Tip for the CFA Exam
Develop a solid foundation by making your own set of summary notes for each LOS. This exercise will not only help you develop a deeper rooted understanding of the material, but it will also help you retain that knowledge for a longer period (versus just reading the chapter alone).

Creating a Study Plan for the CFA Exam
The key is to start on Exam Day and then work backwards. This will ensure that you peak around Exam time. We recommend starting 5 months in advance and thereafter budgeting an average of 15hrs/wk. This will ensure that you accumulate the necessary 350 hours in order to have a real shot at passing the CFA Exam.

Nailing Ethics on the CFA Exam
The CFA Code of Ethics is based on the same principles as ‘common law’. For instance, in Canada and the U.S., courts use rulings from prior cases as precedence for handing down a decision on a current case. Similarly, on the CFA Exam, candidates are expected to apply case decisions from the CFA curriculum in selecting the correct answer choice. The Lesson: master the Ethics examples and EOC questions in the curriculum.

Sifting through the CFA Curriculum
The CFA curriculum is massive. The key is to look at the command words used in the LOS in order to decipher what’s important. Therefore, if the LOS does not explicitly ask you to ‘compute’ or ‘calculate’, then there would be very little point in trying to memorize the formulas that are included in that segment.

Best time of Day to study for CFA Exam
Best time to study is first thing in the morning. At this point, you are fresh and there are hardly any distractions. Furthermore, by having completed your studies in the morning, you can go on the rest of the day without the burden of thought of having to study later in the day.

CFA Studying after Work
If evenings are the only time you can study, then it is best to study immediately after work, rather than going home first. Therefore, once done work, go to the nearest café or food court, grab a cup of coffee, and put in 1 ½ to 2 hours. If you wait till you get home first, you may find yourself too exhausted to get any productive studying done.

Ideal Number of CFA Practice Exams
Practice Exams serve two purposes: Testing your knowledge and becoming familiar with the exam formatting. Consequently, a total of 3 or 4 mocks will be more than sufficient to achieve both these goals. If you attempt more than 4, then you may spread yourself too thin (thus having difficulty retaining what you learned). If you attempt less than 3, then you may not become comfortable enough with the formatting and the language that will be used on the CFA Exam.

Staying Motivated for the CFA Exam
Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that we chose this career path because we find the financial industry to be fascinating. Therefore, don’t look at your CFA Prep as studying, but rather a way of learning the ‘tools of the trade’.

Common Mistake When Preparing for the CFA Exam
One common mistake is to organize CFA prep in terms of topic. For example, a candidate may attempt to master Quants before moving on to the next topic. The problem with this approach is that by exam day, most things learned about Quants will have been forgotten as so much time has lapsed since the last time it was covered. Instead, a more proper approach is to go through the entire curriculum the first time around (to break the ice on all the topic areas), and then to go through it again a second time to develop a deeper rooted understanding of the material. In the final passage, attempt all the practice questions. This multi-layered approach will ensure a more even absorption of the material.

Strategic Timing of the CFA Practice Questions
Once common mistake is to attempt practice questions too early in the prep. With the CFA Exam still being months away, any lessons learned from the practice questions will most likely have been forgotten. Instead, a more proper approach would be to get through all the readings first, and then attempt all the practice questions in the final 6-8 weeks before the exam. This will ensure that any mistakes made during that final stretch will remain fresh enough so that it won’t be repeated on the CFA Exam.

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