December 2019 8-month CFA Study Schedule

CFA exam / Study plans / Level 1 Dec 2019, 8-month


Since you're reading this post – you must have already registered for the December 2019 CFA level 1 exam. Now you're about to start your preparation. But before you get down to books, there is one thing you need to do – you need to arrange your own CFA study calendar to optimize your prep.

Your study schedule should allow for:

  • your strengths,
  • your weaknesses,
  • your learning pace,
  • your finance background.

You best know your strong and weak points but we'd like to draw your attention to some key aspects: ability to prioritize, ability to plan, ability to act as planned, and ability to focus. Answer yourself how serious you are about your exam and if you're able to organize your CFA exam preparation well and then follow your plan effectively.

Your strengths (or weaknesses for that matter :/) may relate not only to time management, diligence, or determination but also to your previous knowledge of some of the topics gained as a student or at work. You may want to take this into account when making your study plan.

Remember that even with 8 months to go it is important to study systematically and at a suitable pace. The exam day will come sooner than you think and you want to be prepared for this day and then satisfied when the exam is over.

The CFA study schedule you will find below is a good basis for your own 8-month study plan. If you use our CFA Study Planner, you'll be also able to adjust it to your needs. We say more about it at the end of this post.

Use Free CFA Study Plan App
Use Free Study Plan


8-Month CFA Level 1 Study Schedule

Basic information:

  1. Starting date: 1 April
  2. Ending date: 6 December, i.e. Friday before the exam
  3. Final revision: 1 whole month before the exam

START on 1 April

1st Study Block (1 Apr – 2 June)

  • Ethics
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Portfolio Management
  • QM+PM Review

2nd Study Block (3 June – 4 Aug)

  • Financial Reporting & Analysis
  • Corporate Finance
  • FRA+CF Review
  • QM+PM Review

3rd Study Block (5 Aug – 22 Sept)

  • Fixed Income
  • Equity Investments
  • FI+EI Review
  • QM+PM+FRA+CF Review

4th Study Block (23 Sept – 3 Nov)

  • Derivative Investments
  • Alternative Investments
  • Economics
  • DI+AI+ECO Review
  • Ethics Review

FINAL REVIEW (4 Nov – 6 Dec)

END on 6 December

This plan follows the optimal topic order – topics come in quite natural pairs, where one is more challenging and one a bit easier, namely QM+PM, FRA+CF, FI+EI, DI+AI. Ethics starts and Economics ends your preparation.

*Topic difficulty is a rather subjective criterion (here as estimated by Soleadea expert). To learn more about it, see CFA topics categorization.

What is great about this CFA study schedule is that you will be able to study every topic thoroughly. You may as well read each topic twice, first while studying and then during revision. If you do cover every topic twice, it will surely be to your advantage: you will enhance your long-term memory and be able to better recall things in your exam. There is really a lot of time and you should try to use it as effectively as possible.

Exam preparation hint

The worst you can do is spend these 8-months ineffectively! Grrr…
Only the responsible attitude of regular and productive work can save your exam prep.
Let the time slip through your fingers and you’re in for real trouble – make sure you don't wake up too late to the great deal of work ahead of you!

I’m In For An 8-Month Exam Prep
8-Month Exam Prep


Detailed Deadline Schedule

NOTE: If you set up your personalized study plan,
the deadlines will get adjusted.

Want To Arrange This Study Schedule
To Your Needs?

Using our CFA Study Planner, you can personalize your study schedule. That's what you can do:

  • choose the topic sequence,
  • choose the exact starting date of your CFA exam prep (it need not be today),
  • decide for each topic if it's easy, moderate, or difficult to you,
  • tick off the readings you have already studied (if there are such),
  • choose if you want to take any weeks off studying and say when exactly,
  • opt in for some aids to help your motivation,
  • decide if you wish to fill in your study plan with review apps to support the productivity of your work,
  • edit each study week by adding or deleting concrete readings.

Personalize Your CFA Study Plan
Personalized Study Plan


Below you can see both calendar and weekly view of your 8-month study plan:

Study Plan: Calendar View

Study Plan: Calendar View That’s where you can view all the weeks of your CFA exam prep to see how much you’ve done and how much is still ahead of you.

Study Plan: Week View

Your Current Week View You will be asked to focus on your current week of studying. Each week you will find some useful practice tools & compact study materials.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in April 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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