CFA® Exam: No Motivation to Study?


Increase Your Exam Motivation

If you have no motivation to study for your CFA exam, some external motivation is what you need. External motivation can trigger your internal motivation, which is necessary if you want to study for such a difficult exam as the CFA exam.

This blog post has been written to make you inspired to study and explain how you can improve your motivation.

Your Motivation Is Your Strength

Motivation is a feeling and – as with every emotion – it comes and goes. But when it’s present – it’s very powerful.

Motivation is your strength in times of hard and long-lasting exam preparation. That is why you should use some strategies to make your motivation last longer or come back quicker whenever it’s gone.

There are many strategies to improve your exam motivation and everyone needs a different motivational strategy. Use our tips to build a strategy that suits your needs and keeps you motivated to study.

8 Quick Tips to Improve Your Motivation

Here are 8 tips to improve your exam motivation:



When you have no motivation to study, recall why – in the first place – did you register for your CFA exam?

Make a list of those WHYS – why is passing the CFA exam relevant, what is it gonna give you, how is your life gonna change?

Every time you feel you lose your motivation – take the list and read all the benefits that the CFA exam has for you!

You can use this printable PDF list to write all the relevant reasons for taking your exam:

Why-Pass-CFA-Exam Gains List

Print it out, fill it in, and pin it in your study space.

Remember that to earn the CFA designation means to earn a valid credential to your résumé. It means proving your proficiency in finance and your expertise as a professional in the field. That is why your decision to reach for the designation is the right one and it should be nurtured. You must not give up before you actually get what you’re striving after.

Motivation Quote: Always desire to learn something useful. / Sophocles


Passing your CFA exam is your Great Goal with a big G. Keep it in front of your eyes at all times to enhance the internal motivation that can get you going with your preparation day by day.

To do that, make use of some external motivators such as printouts with motivational mottos or some inspirational words that will boost your internal motivation whenever you look at them.

Motivation Quote: Work gives you purpose and life is empty without it. / Hawking

Choose the one to your liking, print it out, and pin it in your study space. Look at it every time you feel too tired/lazy/stressed/hopeless/like you’re not gonna make it…

When you take a look at your motto or quote, recall that it’s something big you’re striving for – something with great potential to change your life for the better.


A friendly study environment is something that you need for successful exam prep.

To succeed in your exam, you should also develop your study habits. One such habit can be associated with your study space, namely: whenever you enter your study space – you get down to work. Never entertain yourself in your study space (so as not to get confused about whether you should study or might as well get some fun). When you’re in your study space – everybody should know not to disturb you (including yourself !).

Also, it’s not without meaning how you arrange your study space. In short, it should be quiet, organized, and inspirational. To make sure it’s inspirational, you can fill it in with motivational quotes:

Motivation Quote: Try just one more time. / Edison


Developing study habits can increase your motivation to study.

Apart from the good habit of getting down to work whenever you enter your study space, there are other habits you can develop to motivate yourself to study.

Surely, you should develop your exam prep strategy that will be based on simple habits. One such strategy is based on 4 easy steps to be followed repeatedly: plan – study – review – assess. Week by week.

Successful Exam Study Strategy

If you make a weekly habit of these 4 steps, your exam prep will be successful because you will:

  • plan every study week of your exam prep,
  • know what readings to study over the week,
  • review what you study (and regular review is what gives your study time the quality and productiveness you need to succeed),
  • find out how well you did over the week and re-assess if, for some reason, you don’t manage to follow your plan.

This is the CFA exam strategy that has been implemented into our Study Planner to help you prepare for your CFA exam effectively. As a matter of fact, you cannot have successful exam prep if you neglect any of these steps.

We encourage you to follow your weekly plans, do your scheduled study lessons, review weekly (or even daily), and assess your study achievements at the end of your study week to hold yourself accountable.


Think about it.

If you make a habit out of these 4 easy steps, you will have a winning exam prep strategy that will not only help you prepare for your CFA exam but also motivate you to keep on going from week to week. Because – even though we hate rules – they push us to do things if they are easy to follow. And isn’t that what you need? A good push to keep going from one study week to another, in a disciplined way.

Motivation Quote: Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment. / Rohn

Bear it in mind: if you fail to study – you give up on yourself!

Because there’s a one-to-one correlation between: STUDYING & SUCCESS and NOT STUDYING & FAILURE.

Even if you stay behind with your scheduled lessons, you can always do better! Learn from your setbacks. Ask yourself: Why did I fail to follow my plan? If you understand what keeps you back, you can always improve.

REMEMBER: You truly lose only if you’re not willing to learn from your mistakes.

That’s why you must constantly evaluate your study progress to get going with your plans. And to have a successful CFA exam prep, you need an effective study strategy that includes some easy-to-follow habits.


Getting prepared for your CFA exam can be tiresome at times. So tiresome that you can see no sense in what you’re doing.

That is why you should focus on small and concrete tasks while studying. Each time you sit down to study, ask yourself what you can learn today.

Set some concrete goals.

The LOS (learning outcomes) stated for each reading in your CFA exam curriculum can be helpful here. It’s best if you write down exactly what you expect to learn. Study to achieve these aims. The point here is to see the effects of your studying at the end of the day. Effects are always very motivating!

If you use our Study Planner, you will have your weekly tasks scheduled. These tasks, namely your exam readings (as given in your CFA exam curriculum), are then further divided into study lessons for both level 1 and level 2 CFA exams. After you complete your study lessons, you can check them off.

As you check off consecutive study lessons – your CFA exam readings are marked yellow for partially done and then green for done. Moreover, the weekly benchmark study time progress bar gets reduced.

To help you get through your CFA exam readings, there are also lots of study materials and review resources inside your study plan.

When you complete your tasks, you are asked to summarize your study achievements at the end of each week and you can edit your study plan if needed.

After you summarize your study achievements, you can watch your Chance-to-Pass score grow (or fall if you don’t do your study lessons).


Sometimes you may get discouraged by all the difficulties associated with the CFA exam. But they can be easily handled if approached thoughtfully.

First of all, identify where the difficulty lies for you. The difficulties can be manifold and they include financial, organizational, intellectual, or even emotional aspects.

If the financial aspect is what worries you, see if you can apply for a scholarship. CFA exam scholarships are awarded to those who see the CFA exam as a financial challenge but are willing to participate in the CFA Program.

If the worst nightmare for you is the intellectual challenge in the form of thousands of pages to read and hundreds of definitions, formulas, and concepts to acquire, look for ways to make the study content more digestible. We can help you with that, as well as with organizing your CFA exam prep. It’s best if you organize your preparation well to control your study time weekly and acquire the bulk of CFA exam study material just in time for your exam .

If the emotional burden is what brings you down and you feel you’re losing your motivation, we won't leave you alone either! Our Study Planner is filled not only with study lessons and numerous study materials but also with many motivational stimuli such as:

  • benchmark study times,
  • weekly benchmark study time progress bars,
  • week-by-week topics progress,
  • your Chance-to-Pass score based on your weekly study achievements, or
  • weekly reminders sent to your inbox to motivate you to assess your weekly achievements and get going from week to week.

Finally, if what keeps you awake at night are all the formalities related to the CFA Program and the CFA exam, your way should be to rationalize the strict CFA Program policies and rules governing your candidacy and the exam itself. Know this – it’s not as bad as it seems.

Motivation Quote: Let each man exercise the art he knows. / Aristophanes


Cannot develop an EVERYDAY BURNING DESIRE while studying for your CFA exam?

Some call it burnout. But it’s probably just human nature – we can’t work at the peak of our abilities all the time. Besides: people are usually very busy these days + they tend to be occasionally lazy. It’s just natural we have our setbacks or breakdowns.

Nevertheless, you can’t let these setbacks or breakdowns last too long if you want to succeed. You need to control them. Let them in – let them out!

To stay eager about your CFA exam – make the exam your ally, not your enemy. Think about it this way: CFA exam prep does not steal your free time – it gives your free time the quality you wouldn’t even wish for.

I mean, what else would you do? Sit in front of your TV just idling away your time?

Remember: PASSED CFA EXAM presents lots of personal gains to you.

I know you think sometimes you just don’t feel like doing it anymore. And I know it would be best if this endless study process felt better. But since it doesn’t – why don’t you keep on studying despite not feeling like doing this?

Keep coming back to your personal gains list every time a setback or breakdown hits you. VISUALIZE yourself experiencing these gains. See it? Looks perfect, doesn’t it?

Motivation Quote: I can accept failure. But I can’t accept not trying. / Jordan

Remember that motivation is an emotion and emotions usually don’t last long. Develop your good study habits and depend on them – rather than on motivation alone – because getting into some good habits means getting closer to your success .




Nothing motivates better than little victories. That’s why you should recognize all the little successes you achieve during your CFA exam preparation, such as done readings or completed review sessions.

After each week, you are asked to sum up your weekly achievements in your study plan.

This is a self-assessment tactic that develops your self-awareness, good judgment, and motivation.

If you follow your study plan and have your weekly tasks done – you will see your Chance-to-Pass measure increase week by week. If you fail to follow your study plan – your readings will be marked red for overdue and your Chance-to-Pass measure will decrease.

Note that there’s one more ability as important as self-assessment and it is the ability to move from failure to success. Because when your weekly summary shows a delay and a decrease in your Chance to Pass – you must act to improve.

Surely, you’ll need to revalue your study strategy. While it’s only natural to make some mistakes when choosing your exam prep strategy, you need to stay observant to constantly improve your studying process and develop good study habits. You can do that only if you track your study progress regularly.

Never think you won’t pass your CFA exam. Also, never think you’ll surely pass your CFA exam. While strong faith in your abilities is part of your success, so is full effort. Without full effort, you’re unlikely to achieve.

There are multiple corners in this CFA exam maze but we lead you through. Put your success before your eyes and pursue it. Do not lose sight of it and become a CFA charterholder!

SOLEADEA: Study Planner at Pay-What-You-Can Prices

About Soleadea:

One of the most important things while studying for an exam is to have a good study plan. Our STUDY PLANNER is currently available to CFA candidates, all 3 levels. You can get yourself a personalized study schedule with weekly deadlines, an easy edition, study lessons listed for your CFA exam readings (levels 1 & 2), as well as many study tools to help you control your prep and be motivated to work hard. All this at groundbreaking Pay-What-You-Can prices .

If you like it with us, you can find lots of useful info on our blog: