Last updated: February 05, 2020

CFA exam / study guide

How Is Your CFA Exam Prep
So Far?

you live through it without any clear agenda?

you live through it without any clear agenda?

you often postpone studying to the next day?

you often postpone studying to the next day?

you already studied a bit but do not remember much?

you already studied a bit but do not remember much?

... that’s why you’re looking for the best way to study for the CFA exam?

This ultimate CFA exam study guide binds the finest CFA exam study plan, study tips, and study materials together to one success-oriented approach. At the core of this approach is our study planner that offers you control, motivation, and knowledge retention, i.e. 3 indispensable ingredients of a successful CFA exam prep.

Ultimate 3-in-1 CFA Exam
Study Guide

flexible but systematic study plan

study tips for guided preparation

abridged study materials & review apps

Best CFA Exam Prep: Building Aptitude Through Attitude

All CFA exam candidates are looking for study materials to get prepared for their exam. To satisfy the demand – prep providers offer countless videos, tests, e-books, etc. This shortened version of the CFA Program curriculum still requires months of preparation before you can acquire the essentials of each topic.

That leads us to our study plan – all candidates want to know when to start and when to end each topic to be prepared just in time for the test day.

But topic deadlines are not enough. Nor are videos and tests.

The 'study materials + study plan' package is just the bare basics stripped of the most vital game-changing aspect, namely successful CFA exam prep approach! Every study plan out there implicitly assumes you will always stay motivated, manage all the topics before their deadlines, and know everything before your topic review ends.

This is too perfect... It never works this way!

Life makes us change our plans too often to be okay with a rigid study plan unprepared for any difficulties or delays.

To pass your CFA exam, you need a study plan that can allow for everyday imperfections over your whole exam prep without falling into pieces. You want to have a manageable study schedule, both flexible and systematic at the same time. To this end – you want to know when to start and end readings, not just topics. And above all – you want to stay motivated and see the effects of your work.

Controllable CFA Exam Study Plan That Motivates You To Work

Good study planning is based on 3 pillars:

  • CONTROL to make sure you manage your CFA exam prep,
  • MOTIVATION to make sure you execute your study plan,
  • KNOWLEDGE RETENTION to make sure you truly learn while you study.

To keep those pillars strong – and build strong skills and competencies – you should apply a WEEK-to-WEEK attitude with concrete readings assigned to your study weeks.

Your CFA Exam Calendar Arranged To Study Weeks

assigned to
study weeks

readings assigned to study weeks

topic start & end dates
+ your performance data available

topic start & end dates + your performance data available

spaced review
+ final review

spaced review + final review scheduled

The WEEKLY approach is the best for you because a WEEK is neither too short nor too long. Your CFA exam prep won’t go to pieces just because you have a bad week once in a while. That’s because it’s easier to catch up on some overdue weekly readings than a whole bunch of disorganized readings postponed for a month. In other words: it’s OK to be out-of-control for a week and then instantly back-in-control when the bad week ends. But it won’t happen unless you have the right means to manage your CFA exam study plan.

The WEEKLY approach – implemented into our study planner – puts you in charge!

Your exam prep is quickly under control after each bad week (as long as you ensure there’s not too many of them ;D ). It’s possible only because you know exactly what to do each week, you can summarize how you did over a week, and then edit your next week the way you need. Also, with study plan features such as readings’ *done* status, your readings’ benchmark study times, study tips series for developing your study routine, and a detailed Chance-to-Pass measure based on your weekly performance – you get motivated to study. Plus, thanks to applying a proper review system and using review apps inside your study plan – you can experience efficient learning! You can read more about it all in our other blog posts.

3 pillars of your CFA calendar

All Your Study Weeks: Controlled, Executed, Efficient



mess is the only alternative...>

Be your own CFA exam prep manager . See which readings to do each week. Mark them as done or partially done as you study. Control your progress every week on Sunday even – or especially – if you didn’t do all as scheduled. That’s OK. After you sum up one week, you can edit the next, e.g. add the overdue readings. But what you should do first is find out if you’re a Fixer or a Grower – because you’ll want to think differently about your exam prep depending on your profile. You can read more about it in our post on how to study for CFA exam with success and stop exam prep mess.

Free 'Stay-in-Control' PLAN > all levels


here execution happens >

Actually, your motivation is at its peak only twice over your exam prep, i.e. just after you register for your exam and as the test day is getting closer. In the middle – when most of studying should happen – your motivation drastically falls. This is pure irony, don’t you think? That’s why we call this phenomenon motivation smile ... We explain it in our post on how to stay motivated to study for CFA exam, where you can also learn how to employ both internal and external motivation (including study tips) to build your everyday study routine.

Motivation PLAN > all levels

Knowledge Retention

when 'study' means 'learn' >

A human brain is designed to forget though it also has a great potential to remember much. To wake up this potential you need to take care of your learning curve using the right means. Otherwise, your forgetting curve will make you forget even up to 65% of what you study today by tomorrow’s evening. This is how our brains work. Our information retention starts to drastically fall as we don’t use the info. There’s more to find out in our post on how to remember what you studied for CFA exam, which not only promotes the habit of effective learning but also tells you why the Growers are lucky indeed!

Retention PLAN > levels 1 & 2

Top Study Tips for Guided CFA Exam Prep

The best way to study for the CFA exam in 9 steps:

  1. Choose a study plan that easily adapts to what happens daily while still keeping you accountable.
  2. Adopt a WEEK-to-WEEK attitude that ensures you stay in control even with some bad study weeks along the way!
  3. Keep your motivation simmer. It won’t be 100 degrees Celsius all the time but you can’t let it cool. Some external stimuli can help you here.
  4. Follow only those study tips that improve your study performance as a whole – some tips sound great but are no use in the long run.
  5. Employ various study tools to aid your knowledge retention. Inside our study planner, you’ll find videos, tests, e-books, Formulas App, etc. – but you can use our study planner also with Schweser study materials (or any other resources you have).
  6. Review after you study to help your learning curve grow. Topic review or final review are fine but may be not enough to overcome your forgetting!
  7. Stay observant and constantly enhance your study process. For this, the strategy of PLAN – STUDY – REVIEW – ASSESS applied WEEKLY may be just perfect.
  8. Remember: numbers don’t lie – if you get too many overdue readings or too few study hours done – your chance to pass naturally decreases.
  9. Never stop learning how to learn. Growth in this aspect leads straight to success!

When designing this Ultimate CFA Exam Study Guide with the Study Planner at its core, we kept 3 questions in our minds:

  • What good is CFA exam prep without a study plan?
  • What good is a study plan without execution?
  • What good is execution without effects?

Now you get the study planner based on 3 pillars of successful CFA exam prep: control, motivation, and knowledge retention and YOU CAN:

We think it’s ultimate.
Don’t you think?