Is It Possible To Prepare For Level 1 CFA® Exam Within 3 Months?

NOTE: This post is part of the Short Answer Series, where I try to address some popular Quora questions concisely but comprehensively. In the text, you can find links to further, more detailed reading.
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CFA candidates usually start preparing from 6 to 4 months before their exam. However, this does not mean 3 months are not enough. What’s important though is that you’ll need to study almost every day! On average, it takes about 300 study hrs to prepare for the CFA level 1 exam. To get those 300 hrs, you’ll need to devote around 22 study hrs per week.

CFA Level 1 Topics Efficiency

In fact, there are many things you should consider when opting for such short exam prep. For example, you should pay attention to topics difficulty and efficiency. Because, on the one hand, you’ll want to devote enough time to those topics that are important and difficult. On the other hand, you don’t want to lose too much time on topics that are less important in the sense of exam weight or less efficient (i.e. having relatively few exam questions per every 100 pages in your CFA curriculum).

When developing your study strategy, also remember to take into account the appropriate topic weights (they changed in 2019). Finally, you should factor in your background and if there are any topics that you feel good at (e.g. due to your work experience).

You can find more about topics categorizations and topics deadlines in this blog post with a 3-month study plan that starts on 2 March 2020. Making a good study plan is the first step. Then, just try to follow it as closely as possible. If you see your prep is not going the way you’ve planned, react promptly and rethink your strategy.

Keep in mind that 3 months is not long so you’d better keep yourself on your toes! Good luck!

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