"It’s 2 months before the exam and I haven’t done much yet..." If that’s what you worry about, cheer up. Chances are not everything is lost. Read on to see if & how you can prepare for your level 1 CFA exam in just about 60 days.
Looking for a specific study schedule?
Choose your 2021 CFA Exam Study Plan:
Looking for a specific study schedule? Choose your 2021 CFA Exam Study Plan:
- 2-month L1 Study Plan
- 3-month L1 Study Plan
- 4-month L2 Study Plan
- 4-month L1 Study Plan
- 4.5-month L1 Study+Review Plan
- 5-month L1 Study Plan
- 5-month L2 Study Plan
- 6-month L1 Study Plan
- 7-month L1 Study Plan
- 8-month L1 Study Plan
Dealing With CFA Program Curriculum
Level 1 CFA Program Curriculum is over 3000 pages long (including end-of-reading questions), which means roughly 50 pages a day to go through over the following 60 days (without any day off).
The number of pages to cover is really huge.
If you work full-time, studying all of the content will give you a hard time and – most probably – will turn out impossible. That's why you need to make some tough calls.
Think about Economics, for example. If you look at your curriculum, this topic is very lengthy compared to its weight in the level 1 CFA exam (only 8% to 12%) but it's quite intuitive in many aspects. To economize on time, you may want to consider giving up some Economics readings (you don't have to pass each and every topic to pass you CFA exam). On the other hand, spend enough time and energy on the most important level 1 topics, namely FRA and Ethics, because the higher the topic weight – the greater the number of topic questions per exam session (plus there's ethics adjustment).
That's our general recommendation. But to make these 2 months of study worth its effort, you have to decide what topics to focus on by yourself.
And focus you must!
First, prioritize the topics. While doing so – consider your previous knowledge of topics (any finance courses you took? work experience in finance?) and the recommendations we gave above.
Then, decide on the optimal study technique.
In the CFA Program Curriculum, you will find lots of examples, exhibits, or end-of-reading questions with solutions. You might want to concentrate on these fragments of books because they may help you acquire the required study content. They are a great source of knowledge and – very often – serve as the basis for exam questions. Moreover, exam questions are based on Learning Outcome Statements defined for every reading. So, when preparing for your exam: focus on different kinds of examples and problems given in the Curriculum, as well as analyze the LOSes instead of reading whole study sessions.
Organizing YourCFA Exam Prep
With only about 60 days to the exam, you also definitely need a good study plan that you will strictly obey.
Here's some basic information about your May 2021 level 1 CFA exam in 2 months:
- Starting date: 15 March 2021
- Ending date: 17 May 2021
- The May 2021 exam window lasts from 18 to 24 May 2021, so you can have from 2 days to over a week of – what we call – Final Review. Basically that's when you should do as many mock exams as possible!
- Using our Study Planner, you can choose your topic sequence. This is what we propose for such an intensive 2-month course:
CFA Exam Topic Deadlines: Detailed 2-Month Schedule
|Level 1 CFA Exam Topics||Deadline Schedule|
|Ethics||18 March 2021|
|Quantitative Methods||23 March 2021|
|Portfolio Management||30 March 2021|
|QM+PM Review||31 March 2021|
|Financial Reporting and Analysis||12 Apr 2021|
|Corporate Finance||17 Apr 2021|
|FRA+CF Review||19 Apr 2021|
|QM+PM Review||19 Apr 2021|
|Fixed Income||25 Apr 2021|
|Equity Investments||1 May 2021|
|FI+EI Review||3 May 2021|
|QM+PM+FRA+CF Review||3 May 2021|
|Derivative Investments||6 May 2021|
|Alternative Investments||8 May 2021|
|Economics||14 May 2021|
|DI+AI+ECO Review||15 May 2021|
|Ethics Summary||15 May 2021|
|Final Review||17 May 2021|
If you set up your personalized study plan,
the deadlines will get adjusted.
- Not everyone will be able to follow this plan – it's mainly intended for individuals with a good finance background who need some time to revise their knowledge (or the adrenaline addicts willing to take up the challenge but realistic enough to accept a possible failure).
- It's cruel, but if you decide to follow this plan, you should forget about your private life and spend every minute of your spare time studying – study at work (make sure you don't get fired for this, though), during lunch break, while on your way to work, etc. Every minute counts! Here's how you can do this:
Main Piece of Advice To Guide Your Preparation
You should practice, practice, and never stop practicing. There's no time to read all of the CFA exam books page by page but you can make use of our short e-books (Readings Notes) available inside your study plan.
As soon as you take in the key concepts of CFA exam level 1 topics, you should do as many exam-type questions, tests, and mocks as you can. To this end, you can use:
- end-of-reading questions (in the CFA Program Curriculum),
- mock exam provided by CFA Institute,
- our online mock exams with the 2021 topic weights,
Inside our CFA Exam Study Planner you can also find:
- VIDEO APP with some bite-sized videos explaining many level 1 concepts,
- TEST APP with tons od exam-type questions that can be generated into various practice tests,
- FORMULAS APP with relevant formulas for each topic.
You can benefit from all this even when on the go! Soleadea is accessible at any moment of your day on your smartphone:
- listen to our brief videos on your headphones,
- generate & do short practice tests when you’ve got a minute,
- learn or repeat formulas when you’ve got a sec.
Here’s a sample level 1 CFA exam study schedule as displayed in our new Study Planner 4.0:
You will find your Study Plan in the PLAN tab View all the weeks of your CFA exam prep, see how much you’ve done and how much is still ahead of you, as well as customize your plan using both your Study Plan personalization options and the DRAG & DROP feature.
CFA Exam Study Planner: STUDY View You will be asked to focus on your current week of studying. You will know what to study (left-hand menu) and how much to study (benchmark study times). At the end of the week, your hard work will be evaluated (hit the SUM UP button).
Last Update: Feb 16, 2021