While everybody finds out about the difficulty of the CFA Level 1 exam, not many believe it until they experience the difficulty for themselves. If you want to pass the exam, you should accomplish the minimum passing score set by the Board of Governors of CFA Institute after every exam. In February 2021, they slightly increased the passing rate from 43% to 44%. People who are preparing for the CFA exam are driven, smart, and want to pass the exam as much as you do. That implies it is significant that you have a great study plan and stick to it.
The CFA Level 1 exam is an introduction to ten broad subjects or topics of ethics and investment analysis that builds a strong foundation for Level 2 and 3 exams. In 2021, CFA Level 1 exam would be a computer-based test held six times per year in February, March, May, July, August, and November. From 2022 onwards, it will return to a standard four times per year plan for February, May, August, and November.
Exam Duration and Format
Besides the change to a computer-based exam, they have also reduced the length of the exam for each level by 25 percent. For example, two hours and fifteen minutes for each exam (rather than three hours), with two sessions for every level as before.
Rather than the single-day exam throughout the world, CBT tests can be planned in multi-day windows globally at more test centers. Students need at least six months gap between test attempts, given the increased exam frequency for each level.
How to prepare for the CFA level 1 exam?
If you want to beat the CFA Level 1 exam, you need to understand what it is all about and how can you pass it. So, here are some pieces of advice that every candidate should consider if they want to pass the exam.
Get Right into the Study Plan Early
This is one of the most important steps if you want to pass the CFA exam. In addition to the fact that you need to study the exam material, yet you additionally should have to apply what you figured out to be scenarios on the exam. This level of practical application and understanding takes time and effort to develop. Hence, it is significant that you get into a study plan or routine early and adhere to it.
We recommend you to prepare, practice, and perform the basic method of studying for the exam. In the first stage, you absorb data through listening and reading the lectures. In the second stage, you begin working by practicing the problems. In the final stage, you imitate test conditions to check your level of preparation.
When you develop your study routine, we advise you to spend:
- 35% to 40% time on preparing
- 40% to 50% time on practicing
- 20% to 25% on performing
Focus on CFA Level 1 Study Material and their Weights
Students must have a great understanding of the CFA Level 1 program curriculum and how every topic or subject is weighted for the exam. The curriculum is upgraded each exam cycle, and all the levels of CFA exams focus on similar core topic areas. In CFA Level 1 exam, some areas have high weightage like ethics, Financial Reporting & Analysis, Equity Investments, and Fixed income have a total weightage of 50 to 60%.
Because of COVID-19, CFA Institute declared that the 2020 curriculum or educational plan will be applicable in 2021 without any changes, hence allowing postponed students to continue utilizing the same curriculum in the year 2021. So, the topic weight of 2020 would be the same in 2021.
Focus on Exam Format and its Structure
- CFA Level 1 exam is a computer-based exam comprised of a total of 180 MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions), divided into two parts of two hours and fifteen minutes session with 90 MCQs each.
- On average, you will have 90 seconds (1.5 minutes) for each question.
- There are three options for each question.
- The first exam session covers four topics: Economics, Ethics, Financial Reporting & Analysis, and Quant Methods.
- The second session covers the remaining six topics: Fixed Income, Corporate Finance, Derivatives, Portfolio Management, Equity, and Alternative Investments.
All the questions have the same marks and there is no negative marking for the wrong ones.
Make a Customized Study Plan
Based on your life or work commitments, make a study plan that helps you to prepare for exams. Try to focus on your weak areas, track your study progress, offers practice test score benchmarks, and predict your test scores. Try to avoid social outings, and dinners for a while, especially the 3 to 4 months before the CFA exam.
Apply Your Concepts to Real-Life Situations
Just learning the material isn’t sufficient to beat the CFA test. You should be able to take the concept and apply them to real situations. Most of the questions are not asking to check your memory skills. But they are asking you to check the problem-solving skills that you can apply to situations you may experience at work.
Numerous CFA charter holders encourage you to consistently tie back the thing you are learning to this real world. So, while preparing for your CFA exam, continue to ask yourself questions as to how you can use this in your job. The more you can make the exam material real to you, the simpler it will be to remember it.
Learn How to Take the CFA level 1 Exam
There’s a difference between learning the study material and figuring out how to take the test. Be certain about your practice of taking the test in realistic simulated test conditions in the last 3 to 4 weeks of studying. CFA Institute will provide you an option to give a mock exam and you can buy others with test prep providers like FinQuiz. Their mock exams not only test your concepts and knowledge about CFA Level 1 study material but also test your ability to answer other random questions from various topic areas according to the new CFA exam format.
Tips to Prepare for the CFA level 1 Exam
Here are some incredible tips to assist you in preparing for your CFA Level 1 exam.
Solve End of the Chapter Questions
At the end of chapters, the CFA curriculum has few questions for students to try out. These are normally simpler than test questions, however extremely useful to check your basic concepts of the material. You should do them all, and more significantly record your marks as a percentage, and write that down in your study plan. So, they can help you to know which topic areas you’re relatively strong or weak in.
Manage Your Exam Time is Key
Time management of exams is key to beat the CSF Level 1 exam and you should be merciless in time management. Before you slip into this slope and not have the option to recover ground. Give yourself some time to think about questions. However, once times up, pick an answer and proceed onward! There is no negative marking for wrong ones, so guessing is a better option than leaving it.
Practice Makes You Perfect
Absorbing the concepts or information is one thing, but at the same time, you will need to put that information into practice. So you can solve them on quick recall and guarantee that you’re understanding the problems. The CFA Institute will give you a ton of mock tests and practice questions at the end of books, so start from there. Then, find the topics you need to focus on. Start doing the mock tests at least 2 to 3 months before exams.
If You Feel Overburden, Take Short Breaks
You should never give up, however, allow yourself to take a pause. While absorbing a large amount of knowledge and information as with the exceptionally overpowering CFA test materials, sometimes our brain needs a break. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a break of 30 to 60 minutes between your study sessions. Keep in mind, the individual subjects on the CFA tend not to be very challenging —what many students find difficult is how much there is. That’s why it is crucial to begin a half year before the exam.
Take a Prep Course
Are you able to put your mobile down and block out interruptions for quite a long time?
The amount of preparation required for the CFA level 1 exams can be hard to handle without help from anyone else, the consequences of which can be overlooked details, missed deadlines, under learned material, and misspent time. The prep course ensures that you don’t need to go at it alone, stays up with the latest topics that are significant for the tests, and helps you to manage your time effectively. Here are some of the best prep courses that you can choose to prepare for your CFA Level 1 exam
If you want to determine which prep course is best for you, you should compare their services and check which services stood out in terms of packages, prices, and options for in-person or online courses, etc., and then choose the best prep course to prepare for your CFA Level 1 exam.