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Planning Ahead for the Big Exam

Updated on April 26, 2016

How to Plan for the Ultimate Exam

I never realized that studying can be that hard. After all I have been a student throughout my life ,but this time everything changed. I wanted to do a majors in Finance and after doing a bit of research I easily found out that CFA is the best option, having International Accredition and strong Employer demand. Going through the Level 1 syllabus made me realize that its gonna be an easy proposition, only to fool myself in the last days of the exam.

Don't let yourself be fooled by the syllabus contents as most of the syllabus is basic finance material at Level 1. The problem arises when you are told that you will have to sit for two 3-hour exams in a single day. Everyone is accustomed of giving one 3-4 hour exam during their student life however concentrating for 8 hours at a stretch means that the last day heroics cannot help you pass since you barely have time to recall all the material at once on the exam day. When you will register for the exam you have your heart in your mouth considering the hefty exam fee. Then after seeing the extensive curriculum you will start wondering which topic to start with and seriously would want to hit your head against the wall. The key is to focus on the topic weight age and whatever it is just don't let go of Ethics. Its a hard truth which even some of the best teachers of this course fail to realize. Now the study planner gives you a reminder that 3000 odd pages of curriculum won't complete unless you have a solid plan.

The Success Plan

The plan should be simple. First read the core ideas stated in the Learning Outcomes (LOS) and then directly to focus on examples. Just to keep yourself on track practice the curriculum problems. The best thing about the CFA exam is that the pattern of questions given by the CFA Institute is the same as it appears in the exam so there is nothing to worry about so-called "pilot questions" distracting you. Then the Question Bank provided by the CFA Institute and the Mock Exams are more than enough as practice. But how to practice is another thing. You have to focus on the concepts being tested and take time in reading through the answer explanations as they not only tell you about what is tested but also covers two or three concepts more which might be beneficial in grasping that particular LOS. Its the best interconnected summary of LOS one can find.

Revision Tips

At the end when revising focus on the LOS and abridged it into different flowcharts, mind maps whichever you are comfortable with. Remember there is no fixed approach in passing this exam except the confidence level you have that you know everything!! I know this might sound silly but believe me that's the only advantage you have on the exam day. Whoever overcomes this pressure will be able to keep his composure on the exam day and will get a satisfactory result.


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