A Simple Step by Step Guide to Prepare for Your CFA® Level I Exam

A Simple Step by Step Guide to Prepare for Your CFA® Level I Exam

You might have heard about how hard the Level I CFA exam is, and you may be feeling discouraged. There is no need to panic or feel apprehensive. If you have enrolled and registered for CFA Level I exam, we have a practical step-by-step guide to help you pass your exams.

Get acquainted with the CFA Level I curriculum and identify different topic weights

The CFA Level I curriculum covers ten topics, each with a different weight in the exam, which change regularly. The test will focus on your knowledge and comprehension of these core topics.

The most recent topics and their weights shared by the CFA Institute in 2020 are;

  • Ethical and professional standards – 15 -20%
  • Quantitative methods – 8 -12%
  • Economics – 8 -12%
  • Financial reporting and analysis – 13 -17%
  • Corporate finance – 8 -12%
  • Equity investments – 10 -12%
  • Fixed income – 10 -12%
  • Derivatives – 5 -8%
  • Alternative investments – 5 -8%
  • Portfolio management – 5 -8%

The weights are subject to change, but you can identify the topics which carry the most weight. Four topics have the bulk of the weight and which you should pay special attention to are; ethical and professional standards, financial reporting, fixed income, and analysis and equity investments. Ensure that you have an in-depth understanding of these topics to increase your chances of passing the exam.

Prepare and adhere to a study plan

The CFA program is challenging and requires you to put in enough time and effort to succeed. When planning a study strategy, dedicate at least 300 hours towards studying for your CFA Level I examination.

You should customize your study plan to suit your pace and circumstances. Make the most of this time by focusing on the topics which carry the most weight and achieving the planned learning outcomes.

The CFA Level I exam pass rate is low, with less than half the candidates passing the exam on the first try. These numbers should not discourage you but rather motivate you to start studying as soon as possible. It would be best if you put in more than the recommended 300 hours to read.

Consider looking for additional study resources like exam prep packages from Analystprep.com to increase your chances of success.

Understand the question format used in CFA Level I

The question format used in CFA Level I exam is multiple choice. The test consists of two 135 minutes sessions covering all the topics in the curriculum with an optional break between the sessions. You should take both sessions to qualify for an exam result.

The first session has 90 multiple-choice questions covering the following topics; economics, ethics and professional standards, quantitative methods, and financial reporting and analysis. The second session also has 90 multiple-choice questions covering the following areas; derivatives, corporate finance, alternative investments, fixed income, and portfolio management.

Each multiple-choice problem will consist of a question, a statement, a table, and three answer choices.  The two basic formats used are sentence completion with three unique answer choices or questions with three unique answers from which you can choose.

Understanding these question formats will help you understand the topics as you study and how to apply this knowledge to answer exam questions effectively.

Practice for the test using sample questions and mock exams

It would be best to allocate some of your study time to practice answering questions using sample questions and mock exams, especially as the exam date approaches. Mock exams simulate actual test conditions to help you understand how the exam is.

Analystprep.com has an extensive library with sample questions, personalized quizzes, and mock exams. Our online and video tutorials will help you internalize hard-to-understand concepts. We also demonstrate the required calculations to get the correct answer.

Practicing using sample questions and mock exams will assist you in identifying any knowledge gaps and prepare you to pace yourself during the test. You should review your performance and learn from your mistakes to avoid repeating them in the future.

Additional tips to use during the exam

  • Ensure that you know how to use the features on your calculator and are comfortable with it.
  • Attempt all the questions. You will not get a penalty for giving a wrong answer.
  • Be comfortable during the exam. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes on exam day.
  • Arrive at your exam center at least 30 minutes before the scheduled test time. Arriving on time will help you settle in and avoid disqualification.
  • Always adhere to the expected code of conduct when sitting for your exam.

Enroll in our CFA study packages at Analystprep.com to access expert instruction, additional study materials, and revision resources. We are committed to your success.

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