Siddhant Siotia


With the help of this article. you might get a better idea as to how you should approach the CFA Exam in a planned manner and come out winning.

I’m writing this article based on my personal experience with CFA and many of my fellow friends and colleagues who hold a CFA Charter today.

I know what you’re looking for – A ready made calendar with CFA topics marked for each day for preparation.

I will obviously give you that at the end of this article. BUT, there are few things that will work and few that won’t, while you follow the study planner.

Let’s talk about them in detail.

What Works?

  • First of all it’s all a mind game, if you decide it in your mind to become a CFA you will eventually no matter the attempts. So, only move forward when you have made up your mind and you want to be a CFA by your own choice, it won’t work if you are being forced into it by your parents or relatives or anyone, it should come from within you and you should be passionate and determined and motivate to get a hold of CFA Charter someday.  
  • Carry out a detailed time frame with provisions for some contingencies, as in Let’s suppose you are in the final year of your graduation, let’s suppose 2021 and if you decide to appear for your CFA Level- I in June 2021 then the if you clear all three levels successfully in your first attempts you will be done by August 2023 and you can keep a contingency of maybe 1 year in case any kind of emergency. This will help you prepare and move forward in a much more efficient manner. (Believe me having a detailed plan goes a long way as it creates deadlines and hence brings more seriousness towards the exam)
  • Understand the Concepts– this is the key to cracking CFA exams, mainly because CFA is a completely analytical exam and there is very little theory to memorize or mug up, mostly it’s conceptual and analytical and hence, in order to clear the exams you need to understand the concepts and be prepared to apply them under different situations. Understand the concept behind every formula and you never have to memorize any of them, you will be able to create the formula by yourself in your mind, if you can understand the concept behind them.
  • Practice as many questions as you can– much of your time should be devoted towards practicing questions rather than reading books. This is because practicing more questions automatically covers most topics which are more significant from exam perspective. Also, practicing gives you an upper hand in time management as it is a very crucial element. Practicing prepares you to answer questions in their given time and also gives you an experience as to what kind of questions are asked and in what fashion are they asked. Solve as many mocks and question banks as you can and more importantly go through the answers of the questions you answered wrong and understand the concept behind them. This way you will never make the same mistake twice and remember things much better as opposed to reading them.
  • It’s ok to leave some topics- The CFA course is vast for every level having about 4000-5000 pages of writings, and it’s only natural to leave some concepts which you are having a hard time understanding. Understand this – it’s not possible to know everything. You only need to get 75% of the answers wright to clear the exams, hence it’s ok if you are not able to get a hold of some of the topics, leave it and rather make a stronger hold on the topics you are comfortable with to be a 100% sure about them.
  • Get a hold over your calculator- It is very crucial to understand the functions your calculator possesses and how to use them in a timely fashion. This will come with practice again. The more sums you solve and make use of your calculator the more functions you will learn about it and the more speed and confidence you will build up.
  • Guidance from your Seniors-Always seek counsel from your senior who have cleared CFA or the level for which you are studying. This gives you insights as to how did they prepare and where did they face issues. This gives a real hand experience and hence better equips you with the understanding of the exam.
  • Focus more on heavy weight subjects– This is only natural and obvious but most tend to ignore the exam weightage each subject holds. Let’s say you are bad at derivatives and hence having a hard time getting a hold over some of the topics, you can choose to ignore them and give a simple reading before the exam just in case. The probability of that topic being asked in the exam is very less and moreover the probability of that answer affecting your overall score is even less. But on the other hand if that is the case with something like Equity or Financial Reporting you have no choice but to study it any ways because of the weightage it holds and the probability of that topic being tested in exam is very high.

What does not work?

  • Starting late- This is a complete no. Many intend to devote only the last 2-3 months for the exam and ignore the significance of time. This is not the way to approach the exams, first of all if any kind of emergency arises you have no option but to suffer. Secondly, you don’t get a lot of time to practice and understand where you are going wrong and rectify them which is a very crucial part of preparation.
  • Do Not Ignore Ethics- Skipping Ethics is a very common mistake candidates make in their level 1 but it is only after the exam they realize the importance of the subject CFA puts. Keep the subject aside for the last couple of days as it is mainly theory and requires a lot of mugging up.
  • Do not just read and memorize-  I mentioned this point above also because many candidates take CFA like a or BBA exam and tend to focus and devote more of their time towards reading and memorizing but that is not going to help here.

The Study Calendar

Finally, I will be giving you what you had been looking for all the while before reading this article. You can get the tried and tested study calendar that we recommend to our students to clear the CFA Examination by filling in the form below.

Get the 4 month CFA Study Planner on your Email