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This website was build to encourage you to take targeted action! You can have all the study aides in the world at your disposal, but unless you are using them effectively you are still likely to fail the CFA® level 1 exam.

The CFA® level 1 test carries an extremely objective success criteria. Your exam result depends on your ability to answer the same 240 multiple choice questions that everyone else are facing on exam day. It only makes sense then that your exam preparation should therefore be focused around question practice. There is no substitute for reading the CFA® curriculum (or an abbreviated study guide), but the default approach of mind-numbingly racing through the curriculum, trying to reach your daily quota of 10, 15, 20 or whatever number of pages is not necessarily the most efficient use of your time.

The Financial Exam Academy is all about breaking the path to exam success into meaningful and manageable action steps, and most importantly ensuring that you stick to it. A common experience for too many candidates at the end of a crammed study session, is the satisfaction/frustration attached to whether or not you have managed to read the 25 or whatever many pages that you set out to cram through on the day, coupled with an unnerving afterthought that you cannot actually really recall the majority of the content that you just whipped through. The problem is typically lack of focus on the content at hand (and too much focus on how many pages you can read). Hopefully you should be able to recall the key concepts that you practiced at the end of each study session, but this requires a constant conscious focus on the task at hand while you are studying, something that is not easily maintained.

There are a few basic ground rules here at Financial Exam Academy, that you need to follow if you want to maximize your success using this study method. The rules are really basic, but they are violated by many candidates while studying for the test (This is good news for you if you are disciplined, as adhering to these should therefore provide you with an edge).

The Financial Exam Academy Strategy:

  • Designate your study time: Be slightly militant about this point. Attempt to treat your study “appointments” in the same way most people would treat time allocated to an important meeting at work. It is also very important that you communicate this commitment to the people in your life, particularly if you are sharing your roof with anyone.
  • Designate a quiet comfortable study area: This could be a meeting room at work, an office/desk at home (if you are fortunate enough to have one in a room with no distractions) or a desk in a designated study room in a library/university or similar.
  • Use targeted questions to keep your brain focused: The end of chapter questions in the curriculum form a much underutilized and readily available source of targeted questions. Creating and constantly revising flash cards with Learning Outcome Statements, key concepts, formulas, lists etc form a perhaps even less utilized source of targeted questions. In addition various traditional and online study guides (some of them free) provide practice questions. I would however encourage you to focus on mastering the curriculum questions first.

If you manage to follow these 3 basic ground rules, as you progress through your studies, you will have an edge over the many candidates who either fail to put the necessary hours in or use their allocated hours inefficiently because they become distracted or lack strategy.

Some good places to start on this website depending on your situation:

1. Explore more general information about the CFA program, to obtain useful information about the test and study program.

2. Follow the weekly updates in the 21 week study plan, helping you utilize your limited study time more efficiently as you progress through the curriculum up to the December 2015 CFA® level 1 exam.

3. Read up on the individual curriculum topics.

4. If you haven’t already sign up for our newsletter in the sidebar or through one of the pop-up boxes, and we will keep you on target for the test.

Finally, if you have a specific question, please feel free to reach out at: info@financialexamacademy.com

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