Written By Team CFI

How to know the number of hours you need to put in for CFA Exam study?

The CFA Institute conducts a survey before and after every CFA exam. According to the latest survey results, attempted by CFA candidates, on an average 322 hours of study time is required to prepare for one CFA Exam; 304 hours for CFA Level 1. Moreover, you’ll see a bunch of web logs and study plans that entail you to study for 300 hours to pass your tests. It’s highly clichéd.

So, exactly how many hours should you put in? Are 300 hours enough, more or less?

There are people who have hit the books for less than 300 hours and passed their CFA exam.

Who are they?

…who have work experience (in the finance field), who hold majors or other certifications like an MBA or a CA, who are proficient in statistics and calculation (engineers, etc.); who are quick learners; and yes, who are fluent in US English.

On the contrary, there are chances of even such candidates failing in the CFA exam.

So you are no bad. Even last year graduate students have passed CFA Level 1 in their first attempt.

Why you need more (maybe a lot more) than 300 hours?

Because:

  • You are doing it for information and knowledge that will lift you and your career up.
  • To solve lots of practice questions (along with at least 5 full mock exams). Very important!
  • If you are following CFA Institute’s Curriculum as it is vast enough

Here’s how to know how much you will need…

Go through CFA curriculum – all the Study sessions, their headings and introduction, the readings and Learning Outcome Statements. This is a tedious and boring process. But, will help you know the curriculum qualitatively as well as quantitatively.

Without a doubt, the CFA curriculum is vast.

Evaluate how much time you can put in daily – after your college or working hours or while travelling; weekly – on weekends and extra holidays.

Set your mind to this thought – No pain no gain. The CFA designation is extremely esteemed in the field of finance and is cherished a lot by employers, clients, etc. Moreover, the course of study fills you up with so much knowledge.

And thus, all three levels of CFA exams will require serious discipline, especially study related. CFA level 1 is just the base- for level 2 and 3; not basics of overall financial concepts. So, try and extend your study hours. Stick to what you decide. Cut-off extra activities that make you tired (e.g. scrolling through the social media page will drain your eyes).

The plan is studying for 2 to 2 ½ hours daily on weekdays and 7-8 hours on Saturdays and Sundays. It may sound something impossible to exercise, but you will come to it. Just be consistent throughout.

What you already know, will save your study time. If you know the concepts, that’s a benefit. ‘Know’ means proper understanding of that theory. Not just ‘heard about it’.

The type of learner you are also affects your study time. This is the time to be true to yourself. Give it a little thought. Are you a slow learner, slow reader? Do you have a habit of mugging up? (Mugging up is the worst thing to do for CFA Exam preparation.)

Even if you are a slow learner and/or had been bad in school academics, you have chances of passing the exam. But you need to put in that many hours and hard work.

Your understanding with US English matters. You have to sit with a dictionary. Read sentences 4 -5 times to understand what it says. Have to bring a quite a little of help from Google. And while you do so, do not get lost in the ocean of web surfing.

Here a few more tips

  • Learn to balance your work life, social life and study time.
  • Beginning all over again takes a bunch of time. Every time you sit to study, move ahead. Do not start from chapter 1.
  • Disclaimer: Difficulty level increases as you turn the pages.
  • Do not put off things for later. The burden piles up. That later never comes.
  • At least once in your journey you will think “whoa! I didn’t believe it would be this much”.
  • Have a monthly study plan and stick to it. If you are running behind monthly planner, take a day or two off and cover it up within that month itself

All the Best … !!!!!!!