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Be Prepared: Top Tips For Your Level I CFA® exam

Posted on March 1, 2015 1:38 pm;

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Don’t stress out, just relax. Morgan has put together some top tips to help you gear up for the Level I CFA® exam without a shred of panic.

The time factor

First up, make sure you leave enough time for preparation. Each of the three exam levels should be given about six months of preparation, and you will need to take the three exams in their logical sequence. To complete the program most candidates take on average four years. To obtain the CFA® charter you need to have completed the three exam levels successfully and accumulated 48 months of approved work experience.

Keep calm

As you enter your final month ahead of the Level I CFA® exam, our advice is to be calm. The more stressed you are, the less you can focus. Take a deep breath and start a plan to go over all of the material but split into small, digestible pieces. At this stage it is particularly important to focus on any areas of weakness you have: give these more attention and reach out to your personal tutor if you have any questions.

Get planning

Make a study calendar. Organization and planning are absolutely essential to fit everything into the remaining time. Plot your calendar so that you cover all elements, giving each the necessary time and allotting more time to any areas of weakness.

Join forces

Reach out to others in the same situation as yourself. This is a great time to pool resources and lean on your peers and classmates for support. Think about starting a study group which you can use to keep one another motivated.

Practice makes perfect

Make sure you get plenty of practice on the calculator that you will be using in the exam. It is important to make sure that you know how to properly clear the calculator and that you do this every time before you start a calculation.

Train to sustain

Just like any athlete before a big competition, you need to build up your endurance before the exam day. Do this by taking simulated exams and progress tests, and keep track of your performances. The CFA Institute offers practice tests and mock exams on its website.

Target weak spots

In the final four weeks you should particularly target those topics that carry the biggest weight in the exam. From these topics make an assessment of which ones you feel that you mastered, and those that you feel need more revision.

Do your paperwork

When you find a moment that you’re not using for study, have a think about your photo identification. It is important to make sure that it hasn’t expired and that the name on your admission ticket is an exact match for how your name appears on your ID. If there is any difference, now is the time to complete and submit a Name Change Form from the CFA Institute Candidate Website.

Love your letters

Make sure you familiarize yourself with acronyms that could come up in the exam.  Download and review Level I acronyms you should know.

Have a go

There is no penalty for incorrect answers, so even if you’re stuck on a question, at least try to give it a shot.

Watch the clock

You’ll need to allow an average of 90 seconds per answer in the Level I CFA® exam, so be aware that the clock is ticking, and don’t linger too long in any one place. Just keep going and once you reach the end, if you have any time left, go back and review any questions you were less sure about.

Take care

Make sure you read each question carefully; if you rush through, you may find yourself tripping up on incorrect answer choices.

Keep it within reason

Everything that you need to formulate an answer already exists within the question information and the curriculum you’ve covered. Don’t introduce information outside this as the questions are rarely designed to trick you in such a way.

Start with the obvious

If you are stuck on a question, begin by knocking out any answer that is obviously incorrect. This way you increase your odds of answering the question correctly.

Mark as you go

Don’t leave the answer sheet till the end as you risk running out of time. As you complete each question, mark your answer on the answer sheet – it’s the safest strategy!

Get practicing now with sample CFA® exam questions.

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