Preparing For The CFA Exam – How To Do It?
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Earning the CFA accreditation is likely to involve 300 hours or more of study for those aspiring to move up to this coveted level in their accountancy career. It is usually anticipated that these studies will take up to 6 months and that is entirely realistic when considering that most of those embarking on their CFA will already be holding down full-time jobs.
Even after a candidate has poured in all of that effort, the examination isn’t always a “done deal” - with a fair proportion of entrants missing the mark on their first attempt. This can be a very discouraging situation to arrive at after the application of so much time and effort so we thought a few helpful tips might not go amiss.
1. Plan ahead
Whatever needs to be achieved in this life there is no substitute for planning and preparation. The well-worn adage of “fail to plan and you plan to fail” sits well when you are in a situation that is going to be eating into 300 hours of your time. Scheduling a timetable for everything from study times and trial runs of the actual examination to dealing with unexpected increases in your daily workload, all need to be factored in.
2. Going it alone or seeking help
There is no shame but plenty of wisdom in pinpointing your weak points and enlisting some professional help. Whether you feel you would benefit from a professional program of on-going reviews or even more involved support, there are plenty of options available to you.
3. Identify your learning style
What may work for one candidate could spell disaster for another when it comes to styles of learning. From mind mapping and speed reading to having a gift for retaining information, we are all put together differently. Identifying what learning methods work best for you is something that you will want to address early in your study program.
4. Dry runs
Passing exams has as much to do with how you manage the available time as the knowledge you are able to retain. There are plenty of practice papers available and that means there is no good reason why candidates shouldn’t carry out a few “dry runs” in exam-like conditions. The full exam takes 6 hours so a 50/50 split with a break for lunch is an ideal format to use with a day set aside specifically for that purpose.
5. Avoid the last minute cram
Whatever urban myths you may have heard to the contrary, leaving examination revision until the last minute is a recipe for disappointment. There lies the way of clouded judgment.
Set your sights on doing it right
Charted CFAs are well paid, respected, and virtually guaranteed lucrative employment. Nothing comes easy and hard work will be required to get to the required level. The effort in equates to rewards out and that is why approaching your CFA studies requires a right mindset and a high level of dedication.