Studying for Success: 6 Winning Strategies for Mastering CFA® Level 1


Studying for Success: 6 Winning Strategies for Mastering CFA® Level 1

If you’re preparing for the CFA® level 1 exam, you must have realized that it needs a clear strategy apart from hard work and determination to pass the exam. Many students cannot pass the certification just because they lack a coherent strategy. Everyone knows the curriculum is vast, overwhelming even. But to a discerning candidate, it’s not a big hurdle as they know how to separate the grain from the chaff. Only those candidates pass the certification who have a coherent strategy.


A coherent strategy involves:

  • Doing a SWOT analysis.
  • Setting clear goals.
  • Allocating appropriate time for each topic.
  • Practicing enough tests.
  • Doing thorough revision before the exam.
  • It also includes being aware of your physical and mental health.


It is essential to manage stress and maintain focus throughout the preparation period. Doing all this alone can be quite taxing on the mind. It is better to search for the best CFA® prep courses and get yourself enrolled. These courses will help you with all the above-mentioned points, saving precious time, energy, and resources.


In this article, we’ll talk about the best strategies for coursing through the levels of CFA® and equip you with the secret knowledge of getting past the CFA® level 1 passing score.


Go through the CFA® level 1 curriculum

There are ten distinct topics in the CFA® level 1. These are –

  • Ethical and Professional Standards
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Economics
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Corporate Issuers
  • Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning
  • Equity Investments
  • Fixed Income
  • Derivatives
  • Alternative Investments

These topics have different weightage assigned to them and should therefore be approached according to their weightage. Topics like Quantitative Methods, Economics, Financial Statement Analysis, and Portfolio Management are four of the most important topics in the exam as they form the core of business and investment. Ensure you are aware of every point in the curriculum, especially regarding these topics.


Do a SWOT analysis

A major reason for the low pass rate among CFA® aspirants is their lack of self-awareness. It is crucial to know yourself before you attempt to take such a challenging exam. You should be fully aware of which topics you’re good at, which subjects can be covered with a superficial reading, and which ones need dedicated focus. This can only be done when candidates know about their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Some candidates are not good with numerical problems and, thus, need to work harder on financial statement analysis and Quantitative methods. Others may not be so good at reading and writing comprehension. They would do well to focus on topics like Ethics and Economics.


Set clear goals and objectives

After you’ve assessed the curriculum well and conducted the preliminary SWOT analysis, you’re ready for the next crucial step. It is the task of goal setting. This is, in fact, the most crucial step in your CFA® journey. It involves making a concrete plan to cover all the topics in the stipulated time. Make realistic goals and divide them into long-term and short-term objectives. Apply the principle of working forwards and reasoning backward. This means you have to calculate the time in hand from the preparation day to the exam day. Then you have to determine how much time you’ve got to cover each topic and allocate time accordingly. Set out clear monthly, weekly, and daily task plans and follow them vigorously.


Use scientific study techniques

Preparing for prestigious exams like the CFA® level 1 requires a different mindset. You must approach it like a marathon instead of a 100-meter sprint. You’ll soon burn yourself out if you keep studying for more than 10 hours a day at a stretch. Boredom and depression would set in afterward. To avoid mental burnout and maintain focus, you should consider using the best scientific techniques to study, ones that involve strategic breaks. The Pomodoro technique, for instance, is a universally recognized scientific study technique. It is designed to allow the brain to work optimally; to study and retain things effectively.


Keep stress under control

When faced with the need to study extensively within a brief period, it’s common for stress to emerge. Stress by itself isn’t inherently negative; in fact, it can serve as a motivator in moderate amounts. It also instills a sense of urgency, acting as a reminder to complete tasks promptly. Nonetheless, when stress surpasses a certain threshold, it begins to impact efficiency. It’s crucial to exercise caution when encountering such situations. If you sense stress becoming overwhelming, pause and contemplate taking a break. Engage in activities like watching movies, spending time with close friends, or embarking on a leisurely drive to divert your attention.


Practice and Revise

Studying something is only of value when it is backed up with practice and revision. It is futile to study for multiple hours a day if you can’t recall what you’ve learned. The best CFA® prep courses prepare you well with regular practice tests. This allows you to make periodic self-assessments and work on areas that need improvement. Standard practice tests will significantly improve your recall of dense topics and formulas. This revision before the exam would help you solve all kinds of questions in time.


Key Takeaway

Getting that elusive CFA® passing score is not that difficult once you determine the right preparation strategy. This strategy should be customized according to your knowledge and cognitive abilities. To make a workable strategy, you must follow a few steps. This involves reading through the curriculum multiple times, doing a SWOT analysis, setting clear task plans, and taking practice tests to revise efficiently. With CogniVisio, your task will become much easier; we have divided the curriculum into bite-sized videos without omitting any necessary detail. Our goal is to manage the behemoth that is the CFA® Level 1 and provide you with all the resources to succeed.




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