CFA® Exam

CFA Examination

There are many credentials and degrees a financial professional may hold. However, there is no other than Chartered Financial Analyst® or CFA® that earns respect or is so rigorously focused on developing Investment Skills and Knowledge. The magazine The Economist referred to the CFA® charter as the “gold standard,” writing that:

[The] qualification is roughly equivalent to a specialized postgraduate finance degree, including a mixture of economics, ethics, law, and accountancy… Whereas there are tens of thousands of finance degrees available around the world, ranging from the excellent to the worthless, there is only one CFA®, managed and examined by an American association of financial professionals, the CFA® Institute.

My journey towards earning my CFA® Charter has been pretty exciting, enriching as well as challenging. There were many ups and downs – I passed the CFA® Level 1 and the CFA® Level 2 at once. However, CFA® Level 3 was a tough nut to crack. It took me 3 attempts to pass CFA® Level 3. CFA® Charter has been incredibly beneficial for my Equity Research Analyst career. Most recently, I received the fantastic news that my younger brother Neeraj Vaidya (works along with the CEO of a global firm and lives in Dubai) has also passed CFA® Level 3 examination. He is now looking forward to applying for the CFA® Charter. I am sure he has a great career ahead.

CFA Exam

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Appearing for CFA® Level 1 exam? – Do have a look at this excellent 70+ hours of CFA® level 1 Training Tutorials

Also, do not miss CFA – Important Dates and Schedules.

If some of you are confused between CFA® vs. FRM, here is a quick infographic that may help you a bit – CFA® vs. FRM

I have trained and mentored hundreds of students for the CFA® exam and am now hoping to spread awareness of this most valuable the CFA® program through my blog. This article focuses on nuts and bolts of the CFA® examination –

What is the CFA Exam?

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) Program, administered by the CFA® Institute, offers a graduate-level curriculum and examination program to expand your working knowledge and practical skills related to investment decision-making.

Roles Portfolio Management, Wealth Management, Investment decision making, Investment Analysis
ExamThe CFA® Program consists of three examinations (Levels I, II, and III).
CFA® Exam DatesCFA® Level 1 – conducted twice in a year (1st week of December & 1st week of June); CFA® Level 2 & 3 worked once a year (1st Week of June)
The DealEach of the CFA® program’s three levels builds on the preceding one, and each concludes with a full-day six-hour examination. Candidates must pass each test before advancing to the next higher level, but are permitted to repeat an investigation if they fail to pass.
Eligibility You must have one of the following:
Bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree
Be in the final year of bachelor’s degree program
Have four years of professional work experience
Have a combination of professional work and university experience that totals at least four years
Program Completion CriteriaSuccessfully pass the three exams; Have four years of professional work experience in the investment decision-making process; Join CFA® Institute as a regular member
Recommended Study HoursA minimum of 300 hours of preparation per CFA® exam level is recommended.
What do you earn?CFA® Charter

Why Pursue the CFA® Exam?

Given the time, money, and effort, is CFA® designation worth pursuing? Below are the main reasons why you should date CFA® –

  • CFA® is the most recognized global designation for finance professionals across the globe.
  • Not only employers but also clients consider CFA® Charterholders as experts in Finance.
  • Career advancement due to the CFA® designation is no brainer. This program is instrumental in Investment Banking, Portfolio Management, Investment Research, and Security Analysis, etc.
  • A recent survey by the CFA® Institute noted that the CFA® Charterholders are primarily working as Portfolio Managers (22%), Research Analysts (14%), and Chief Executives (7%)
CFA Charterholders Job Profile

source – CFA® Institute

Additionally, in July 2016, the CFA® Institute surveyed the CFA® candidates and found the below reasons as their primary motivation to take this exam –

  • 37% are taking this exam because of Career Advancement opportunities that open up
  • Another 20% do this to attain a higher level of knowledge
  • 10% believe that it improves the chances of obtaining a job.
Why Pursue CFA Exam

CFA® Exam Format

The below table showcases essential areas of the CFA® Examination.

CFA® ExamCFA® Level 1CFA® Level 2CFA® Level 3
Focuses onBasic Concepts in FinanceEquity, Fixed Income & AccountingPortfolio Management Application
Exam FormatMultiple Choice with 3 choicesItem Set/ Mini Case StudyItem Set + Essay
Questions240 MCQ20 Item Sets10 Item Sets + 12 Essays
Morning Session120 MCQ10 Item Sets12 Essays
Afternoon Session120 MCQ10 Item Sets10 Item Sets
Duration6 hours6 hours6 hours
Critical Highlights about CFA® Exam format
CFA® Level 1 exam
  • This exam primarily focuses on developing basic concepts in Finance.
  • Multiple choice questions format makes it easier for exam takers; however, one must note that on an average, you have around 1.5 minutes per question.
  • No Negative Marking
CFA® Level 2 exam
  • The format of the exam is mini-cases that are 1.5 pages length on an average
  • Each item set or mini-cases have six questions each, answers to each question may depend on your previously answered question.
  • No Negative Marking
CFA® Level 3 exam
  • The critical thing to note that the Morning session is an Essay Type Format where exam takers must solve the case studies and write appropriate answers
  • The Afternoon session is similar to the format of CFA® Level 2, where there are mini case studies with Multiple choice question answers
  • No Negative Marking

CFA® Exam Weights / Breakdown

Below is the CFA® Topic Areas (2020) in each level.

Topic AreaCFA® Level 1CFA® Level 2CFA® Level 3
Ethics & Professional Standards15%10-15%10-15%
Quantitative Methods10%5-10%
Economics10%5-10%5-10%
Financila Reporting & Analysis15%10-15%
Corporate Finance10%5-10%
Equity Investments11%10-15%10-15%
Fixed Income11%10-15%15-20%
Derivatives Investment6%5-10%5-10%
Alternative Investments6%5-10%5-10%
Portfolio Management & Wealth Management6%5-10%30-40%
Total100%100%100%
CFA® Level 1
CFA® Level 2
  • CFA® level 2 is a slightly tricky exam as compared to CFA® level 1 because of 2 reasons a) curriculum is now more challenging as compared to CFA® Level 1, and b) competition is between serious candidates who have passed the Level 1 examination.
  • Four topics – Ethics, Financial Reporting & Analysis, Equity Investment, and Fixed Income represent approx. 50%-80% of the weightage.
  • The significant change in the pattern is that there is a 21 item set (each around 400-800 words) with six multiple-choice questions in each session (Morning & Afternoon Session). These six questions may be dependent or independent of each other. 
CFA® Level 3
  • The main trick in CFA® Level 3 examination is the Essay Type Question Paper. This is the first time in the CFA® examination that you are expected to write essays.
  • The backbone of the Essay Type Question Paper is Portfolio Management (representing 45% weightage). It is common wisdom that the Essay Type Question paper creates a make or break situation. It is found that the Afternoon Exam that consists of Item Set questions is relatively easier for most of the candidates.
  • I am a typical laptop & a gadget guy and don’t use much of a pen and notebook. For this exam, I picked my pen for earnest handwriting after almost 5 years and realized that my writing was barely legible. I had to practice handwriting a bit to cross the minimum legibility benchmark. Even then, I recall that my hands were hurting after the Morning session, so better practice (hand) writing.  

CFA® Examination Fees

Below is the examination fees for the CFA® June 2020 Exam (Levels I, II, III)

CFA 2020 Exam Registration Fees and Deadlines
Registration DeadlinesNew CandidateEnd Deadlines
Enrollment FeeTotal:- US$ 700ends 2 October 2019
Standard registration feeTotal:- US$ 1000ends 12 February 2020
Late registration feeTotal:- US$ 1,450ends 11 March 2020
  • There is a first-time enrollment fee of $700. Also, note that it is much cheaper to register for the exam early. The exam fees of the 3rd Deadline ($1,450) costs almost twice that of the First Deadline ($700).

CFA® Results & Passing Rates

CFA® results are usually announced after eight weeks of the CFA Exam date. CFA® Level 1 and 2 exam results are available both on the CFA® Institute website and through emails. CFA® Level 3 results are available in ten weeks to post the exam day.

Out of every 100 CFA® Candidates, only 15 candidates will finally crack it!

Before we discuss the individual level the CFA® Exam passing rates, it will be interesting to look at the overall completion rate. Completion rate (%) is the number of candidates who have passed cumulatively CFA® level 3 exams divided by the total number of cumulative candidates who have ever attempted the CFA® examination. This number provides us a broad idea of how many finally pursued and cleared all 3 levels.

  • Since inception, a total of 15.4% CFA® Candidates passed the CFA® Level 3 exams.
  • Most recently (2005-2014A), the total completion rate of 14.6% was observed.
  • This implies out of every 100 CFA® candidates, about 15 CFA® candidates will finally pass CFA® Level 3. However, the remaining 85 candidates may eventually opt-out.
YearTotal CFA CandidatesCFA Level 3 Pass CandidatesCompletion Rate
1963-2014A199739730679515.4%
2005-2014A134409719581514.6%

Now let us look at the passing rates for each Level.

CFA® Level 1 Exam Passing rate is closer to 45%
  • The past 10 years saw that CFA® Level 1 examination passing rate was in the range of 43% to 45%, with an average passing grade of 43%
  • The average passing rate for the December examination was 43%
  • The average passing rate for the December 2018 examination was 45%
  • The average passing rate for the June 2014 examination was higher at 40% (attractive!)
  • The average passing rate for CFA 2015, you need Level 1- 42%, level 2- 46%, and level 3- 54%.
  • The average passing rate for CFA 2016 you need CFA Level 1- 43%, CFA level 2- 46%, and for CFA level 3- 54%
  • The average passing rate for CFA 2017 you need CFA Level 1- 43%, CFA level 2- 47%, and for CFA level 3- 54%
  • The average passing rate for CFA 2018 you need CFA Level 1- 43%, CFA level 2- 45%, and for CFA level 3- 56%
  • The average passing rate for CFA 2019 you need CFA Level 1- 41%, CFA level 2- 44%, and for CFA level 3- 56%
Cfa level 1
CFA® Level 2 Exam Passing rate is closer to 44%
  • The past 10 years saw that CFA® Level 2 examination passing rate in the range of 32% to 56%, with an average passing grade of 44%
  • June 2014 examination passing rate was the highest at 46% in the past 8 years.
  • To clear CFA 2015 you need Level 1- 42%, level 2- 46% and for level 3- 54%.
  • CFA 2016 you need CFA Level 1- 43%, CFA level 2- 46% and for CFA level 3- 54%
  • CFA 2017 you need CFA Level 1- 43%, CFA level 2- 47% and for CFA level 3- 54%
  • CFA 2018 you need CFA Level 1- 43%, CFA level 2- 45% and for CFA level 3- 56%
  • CFA 2019 you need CFA Level 1- 41%, CFA level 2- 44% and for CFA level 3- 56%
Cfa level 2
You have a 50:50 chance of passing the CFA® Level 3 Exam. 
  • The past 10 years saw that CFA® Level 3 examination passing rate in the range of 50% to 76%, with an average passing grade of 56%
  • The 14-year average pass rate for all three levels of CFA (from 2003 to 2016) was 52%
  • The CFA® Level 3 (June 2018) examination passing rate is 56%.
  • The CFA® Level 3 (June 2019) examination passing rate is 56%.
Cfa level 3

CFA® Curriculum vs Schweser?

To answer the above question, let us first look at a high-level comparison between the two.

AttributeCFA® Curriculum BooksSchweser 
Cost$150 + shipping$649
Pages2600+1000-1100
Depth of CoverageIn-depthSummarized
Mock Tests1-26
End of Chapter QuestionsYesYes
Question BankNoYes

Please note that there are many packages available at Schweser. For the above comparison, I have included the price of their Essential Self-study package. Before I attempt to answer the above question, the most critical question you must ask yourself is how much time you intend (consider reality) to spend for CFA® Level 1 Examination. Your preparation (CFA® curriculum notes vs. Schweser notes) will depend on the amount of time you are willing to spend.

Below are my set of tips that may prove useful (only applicable to CFA® Level 1 examination

If you have a 5-month Exam Preparation Time?

Let us face the truth; you do not have lots of time to prepare and pass this CFA® Level 1 examination. However, you have just enough time to give your best shot. With this, I recommend the following –

  • Forget about the CFA® Curriculum Books. Just going by common wisdom shared on the majority of the CFA® forums, it takes around 200+ hours to go through the CFA® curriculum books (which you are short of)
  • Go through the Schweser Video Tutorials. This may take a max of 20 hours, and these are a good starting point to prepare yourself for the exam.
  • Once you have looked at the videos, go through the Schweser notes in detail. Though these are the summary version of CFA® books, however, I feel they are sufficient enough to ensure that you pass the exam. Reading Schweser notes will take around 80 hours or so
  • The remaining time (if any) you must spend on attempting as many Mock Papers as you can and concept revision.
  • I had only five months for CFA® Level 1 exam preparation and used this strategy to pass CFA® level 1 examination.
CFA Exam Prep 120 hours
If you have 200-250 hours for exam preparation?

If you can spend 200-250 hours preparing for the exam, then you will be in a dilemma – Should I touch CFA® curriculum books or should I look at Schweser notes or Both?

  • Frankly speaking, you will have to decide either of the two, but not both. Either you can read through the CFA® curriculum books once (yes, only once!), or you can master Schweser by learning from their video tutorials, reading notes a couple of times, practicing mock papers, etc. all in 200-250 hours.
  • My suggestion here would be to yet not touch the CFA® curriculum books and spend time on the Mastering Schweser concept as per the time-table is given in the below graph.
CFA Exam Prep 200 hours
If you have the luxury to spend 300 hours?

If you have 300+ hours, then I would highly recommend a mix of CFA® Curriculum books as well as Schweser notes.

  • The best way is to start with Schweser Video Tutorials and move to Schweser notes to ensure you have covered all essential concepts from exams.
  • After that, I would advise you to look at CFA® Blue Box Examples (discussed within the chapters) and then End of Chapter (EOC) Questions. This may take another 80-100 hours.
CFA Exam Prep 300 hours
If you have less than 100 hours
  • A piece of brutal advice, Go home! Do not try your luck. You would have already spent more than $1000 on registration of the exam. Why waste this attempt?
  • Consider the withdrawal option if you have already registered for CFA® Exam. The withdrawal policy offered by CFA® institute may come handy. Click here for details. 

Enrollment Requirements

To be eligible to enter the CFA® Program, there are two primary requirements –

  • Have US Bachelor’s (Or Equivalent Degree) or be in the final year of your bachelor’s degree program at the time of registration
    • or have four years of qualified, professional work experience (does not have to be investment-related)
    • or a combination of work and college experience that totals at least four years.
    • Please note that Part-time positions do not qualify, and the four-year total must be accrued before enrollment.
  • Have a Valid International Travel Passport – This is required for CFA® Exam enrollment and registration.

Scholarship Opportunities

CFA® Institute provides two types of scholarships –

Access Scholarship
  • This is a need-based scholarship designed for those who are not able to afford the full CFA® program fees.
  • In addition to financial needs, other factors are also considered academic, professional, or other accomplishments of the candidate, candidate’s interest in pursuing the CFA® charter, obstacles overcome by the candidate, etc.
  • More than 2,600 Access Scholarships are awarded to CFA® Program applicants each calendar year.
 Awareness Scholarship
  • This is given to critical influencers in academics and the financial community.
  • This awareness scholarship is designed to raise awareness of CFA® Institute programs among key influencers by allowing certain strategically positioned groups and individuals to distribute and receive exam registrations at discounted rates. 

For further details, you may refer to the CFA® Scholarship Page.

Useful Resources for CFA® Exam Prep

What next?

If you learned something new or enjoyed the post, please leave a comment below. Let me know what you think. Many thanks, and take care. Happy Learning!

“CFA Institute does not endorse, promote, or warrant the accuracy or quality of Wallstreetmojo. CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are registered trademarks owned by CFA Institute.”

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. AvatarSomjeet says

    Dear Dheeraj,

    Thank you so much for the detailed information.
    Currently a Graduate student in Biological Sciences , I come from a very different background than most candidates. My interest in CFA stems from my motivation to switch careers after PhD. I am inclined to join Life Science VCs. I think CFA can help me to transition to an industry where one is exposed to a constant variety of innovative ideas and smart, passionate people (just like Academia). I look forward to extensive use the resources and stick to the guidelines as mentioned in the blog!

    • AvatarDheeraj Vaidya says

      sure Somjeet. Good luck to you!

  2. AvatarRashmi says

    Hello Dheeraj,
    I am in my 1st year of CA Articleship and have cleared CA IPCC Group 1. I have a graduate degree in BCom. I would like to pursue some other course instead and was looking at the available options in the finance field. CFA is the course which interested me a lot. Since I have a finance background already, it might be the logical option too. I was wondering if the earning a CA degree will help better my growth prospects or am I better off doing CFA alone. Financial stability and time is an important factor in consideration as well.
    I would be happy for your help.

    • Dheeraj VaidyaDheeraj Vaidya says

      Hi Rashmi, Why not consider completing both CA + CFA. The combination will be awesome!

  3. AvatarBiswajit says

    Sir, I have completed my B.Com Graduation in 2012 and CA Intermediate in 2014. I want to make my career in Finance field. I am confused whether to join CFA or FRM? I have completed NISM Series VIII:Equity Derivative courses. Please Guide me..

    • Dheeraj VaidyaDheeraj Vaidya says

      Hi Biswajit, just going by your education background, CFA will suit you more.

  4. Avatarkomal says

    hi dheeraj,

    would it be beneficial for a chartered accountant to go for CFA?

    can u post a analysis of CA+MBA or CA+CFA

    • Dheeraj VaidyaDheeraj Vaidya says

      Yes Komal, CA + CFA is an awesome combination that you must consider!

  5. AvatarSheryl Alphonso says

    Hi Deeraj i have graduated in bsc life sciences i am interested in finance can i studyfor CFA please advise.

    • AvatarDheeraj Vaidya says

      Yes Sheryl, CFA is a good and rigourous course for learning Finance.

  6. AvatarAkash says

    Hi,Dheeraj.thanks for your pretty useful information.I have to take my CFA level 1 in June,2017.And I am doing bcom.hons from DU.So I want to just to ask you as I have ample of time for paper that if I go with curriculum original notes,So what do you think how many times I would have to read whole cirriculum to retain complete information and go for paper or only can be done by reading once?

    • Dheeraj VaidyaDheeraj Vaidya says

      Hi Akash, you have enough time for CFA level 1 preparation. Try to revise the complete curriculum atleast twice. Also, main focus should be the mock exams. They provide great insights to assimilating all the knowledge at one place.
      Good luck,
      Dheeraj

  7. Avatarshyam says

    i am graduating from one of US university in Dec 17, Can I appear in level i exams in Dec 16, i understand that one should graduate in 18 months while enrolling for level 1.

    • AvatarDheeraj Vaidya says

      Hi Shyam, the best way to clear this confusion is to write to CFA Institute – Contact us. They promptly respond to all queries.

      Thanks,
      Dheeraj

  8. AvatarSpandana says

    Hi, I am chartered accountant, I completed bcom (correspondence) from IGNOU. Am I eligible for cfa registration

    • AvatarDheeraj Vaidya says

      Hi Spandana,

      I am not sure 100% here. It will be great if you ask this question to CFA institute directly. They are prompt in replies and will revert appropriately.

      Best,
      Dheeraj

  9. AvatarDisha says

    I’ll be going to the third year of my graduation now. Can I appear for level 1 in December this year and if I pass level 2 in June next year?

    • AvatarDheeraj Vaidya says

      HI Disha,

      I guess you can appear for CFA exams if you are in the final year of your college.

      thanks,
      Dheeraj

      • AvatarSAHIL NARANG says

        Hello Sir
        First of all you are doing a great job through your articles & it is really commendable to see you replying on everyone’s queries.
        Sir i am a commerce graduate from punjab university & persuing CA. My attempt for final is due in may 2017. Am i eligible for persuing cfa ? & in your opinion when should i appear for level 1 & get registered. Spending 200 -250 hrs after may 2017 is possible for me.

        • Dheeraj VaidyaDheeraj Vaidya says

          Hi Sahil,
          You can register for CFA Level 1 anytime depending on your time availability and your upcoming CA examination.
          CA’s are considered to be equal to a post graduation (for CFA Eligibility).
          Good luck to you,
          Dheeraj

  10. AvatarArpit Srivastava says

    Hey Dheeraj,

    Kindly explain the difference between CFA annd CFA Charter.

    Also guide which institute should I opt for preparing and cracking CFA?

    Did you opt for any institute for cracking CFA, if yes please name it.

    Regards,
    Arpit

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Arpit,

      CFA exam is conducted by CFA Institute. Once you clear all three levels of CFA exam, you are entitled to become CFA charter. To obtain CFA charter, there is a minimum requirement of related work experience.

      I guess CFA books and Schweser notes can be more than sufficient to clear exam. I didn’t opt for any coaching to pass the CFA exams. Likewise, my brother also passed all 3 levels without any coaching. I am sure you can do it too.

      All the very best,
      Dheeraj

  11. AvatarChellapandian says

    Hi dheeraj,
    I completed my MBA( finance ) in 2012,Worked in an solar firm for modeling solar finance for PPA and other investment opportunited based on ROI for customers.Now looking for opportunity to enter in Investment banking. Is it best to choose CFA or FRM.I knew about both,but due to time constraints,i need to switch my job immediately,as global market for solar is not positive for middle level guy.I need your assistance,which of the above two will crack quicker and more job opportunities. I personally thought CFA need more time.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi,

      You are right that CFA will take some time. However, given your background FRM will not make any sense as it is totally related to risks and your previous experience will not help much here. However, if you take CFA, you can always relate to CFA curriculum and look for better opportunities going forward.

      Please note that CFA takes time and that is why it is valued by finance professionals!

      All the very best,
      Dheeraj

  12. AvatarJoel says

    Where can I get Schweser notes in Mumbai for June 2016 Level 1?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Joel,

      Not exactly sure where you will get the notes in Mumbai. You can however order the same from Schweser website.

      Best,
      Dheeraj

  13. AvatarWayne says

    Hi,
    I am planning to give level 1 in June.
    In what particular order would you recommend to study each topic? Any particular topic should I give more focus on compared to the others?
    Thanks in advance.

  14. AvatarSwati says

    Hi! I have my bachelor degree in Finance and have 5 years of work experience in Big 4. I left my job due to relocation, now I want to take up CFA . I am currently unemployed. Can you tell me if I am taking the right decision?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      HI Swati, with your experience in Big 4, you should not have much trouble on the job front. CFA designation will add lot of value to your resume.

      I echo your thoughts on this.

      Thanks,
      Dheeraj

  15. Avatarjainam sanghavi says

    I am currently doing CA and my CA FINAL exam will be due on may 2018.So I have some time to look forward at CFA.I am currently in Second year of b.com.and aiming to give CFA LEVEL 1 in DECEMBER 2016 when I am at final year of bachelor degree.My degree of b.com. will not be awarded till JUNE 2017.So is it necessary to have degree to appear for CFA LEVEL 2 EXAM in JUNE 2017.THANKS IN ADVANCE

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Jainam,

      Thanks for your question. I think the best way to get your answer to this question is to write to them. I checked the pre-requisites and found this to be a border line case.

      Thanks,
      Dheeraj

  16. AvatarYogesh Rawlani says

    Hello sir,
    First of all i want to thank you for all the details . I read the below article “CFA vs MBA” and i’m quite satisfied with that . I’m in second year of my B.COM and planning to give CFA level 1st (june) exams next year. But i’m in a big dilemma whether to pursue CFA or MBA, i’m worried about my carrier just as a BCOM and CFA. Is it enough to boost up my carrier or should i go for MBA first, and later think about CFA ?
    It will be so kind of you if you can help me regarding this sir .

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Yogesh,

      The best would be to do CFA + MBA. I guess the earlier you start working towards CFA examination, the better it will be for you. You should evaluate the CFA exams at the earliest.

      All the very best,
      Dheeraj

  17. AvatarSong says

    Hi Dheeraj,

    Thank you for your great article. I am an Engineer, and interested in equity investment as a private investor. Should I study part of CFA that are relevant as a private investor, rather than all three levels? Could you highlight only modules/part of 3 levels that are relevant for a private investor?

    Last, it would be great if Level 2&3 are also covered in “CFA Curriculum vs Schweser?” section, which is also very important.

    Thank you again for the site.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hello Song,

      Yes, you may not necessarily take CFA examination if you are just considering knowledge enhancements. In this case, the relevant parts could be Financial Statement Analysis, Corporate Finance, Valuations.

      Also, for all 3 levels, i referred to Schweser notes. CFA curriculum notes are awesome, just that I found it a bit exhaustive and given the time constraints, I chose Schweser as a natural option.

      Best,
      Dheeraj

  18. AvatarVirendra says

    Hi Dheeraj, thanks for the information. It’s quite helpful for us. I want to ask one thing that I registered for the programme in year 2010 but I couldn’t get through the level 1 exam. Due to bad financial conditions I dropped the idea of giving the exam thereafter. Now I am rethinking on giving the exam again. If I use my previous registration will this hamper my charter by any means?? Or is it OK that I flunked in level 1 and took a long break. Please advise.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Virendra,
      No worries on the previous registration. You can continue to use the same registration for giving exams. It doesn’t matter how long break one has taken or how long a student took to pass the exam. the only thing that matters is passing the exam here.
      all the very best Virendra,
      Dheeraj

  19. AvatarMiguel Reyes says

    I’m planning on taking level 3 next year. should i read the schweser books in any specific order? thanks in advance

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Miguel,

      There is no specific order, however, i think guess you should start with the sections on Portfolio Management – Individual and Institutional. These are the only ones that i found trickiest. Others are kind of straight forward. Reminding me of the book “Eat that frog” – Eat the frog first that is the Ugliest. Atleast you can spend the rest of your time at peace not worrying about that frog.

  20. AvatarDevang says

    Am a Chartered accountant fresher, I wanted to know that experience is required of 3 yrs for degree does job in fmcg or it sector in finance dept will be counted?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Devang, your job in Corporate Finance department should definitely count in any industry.

      All the best,
      Dheeraj

  21. AvatarSaif Siddiqui says

    Hi Dheeraj,

    Thanks a lot for posting such a useful insight about CFA programme. Is schwester course good for beginners. I have little knowledge about finance but want to pursue CFA for career change. I have more than 300 hrs before the final exam.
    It would be a great help if you could provide sequence wise preparation tips. Actually i am looking for some study plan .

    Thanks and Best regards,
    Saif

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hello Saif, Schweser is a good starting point. Once you are done with Schweser, you can look for complementing your learnings wiht CFA books (mainly questions at the end of each section) and Mock tests from Schweser.

      All the very best,
      Dheeraj

  22. AvatarRichard Brown says

    hiya,
    i am planning to start CFA and your article helped a lot. i would appreciate if u tell a bit more like

    a) what should be the first step after one has planned to study CFA?
    b) IS there any other membership/annual fees like ACCA/CIMA?
    c) can one study at your own the course of CFA without going to the tuition providers?
    d) can somebody who has never studied Finance study at his own with the schweser study materials?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hello Richard, Thanks for your note.
      a) The first to jumpstart the preparation for CFA would be get the notes. I started with Ethics but felt a bit bored. Maybe you can pick the area that you like to most so that the ball starts rolling.
      b) Once you receive your charter, there is an annual fees for maintaining the charter (which makes you eligible for the usage of CFA designation.
      c) Yes, ofcourse, one can study without going through the tution providers. This course is primarily a self study course.
      d) Yes, you can study on your own with the Schweser study material. However, you just need to put in some extra efforts for the accounting section (FSA). They do not cover much of basic concepts for the freshers. I would suggest you to take read through the accounting article on wallstreetmojo. It will provide you with the basics knowledge for accounting.

      All the very best,
      Dheeraj

  23. AvatarRashmi Malhotra says

    Hi Dheeraj.. thanks for all the information you’ve provided here.
    You mentioned that there are a lot of packages available at schweser. Which one would you recommend as the best out of all for Level 1?
    Regards.
    Rashmi

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hello Rashmi,

      The best suited would be Schweser text books along with the pre recorded video lectures (CDs).

      Thanks,
      Dheeraj

  24. AvatarPia says

    Hie. I have gone through schweser notes thrice and even practised the questions and self test from the same and now plan to solve mock tests.
    Is it suffecient or do i need to solve more questions from CFA institute books?
    My exam is nezt saturday ie. 6h june 2015.
    Hope to hear soon from you…
    Thanks!

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Pia,

      Thanks for your note. If you have gone through Schweser notes thrice, then there is nothing much to worry. You should pass!. Just focus on the mock tests and work around your weaker areas and practice some more questions if you have time. I am really not sure if you should solve questions from CFA institute books at this stage as it is vast and may leave you a bit stressed about the unfinished portions and the questions that you missed.

      All the very best for your examination!
      Dheeraj

  25. AvatarEmmanuel says

    This is great.
    I am interested in writing the stage 1 exam by Dec. 2015 please can you assist me with tutorials, do you have a training facility.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hello Emmanuel,

      All the best for your exams. I do not run classroom trainings on the same.

      Best,
      Dheeraj

  26. AvatarAkash says

    Thank You Dheeraj for your insights about the CFA exam. I still have a little doubt in my mind. Well I am an engineer from an ordinary college and henceworth i did my mba in finance from an average college.I am a mediocre in academics . I got placed from my mba college recently in a sales profile job. Now i am planning to do CFA for long term career advancement in finance field as i want to see myself as a fund manager in an Asset management company.I dont have much basics of finance.I know its kinda late but i am planning to start studying hard and give a full force attempt for CFA level 1 in june 2016.Please guide me that will my present job experience be counted to be deemed of CFA charter holder if i clear all the levels .I know its late but i aim to be a fund manager by the age of 29. I would really appreciate if you mail me with your advice.
    Regards
    Akash

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      hello Akash,

      Better late than never! Unfortunately, sales profile experience may not count here. There are two things that you should be aware of – 1) It is important to clear all 3 levels of CFA examination. This should be your primary target. 2) Get a relevant job. Employers (while hiring) may not very finicky on the fact that you actually didn’t receive the “charter”. Given the situation, i would recommend that you clear the exams first and get a relevant job. Your CFA charter can wait for sometime!

      Thanks,
      Dheeraj

  27. AvatarVinit says

    Hey Dheeraj, Thanks a lot for providing such a profound insight into every nook and cranny of CFA exams so succinctly yet so convincingly. Kudos for that. Now, since I am from IIT league engg. background and look forward to pursue an MBA in the upcoming years, I was looking to at least crack the Level I before joining a b-school to get a detailed knowledge about the rudimentary financial aspects. Would this be the right choice to make ( Even at least a Level I passing certificate would make my resume more attractive and polishes besides being enlightening me about finance, won’ it ?? ). I would surely love to have your 20 cents here. Further, as you have mentioned above somewhere about different CFA forums, so a new participant as like me should at the least which “best” CFA forums which are detailed, insightful and extrinsically motivating. I would be very glad to have your “detailed” advice on my points. Looking forward to hear from you. Rgds.

  28. Avatarsamson says

    This was all I need..so informative…thanks for the time to put all this together….

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      thanks Samson.

  29. AvatarTselane Moloi says

    Thanks for the information. I’m studying Investments and my prescribed nook is “Managing Investment Portfolios” 3rd Ed. Can I use the Schezer video?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Thanks. Schweser videos are top class. You should refer to them for jump starting your preparation.

      Best,
      Dheeraj

  30. AvatarMariana says

    hi Dheeraj,
    I want to take the Jun 2015 level 1. How much better chance to passing if I buy the Kaplan study guide $655 program? I am a self study person. Yes, I will use weekends mostly as my week days are long working hours.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Marina, I guess with Kaplan study guide, you have a great chance of passing the exam. In addition, please see if you could get access to Kaplan Schweser CFA video tutorials as well. They will surely complement your learning.

  31. Avatarrohit says

    very useful information for me… thanks…

  32. AvatarKelvin says

    If I have 300 hrs, what would be your advice/strategies for studying Jun2015 CFA level 2?
    Thanks.

    • AvatarWall Street Mojo says

      Hi Kelvin, If you have 300 hours, my advice would be to go for Schweser Books and Video Tutorials First. Practice a couple of Mock Question Papers and focus on weaker areas. Since the Schweser Books and Videos may not take lot of time, you will have sufficient time to go through the weaker areas even from CFAI books. FYI, i studied from Schweser Books only and passed with more than 70% in almost all the sections. All the very best!

      • AvatarKelvin says

        Thank you, Dheeraj, for your helpful advice.

  33. AvatarSonal says

    thank you sir…very useful post

  34. AvatarAmit says

    Dear Dheeraj, Many thanks and congrats to you and your bro for CFA.
    This is awesome blog for all CFA aspirants with your personal experience which gives lots of strengths for planning and time management to crack CFA.

    I am also a great follower of your Corporate Bridge.

    Best Regards
    Amit

    • AvatarWall Street Mojo says

      Many Thanks Amit. Are you a CFA Candidate?

  35. AvatarShobana Prakash says

    hi, I want to give june attempt 2015 assist me the strategies to be used to crack the exam in first attempt

  36. AvatarNeeraj says

    Very exhaustive information on CFA and very use full guidance for finance aspirant . Thanks. I passed CFA because of same . Young Bro. Neeraj

  37. AvatarRohit says

    Hi Dheeraj, thank you for this informative post. I am planning to give CFA Level 1 in June 2015. Please guide me further.