AuthorTopic: How to best prepare for L1 on my own without any tutorial help?
@2019-06-18 00:14:19

I have enrolled for the December 2019 L1 exam, which means that I have about 170 days in hand. I have an 8-10 hour day job and can devote about 4-5 hours daily for prep (double that on the weekends). I am an accountant by profession with only the most basic knowledge about finance and investments.

My questions are:

1. In what order should i tackle subjects? Are there any specific methods of preparation that I must bear in mind for each subject?

2. Will the Institute curriculum books and AnalystNotes study package be sufficient for a well-rounded preparation?

3. My interactive study planner on the CFA website gives me 11 days for review. Is that enough time? Realistically, how much time should I set aside for review? At what stage should I begin attempting the mock tests?

4. Lastly and most importantly, how do I ensure that my enthusiasm and self-motivation levels do not dip?

Any and all useful tips are most welcome. Hoping to glean from your experiences.
@2019-06-18 05:21:08
These are all just how I tackled level 1. Results pending so take them for what they are. I mainly used the CFAI material. ( I purchased some cheap videos for like $5 from fitch as well, used a bit and found they were nothing good)

1. The key is to save ethics for last or you will forget it. It is all memorization. Some will say do FRA first, I am sure that is a solid plan. I did Quant/Econ (skipped about half when I gave up on this topic)/FRA/Corp/Eq/FI/PM/Deriv/Alt/Eth

- There is a lot of overlap in the material for Corp/Equity/FI so I think its good to knock those out together

- Econ is a relatively small portion of the exam (10%) and is an entire book. I suck at econ and gave up about 1/3 of the way through. By taking mocks and practice exams I was able to get around 50% in this area by looking up what I needed. My time was better used elsewhere to make up for the lost points.

2. You can pass the exam with JUST the CFAI books. Plenty of people use JUST AnalystNotes or Schweser. what I hear you will miss some material in AnalystNotes/Schweser due to it being condensed but generally it seems to prepare people well.

3. The interactive study planner is stupid. You should have about a month before to prep where you are knocking out as many mocks as possible. I completed the curriculum in late April, spending the remainder of April and May doing CFAI online practice tests (which I HIGHLY recommend) and mock exams. Nothing will prepare you for the exam like EOC questions and mock exams.

4. You WILL have burnout at points. When that happens, take a day or two off and relax. Let your brain refresh for a bit and set up a revised schedule. I timed mine so I was not cramming before the exam and was doing only a light review on the days up to the exam. The last thing you want is to be exhausted and burnt out on exam day.

Also coming on here and other communities and seeing other people going through the same things as you is definitely confidence inspiring. Also going through and reading others questions and if possible responding definitely helped me, while trying to understand the answers of others if I didn't know it was of great value as well. There are plenty of people willing to offer advice so feel free to ask.
@2019-06-19 05:41:50
1. Doesn't matter. Whatever you finds fits you best. I started w/ Fixed Income for no reason and then went back to the order they're presented in. There is no best order but the order their presented isn't a bad idea.

2. Yep, lots of people use only the curriculum, others use AnalystNotes or Schweser. You certainly shouldn't need anymore than that for L1.

3. I always started mocks a month in advance or so. 11 days is a pretty short review window so I'd scrap that if I were you. Also, forget anyone else's planner and make your own. Survey the material and you should be able to gauge how to tackle it, how many times, and when to start reviewing. Everyone's different.

4. Don't study too much, you'll get burnt out. 4-5 hrs on weekdays and doubling that on weekend days is overkill. You don't need to study nearly that much unless maybe you know nothing about finance.
@2019-07-02 08:29:04
If you're on a budget, the CFAI material is adequate although I highly recommend the AnalystNotes review questions and mock exams. I think there are 5-6 thousand questions. I did all the questions 2-3 times by the time I sat down for the exam and was positive I passed when I walked out of the exam. If you can't invest in the AnalystNotes Pro package for $99 (either because you don't have the time or money), plan on doing the EOC at least 2-3 times each + all of the blue boxes in the CFAI books.

I read Schweser's study notes too but I found it confusing at times so I ended up reading a lot of the CFAI books as well, which hadn't been my plan.

If you're like most of us, likely you'll forget much of what you've read during these next couple of months by the time November rolls around. For this reason, I highly recommend that you plan on spending at least 3 weeks revising - otherwise, you'll be in panic mode. CFAI will post a mock exam on the web that you can use for practice. You might also consider buying 3 of the AnalystNotes' mock exams for $69 which includes all review questions. A lot of candidates use these mocks and there will be quite a few questions regarding them posted on the forum closer to the exam.

As for which subjects to cover in which order, I think it's helpful to start w/ Quant, then any combination of the following: Econ/FI/Derivatives, FRA/Equity/Corp Fin/Alternative, Portfolio Management, Ethics.

Ethics gets a bad rap, by the way. It's helpful to read it closer to the exam date, but it's even more helpful to read through it twice - a little bit at a time each day/week when you have a few minutes to spare, and then straight through the week or two before the exam.

Good luck

CFA Discussion Topic: How to best prepare for L1 on my own without any tutorial help?

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I am using your study notes and I know of at least 5 other friends of mine who used it and passed the exam last Dec. Keep up your great work!