AuthorTopic: What worked for me
@2014-06-16 03:54:37
I read a couple of posts here last year that I used to form my study method and it worked out really well. I wanted to pass on what I learned so maybe it will help someone else.

I don't have any finance background (engineering undergrad) so I went overboard in preparation. Here was my method:
1. I read and took some notes for all the textbook readings and worked most assigned problems.
2. I read the AnalystNotes notes and made myself flashcards on all the points I didn't know.
3. I worked about 4000 this site's questions including six mock exams.
4. I also signed up for Schweser Online program but did not use it that much. waste of money.

I only had three months to study so I wound up spending 10-15 hours a week studying. The results were good. I scored greater than 70% on all sections and finished the test in about 3.5 hours. After so many practice questions the test was easy.

What I would recommend:
Timeline: Start early if possible, but you can do well with only 2 months to study. Spend the last 2-3 weeks doing nothing but practice questions and sample tests. Spend the day before focusing on ethics. The ethics questions are tough.

Textbooks vs Notes: If you aren't a business background then you will probably want to read the textbooks like I did. Otherwise, I think this web site's notes would be enough, I was very impressed with its notes and I think they prepared me well for the exam.

Practice Questions: DO AS MANY AS YOU CAN!!! Like I said, I used both AnalystNotes and Schweser questions. I found the Schweser questions repititious, erroneous, and out of date. Having said that, after doing 4000 or so questions I got a whole lot of value out of AnalystNotes. I thought the AnalystNotes questions were higher quality and very accurate compared to the real exam. So, would I spend $350 again to get Schweser? definitely not. Would I get AnalystNotes again? Most definitely.

If you have six months to study I would read the textbooks and AnalystNotes. If you have less than three months I think the textbooks will take too much time. I squeezed in the textbooks but it was overkill in the end.

Good luck, you can do it!

@2014-07-06 11:34:12
hi : i am redoing exam level 1 in dec. what do you think i need to concentrate on in quantitative analysis and in financial statements i do not have a finance background.
@2014-07-26 10:43:42
I have a business/finance background. I started reading in fits and starts begining in August but put in the dedicated effort only in Oct and Nov. I allocated my time between topics based on the weightage they carried. Made sure I mastered the big sections end to end. For instance Accounting and Asset Valuation together carried 60% of the weight and then there was Ethics which was another 15%. I studies until my AnalystNotes rankings were 60 - 70% in those during practice. I have a good economics background so that helped. Quant was my weak spot and remained so through till the end, luckily that did not come to haunt me.

I agree with billy that one should start as early as possible and do as many questions as possible. I relied 100% on AnalystNotes (except for ethics), read the summaries first and tried to answer the basic questions. If i could answer more than 90% of the questions, honestly I moved on. IF not i delved into the study notes for the chapter. Towards the end i used the mock exams which were really good. I recommend those questions right before your exam date.

Overall, at least for Level 1, I came out with a impression that the exam was more of an endurance test than an intelligence test. You work towards it, you get it. If you think that simply based on your background you know it all and the exam is a piece of cake, you may be in for a nasty surprise.
@2014-08-07 14:23:25
I agree with you guys. AnalystNotes web site is really good, I did around 1000 tests plus 3 mocks, but I was using Schweser notes because I got then from a friend. All your advises seems fair.

Now, how are you guys going to prepare for level 2? I'm taking it next June. What do you suggest?
@2014-08-09 14:23:53
The 2 previous threads are the most encouraging news I have read since I received my results in January. Thinking about it now, I put in much less than I should have. I may also have taken things for granted given my business background. I now know what some people put themselves through to pass these exams. I have no choice but to push myself over the level 1 barrier in Dec again and tackle level 2 in 2015.
Thanks a lot for the advice. I will implement it to the letter.

@2014-10-12 01:00:57
In my case, I think I overstudied for the exam. How?
1. I read all of the texts and took notes on everything.
2. I did all of the basic and review questions from this site.
3. I read the printed AnalystNotes notes on my morning commute.
4. I did all the mock exams here but did not time myself on them.

I think my mistakes were that I overstudied so I was a physical and mental wreck by the exam date, although I still managed to pass it......

Finally, I want to express my sincere appreciations to the AnalystNotes team! I am looking forward to your level two materials.

@2014-11-24 08:22:38
I am asking the same question at sandym above..I have textbooks and am studying the Quant section right now but find that there's sooooo many formulas and it would be impossible to memorize them all for the test.. What do most people concentrate on in this section?
@2017-12-25 13:50:43
I will do my first attempt at Level 1 in december this year. My university degrees are in science, so my weak spots (very very weak spots) were financial statements / economics, and my strong points were quantitatives / fixed income.

I started out in march, where I bought a USB microphone and downloaded a music editing program called Audacity. I guess most laptops have a decent micropone built in, but with a good external microphone the sound quality is better.

I started with financial statement analysis, and after each reading, I recorded a 30-60 min monologue on the subject, and produced mp3 files out of that, which I distributed to my cell phone and ipod.

My knowledge of financial statements / economics was as good as nonexisting. However, the process of extracting the important information from a reading, trying to express meaningful statements involving new concepts, and recording it, was a very beneficial exercise.

Moreover, I can listen to the mp3 files and refresh readings that I did 4 months ago, while commuting, doing the laundry, driving to the supermarket, or the like.

Some prep vendors have audio files that you can buy, but in my opinion that would be a waste of money. It is much more beneficial to make them yourself, and you can tailor them to your own prerequisites and needs.

I am absolutely convinced that recording these mp3 files have helped me achieve a reasonable overview of the most important concepts, which is good to have when you dive into the more intricate and nitty-gritty details of the various subjects.

CFA Discussion Topic: What worked for me

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I am happy to say that I passed! Your study notes certainly helped prepare me for what was the most difficult exam I had ever taken.
Andrea Schildbach

Andrea Schildbach