It’s not easy to get into revisions after a day or a week of work. FinQuiz will provide you some tips of CFA specialists and professionals who have or are in the process of preparing it.
The CFA: a cross-country race
You do not have to be a genius to succeed at the CFA. “It is an examination that prioritizes above all rigor and perseverance,” says Eric Normand, director of Barchen, a group that offers preparations for the exam.
Beginning your preparation well in advance is recommended. “On average, it takes 300 hours of personal work to prepare each CFA level” said Philippe Maupas, president of CFA Society. You have to start your revisions at least six months before the exam, and nine months before, it’s even better! He added.
In the face of official discourse, the young professionals we met were more nuanced: “for level I, I started to review between three and four months before the exam” remembered Guillaume, who works in an audit company in Frankfurt. “For level II, considered more difficult, I rather took four or five months in advance” he said.
Louis, a London-based CFA-certified finance professional and Jean-Charles, who works in Paris and is also certified, both claim to have started revisions about six months before the exams.
Devoting your weekends to revisions
“The advantage when you start to prepare the CFA as a student is that it is much easier to review. In addition, 30 to 40% of the level I program corresponds to what you learn in business school. Once in the working life it is much harder to get into it after a day of work” notes Jean-Charles.
As a result, when one embarks on the CFA, one must be ready to sacrifice one’s weekends. “When I was doing level II, I was working in strategy consulting and I did not have the time to review more than 4 hours during the week, especially in transportation,” recalls Louis. His revisions concentrated on the weekend: “The first few months, I spent 3 to 4 hours a day at the CFA on Saturday and Sunday. Then, approaching the exam, I went to 7-8 hours a day.
Get help to keep up
The program is particularly dense. “For each level, we get six books of 500 to 1000 pages each to learn,” summarizes Guillaume, who has just obtained his level II and is preparing to pass the III. To revise, he prefers manuals of the type “annals”, with cards, summaries and exercises … more digestible than the huge cobblestones of the CFA.
In Frankfurt, he chose to prepare alone, but he still enjoys the support of his company: “I am offered two weeks of extra time to revise thoroughly just before the exam and my company gives me a loan to pay school fees, “he says.
Many companies make a gesture in favor of their employees who prepare the CFA. “My box gives us an extra week off to review before the exam. She also offers us preparation classes, explains Jean-Charles, who works in Paris. I did it to prepare level III and it allowed me to impose a regular work rhythm, “adds Jean-Charles.
Evening classes (or weekends) are indeed an opportunity to prepare the CFA. “The courses help candidates to establish a review routine, which is not easy to put in place when you are a professional, says Eric Norman, director of Barchen, a training organization. The group dynamic that is set up is also important, because it helps to motivate candidates in the event of a stroke – and there is inevitably in 6 months of preparation.