PASSING THE CFA LEVEL 1 EXAM – STRATEGIES FROM SANJAY SARAF
Firstly, it is very important to understand that the CFA exam is entirely different from other examinations such as CA. It is basically an application-oriented examination. It is more important to understand the topic rather than knowing it by heart.
One of the most common questions that frequently pops up is ‘How do I plan my day when preparing for CFA?
A proper plan is already half the battle won. However, it is not that difficult as people presume. There is no denying the fact that planning plays a very important part when it comes to preparing for an application based exam such as CFA.
Let’s discuss how to make the most of your day?
o Mock Strategy: It is advised to divide the days like 4-4-2. Prepare for the first 3 days and then attempt a mock test on the fourth. The latter half of the fourth day can be utilized in analyzing the results. After knowing your shortcomings, you can now utilize the next 3 days in refocusing on all those areas which need further practice. After that, you can again appear for another mock test on the 8th day. Repeat the process.
o The Golden Rule: You can even follow the 4-4-2 rule when preparing for chapters. For instance, you can use the 4 days for preparing short chapters such as ethics and derivatives. On the other hand, you can denote an entire day focusing on bigger chapters such as FRA and QM which are very lengthy. In this way, you can make the most of the time available.
o The Big Stage: When the big day comes, execution is more important than anything else. As a student, you need to understand your weakness and strength. Read the question carefully and start the exam with questions from chapters you are most comfortable with. Starting with a bang improves self-confidence and it is very crucial to start on a strong note.
For instance, ethics is bit subjective and is quite judgmental in nature. No matter how well you are prepared, everything depends on your judgmental skills and so it is advised to avoid ethics at the beginning. It consumes vital seconds and so it is better to do it at last.
A CA student can start with corporate finance or FRA, whereas, engineering students can turn to derivatives, to begin with. On the other hand, people coming from Economics background can start with Economics itself.
When you Get the PAPER
After getting the question paper don’t worry about time right from the word go. If you know an answer although it has too many calculations and requires time, do give it the time. It’s completely worth it. A common mistake that people tend to do is to spend vital seconds on solving questions which they are not sure of. In this way, you are reducing the time for questions which you are well acquainted with. In a nutshell, spend extra minutes on things you know rather than playing the guessing game for too long on questions which you are completely unaware of. Do not invest time in wild guesses. Remember guessing is a mental exercise. It is completely reflexive in nature and dedicating more time on it has no influence on the outcome. A small tip, studies shows that the first guess is right in most of the cases.