Manage Your Time

Seems simple enough right? For levels #1 and #2, you will be facing only multiple choice questions. The exam is difficult enough so, you do not and should not make life more difficult for yourself. You do need to be as effective as possible with your time. Why? Every year, thousands of CFA candidates fail…not because they did not know or understand the material but simply because of poor time management. Think it’s simple? Think again. It’s one of the primary reasons why candidates fail the exam. I’m not saying that I have all of the answers but I do have a lot of tricks and ideas to help you make sure you do not run into issues. The one thing you need to avoid at all costs is being unable to finish your exam. It is critical and it’s something that you have total control over.

Always time yourself when doing practice exams: You need to know how you are doing time wise, improve if necessary, but also give yourself confidence and knowledge of how much time you can spend per question

Do not spend too much time on one question: Seems obvious but it’s true. This is critical especially at the start of the exam.. If you’re unable to answer within 3-4 minutes, take a not and get back to it later.

Speaking of the start: Get your momentum and confidence up. Personally, I usually did much better in specific sections of the exam. I would start off with those which calmed me down. I never started with the first questions as I knew Ethics could potentially take more time for me.

Be confident: I cannot stress this enough. This is one of the reasons why you do so many practice exams. When taking the exam, you should be fairly to very confident with about half of the questions. You should be able to roll through those and save time and energy for the others. If you end up always questioning your judgment, you will lose valuable time.

Do not bring a watch to the exam: It might be contrary to conventional wisdom but I think you should know by exam time how much time you are taking. Having a watch will simply distract you and make you lose time. Anyway, the exam instructors will indicate the time every half hour or so which is more than enough.

I would love to hear more thoughts on time management if you have any!


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