So you have spent months in preparation for one day, one exam and you can now count down the days… what is left to do? There are many different philosophies and certainly some spend their last week at a frantic pace trying to study but as I mentioned when I discussed the “Crunch Time Week,” I’m a bigger believer in having the intense studying time one week ahead of that. There are many reasons and I’m sure we could debate this for a long time but the basic conclusion in my opinion is that the last week should not be about filling up your brain until the last second. Here is what I think you need to focus on in your last week:
Taking the CFA exam requires a lot of things and knowing your material is certainly the most important part of it. But being exhausted can have severe impacts on your memory, your focus and your overall performance in the exam. It is over an entire day and having a few good nights of sleep will certainly be of great benefit. And no, a 4 hour night of sleep is not good enough:)
Review a Few Questions
If specific parts of the exam still puzzle you, take the time to review them carefully such as reviewing 2-3 questions of Financial Statements or Asset Valuations that you feel are representative of what you will get tested on.
Things To Know By Heart
Since some of the material must be known by heart rather than understood, take some walks outside or relax while making sure that you know that material.
Take a break
At least one day should be completely CFA free! By now, you are probably more than tired of the material and can’t look at it anymore. Sure, you will be ok by exam time, but I still think that watching a movie, doing sports or any other activity that can take your mind off of the exam is a great idea.
No more practice exams
You already did many practice exams during your intense week. At this point, doing another one is probably not going to help that much more. What it could do however is break your confidence. After that week, you had good and average results (hopefully nothing too low) but you should generally end the crunch week with a good feeling. Don’t wreak it with one practice exam that could crush your confidence. It could help it obviously if you did well but I simply don’t think it’s worth the risk. Doing poorly in one exam a couple of days before the exam does not mean more than any other one as you know. But your mind might have trouble getting convinced about that.
I will discuss exam strategy in a later post but I think it’s important to start thinking about the exam and, what vision you have for the exam. How is the day going to be spent?
Gather your material
You should not wait until the morning of the exam to prepare your pencils, your eraser, calculator, etc. Get everything ready a day or two before the exam; it will be one less thing to worry about when you go to sleep on the previous night.