I wrote about this in past posts but I consider that passing or failing the exam is all about that one week. If not all, then most of it. The way I prepare for my exam is setting everything up for that one week where it will either turn out well or turn into a disaster. We all have our own methods of studying but I consider that the one thing I did which helped me pass the 3 levels was being beyond optimal in that one week.
One Week Off
For some of you, taking a week off is obvious because it is offered by your work or your boss and it’s a no-brainer. I did not have that luck but decided to take 1 full week of my annual vacation in order to optimize my chances of passing. Believe me, these are not the most enjoyable vacations but passing the exam becomes your main focus when you sign up, so you gotta do what you gotta do.
When To Take It?
I’m always surprised to hear about all the candidates that take the week before the exam off from work. I guess we are all different but I have a very very very strong preference in taking the prior week off. Why?
-You get 9 straight days instead of 7 (you have that additional weekend)
-You are able to be much more efficient when the exam is a bit further away because it’s easier to not “worry about it”
-You want to have a much more relaxed week just before the exam
What the crunch week is in my opinion…!
Here is what I would do day after day on a typical day of that 9 day week. It’s a bit crazy and will turn you nearly insane by the end of the week but it’s the best way that I’ve found to maximize my chances of passing:
7-7:30: Wake up and have a good breakfast
8:00: Practice exam (a morning or afternoon exam)
11:00: Small break
11:30: Correct exam – Get scores by section, understand as many of the missed questions in a limited period of time
13:30: Walk outside to get some air while also learning some concepts/formulas by heart
14:30: Focus on one of the sections that continues to get lower scores and where you can expect to get better (basically I would do 30-40 minutes of questions, go back to the books and notes, and restart again)
18:00: Break for dinner
19:00: Get right back into it, focus on another of sections, usually one of the 2-3 critical ones… do the same routine
0:00: Night time
I would keep this pace for 9 straight days and then at the end be:
-Tired of the CFA material
-Gone from no confidence to fairly confident
-Ready to relax more in the last week, get some rest, sleep and focus on the last minute stuff at much more relaxed pace
Is this what your CFA crunch week looks like?