A few years ago, signing up for the CFA exam was a fairly process and in many ways it still is. What has become a lot more complex is the preparation for the exam. While there used to be only one or two options, these days there are dozens of different things that you can try, with dozens of companies. You can study by using the official CFA institute books, the summaries provided by companies such as Schweser, use qbanks, mock exams prepared by a dozen companies or so, etc. You can also download mobile apps, sign up for courses and even joint CFA/MBA programs. You can do all of this alone, a studying partner or with a group of friends, of strangers, through the internet, etc. It can become very confusing.
The major problem I see is that all of these options can become very confusing for all candidates. Where the path used to be very simple, it has now become much more complicated. The consequence of course is that candidates these days can often spend tens of hours reading, researching, and discussing different studying plans. Those tens of course would no doubt help out a great deal if they were used to study more. More time is also lost in the months prior to the exam when candidates try to re-evaluate what they’re using, etc.
I Implore You
I think it’s critical to avoid spending too much time changing study programs, planning your studying time, etc. To be critical of your preparation can be very positive but too much is as bad as not enough.
What I Recommend
Plan your studying, select a few specific studying tools and stick to them unless things are going incredibly wrong. In terms of planning, I would start off with an extensive plan as I’ve written about in the past and re-evaluate on a regular basis, monthly to start and then perhaps every couple of weeks in the past 6 weeks before the exam. This should not take very long and ideally is done on the same day every time. Why? Because if it’s unclear when you should do this, you could very well end up drifting thoughts every time you open a book, asking yourself if you’re doing it the right way, what else you could do, etc. That would end up hurting your chances badly. Make a plan and then use all of your time working on it, not rethinking it.