It’s one of the most common questions that we get and what is unique about it is that we get the question as early as 5-6 months before the exam but also as late as a few days before it as well. There is obviously no perfect answer to this but I will give you my honest opinion about it. I’ve said over and over again how critical the last month and especially those last 2 weeks before the exam were.
You Do Not Need THAT Much Time
I’m a firm believer that one day in the last month is probably as useful in your preparation as 3 or 4 weekends in the earlier months. Why? There are many reasons but I think the most important one is that when the pressure is on, most of us study in a much more organized, much more dedicated method. As well, anything that you learn in the last few weeks is likely to be remembered until the exam as long as you understand it well.
How much time is required? 2 weeks full time..!!
I know it might sound extreme and it probably is. To be honest, not surprisingly, I never did actually try to start studying two weeks before the exam. Not that I don’t like challenges but I preferred using a more conservative approach. On average, the CFA institute says that candidates study between 200 and 300 hours for the exam. If you consider the fact that your hours are much more effective towards the end, I’m convinced that studying 12-14 hours per day for 14 days is enough to pass. It will not be easy by any means but I don’t think you will need a miracle to do it either. I’ve heard about some who’ve done it (never intentionally) with success. I think there are many keys to passing the CFA in 2 weeks… here would be mine:
–Don’t read the books – They are not worth it… you have too little time
–Do one practice exam every day – Correct it very carefully and try to understand all recurring questions
–Spend the rest of your day on three things – Question banks, learning formulas by heart and studying resumes to understand material that you have trouble with
–Be organized – You do not have the luxury of being non-effective.
–Do not panic – It’s not going to help, quite the contrary
–Do not try to learn everything – It will not work. Try to learn everything that is recurring in question banks and practice exams.
So as you can imagine, passing the CFA in 1 month or more is very possible following similar methods. The one key thing is that the less time you have, the more full time days you will need towards the end with 2 weeks being the optimal point in my opinion. If ever you plan on studying for the CFA or have to go through this, I’d love to hear from you!