What To Look For In A CFA Studying Partner

There are dozens of different ways to study for the CFA exam and it seems like we each have different needs so some ways will work better for each candidate. Many prefer “group” education and having 1 or several studying partners can make a major difference. However, depending on who you work with, having a partner can be the difference between helping you pass or turning your study period into a horrible nightmare. I think that working with one or many studying partners can be wonderful but you need a few things in order to make the relationship work:

Clear Expectations: How often will you meet? What will you be doing? How is the potential partner planning on studying? These are all very important things to consider before getting involved with a partner.

Location: While having a partner can be great, I can guarantee you that if you have to drive one hour to go meet with him or her, meeting every week will be a problem. One or both of you will feel like you are losing valuable studying time. I’m telling you, as the end gets near, every minute becomes valuable.

Dealing With Stress: Ideally, you know the person well enough to get a sense into how this person reacts to stress. Dealing with the exam is hard enough, there is no need to have someone getting in your head about the “what if” doom scenarios. Having a positive, calm partner will help you remain sane in that final stretch.

Studying Strategy: Personally, one moment where I used partners more was in the final stretch before the exam. Having a partner that took the same weeks off and had a similar mindset going into that final stretch was always great help.

Nice to Have: While not necessary, it’s always interesting to have a partner with different strengths and weaknesses in order to help yourselves .However, this is not necessary as brainstorming about common problems together can be just as good.

Only Deal With A Committed Partner: This is the most important one. It’s not worth even considering partnering up with someone who has not clearly decided to go all in. Studying with someone who is not pulling his or her weight will only slow you down and give you the impression that you are more of a tutor than a partner. That is not what you are looking for.

Start Gradually

As in any other type of relationship, it’s impossible to truly know if it’s right without trying. I suggest simply trying it out without making an “official partner commitment”. Go study a few times, together; try to see how useful it is for both of you. If it’s not a win-win, it’s probably not worth pursuing.

Have you ever studied for the CFA with a partner or a group? If so, how did it go?


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