How to prepare and Pass CFA Level 1 in First Attempt?

Are you aspiring to become a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)? Passing the CFA Level 1 exam is a big deal on your journey to becoming a CFA charterholder. But since only about 42% of people pass, it’s super important to prepare really well and use smart study methods to boost your chances This
guide will provide you with valuable insights and tips to help you prepare for and ace the CFA Level 1 exam on your first attempt, setting you on the path to realizing your professional aspirations in the finance industry.

Begin preparing for the CFA Level I Exam early

It’s advisable to start your journey toward preparing for the CFA Level 1 exam well in advance, typically around six to nine months before your scheduled exam date. This early start provides you with ample time to cover the extensive syllabus thoroughly, without feeling overwhelmed by last-minute cramming. By dedicating sufficient time to each topic, you can delve into the material methodically, ensuring a strong grasp of key concepts. This approach not only enhances your understanding but also helps in retaining the information effectively for the exam.

Decide how much time you'll need to study

Before you make your study plan, it’s important to figure out how much time you can dedicate to studying each week. Consider your schedule and commitments to decide the best study duration that fits your lifestyle and other responsibilities. Setting realistic study goals and allocating sufficient time for reading, practice, and review sessions can greatly enhance your preparation for the CFA Level 1 exam.

Check out CFA Institute's Learning Outcome Statements

Take a look at the Learning Outcome Statements (LOS) from the CFA Institute. These statements are like a map to help you succeed in the exam. They tell you exactly what knowledge and skills you need to show during the exam. Knowing the LOS well helps you concentrate your study on the most important areas, making sure you’re aligned with what the exam covers and what it aims to test.

Understand Exam Topics and Weightage

It’s really important to fully understand the topics covered in the exam and how much each one counts toward your score. The CFA Level 1 exam has ten main topics, and each one is worth a different percentage of your total score. Here’s a breakdown of those topics and how much they count toward your score.

Topic Weight Range
Ethical and Professional Standards 15-20%
Quantitative Methods 6-9%
Economics 6-9%
Financial Statement Analysis 11-14%
Corporate Finance 6-9%
Equity Investments 11-14%
Fixed Income 11-14%
Derivatives 5-8%
Alternative Investments  7-10%
Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning  8-12%

Understanding the weightage distribution empowers you to allocate your study time strategically, focusing on areas with higher significance while ensuring adequate coverage of all topics.

Watch the video of an expert for valuable insights on preparing for the CFA Level 1 exam

Take practice quizzes to test your knowledge

Doing practice quizzes as part of your study routine is really helpful. It helps you see how well you understand and remember the main ideas. These quizzes also show you where you might need more practice. Try to do practice quizzes often to see how you’re doing and adjust your study plan if needed.

Stick to a Study Schedule:

It’s really important to have a plan for studying and stick to it. Make a schedule that includes time for reading, practicing, and reviewing. This way, you can make sure you cover everything you need to know for the exam. Try to follow your schedule consistently and stay focused on your goals, so you can steadily make progress toward passing the exam.

Use CFA Level 1 Concepts in Real Life:

Just memorizing stuff won’t be enough for the CFA Level 1 exam. Try to apply what you’ve learned to real-life situations in finance. This helps you understand how things work in practice. It’s not just about knowing facts; it’s about thinking critically and solving problems, which are really important for passing the exam.

Read about: Will the CFA exam be harder in 2024?

Essential CFA Level 1 Tips to Remember

Important Tips for CFA Level 1 Exam:

Apart from the main strategies mentioned earlier, here are some key tips to help you prepare for the exam:

1. Stay Consistent: Stick to a regular study routine to keep making progress.

2. Use Resources: Make good use of study materials from the CFA Institute and other trusted sources.

3. Manage Your Time: Plan your time wisely during the exam so you can finish all sections on time.

4. Focus on Ethics: Pay extra attention to studying for the Ethics section; it’s really important.

Conclusion: Create Your Path to CFA Certification

Passing the CFA Level 1 exam on your first try requires careful planning, hard work, and staying determined. Start preparing early, focus on what’s important for the exam, and stick to a study schedule. Practice regularly, relate what you learn to real-life situations, and use all the study materials you can find to help you prepare. With persistence and dedication, you can succeed in the exam and begin your journey towards a successful career in finance.

1. Is the CFA Level 1 hard?

Yes, the CFA Level 1 exam is considered tough because it covers a lot of finance topics. It’s the first step in a series of exams that are known for being hard. Many people say it’s as difficult as a diploma-level exam.

2. How long does it take to get CFA Level 1?

Completing the entire CFA program typically takes about 2 years. Each level needs 6-9 months of prep, and you’ll need 4000 hours of work experience to become a CFA charterholder. Passing CFA Level 1 could lead to job opportunities because companies worldwide value this qualification.

3. What happens if I fail the CFA Level 1 exam?

If you fail the CFA Level 1 exam, you can retake it in the next exam session, with a 6-month waiting period. You can make multiple attempts. It’s crucial to learn from mistakes, adjust your study approach, and try again. Failing Level 1 doesn’t stop you from moving on to the next levels if you continue studying.

4. How should I register for the CFA Level 1 exam?

To register for the CFA Level 1 exam, you need to enroll in the CFA Program through the CFA Institute’s website. Once enrolled, you can then register for a specific exam date and location.

5. How soon after passing the CFA Level 1 exam can I take Level 2?

You can register for the Level 2 exam as soon as you receive your Level 1 exam results, regardless of whether you passed or failed. However, it’s recommended to thoroughly prepare for Level 2 before attempting it.

6. Can I postpone my CFA exam after I’ve registered?

Yes, you can postpone your CFA exam after registering, but it’s generally only allowed in specific circumstances, mainly for medical reasons. If you decide to postpone, you must do so within three days of registering to avoid additional fees and the need to re-register. Be aware of the CFA exam postponement rules, especially if you expect to be unable to take the exam on the scheduled date.