Your CFA Exam Prep Guide

Your CFA Exam Prep Guide

Blog Summary

  • Introduction to the CFA exam
  • Why the Exam is Important
  • CFA Exam Format and Content 
  • Creating a 30-Day Preparation Strategy 
  • Daily Study Schedule 
  • Most trusted sources to take CFA mock exams
  • Top 10 skills required to pass the CFA exam
  • Common Mistakes to Avoid 
  • 10 tips for taking the CFA exam
  • How to analyze your CFA mock exam score
  • Time Management Strategies
  • Recommended Resources for Preparation
  • Last minute study for CFA exam
  • Sample Questions for CFA Success
  • What are the benefits of becoming a CFA Chartholder?
  • Some of the frequently asked questions
  • Takeaway

Introduction to the CFA exam

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam is a crucial step in becoming a CFA charterholder. It is a comprehensive assessment of your knowledge and understanding of investment tools, ethics, and professional standards. As part of the preparation process, candidates are encouraged to take mock exams to simulate the real testing environment and identify areas of weakness. However, many candidates make common mistakes that hinder their performance on the CFA Level 1 exam. 

cfa exam

Why the CFA Level 1 Mock Exam is Important

The CFA Level 1 Mock Exam is important for several reasons.

1.   Firstly, it allows you to familiarize yourself with the structure and format of the actual exam. This includes a number of questions, time constraints, and exam sections.

2.   Secondly, the mock exam helps you assess the CFA Level 1 curriculum. It gives you an opportunity to identify your strengths and weaknesses in different topics.

3.  Lastly, the mock exam provides an opportunity to practice time management and improve your speed in answering questions. The CFA Level 1 exam is known for its time constraints, and practicing with timed mock exams helps you develop a strategy.

Understanding the Format and Content of the CFA Exam

The mock exam closely resembles the actual exam in terms of structure and difficulty level.

  • It consists of multiple-choice questions covering all the topics in the CFA Level 1 curriculum.
  • The exam is divided into two sessions, each lasting three hours.
  • The morning session focuses on ethical and professional standards, as well as quantitative methods, economics, and financial reporting and analysis.
  • The afternoon session covers corporate finance, equity investments, fixed income, derivatives, alternative investments, and portfolio management.

It is important to note that the CFA Level 1 Mock Exam is a timed exam, just like the actual exam. You will have a specific amount of time to complete each session, and no extra time will be given. 

Creating a 30-Day Preparation Strategy for the CFA Exam

To effectively prepare for the CFA Level 1 Mock Exam in 30 days, it is essential to create a well-structured study plan. Here is a suggested 30-day preparation strategy:

  • Day 1-5: Review the CFA Level 1 curriculum

Dedicate the first five days to reviewing the entire CFA Level 1 curriculum. Focus on understanding the key concepts, formulas, and calculations in each topic area. Take notes and create summaries to consolidate your understanding.

  • Day 6-15: Practice with topic-specific questions

During this period, focus on practicing with topic-specific questions. Use the CFA Institute’s question bank or other reputable study materials to test your knowledge in each topic area. Aim to complete at least 50 questions per day to reinforce your understanding and identify areas that require further attention.

  • Day 16-20: Take a full-length mock exam

Around halfway through your preparation, take a full-length mock exam to simulate the actual exam experience. Allocate a specific time for each session and follow the format strictly. After completing the mock exam, thoroughly analyze your performance and identify areas for improvement.

  • Day 21-27: Review weak areas and practice with mock exam questions

Based on your mock exam analysis, spend the next week revisiting your weak areas. Review the relevant study materials, take additional topic-specific quizzes, and practice with mock exam questions. Focus on understanding the underlying concepts and reinforcing your understanding through practice.

  • Day 28-30: Finalize your preparation and take another mock exam

In the final days leading up to the exam, finalize your preparation by revising the entire curriculum once again. Take another full-length mock exam to assess your progress and identify any remaining weak areas. Use the results to fine-tune your study plan and focus on areas that require additional attention.

Daily Study Schedule for the 30-Day Preparation Strategy

To effectively implement the 30-day preparation strategy, it is crucial to create a daily study schedule. Here is a suggested daily study schedule for the 30-day preparation period:

·     Morning (2 hours): Review and summarize a specific topic area from the curriculum.

·     Afternoon (2 hours): Practice with topic-specific questions and review the answers.

·     Evening (2 hours): Review weak areas identified from the mock exam or previous practice sessions.

Most trusted sources to study for CFA mock exams

  1. CFA Institute (official)
  2. Kaplan Schweser
  3. Wiley Efficient Learning
  4. CFA Prometric
  5. Mark Meldrum
  6. FinQuiz
  7. 300Hours
  8. Salt Solutions
  9. MyGuru
  10. CFA Exam Prep Club

Top 10 skills required to pass the CFA exam

  1. Strong Foundation in Finance: A solid understanding of finance principles, accounting, economics, and quantitative methods is crucial for comprehending the CFA exam curriculum.

  2. Analytical Thinking: The ability to analyze and interpret complex financial data, evaluate investment options, and solve quantitative problems is essential for success in the CFA exam.

  3. Critical Reading and Comprehension: The CFA exam curriculum consists of extensive reading materials. Candidates should be proficient in reading and comprehending complex financial texts to understand and apply the concepts effectively.

  4. Problem-Solving Skills: The CFA exam includes scenario-based questions that require candidates to apply their knowledge to solve practical problems.

  5. Attention to Detail: The CFA exam assesses candidates’ ability to analyze and interpret detailed financial information accurately. Paying close attention to details helps avoid errors and ensures precision in calculations and analysis.

  6. Strong Ethical Awareness: The CFA Institute places significant emphasis on ethical conduct and professional standards. Candidates should have a thorough understanding of the CFA Institute’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

  7. Effective Communication: Clear and concise communication skills are essential for writing essay responses and presenting arguments effectively in the CFA exam. Candidates should be able to convey their thoughts and ideas clearly and coherently.

  8. Real-world Experience: While not a requirement, practical experience in finance or investment-related roles can provide valuable context and enhance a candidate’s understanding of the exam material. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid During the CFA Level 1 Mock Exam

  • Mistake 1: Neglecting to review answers after completing the mock exam

Completing the mock exam is only the first step. Many candidates make the mistake of neglecting to review their answers afterward. Reviewing your answers is essential for identifying areas of weakness and understanding the rationale behind each correct answer. 

  • Mistake 2: Relying too heavily on the mock exam as a study tool

While the mock exam is an invaluable study resource, relying solely on it can be detrimental to your preparation. Some candidates make the mistake of using the mock exam as their primary study tool, neglecting other essential resources such as textbooks, study guides, and practice questions. Combine the mock exam with active reading, note-taking, and concept review to strengthen your knowledge and improve your performance.

  • Mistake 3: Overcomplicating questions on the mock exam

The CFA Level 1 exam questions are designed to test your understanding of fundamental concepts, and they often have straightforward solutions. Do not spend excessive time trying to find complex solutions or overanalyze. You need to focus on the key concepts being tested and apply a systematic approach to problem-solving. 

Tips for taking the CFA level 1 mock exam

  1. Familiarize yourself with the exam format and structure
  2. Use official study materials
  3. Create a study schedule and allocate specific time for mock exams 
  4. Take the mock exams under timed conditions
  5. Review the exam answers and explanations thoroughly
  6. Identify your weak areas
  7. Practice time management skills
  8. Seek feedback from peers or mentors 

How to analyze your CFA level 1 mock exam scores

1. Start by reviewing the breakdown of your scores in each section of the mock exam. Identify which areas you performed well in and which areas need improvement.

2. Look at your overall score and compare it to the passing score. This will give you an idea of how close you are to passing the actual CFA Level 1 exam.

3. Evaluate your timing and pacing during the mock exam. Did you finish all the questions within the allotted time? Did you spend too much time on certain questions or sections?

4.  Pay attention to the types of questions you got wrong. Are there any specific concepts or topics that you consistently struggled with?

5.   Take note of any patterns or trends in your performance across multiple mock exams. Are you consistently improving or are you plateauing?

6.  Use the feedback provided by the mock exam provider, if available. Many mock exams offer detailed explanations for each question, highlighting the key concepts and providing tips for improvement.

7.  Create a study plan based on your analysis of the mock exam scores. Focus on the areas where you struggled the most and allocate more time for those topics in your study schedule.

Time Management Strategies 

1.      Read the instructions carefully: Before diving into the questions, thoroughly read the instructions to ensure you understand the requirements

2.     Allocate time wisely: Divide your time based on the number of questions and their difficulty level. Prioritize the questions that carry more weightage.

3.      Skip difficult questions: If you encounter a particularly challenging question, don’t get stuck. Mark it and move on. You can come back to it later if time permits.

4.       Pace yourself: Keep an eye on the time and ensure that you are progressing through the exam at a reasonable pace. Don’t spend too much time on any single question.

5.       Guess strategically: If you are running out of time, make educated guesses rather than leaving questions unanswered. Eliminate obviously incorrect options and make an educated guess from the remaining choices.

Recommended Resources for CFA Exam Preparation

To further enhance your CFA Exam preparation, consider utilizing the following resources:

1.    CFA Institute: The official website of the CFA Institute provides valuable information, study materials, and practice exams.

2.    CFA prep courses: Explore reputable CFA prep courses offered by various providers to supplement your self-study efforts.

3.   Online forums and study groups: Join online forums and study groups to connect with fellow candidates, share insights, and seek clarification on difficult topics.

4.    CFA Exam study apps: Utilize study apps that offer flashcards, quizzes, and practice questions to reinforce your knowledge on the go.

5.    Third-party providers: Additionally, there are various third-party providers that offer mock exams and study materials specifically tailored for the CFA exams. Some popular options include Kaplan Schweser, Wiley, and AnalystPrep

Last minute study for the CFA exam

  1. Explore reputable websites, online forums, and educational platforms that offer concise summaries, flashcards, and video tutorials on key CFA exam topics.
  2. Utilize online practice questions and quizzes to reinforce your understanding.
  3. Additionally, consider leveraging social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with other CFA candidates and gain insights and study tips from their experiences.

Sample Questions for CFA Success

1.       Conceptual Questions:

Example: What is the difference between systematic risk and unsystematic risk? Provide an example of each.

2.       Calculation-based Questions:

Example: Calculate the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) for a company given the following information: cost of debt = 5%, cost of equity = 12%, and the weight of debt in the capital structure is 40%.

3.      Application-based Questions:

Example: You are analyzing a company’s financial statements and notice a significant increase in accounts receivable turnover ratio compared to the industry average. What could be the possible reasons for this change, and how might it impact the company’s financial health?

4.      Interpretation of Data Questions:

Example: Analyze the provided income statement and balance sheet for Company X. Identify any trends or anomalies that you observe and explain their potential implications for the company’s financial performance.

What are the benefits of becoming a CFA Chartholder?

  1. Enhanced Career Opportunities: A CFA charterholder may have a competitive advantage when applying for roles such as portfolio manager, research analyst, or risk manager.

  2. Global Recognition: A CFA charterholder may find it easier to secure job opportunities in international financial centers like New York, London, or Hong Kong.

  3. Comprehensive Skill Set: A CFA charterholder may possess knowledge in economics, financial statement analysis, ethics, and portfolio management. They will have strong analytical and quantitative skills, enabling them to analyze complex financial data and make informed investment decisions.

  4. Ethical Standards: A CFA charterholder may be trusted by clients to act in their best interests, maintain confidentiality, and avoid conflicts of interest.

  5. Continuous Learning and Professional Development: A CFA charterholder may actively participate in professional development activities such as attending industry conferences or completing additional certifications to stay updated with the latest trends and best practices.

Some of the frequently asked questions

1. “Are you struggling to find the most commonly asked questions when it comes to preparing for the CFA exam?”

2. “Want to know the secrets to acing the CFA exam? Discover the frequently asked questions that can help you in your preparation!”

3. “Curious about what other candidates are asking about the CFA exam? We’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions just for you!”

4. “Are you wondering if you’re on the right track with your CFA exam preparation? Find out the answers to the most commonly asked questions to ensure you’re on the path to success!”

5. “Looking for expert insights on CFA exam preparation? Uncover the frequently asked questions that candidates often have and gain a competitive edge!”


Start incorporating cfa mock exam and sample questions into your CFA study plan today to enhance your chances of success. Practice diligently, analyze your results, and utilize the available resources to refine your knowledge and exam strategy. With dedication and the right tools, you can achieve CFA success.

Share This Post:

3 thoughts on “Your CFA Exam Prep Guide”

  1. […] questions are an excellent way to reinforce your understanding of the CFA exam material. Utilize online question banks, mock exams, and practice tests to test your knowledge and […]

  2. […] relevant certifications such as Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), or Certified Public Accountant (CPA). These certifications indicate that the consultant has […]

  3. […] CFA Level I focuses on building a strong foundation in finance and investment principles. It covers topics such as financial reporting and analysis, corporate finance, and quantitative methods. This level aims to assess candidates’ understanding of the basic concepts and tools used in the investment industry. […]

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.