With just a few weeks standing between now and June, many financial services professionals are entering the final stretch in their preparation for the CFA exam.
Whether you’re studying for level I or level III, it’s common to feel some degree of anxiety during this critical time. After all, the CFA—which is often considered a gold standard in the industry—has a reputation for being one of the hardest certifications to attain with a pass rate of less than 50%.
With Fintech becoming a major component of the exam this year, you might even be feeling the added pressure of getting up to speed on new content and questions that can be asked. While there’s a lot of studying to be done, becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst can help set you up for long-term career success as it’s a testament to your hard work and mastery of your skills.
But before you can reap the benefits of becoming a CFA, you first have to pass the exams—one of which will be here before you know it! Although you may have already committed nearly 300 hours to studying, these final weeks are not the time to lose focus (or burn out). As you prepare for the CFA exam this June, consider these final study tip:
Make flash cards and carry them with you
Not only does it help to take notes as you go along, but jotting down key points on flash cards and reviewing them on your commute to work or during your lunch break can help you retain vital information throughout the final month of prep. Many financial services professionals juggle an already full schedule with their CFA exam prep, so having access to notes without lugging around stacks of information can be helpful.
Stick with your schedule
The best way to ensure you stay on track for your final weeks of review is to map out which sections you’ll be studying during which weeks, and how many hours you plan on dedicating to them. If you stray away from this schedule, the material will start to feel a lot more overwhelming—something that can prevent you from understanding the big picture as well as the finer points.
Take practice exams and review
Make sure you schedule routine review days and practice tests as checkpoints to make sure you understand all the material. A great way to do this is to have your notes readily available when you are unclear on any question. This will help you identify areas for improvement and retain vital information along the way. However, don’t focus on your scores when doing this. These tests are meant to boost your self-confidence, so worrying about your score can be counterproductive to your overall progress.
Resist the temptation to increase your study hours as the CFA exam approaches. While you may be feeling frustrated or stressed, not taking the time to rest and recharge can make matters even worse. The last thing you want to be when taking the exam is burnt out, so make the effort to take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating well, and taking well-deserved breaks.
Take time off work
Whether your company offers you the days or you’d need to take personal time, consider taking the 3-5 days leading up to the CFA exam off. Balancing work responsibilities with a full study schedule can be difficult, so taking time off will allow you to focus on studying without any distractions.