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5 DEADLY MISTAKES you want to AVOID If you are studying for the CFA exams

Updated: Nov 2, 2022

How to effectively prepare for the CFA exams while increasing your chances of succeeding

You are signed up to write the CFA exams, and ready to start on this journey. However, you don't know how to start, how soon to start, and where to study from.

The CFA program is mostly DIY work; you are your own professor and student.

In this article today, I will share five mistakes you want to avoid when you are writing any of the CFA exams.

Tip #1 - Don't PROCRASTINATE and start NOW

The golden rule is always to START EARLY. It doesn't matter when you are taking the exams, you always want to give yourself at least 6-8 months of preparation.

With competition intensifying among candidates, if you want to beat the benchmark, you want to give yourself enough time for preparation, especially if you are a full-time worker or have any other obligations.

By giving yourself enough time, you can give yourself a buffer in case of a downfall ( you are tired or something unexpected happens).


The deadliest mistake you can commit is skipping a reading. It is true that each level has tons of readings and materials to remember, but it is highly recommended that you cover everything inside out. In situations where you can't complete a reading, try to go over summaries at the end of the readings and practice from different sources as much as possible.

Tip #3 - Don't leave ETHICS last

No one likes ethics, but it is a reading that is always there at every level.

It is a topic that is very grey at heart, but it is something you will see throughout your career especially if you work in the financial services industry. My recommendation for ethics is: do not leave it to last, but rather practice it throughout your study period to keep the materials fresh and learn from the mistakes. The more you practice the better you will be at it.

Tip #4 - Don't underestimate the TIME you need to complete a MOCK

Writing the CFA exams is a time-sensitive matter. Doesn't matter how many months you study, but if you can't master your time management skill during the exam, chances are you are most likely going to fail. When you practice a mock, try to take the mock as an actual simulation of the real exam and time yourself. In this way, you will learn what your strengths and weaknesses are and what you best need to do to ensure you are answering all the questions in the allocated time.


Last, but not least practice is one of the keys to succeeding in exams. The more you practice, the more you will be perfect at what you do. You will be prompt and quick at answering the questions. As a tip, make sure to diversify your practice materials from different sources. Do practice from the CFA materials, the ecosystem as well materials from approved third-party providers.

The journey is long, but it is nice to see the award at your destination.



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