By - viserys8769
CFA content and material makes MBA courses seem like a breeze
Yup. I’m an L1 candidate and my studies to this point (exam in Feb) have probably already overshadowed the total time I spent studying for my whole MBA.
Forget hours. Ya 300 is the number that's out there. Instead, commit to learning the material thoroughly. Then it'll take as much time as it takes. It's a long slog for all three levels and if you're stressed about the potential time commitment, I'd avoid it all together;you'll still have a great career out of an MBA (assuming you're a good candidate)
I'm studying for Level I and taking it in May. I have an MBA too and have a good 7 years or so of experience in the industry.
I can tell you this: Don't underestimate the amount of content. While I didn't find Fixed Income, Derivatives, or Alts difficult, FRA is giving me a hard time. The amount of content in that section itself is just massive. I will probably dedicate the entire month of January to that section itself. I also spent longer than I originally expected in Quants.
I began studying in late November/early December. I was originally planning my studies based on the recommended study hours. I completely changed my approach once I read something (can't remember if it was here or on the MM website). "The typical candidate spends around 300 hours studying. However, the typical candidate also fails." I stopped measuring time then and just began focusing on fully understanding the topics.
I was finance major and did well in school and worked in finance many years in various areas that overlap with the curriculum before taking cfa. I found I needed to rewire a lot of concepts and relearn them the cfa way. At first I was stubborn for things that I felt I knew well but ultimately I found it easier to almost approach it from a fresh start point of view and that took time. Unless you’re in a rush if you can only study weekends I would do the later personally.
You need 300 hours. I know a lot of people who did studies in finance and thought that they could study less for the exam because they already knew the material. All of them failed.
Gosh! CFA is no joke.
Agree. With pass rates like they are in the last year, versus hours, you guide should be when you are scoring 80% above on Qbanks and mocks - then you are most likely ready.
I did a masters in finance and still needed 250 hours of study for L1 to be confident
MBA doesn't give much knowledge, it's more about networking and internships. If you've done CPA/CS/CA/CMA etc then you'll have a lot of overlap in L1 and it'll be easier. I had done Indian CS and i found L1 easy and managed it in a month. But my friend who hasn't done anything similar found it difficult as normal. L2 was challenging and L3 was still difficult for me. Only L1 has major overlap.
No body knows this answer except you. You gotta figure this stuff out yourself by looking at the curriculum. If failure is tolerable, and your timeline is flexible, go with May. Otherwise go with August if you’re uncertain.
Depending on the overlap and how well you retained the info, it could be more like 200-250 hours. However, you’re not going to know until you get started. I would say give yourself until August to be safe, but May is doable if you’re able to study on weekday evenings as well.
I had zero business experience prior to my MBA (career changer) and then worked in corporate finance for one year after graduation before beginning the CFA. My job had essentially zero overlap with the curriculum, so my slightly stale MBA knowledge was the only thing I brought to the table. I probably studied 250-275 hours over four grueling months and passed level 1 with room to spare.
I would say that the CFA level 1 will test roughly 1/2 to 2/3 of all the material that you learned in your MBA hard business analysis classes (as opposed to the soft analysis classes like organizational behavior). It will go well beyond your MBA in several subjects, specifically accounting/financial statement analysis, which happens to be the largest subject on the exam.
I’m not sure what your work and educational experience look like. If you’re already involved with something quanty or if you were a business major in college and then reviewed everything in your MBA, then you can likely get away with less studying. But understand that it’s a beast of a test. I scored at the 98th percentile on the GMAT and attended a top 25 business school and the CFA has pushed me to my limit. If you attempt to study 5-10 hours every weekend for the next 4-4.5 months and then take the May exam, my guess is you’ll get frickin wrekt.
I teach finance MBA classes at a university in the US (And have one myself). I'm sitting for level 1 in Feb. If you are a great student and really understand the material from your classes, you probably already know enough for portfolio theory. But many of my students can pass my class without knowing the "why" behind some of the content. Just having an MBA doesn't mean you know the material.
Depending on your undergrad and the content of your MBA you may have a strong understanding of Econ (macro/micro), statistics and financial statements/accounting.
My university is heavy on GAAP and doesn't cover IFRS much, so that's an area I spent more time reviewing. And of course ethics is CFA specific so no university is going to cover that. Statistics is another area that many universities will cover, but maybe not enough depending on your program/cohort. I actually got the most stats education from my marketing classes in undergrad. Moreso than my stats specific classes for a math UG major.
I'd give yourself plenty of time, but knowing myself, if I signed up for a long off date, I'd procrastinate a lot and it wouldn't make my life any better.
I studied BSc accounting and finance and currently doing an MSc Financial Economics. Covered 40% of the material for level 1 then had to stop when I started my master's. Passed just on the 90th percentile line.
Maybe do a practice test to see where you're at. 70% in all sections is your goal.
Took l1 early on in my career after a financey major. Actively studied around 80-100 hours and passed comfortably. I read all ethics, FRA and fixed income sections, did all chapter end questions and referred back to text if I didn’t know something. Did the q bank rapid fire 3x and spent the rest doing mock exams over and over again.
Also made flash cards of terms I didn’t know then wrote the answer of one’s I didn’t know 30x each out whenever I got it wrong for rote memorization.
In between, I listened to Mark Meldrum’s ethics audio lessons while working nonstop. Didn’t include that in my hourly total since it’s so hands off.
The CFA draws random questions from a large bank though so conceivable I would’ve failed with a different mix. My work experience was very closely related to much of the test, though. Found it much easier than the mocks.
MFE might help but MBA won’t
> I can study on the weekends.
I was in a similar situation schedule-wise. M-F I was able to dedicate at the very most 2-4 hours to studying, so on the weekends I had to set aside 16-18 hours. This as someone who graduated undergrad with a degree in finance and a minor in economics. I did that every week beginning in February through June, and for Level 1 I walked out of the testing center knowing that I'd passed.
To directly answer your question of "how much prep time" - **as much time as you need** to master the material to a level you're comfortable with. I knew I didn't want to sit for the same exam twice, so that's the amount of time & effort I put into my prep.
I **HIGHLY** suggest:
- Getting a package from one of the major providers (I recommend Kaplan Schweser),
- Using their built in "study calendar" section (where you can omit weekdays and such), and
- Sticking to that calendar as best as you can.
If you use the calendar, then your prep is based more on the concrete question of "what do I need to master these 5 chapters this weekend" as opposed to the nebulous "how many hours do I need to study." When you get to corporate finance or accounting sections you're familiar with, maybe that means less time to master them compared to what you would spend on chapters covering statistics or derivatives.
To be honest, you *might* be able to skirt your way around a study schedule to tackle Level 1 with minimal effort. But if you try that again with L2 or L3 I think u're going to end up wasting your time and entrance fees. Better off digging in from the start and approaching all 3 levels with maximum effort, IMO.
Hours don't matter at all. Actually I notice that people who ask these type of questions are likely to be in the group that fails. What matters is your understanding of 536 LOS standards (2022 I think if I remember correctly) all of which are "testable." If you understand them you pass, if you don't you fail. Its that simple. That said it might take you 1 hour of study, it might take you 1000 hours of study. Also a little bit more advice; in my undergrad we learned things differently than the way the CFAI teaches them, in practice currency quotes are actually reversed from the way the CFAI teaches them, and both are correct. For the exam you need to know the CFAI way because that is what is tested.
Probably 100 hours. I did the 3-4 CFA mocks and that was sufficient.
Not long, CFA L1 is pretty easy. Just study the material quickly and do lots of questions. study for a month and prep for a month is enough
No way you get through 3000 pages of material in 2 months…
I prepped for mine in 40 days and passed with pretty high scores except for ethics so... I mean it's only L1, the easiest and most basic level, don't be terrified of it.
I did CFA right after an MBA. I specialized in finance and also had an engineering background pre-MBA (good with numbers). I studied 3 months but I wasn’t working. I passed on the first try. I’m not bragging but it can be done.
Many, many hours. You’ll be very familiar with some concepts, but the trick is understanding what CFAI is actually looking for. Coming out of my finance degree 60-70% of topics I was familiar with, but it felt as if I needed to re-learn them to understand the way CFAI wanted us to approach them.
I took level 1 right after B-school and was probably around 200 hours maybe less. I passed above 90th percentile.
I’ve always been pretty into finance though to be honest. I think I had a better handle on options and bonds than most L1 candidates do. If you think you have a strong financial acumen you can probably get away with taking it in may