Passing the CFA Exams Means Macro-managing your Life
When you enter into the CFA Exams you have to understand that you are undertaking a 'macro-level' challenge.
That means you have to think big picture about what this undertaking involves BEYOND just learning the material. Here are some things to chew on:
Time and Volume
In the most literal sense the CFA is big picture in that it covers a huge amount of material over a large number of pages. You can't escape the fact that you will need to dedicate a large number of hours over at least 18 months just to have a shot at passing. As we've written before, there are no shortcuts.
If part of being successful is putting in hundreds of hours of studying then you have to think big picture about how that will impact your life.
Whether it's less social time or balancing work and family obligations CFA study time comes from somewhere in your life. You need to clearly understand WHAT it takes to pass all three levels and WHY you're doing it.
Dedication is table stakes, and you need motivation to foster dedication.
Make sure it's worth the opportunity costs.
Zooming in and out of the Curriculum
The objective of the CFA exam is to test the candidate for his or her clear understanding of concepts, methods, and issues. As you navigate each individual level (and move between them) you will need to move past simple memorization and be able to "zoom in and out" of the curriculum to tie concepts together and build upon them.
Overall passing the CFA exams requires striking a balance between the macro and micro. We try to make that easier with our (free) newsletter and our study resources that help guide you in how to prepare, where to spend more (and less) time, and of course to provide tools to steal study time. You can sign up for free to test it for yourself.
How to Cram for the CFA (targeted for Level 3, but the first half applies to everyone)