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The Ideal CFA Weekend Study Plan



During CFA exam crunch time weekend time is precious study time. Here's how to maximize your minutes. 

CFA Time wasters

How to Plan your CFA Study Weekend

In order to conquer you must first divide. Otherwise it is too easy to let minutes or hours slip away without dedicated, focused effort on the parts of the CFA exam you must have down cold. 

Your Weekend Has 7 Parts

Think about your weekend in 7 parts: Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, Saturday night, Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon, and Sunday night.

I think at least 4/7 of those should be dedicated to the CFA exam. 1 should be fun. And you may have 1-2 segments worth of obligations.

If you're within a week or two of the exam this algebra should be different and obviously more heavily weighted towards ignoring the rest of your life in order to study.

First, take 10 minutes to log in and do 3 readings worth of flash cards. (It's free, it will take you ~15-20 minutes). Congratulations, you've now avoided a zero day.

Second, decide which segments of your weekend are entirely CFA related. Once you've done that, calendar those times with your family or any others that could otherwise intrude on this space. If you study better out of your house, figure out where you're going to go.

What Parts of the Exam to Attack

The exact nature of your studying obviously depends on how close to the exam you are, how much material you've covered, and how well versed you are in doing practice problems.

Irrespective of the differences, however, you should plan for a mix of (1) CFA curriculum review, (2) Flashcard drills or note taking, and (3) practice problems.

Why this mix? It lets you:

  • Make progress on covering (or reviewing) the material - Reading is obviously important to get through the material
  • Reinforce concepts - Flashcards, note taking, or reviewing notes you've previously written is key for chunking material, breaking it up, and increasing retition through repitition. This is especially helpful in drilling your CFA weaknesses
  • Apply knowledge - You need to answer problems on the test, so you need to practice doing problems. Stupidly obvious, but SO MANY Candidates wait until right before the exam to really start drilling questions. If you need to, use the week to get through material and use the weekends to do practice problems.
  • Avoid boredom - Mixing up how you study and what you study lets you keep things fresh and avoids throwing up huge artificial mental barriers (if you don't want to read, review flashcards etc.) 

Know that you know how to mix up your time how should you block the 4 sections of your weekend?

Time to Study

Here's a sample weekend once the exam is a bit closer - say 6-8 weeks away:

CRAM Weekend Plan

  • Segment 1 - Review old problems where you struggled, skim the entire GoStudy cram guide, Do an hour of focused practice problems in those areas.
  • Segment 2 - Take half a mock exam. If you're a CFA level 3 candidate make it a morning one. Carefully review all the problems
  • Segment 3 - Do the EOC chapter questions for 4-5 readings. Carefully review. Circle any you got wrong or that were critical. Read our guided notes for those chapters (either before or after, depending on your preference)
  • Segment 4 - Pick your poison. Do an old Mock or deep dive on an area of weakness or do EOC questions. Keep the momentum
  • Bonus: Before Work Monday - Skim the cram guide again or do another 3-4 readings worth of notecards

And here's a sample weekend when the exam is a bit further out

REVIEW Weekend Plan

  • Segment 1a - Read the GoStudy review notes for a new chapter. Review the CFA Institute material directly after. Do another reading the same way
  • Segment 1b - Do the EOC Questions for the chapters you just covered. Circle problems you got wrong/record somewhere. Use the GoStudy flashcards or write your own for this material
  • Segment 2a - Read the GoStudy review notes for a new chapter. Review the CFA Institute material directly after. Do another reading the same way
  • Segment 2b - Do the EOC Questions for the chapters you just covered. Circle problems you got wrong/record somewhere. Use the GoStudy flashcards or write your own for this material
  • Bonus: Before Work Monday - Skim the cram guide again or do another 3-4 readings worth of notecards