Topics Covered Hide
- Becoming familiar with the CFA exam level 1 structure
- Understanding the CFA exam level 1 curriculum
- FinQuiz CFA mock exam level 1 for self-learners
- Kaplan/Schweser for stability and reliability
- Bloomberg Exam Prep CFA for extra versatility
- Fitch Learning for a segment-based approach
- How to get ready for the CFA exam day
- Frequently asked questions
The CFA distinction will provide more than just knowledge – you will gain experience in investment analysis. You will be recognized internationally for your professionalism, as well as your commitment to ethics.
However, this program is not for everyone. There are several tests you need to go through, as well as plenty of training. It is, however, one of the most sought-after qualifications and can provide for a good future. All in all, here is what you need to know about the exam, as well as how to train for it.
Now, this program has three different exams – each of them given a level. Each candidate must pass all of these exams – one at a time. At the same time, you must meet some requirements and criteria. However, this is the easier part – the actual exams will give you plenty of headaches.
Looking at statistics, it becomes more and more challenging to pass the exams. Prior to 2021, the passing rate was about 45%. In the fall of 2021, the passing rate went down to 27%, so the difficulty has increased.
The good news is that you can find plenty of materials to get ready for this exam. The curriculum will test all sorts of skills in order to determine whether or not you are suitable for an investment professional. The first step? Obviously, the first exam.
This article will give you more details about what it takes to get ready for the exam, as well as what you need to study. Plus, you will learn about the necessity of a FinQuiz CFA mock exam level 1 and other helpful courses.
Becoming familiar with the CFA exam level 1 structureThe CFA exam level 1 is taken on a computer. It is a long and time-consuming exam and will be split over two different sessions. Each session will take approximately 135 minutes – unless you finish earlier, of course. However, it is recommended to take your time and triple-check each question.
Each session will bring in 90 different questions. To help you with the math, you will be given about 90 seconds for each question, which is plenty of time. Some questions depend on others, while others are independent.
When it comes to multiple choice questions, they are freestanding, and they do not depend on one another. Multiple choices are limited – only three options for each of these questions. While they may look simple and straightforward, they are not.
This is one of the aspects that make so many candidates fail the test. Every question is formulated in an intelligent manner, so it may feel very tricky. The point is to test more than just your knowledge – your logic is just as important.
Some questions will also require a calculator, so you need to become familiar with all sorts of functions – obviously, your math skills are just as important. Ideally, you should go for all questions. If you provide incorrect answers, you will not be penalized – of course, the goal is to provide the right answers.
Understanding the CFA exam level 1 curriculumAs you go through the FinQuiz CFA mock exam level 1 or other similar exams, you will realize that the concept is to understand your knowledge, as well as how you assimilate different tools and understand the concept of investments and even portfolio management.
There are ten main topics you must cover, and they go through everything – from ethical standards to your level of professionalism. They also go through a bunch of asset classes, investment procedures, tools, planning, and management.
Your ethical and professional standards will weigh about 20% of the exam. Give quantitative methods and economics about 10% each and about 15% for financial analyses. Corporate finance will count another 10%, as well as fixed income and equity investments.
Then, you have an equal percentage for portfolio management, derivatives, and alternative investments. Basically, this exam will test pretty much everything you need to be successful in this industry, and there will be no compromises.
Professional and ethical standards
This part of the exam will cover your standards and ensure you are familiar with the code of ethics. GIPS will also be considered. The amount of questions may vary, but you will most likely get around 30 of them. This is one of the most serious sections – in fact, it weighs more than any other.
If you score low on this section, you are likely to be close to the passing point or even fail the exam. The importance of this section goes even further – it will help you, later on, should you consider the next levels in the program.
This part of the exam is mostly about different concepts in the industry. They vary widely, but they will include all sorts of market structures, prices, economic growth ideas, the possibility to analyze the supply and demand, aggregate output, and so on.
This section is not very comprehensive, but it will mostly target the basics of corporate governance. You will also be tested on some of your financial decisions, not to mention different types of investments. You will need to focus on social and environmental considerations when making investments.
Equity markets could not miss from the exam – plus, all the instruments associated with them, techniques, and tools required by different companies. This section represents the basics of further education and training for the next exams, so you need to master it accordingly.
This part of the exam represents a classic one off section. You will need to get ready on swaps, hedging solutions, futures, forwards, options, and so on. Get ready for around 13 questions in this section – more or less.
Other sections in the exam can be quite intuitive and even make sense. Quantitative methods are different and can cause a lot of confusion. You do not have to be an expert in mathematics, but it would definitely help. You must become familiar with statistics and numbers.
You will have about 20 questions in this part. Some of the top concepts in this section include the possibility to analyze discounted cash flow ideas, not to mention understanding the time value associated with money.
Apart from ethical and professional standards, this is the most significant section in the exam. Being successful with this section will also add to the further training. It makes a solid foundation for other courses, hence its importance.
You will be asked to analyze different financial systems, figure out ratios, and all sorts of ideas – like taxes, analyses, revenue recognition, and so on. There are no local accounting solutions considered because this exam is international. Instead, it is focused on global standards.
Portfolio management is all about basic ideas in this section. Focus on the capital asset pricing model, but also pay attention to the modern portfolio theory. You will have less than 15 questions in this section. Most of its importance is given by the fact that it helps preparing for further exams.
There are more fixed income markets out there, and you need to understand how they work. Securities, prices, and instruments will all be considered here. Pay special attention to yield measures, as well as convexity – these are some of the most significant concepts.
Alternative instruments go in numerous directions. Think about hedge funds or perhaps commodities. How about real estate or private equity? There are more aspects you have to consider while training for this section.
However, for this exam, the training is more like an introduction to further development. This is why you will barely get 10 questions in this section. It does not mean that you can overlook this section – it will become the foundation of training for further levels.
Now that you have some clues about what to expect, you obviously want to try out some mock tests as well. The FinQuiz CFA mock exam level 1 is probably the top-rated one, but this article will also give you a few alternatives. Here is where you can test yourself, assuming that you have completed your training.
FinQuiz CFA mock exam level 1 for self-learnersThe FinQuiz CFA mock exam level 1 is mostly aimed at those who study individually without investing in professional training. It is suitable for those who want to work with CFA-approved materials and test their knowledge as if they were taking a real exam.
There are different tests out there and different options, so you can take all sorts of tests again and again until you master everything. You have a few mock exams to try out, formula sheets to study, a plan for your training, chapter notes, and even smart summaries – in other words, it is like having a professor.
There are more programs, and while you need to pay more to access all the features, the basic one will include basics – mock tests and questions. They are formulated in a challenging manner to stretch your abilities to think. There is also a premium package if your budget allows it – plenty of extra materials.
Your learning style makes the difference. You do not necessarily have to purchase the premium package. Instead, you can also buy specific modules or training sections, which will cost much less – great if you only need a few sections.
Kaplan/Schweser for stability and reliabilityThis is probably the oldest and best-established program out there. Obviously, it depends on what you are after. The provider offers access to different modules and packages, so you can usually pick what you are interested in.
Should you choose to study yourself, you will also have a specific package that brings in mock exams, questions, notes, and even tools to plan your training. The most expensive package takes everything to another level, and you even gain access to a review workshop.
To ensure every student has something to benefit from, Kaplan/Schweser also provides limited access packages – some of them are only available on weekends, while others are available on weekdays, depending on your needs.
Avoid making a decision straight away. Go through all the packages and be honest to yourself – how much training do you need? A few separate deals might be better than investing in a whole plan, but then again, everyone is different.
Bloomberg Exam Prep CFA for extra versatilityBloomberg’s program stands out with its versatility. It is modern and newer when compared to other programs, but it also features a unique platform based on artificial intelligence. Its role is to identify your weakest areas and help you work on them.
There are more packages to choose from, but the self-study one is probably the most accessible option. You gain access to the whole curriculum, yet it is spread into micro-lessons for an easier approach. Further addons will provide instructions, questions, and mock tests too.
Believe it or not, there are more than 10,000 questions in the basic package, so Bloomberg’s program outweighs the competition. Then, there are seven mock exams. If you have any issues, you also have the option to message an instructor – limited to 20 questions for the basic package though.
If your budget allows it, go for the premium package, which will give you even more exams, the possibility to message an instructor for help anytime (no limitations), and even access to five private lessons with a tutor.
Fitch Learning for a segment-based approachFitch Learning is more systematic and offers an easy approach, especially if you find most programs to be too comprehensive and difficult to understand. You basically buy one package at a time – one module. This way, you can save money – after all, you do not want to pay for modules that you already master.
Basic packages cost less than the competition. You can, however, invest in separate packages based on reviews and instructions only. There is a separate module for questions as well, which you may need if you want to take mock tests.
Review courses may also add to the price. However, there is plenty to gain from such an approach – live events, online seminars, and even on-demand classes if you struggle with a particular section. Each of these things can be purchased separately.
Mock packages offer excellent value for money, as you get to practice and understand how official formulate questions. You want to get used to this approach, or it can give you a significant surprise on the exam day.
Salt Solutions for a new and modern approach
This is a new alternative to the popular FinQuiz CFA mock exam level 1. It is suitable for young learners who want a more modern approach. The beta has been finally ended, and the full experience is now available.
The experts behind Salt Solutions know that too much material can be confusing, especially if your time is limited. Therefore, the whole material is broken down into small pieces – each of them will take up to half an hour to complete and as little as 10 minutes only.
You will also discover the most important sections – the ones you need to focus on. You can set goals, so you can keep on track without procrastinating. The interface is fairly simple and intuitive – no experience needed whatsoever. You have questions, videos, and even a scheduler feature.
Compared to other programs, the one from Salt Solutions is new. It may not have a track record right now, but things are slowly moving in the right direction. It is user-friendly and provides a simpler approach to your training.
Whether you choose the FinQuiz CFA mock exam level 1 or a more modern approach like Salt Solutions, the good news is you do have options. Find whatever works best for you. Now that you are familiar with the top-rated programs out there, how do you need to prepare for the exam day?
How to get ready for the CFA exam day
The test is taken on a computer. There are more than 400 locations all over the world, so it would not be too difficult to find one close to you. Preventing fraud is one of the top priorities at the exam, so do not even think about it – security is extremely strict, and each candidate is carefully monitored.10 Commandments of CFA Level 1
Some of the questions will require sophisticated math operations. While you can do everything on a piece of paper, it is time-consuming. Plus, you can make mistakes, so it is wiser to get a calculator with you. Make sure you try out every function it has.
At the same time, you need to make sure the battery is new – perhaps even get a spare battery with you, just in case. Keep in mind that not all calculators are allowed – instead, opt for Hewlett Packard 12C or Texas Instruments BA II Plus.
When it comes to financial reporting and various analyses, all questions in the exam will be based on IFRS. However, there might be some exceptions. US GAAP can also be used, but such questions will mention it, so there is no guesswork involved.
Not sure about one answer? Leave it and get back to it after. However, it is worth noting that a wrong answer will not bring in any penalties. If you are not 100% sure about the answer, use common sense. If you simply cannot figure it out, guesswork is still better than leaving no answer.
Finally, you should know that exams do not have a dress code. Officials recommend layered clothing, though. You need to be comfortable. It is advisable to wear quiet shoes as well – you do not want to disturb others.
Frequently asked questionsStill not sure about certain aspects related to the exam?
Is there a break between the two long sessions of the CFA level 1 exam?
Each section will last maximum 135 minutes, depending on how quick you are. It is recommended to take your time and avoid rushing – you have plenty of time. Furthermore, there is a half an hour break between the two sessions.
How much time do I need to prepare for the CFA exam level 1?
Based on a report from the CFA Institute, successful candidates trained for around 300 hours in 2019. The material is comprehensive. If you train for three hours a day, you will need more than three months to get it done. It requires consistency, commitment, and hard work.
Can I take the exam again if I fail it?
Absolutely. However, since 2021, officials have changed the rules a little. If you fail the exam, you will need to wait for at least six months before taking it again. You would obviously need more time to train anyway, so the waiting time is not such a big deal.
ConclusionAs a short final conclusion, the FinQuiz CFA mock exam level 1 is probably your best friend when you feel ready to take the exam. No matter how well you prepare for this test, you will be surprised if you take it blindly.
A few mock tests are mandatory. Questions are formulated in an unusual manner, with the one and only purpose to challenge your knowledge and confuse you. Some sections are more confusing than others, hence the necessity for further training.
Preparing for this exam is likely to take months. If you fail it, you need to wait before taking it again – plus, you may have to travel to take it. In other words, you do not want to waste an opportunity, so take your time to do everything by the book.
There are more providers out there, as well as different programs to try out. Some of them work better than others, but what works for some students will not work for everyone else – take your time, do some research and choose the right program for your studying style and needs.
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