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Top 5 Tips to ACE the CFA Exam

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Chartered Financial Accounting, commonly referred to as CFA, is the post-graduate qualification that enables people to upgrade their investment and financial accounting skills. It allows professionals to diversify their portfolios in constructing and managing funds for businesses across different sectors. Certified financial analysts are the decision-makers in the world of investments, banking, and business, occupying positions like the chief financial officer, chief executive, consultant, portfolio manager, and research analyst.

Despite being a promising qualification, few people opt for the qualification due to the difficulty level of the exam. It requires 300 to 400 hours of study and work experience to become eligible for the charter. In the March 2022 exam, only 22% of exam takers could pass the Level 1 module of the exam. This percentage indicates the need for smart study solutions and sheer hard work to be successful in CFA. This article details some of the top tips to ace the CFA with flying colors.

Tip # 1. Get Professional Help

Since CFA is a professional qualification, it tests individuals in various capacities to prepare them for investment world challenges. Given its difficulty level, it is advisable to seek professional help while preparing for the exam. One of the best ways to do so is to register with institutes or platforms that already have a proven record of success for their respective students. One such platform is Wiley. Wiley CFA offers a brilliant study solution to prepare for the CFA exam. Wiley is also a multinational publisher that sells reliable learning materials. At the same time, it provides virtual learning opportunities to make it easy for professionals to juggle between their job and education.

Tip # 2. Focus on Conceptual Study

Although CFA comprises investment and financial accounting, it is not essentially about solving mathematical problems. Moreover, the role of financial analysts has shifted towards providing advice instead of crunching numbers, as that is where AI has taken over the financial world. Keeping that in mind, the CFA exam is becoming more conceptual over time. Therefore, it is essential that your grasp of the concepts is solid and you have a clear understanding of the logic behind the movements in numbers. To succeed, you must focus on conceptual study and analytical aspects of the exam so that you can apply them in any scenario.

Tip # 3. Practice

“Practice makes the man perfect”! Therefore, while prepping for the exam, you must practice enough so that the exam’s structure is at your fingertips. It is crucial to practice by setting a timer so one can confidently manage time while attempting the exam. Moreover, practice enables you to become familiar with the style of the exam. It helps to deal with the anxiety one feels while solving the exam. Consequently, you will not be overwhelmed by the exam, which will save time and boost confidence.

Tip # 4. Diligent Preparation

Study and preparation for CFA should be focused on areas that carry the most weight in the exam. Weights of subject matter are clearly stated on the CFA website, and listed in their learning outcomes statements. On the Level 1 exam, wealth planning, portfolio management, derivatives, and technical analysis have the least number of questions, as compared to ethical and professional standards. Accordingly, you should focus the maximum amount of your time on concepts related to ethical and professional standards.

One of the common mistakes students make while preparing is that they procrastinate a lot.  The goal should be that one month before the exam, you should have completed all the respective syllabuses and completed one practice run. The last month is to be set aside for self-evaluation and revision. During this period, the focus should be on repeatedly practicing and reviewing weak concepts. Throughout the last stage, one should solve past papers in the exam setting.

Tip # 5. Develop a Strategy to Attempt the Exam

To ace the exam, an individual should have a strategy he will use while attempting the exam.

Study the question paper

First, read through the question paper carefully. Avoid starting the exam as soon as you receive it. Carefully mark the questions which you have comprehended in the first read. Leave the questions which seem to be totally out of the blue. While reading the exam, do not get overwhelmed with the questions that seem difficult.

Break down questions

After carefully skimming through the paper the first time, give it another read. This time, you will be able to grasp new information that you might have missed during the first read. The reading also highlights crucial information, such as command words in the questions and key parts of the questions’ requirements.


CFA is a challenging and demanding qualification. However, it is not impossible and only requires rigorous study and smart learning in the right direction with ambition and persistence.  You should have a suitable, well-organized study plan which must include the number of hours you plan to dedicate to preparation. It would be best if you implemented this plan with rigor and determination. The diligent study of financial concepts, strategic planning, practice, and preparation will help you ace the exam.