Preparing for the December Level I CFA® Exam

Preparing for the December Level I exam is a commitment.

There’s not a quick fix. Hard work is the only thing standing between you and success on exam day. According to CFA Institute, you should plan to spend at least 300 hours preparing for the December Level I CFA exam. Our Prepare • Practice • Perform ® methodology provides the framework necessary to maximize the value of the time you spend studying.

Previous Knowledge Required

Before enrolling in the CFA Program, you must have earned a bachelor’s degree, or be in the last year of your bachelor’s degree program. Your bachelor’s degree doesn’t need to be in a specific major, however a finance-based major will put you in the best position for success. The CFA Program is modeled as a supplement to a finance-related education and investment experience earned by an investment professional. To summarize, you aren’t required to have a finance degree to sit for the December Level I CFA exam, but you will encounter greater obstacles than people who have completed a finance-based education.

Level I Curriculum

There are ten topic areas of focus on the December Level I CFA exam. You’ll also be tested on simple analysis using investment tools. The topic areas are:

  • Ethical and Professional Standards
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Economics
  • Financial Reporting and Analysis
  • Corporate Finance
  • Equity Investments
  • Fixed Income Investments
  • Derivative Instruments
  • Alternative Investments
  • Portfolio Management

The Time Required to Study

It is a generally accepted truth that candidates should spend an average of 300 hours preparing for each level of the CFA exam. In a 2016 survey, Level I candidates reported spending an average of 304 hours studying for the exam.

How to Study

The Kaplan Way is a three-phase learning strategy: Prepare • Practice • Perform ® . Using this methodology, we have built the most comprehensive study packages available for the December Level I CFA exam, designed to help you maximize the value of the time you spend studying for the exam.

  • In-Person: Attend live classes in select cities, led by CFA charterholders.
  • Online: All the quality of a live class, with convenient online delivery.
  • Self-Study: Comprehensive, flexible, no-frills exam prep package.

Tips and Tools

Trying to find additional tips to help you prepare? Schweser has you covered.

  • Start early. Build your confidence by getting into a routine.
  • The tools in your review package are designed to work together. Use them all.

Need Advice on Which Study Path to Pursue?