What is the best book to study for the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) exam level I?


Posted on : 02-05-2013 | By : My Study Coach | In : Learn to Relax
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I am looking to take the CFA exam level I next December and was wondering what the best book is to study with.

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Comments (3)

The institute itself provide the material.
So you need to enroll first.

I’ve passed all three levels of CFA examination in my first try. Comparing to other professional financial examinations I have taken before, the examination topics covered in CFA is the most extensive and difficult. So a good study plan is the prerequisite to pass the exam.

Some candidates always asked if reading the study books either Stalla or Schweser is sufficient to pass the exam. My answer will be “either one is fine” as I just read it ONCE in my first reading and then only focused on my self-made notes. Though there may be a quick sheet or summary notes provided by publisher, but they are not user-friendly or comprehensive enough.

As said before, the importance of a study plan is beyond doubt. I’m pleased to share mine with you.

6 months before the exam date, I started reading the study books (Schweser) borrowed from my friend. I went through the study book one by one and at the same time, prepared the brief notes on my own. In this first reading, I mainly tried to understand the contents as far as I can but not to memorize.

3 months before the exam date, I just reviewed my self-prepared notes over and over again, and cross-checked with the study books only if necessary. The repeated reviews on the brief notes helped to memorize the important concepts well.

1 month before the exam date, I did the sample and past questions intensively and got myself well prepared for a 3 hours examination.

1 week before the exam date, I glanced over my self-made notes again and spared sometime to review the sections in which I was weak.

1 day before the exam date, just relaxed and got a good sleep.

To make good use of my time and NOT to forfeit my social life after work and in weekends, I have put my brief notes in my handbag and review it while I was travelling elsewhere, drinking in a coffee shop after work, waiting for my boyfriend to see a movie, waiting for my sister to go shopping, having a quick lunch in McDonald’s, and etc.

You may refer to the following link for my self-prepared notes.


I am also taking the exam this December and have purchased the Schweser level 1 notes from their website. The option I chose was a packet that consists of all five topic books and one book of practice exams, all for a little over three hundred dollars. I hope you plan on having time to study this stuff as I have been studying since May and honestly am becoming overwhelmed. There is just a lot of material, a lot of details. Even being a finance major in my last year of undergrad there is a ton of information on the financial statement analysis that I have never seen. You can definitely do it if you start now, but I suggest a strict study plan that would lead you to finishing the material a month or so before the exam so you have time to go back through and review. Overall, I have spoken with many people who all use Schweser and it seems the best material out there. The books provided by the CFA institute are around 5-600 pages each, yukkkk, I’m sticking with Schweser . Best of luck to you.

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