CFA Exam – What is it? Why do it? How to prepare

IT would be easy to forget that there are many fine people out there who have never heard of this “CFA Program”.

What is the CFA Program?

The CFA Institute describes the CFA Program as a graduate-level course for investment professionals. The course covers an extremely broad range of topics including:

  • ethics,
  • quantitative methods (read: basic statistics/econometrics),
  • economics,
  • financial statement analysis,
  • corporate finance,
  • portfolio management,
  • equity investments,
  • fixed income investments,
  • derivatives, and
  • alternative investments.

Why become a CFA Charterholder?

If you are a practicing or aspiring consultant, is it worth becoming a CFA Charterholder? In my opinion, CFA Level 1 is definitely worth doing as it provides a very good overview of economics, finance and asset management which will help you understand how a company should manage its assets. If you want to be able to provide a company with comprehensive advice, it is useful (if not essential) to understand how to value a business, deal with its assets, identify appropriate investment opportunities, manage cash flows, and obtain financing.

Preparing for the CFA Exam

Having just completed the exam, I thought it would be useful to provide some thoughts on how to prepare for the CFA Level 1 exam. However, I realise that this job has already been done.

James Cox provides a concise and easy to follow study plan for passing the CFA level one exam. If you are a CFA candidate, or considering becoming a CFA candidate, it is well worth reading.

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2 Replies to “CFA Exam – What is it? Why do it? How to prepare”

  1. Hey Andrew,

    I can definitely recommend doing level 1! If you have studied commerce already it is a good refresher course on the entire bachelors degree (plus a little extra). If you haven’t studied commerce, this exam will be really hard work but totally bring you up to speed on all the basics, very valuable!

    The CA is focused on accounting, and the CFA is focused on finance and investing.


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