CFA is one of the most prominent career goals for most students or candidates from a financial background. CFA opens the door to many high-paying and recognized jobs in the financial sector and so is a preferred examination for many. However, CFA is not as simple as it sounds, it requires complete dedication, concentration, and about 300 hours of study time to successfully pass the cfa level 1 exam. The preparation for the CFA exam is the most challenging part as it comprises an extensive curriculum that is based on contemporary financial tools and topics. The CFA institute plans the curriculum to keep up with the latest financial trends so that the candidates are equipped with the knowledge of recent financial concepts.
When the preparation for the CFA is concerned many expert tips can guide you on the right path and assist with helpful materials. In addition to the study materials suggested by the CFA Institute, it is also recommended to join a CFA level 1 free course for concept-based learning and understanding of the topics more precisely. However, before the preparation, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the CFA, its curriculum, eligibility for the test, etc.
What is CFA?
CFA or Chartered Financial Analyst is an exam in three parts that tests the fundamentals and the knowledge of the investment tools and other financial themes. It tests not only the knowledge of the topics but also tests diligence, dedication, and willpower. CFA prepares the candidates on applying their knowledge and skills to a wide range of careers in the financial field. CFA opens up careers in Relationship Management and Data Science, Credit Analysis, Chief Investment Officer, Accounting and Auditing, Financial Planning, Trading, etc.
Eligibility Criteria for appearing in the CFA exam:
For someone to appear or register for the CFA exams there are some criteria as decided by CFA Institute and these includes-
- The candidates must have a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent degree to register for the CFA exams. To most, the candidate must at least be in the final year of their bachelor’s degree while registering for the exam.
- Or the candidate to qualify for appearing in the CFA exam must have four years of professional working experience.
- Or at least a combination of work and degree experience of at least four years.
Candidates qualifying for the above-mentioned requirements are eligible for registering and appearing for the CFA examination.
The Examination Pattern:
CFA is a three-part exam executed at three different levels. Candidates are required to pass each level and meet certain work requirements as set by the CFA institute to pass and qualify as a Chartered Financial Analyst. The curriculum of each of these levels is designed to test an array of skills that are needed to be possessed for a career in the investment field. The CFA level 1 exam has a set of 180 multiple-choice questions that are split between two 135-minute slots.
The first session has 90 MCQs on the topics of ethics and professional standards, quantitative methods, economics, and financial statement analysis. The second session, too, has a set of 90 MCQs consisting of questions on the topics of equity, corporate issuers, fixed income, derivatives, alternative investments, and portfolio management.
The CFA level 2 exam consists of 22 items sets of descriptive questions with 88 MCQs. The exam is of 4 hours 24 minutes which is split into two slots of 2 hours 12 minutes each with an optional break in between.
The CFA level 3 exam is the most comprehensive with the inclusion of new concepts and topics. It is a computer-based exam of 4 hours 24 minutes split into two slots of 2 hours 12 minutes each. Level 3 consists of eight to fifteen essay-type questions. The questions are designed to test your real-life execution of the curriculum. In the second session, you have to analyze a case statement and then answer four to six MCQs related to the statement.
The CFA curriculum is designed to offer comprehensive and extensive knowledge of contemporary financial topics and tools. The curriculum focuses on 10 current financial topics that are relevant to the recent investment industry. Each topic has a different weightage at each level and one can prepare based on the importance of the topic on the relevant level. In the level 1 curriculum, all 10 topics are introduced, whereas in levels 2 and 3 these topics are dealt with in detail and offer an in-depth study of the same.
The topics in the immediate curriculum include Ethical and Professional Standards, Quantitative Methods, Economics, Financial Reporting and Analysis, Corporate Issuers, Portfolio Management, Equity Investment, Fixed Income, Derivatives, and Alternative Investments.
As it can be easily perceived that CFA is not everyone’s cup of tea. It is designed to provide in-depth knowledge on the various financial tools and topics to prepare future investment professionals. So, when preparing for the CFA it is important to opt for external help like a CFA level 1 free course to make the most out of the preparation and be ready to take up an impressive career in the financial sector.
Also check about – Right Time to seek Career Counselling