In the past week we heard the announcement that the CFA Exam postponed its date until December due to the tragic spread of COVID-19.
So, how can you best prepare given the current uncertainty? In this post, we will try to provide you with some answers.
**Public Service Announcement**
First and foremost, we encourage all of our students, and readers, to please prioritize taking care of yourselves and your family over studying at this time. If you and those close to you, are fortunate enough to be in good health, then let’s talk. Otherwise, please be safe.
CFA Exam Postponed: What Now?
With the CFA Exam postponed until December, many candidates may breath a sigh of relief. Others however, will be understandably frustrated. Many have put in a lot of hard work, and thought the end was in sight.
The CFA Institute has not provided a definitive date yet for the December exam (as of this writing), although we know for certain that it won’t happen in June of 2020.
To best prepare for the extended deadline, we highly recommend you take advantage of the downtime. In other words, continue to study.
The CFA Exam difficulty level is quite high (at every level). The exam is also generally graded on a curve so the more time you have to study, the more time everyone else has to study. Keep this in mind if you are considering taking a “month off” from studying. You should expect others to continue studying through December. We have already heard from many of our students. The large majority do not plan to take time off. The competition may in fact be more fierce for the exams in December as a result.
What Should You Prioritize?
We have written a CFA study plan in the past, and recommend tweaking this. For example, if you’ve already completed the FR&A section for CFA Level 1 then consider revisiting this section again in May. Since it is one of the largest parts of the exam, consider reviewing it again in August, and then in November. Same goes for the Quant and Ethics sections.
If you are studying for CFA Level 2 or CFA Level 3, then apply the same principles. Namely, get through the largest sections first. Then, be sure to schedule in periodic reviews of these sections between now and December. As confident as you may be in your memory, play it safe. In all our years as a CFA tutors, we have yet to meet anyone that knows the material cold after reading it over once. Periodic review is a necessity.
Create New Habits, And Keep Some Old Ones
Chances are that the spread of COVID-19 has changed your life to some extent.
Whether you’re stuck at home, moved back in with your parents, or are crashing with friends, life is a little bit different at the moment. Sticking to your pre-pandemic routine might not be possible. Nevertheless, try your best to keep yourself in a productive state of mind to ensure that you don’t waste this valuable time to study. You will be surprised at what can be forgotten after a few short weeks.
That said, an effective way to stay productive is to ensure that you start incorporating regular habits/routines once you’re settled. Some of these habits may be new, but older ones may make sense too.
For instance, if you now work from home, then try to stick to your former meal schedule. We tutor many students that use lunch time as an opportunity to plow through 5 to 10 practice questions. Ethics is an easy one to do at lunch, and keeps it consistently fresh and top of mind. Meals often mark the transition periods of days, and so after dinner you can use as your “study time” just as you might if you were at your office.
Further, if you previously woke up an hour early (before work) to study, then try to stick to the same routine. You can still study early, and it leaves the rest of your day to be productive with your job.
In terms of new routines, I highly recommend setting timers to keep yourself on regular schedule. This can be helpful. Let’s face it, when you’re at home for this long it starts to feel like a holiday, or a weekend. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it won’t help your study habits.
Overall, try your best to keep yourself on track and create your own structure. Consider topics you should prioritize, and take advantage of this downtime. The best way to ensure that you are ready when December rolls around is to keep on keeping on! Good luck and stay healthy!