Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Guide to Clear CFA Level 1: My Journey and Tips for Success


Hey everyone! I’m Aditya, a CFA, Investor, Trader, and Mentor in the Stock Market. In this blog, I’ll share my experience and strategies that helped me achieve over 70% in 9 out of 10 subjects in the CFA Level 1 exam. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to improve your CFA preparation, this guide is for you.

My CFA Journey

Deciding to Pursue CFA

Back in August 2015, I was determined to pursue the CFA certification. At that time, I had two options: take the exam in December 2015 or June 2016. I chose June 2016 to ensure I had ample time to prepare thoroughly. The CFA is the golden certification for anyone aiming to build a career in the financial market or stock market. It provides deep knowledge and is highly regarded in the industry.

Applying for the CFA Scholarship

CFA offers scholarships, and I decided to apply for one. The key to a successful scholarship application is to demonstrate why CFA should invest in you. Highlight your strengths and how you will uphold the CFA’s reputation. I emphasized my commitment to spreading financial education and debunking the myth that the stock market is a gamble. My application succeeded, reducing my fees from $1200 to $250.

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Study Strategy for CFA Level 1

Choosing Study Materials

For my preparation, I used the Schweser Notes instead of the official CFA curriculum books. The Schweser Notes are concise and cover all necessary topics, making them more manageable for revision. Although the official curriculum is comprehensive, the Schweser Notes provided clarity and efficiency in my study routine.

Creating a Study Calendar

A crucial part of my preparation was creating a study calendar. I divided my preparation into four phases:

  1. First Read (November 2015 – February 2016): I dedicated 4-5 hours per week to complete the first read of the curriculum. The goal was to skim through the concepts without getting stuck on any topic.
  2. First Revision (March – Mid-April 2016): I focused on my first revision, underlining important points for the second revision.
  3. Second Revision (April 2016): I completed the second revision within 20 days, focusing on the underlined sections from the first revision.
  4. Mock Exams (May – June 2016): I dedicated the last month to taking mock exams. I completed eight full mock exams, each consisting of a morning and evening session.

Importance of Mock Exams

Mock exams are vital for identifying your strengths and weaknesses. I used a strategy to mark questions based on my confidence level:

  • Tick Mark: For questions I was certain about.
  • Square: For questions I was unsure about but could narrow down to two options.
  • Circle: For questions I was completely unsure about.

Reviewing mock exams helped me identify areas that needed more focus and ensured I was not overconfident about misunderstood concepts.

Overview of CFA Level 1 Subjects


Ethics is a critical subject with high weightage. Study it at the end and practice as many questions as possible. The questions can be tricky, with close options that require careful consideration.

Quantitative Methods

Quantitative Methods cover statistics and basic mathematics. If you have a background in commerce, you might already be familiar with most of the topics.


Economics includes basic concepts covered in high school and bachelor’s degrees. It’s straightforward if you have a background in commerce.

Financial Reporting and Analysis

This subject involves understanding financial statements. The approach may differ slightly from the Indian perspective, but the concepts remain the same globally.

Corporate Finance

Corporate Finance is manageable if you have a commerce background. It covers essential financial concepts and practices.

Equity Investments

Equity Investments cover fundamental stock market concepts. If you trade or invest, you’ll find this section relatable and easier to understand.

Fixed Income

Fixed Income is often challenging as it introduces new concepts like bonds and yield curves. However, it’s interesting and essential for understanding debt markets.


Derivatives cover futures and options. Practical trading experience can make this subject easier to grasp.

Portfolio Management

Portfolio Management is fascinating and involves applying various financial concepts to manage investment portfolios effectively.

Tips for Success

Start Early and Be Consistent

Starting your preparation early and maintaining consistency is crucial. Skim through concepts and avoid getting stuck on any single topic. CFA exams test your understanding of a wide range of concepts, so breadth of knowledge is essential.

Practice Real Trading

Investing and trading in real life can give you a practical edge. It helps you relate theoretical concepts to real-world scenarios, making your preparation more effective.

Stay Motivated and Focused

Keep your goal in mind and stay motivated. Visualize your success and use it as a driving force. Remember, the CFA journey is challenging but rewarding.


Clearing the CFA Level 1 exam requires a strategic approach, dedication, and practical experience. By following a structured study plan, using the right materials, and practicing consistently, you can achieve success. This Guide to Clear CFA Level 1 is designed to help you navigate your preparation effectively. Good luck with your CFA journey!

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