CFA® Survival Guide Part 5: Numbers Vs. Words
At this stage it’s time to start thinking seriously about the forthcoming exam, so let’s delve further into the advice that our current CFA® students have generously provided for future exam candidates.
CFA® Level I is less numerical than you might expect
Don’t focus on the calculations at the expense of understanding the ‘wordy’ elements of the course – these are easy marks to pick up, and the exam is surprisingly non-calculation based.
We ask the question every year about whether the exam was as expected as regard the numerical content.
Our sample of students was based on BPP students who have already received the message that the exam is less numerical than expected, so even after that advice, there was a significant balance of people who found the exam less numerical than expected.
What do we mean by ‘wordy’?
So you need to ensure that you are picking up these ‘wordy’ areas. But what do I mean by wordy? I mean questions that test:
So how can you improve here? One way is to keep your own index cards with lists of assumptions to learn.
The point is not writing down and re-reading those assumptions. It is to set yourself what I like to call a “blank piece of paper test”.
So one side of your flashcard says “5 assumptions of CAPM” and on the reverse you write the answers. But every time you pick up that flashcard you physically write down those 5 assumptions. This involves more neurons in the brain and pushes the knowledge in to your long term memory.
The CFA® glossary is your friend
Another way to help this area is to work through the CFA® glossary, covering up the explanations and testing if you know what each word means. This can be found in the back of the CFA® Curriculum books.
Finally, you can always sign up to our free daily Level 1 question tweet on @bppcfa!
This free guidance is provided as a sample of BPP’s CFA® program tuition. Find out more about our flexible study options by watching our online CFA Open Day Video presentation.