Tuesday, August 28, 2007

CFA official study materials

This year I ordered the official CFA Institute study material. When it arrived in the country I had to pay a whopping $150 at customs because of the weight! The whole package weighs an astounding 9kg.

There are 6 volumes,

Volume1: Ethics and Professional Standards and Quantitative Analysis.
Volume2: Economics
Volume3: Financial Statement Analysis
Volume4: Corporate Finance and Portfolio Management
Volume5: Equity and Fixed Income

Volume6: Derivatives and Alternative Investments.

Noting the weight of the CFA institute material, obviously you will need to plan the location of your study sessions carefully. I found it quite a restriction to not be able to carry a couple of the topics with me for ad-hoc reading wherever would happen to be throughout the course of the work day. Exhibit B - Official CFA Institiute books

Personally I found the official CFA Institute books almost too extensive. There is no getting around it there is allot to study guys, however there are
alternatives. At work others before me, having taken the CFA exam, have passed without exception studying solely from the “study notes” that Schweser sells. So my strategy was to use the official CFA institute material as a definitive reference. It was really handy having them on the shelf , and I did use them.

However 98% of my study time was spent studying from the Schweser notes which are, to the point and informative. I was able to quickly get through material, making progress on a daily basis. Physically and in terms of content the Schweser books are thinner and lighter, while still covering all the required learning objectives. Exhibit C shows the official curriculum on the left and the Schweser study notes on the right.

Exhibit C - The Institiute and Schweser notes side by side