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CFA study plan

This study plan is designed to 1. Get me through the bulk of the content by Dec 31, with - LOS notes - Flashcards - Recordings - Familiarity with practice questions 2. Cram as much of the prep work into my memory as possible before the test - Use all the materials I prepared in Phase I - Lots and lots of practice questions and tests

Working backwards

Working backwards, there are two primary workflows with hard dates: 1. Feb 23 - test day 2. Jan 1 - prepare for test day

Which means I need to get through the first pass of all the content by Dec 31 so that I can start memorizing on Jan 1.

19 Study Sessions, 57 Readings, 20 weeks

There are between 2-5 readings per study session, and I’m assuming that each reading is approximately the same length.

I need to do, at minimum, 3 readings per week, which is absolutely ~~easily~~ achievable.

For each reading:

  1. Create a ZK file for every LOS. E.g. Reading 1 - Ethics and Trust - LOS a. explain ethics
    • Use the AnalystNotes study notes primarily
    • Reinforce where necessary with curriculum books
    • Create flash card material
  2. Read the Ethics material aloud and record it using Zoom
    • Make an audiobook out of the recordings

When a study session is complete

  1. Create Anki flash card decks for future review
    • Use the ZK notes
  2. Do practice questions in curriculum books
    • Record the score for later reference


Date Week Total Readings Weeks to go % Done
Aug 23 Week 1 2.5 19 weeks to go 4.4%
Aug 30 Week 2 2.5 18 weeks to go 4.4%
Sep 6 Week 3 2.5 17 weeks to go 4.4%
Sep 13 Week 4 6 16 weeks to go 10.5%
Sep 20 Week 5 8.5 15 weeks to go 15%
Sep 27 Week 6 ? 14 weeks to go 15%
Oct 4 Week 7 15 13 weeks to go 26.3%
Oct 11 Week 8   12 weeks to go  
Oct 18 Week 9 (50% done)   11 weeks to go  
Oct 25 Week 10   10 weeks to go  
Nov 1 Week 11 24 9 weeks to go 42%
Nov 8 Week 12 26 8 weeks to go 46%
Nov 15 Week 13   7 weeks to go  
Nov 22 Week 14 (75% done)   6 weeks to go  
Nov 29 Week 15   5 weeks to go  
Dec 6 Week 16   4 weeks to go  
Dec 13 Week 17   3 weeks to go  
Dec 20 Week 18   2 weeks to go  
Dec 27 Week 19   1 week to go  


20200817 - Reading Economics prerequisite material. Then I found out that I don’t need to read this stuff, just use the study notes I purchased from AnalystNotes.

20200825 - Reading Ethics and Professionalism. I am reading these Ethics and Professionalism sections aloud and recording them so I may later listen to my own voice. They are the most important section of the test, so I’m doing my best to set myself up for success on this section at least. These readings are going slower than the plan, but should speed up significantly once I’m through Ethics.

20200831 - This reading is big and dense. I have not made much progress, but need to put in more time. At this pace, I’ll never finish the readings by the end of December. - Hours booked last week = 7.75 - Hours recommended by Direct Path to the CFA Charter = 15

20200906 - Still plugging through Ethics. I put in 10.5 hours this week. Not going to cut it! I have 57 Readings total, 54 to go, only 17 weeks to go. Things will start going faster (I hope) once I get through Ethics, but I need to do ~3 readings PER WEEK to make it. I have spent 3 weeks on this ONE, which is not going to cut it going forward. I’ll get a better idea of pace once I get through ethics, but may need to start putting in more time to make my Dec 31 deadline to get through the first pass.

20200908 - FINALLY FINISHED ETHICS, both the reading/recording and the flash cards. FINALLY. - 337 flash cards created. The book Direct Path to the CFA says that I should finish with about 300 flash cards IN TOTAL for Level I. So, I’m getting waaaay too granular.

20200913 - Made great progress last week after finishing the ethics section. Currently blazing through Reading 7, it’s a lot of the same stuff I’m already learning in statistics.

20200920 - Quant is intense math stuff. Didn’t go super fast, but didn’t get stuck either.

20200927 - Funeral in Colorado. I did ZERO CFA study.

Important note 20201006

Starting with economics (Study Session 4, Reading 12) I am scanning the important looking points (bold, formulas, etc) and not making note cards for the rest of the content.

20201011 - I am about 25% of the way through the curriculum, and have used up 42% of the time available. I think it is not as bad as it seems, because after ethics and quant methods, I am scanning more than ingesting. I moved much faster last week than other weeks and expect it to continue.

20201029 - I am not quite keeping up with my requirements, even with the reduced amount of focus on each section. I am over 50% of the way through my allotted first-pass time, and only 42% of the way through the curriculum. In order to finish on time, I need to complete 4 readings per week from here on out.

20201109 - I only completed 2.5 readings last week. Didn’t spend enough time on it. Period. Only 3 hours total.

20201204 - I have 22 readings left. I have 27 days left in the month. I have to finish these readings by the end of the month so I can dive into deeper study and sample tests. Basically, I’m on the hook to average 1 reading per day for the rest of the month.

20201208 - I have 15 readings left and 23 days left in the month. Last few days have been good ones. But, easy ones. I have less experiential knowledge of the subjects coming up so they might go slower.

20201229 - I have 4 readings left, 2 days left in the year. Overall, I did pretty well. After these last few readings comes the hard part, the lock-down serious study part. I need to sit down and think hard and allocate time to study efficiently.