Best Places to Study for the CFA Exam

Best Places to Study for the CFA Exam

Article by Mike Carmody, CFA, Lead Instructor on (Updated on ) in CFA Study Tips

How can you avoid distractions while studying for the CFA® exam? Our lead instructor Mike Carmody has tips based on his own CFA exam prep experience.

Where do you do most of your studying? Where are you most productive when you study?

These are important questions! As you prepare for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam, you should maximize the results of your efforts. Simply putting time in is not enough. You must be productive in those hours.

Study for the CFA exam where you can focus.

An obvious answer is you should study where you are least distracted so you can focus intently on the material. What is less obvious is the nature of the distractions. As a college student, I studied best in the library. I could find a “cubby hole” where there was nothing to do but study. (Actually, sometimes I could take a quick nap.) The atmosphere was quiet and conducive to learning.

I don’t know if that would work for me now. Sure, the library is still a pretty quiet place. But now you can bring your quiet distractions with you. I went to college before cell phones were invented. I know, that makes me very old! So when I went to the library, people could only contact me if they physically walked to the library and found me. That takes a lot of effort, so I was rarely interrupted.

Avoid the distractions of modern life.

Now you can text, browse the internet, chat online, and review Facebook posts, all while sitting quietly in the library.

That certainly makes for many distractions. So finding the best place to study is a bit more challenging. It takes more discipline now. You must consciously decide to eliminate the distractions.

My recommendation is to leave your phone off. Only use the computer to really study. Log out of Facebook and other social networking sites. This is your time to study, so don’t let people (including people online) interrupt.

Maximize your CFA exam prep time.

This may sound too rigid. Perhaps I am old-fashioned. You may be an expert at multitasking. I still believe your study time could be more productive if you are completely focused. Studying in this manner should reduce the total amount of time required to pass the exam.

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