Finding the best CFA Prep Courses will allow you to prepare for the CFA exams. There are three levels of exams, and with the right studying and preparation, you can pass all three levels and enjoy a rewarding career.
The CFA Institute is responsible for providing the certification of CFA or Chartered Financial Analyst. Passing the CFA exams will provide the necessary certificate to take on the corporate ladder and go into specialties, such as investment research, portfolio management, and asset management.
You can pursue your dream career with more training than just a four-year degree provides. The CFA exams give you an opportunity for a great career in finance, as long as you work hard and pass all three levels of the CFA exams.
While it might seem like the CFA is a huge stepping stone, passing the exams isn’t easy. Each CFA exam level offers a different challenge, and if you’re not prepared, you might not pass.
CFA Exam Passing Rates
When you start to prepare for the CFA exams, it’s important to understand the passing rates. According to Schweser.com, 41% passed Level 1 during the June 2019 exam, and 42% passed during the December 2019 exam.
The passing rates for the CFA Exams go up with each level. About 44% passed Level 2 in 2019, while 56% passed Level 3. Those passing rates are so low due to how hard the CFA exam is for those not prepared.
What You Will Find on the CFA Exam
The CFA Exam will include many different sections and evaluate your knowledge of several areas of financial expertise. It’s split into three levels, and level 1 and 2 include topics, such as:
- Equity Investments
- Quantitative Methods
- Financial Reporting and Analysis
- Fixed Income
- Portfolio Management
- Alternative Investment
- Corporate Finance
These two levels will have questions related to these topics, along with how they are applied.
Level 3 of the CFA exam will evaluate your knowledge regarding specific financial scenarios and make proper recommendations.
Why Do You Need a CFA Prep Course?
With the low pass rate for the CFA exams, using CFA prep courses is a great way to make sure you’re fully prepared for the test. It’s recommended you study at least 300 hours for each level and around four months. CFA prep courses can help speed up the process and help you gain the knowledge and practice you need to pass the CFA exams.
There are several CFA prep courses to choose from. The right option will likely fit with your budget, your learning style, and the amount of time you have to study.
The Best 9 CFA Prep Courses to Consider
1. The Princeton Review CFA Prep Course
Known as a top test prep company, The Princeton Review offers one of the best CFA Exam prep courses on the market today. Choose from the Essential Self-Study CFA prep course or the Ultimate prep course. The Essential option offers CFA prep courses for both level 1 and level 2 of the exam. Some of the features of the Essential prep course include:
- 50+ hours of video lectures
- Two mock exams
- 900 slides with study notes
- 1,500 practice questions
- 1-year access
- A pass guarantee
- And more!
This program from Princeton Review gives you a 100% refund if you don’t pass the exam. They also state you can cut your study time in half compared to other CFA prep courses and other study materials.
If you choose the Ultimate package from Princeton Review, you will also gain access to an additional 24 hours of live-online instruction from experts and a Q&A session.
The only real issue with the Princeton Review CFA Prep Course, it doesn’t have a Level 3 prep course.
The cost of this CFA Prep Course is $799 to $999.
2. Bloomberg CFA Prep Courses
The CFA prep courses from Bloomberg come from one of the world’s top global financial intelligence companies. They believe they can cut your prep time from about 320 hours to 180 hours when you use their study program.
The Bloomberg platform uses machine learning to provide a customized experience for users. It’s a self-study option with AI study guides. Some of the things you will get with the Bloomberg CFA Prep courses include:
- Interactive micro lessons
- 10,000 practice questions
- As many as 11 practice exams
- An adaptive learning system
- Private tutoring sessions
- Ask-A-Tutor questions
- And More!
You can choose three levels, with the higher levels offering the ask-a-tutor option and more practice exams. Only the Ultimate plan offers private tutoring sessions. Choose from the Essential, Premium, or Ultimate CFA Prep course from Bloomberg.
Prices for these programs range from $699 to $1,999.
3. Kaplan CFA Exam Prep Courses
Kaplan is a leading name in exam prep, and they offer CFA Exam Prep courses you can use to become a Chartered Financial Analyst. There are three levels for their CFA prep courses to choose from, and it’s known as one of the most effective options available.
The Kaplan CFA Exam prep course offers several practice exams, personal instruction in your city, or online instruction, along with an immersive final exam very similar to the actual CFA exam.
You can start with the Essential Package if you’re on a tighter budget and get the core study materials you need. The most popular choice is the Premium Package, which offers OnDemand classes and workshops, along with the Schweser’s Secret Sauce. The PremiumPlus Package is the most expensive and offers both OnDemand and live online classes, along with a review workshop option.
The price range for the Kaplan CFA Exam Prep courses ranges from $699 to $1,299.
4. Wiley’s Efficient Learning CFA Exam Review
With the end-user in mind, Wiley’s Efficient Learning has created a CFA Prep course known as the CFA Exam Review. This program offers multiple resources,, including classes and courses,, to help you prepare for the exam. If you choose this option, you will gain access to the final exam review, which can help you better prepare for your CFA exams.
Wiley’s Efficient Learning offers several different options to choose from,, including a platinum package with online classes, mentoring, full support, and a final exam review. The programs from Wiley’s include the following:
- Platinum – This is the complete program with the 11th Hour final review mock exam and study guide. This level also offers professional online mentoring, live online virtual classes, 90+ hours of video lectures from expert instructors, short lessons, and much more.
- Gold – A level down from the platinum option, the Gold Course provides professional online mentoring, live online virtual classes, video lectures, exam planning, short lessons, course outlines, and much more.
- Self-Study – If you just want to master the basics, the self-study program offers an exam planner and study schedule, short lessons, a printable study guide, course outlines, thousands of practice questions, and more.
- 11th Hour Final Review – A great option if you’re short on time, the 11th-hour final review exam offers the mock exam, study guide, exam planner, short lessons, 25+ hours of video lectures, and more.
All four levels are offered for each level of the CFA exam. If you’re looking for a complete CFA Prep Course, it doesn’t get much better than the platinum option.
Prices for these courses range from $395 to $1,395.
5. Analyst Prep CFA
If you’re looking for one of the most affordable options for CFA Prep Courses, the Analyst Prep CFA is the right choice for you. They offer incredibly low prices with Analyst Prep for Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3.
Level 1 offers the Practice Package and the Learn + Practice Package. Both CFA Prep Courses offer a question bank of about 3,000 questions with mock exams and performance tracking. With the Learn + Practice Package, you gain access to study notes, review summaries, and video lessons. This is a fuller self-study option when you’re looking for an affordable CFA prep course.
The CFA prep course from Analyst Prep for Level 2 and Level 3 doesn’t offer video lessons. They only have the practice package for these levels, but you can ask a tutor about each program’s practice questions and concepts.
Analyst Prep also offers an Unlimited Package, which includes options for all three levels or level 2 and level 3. This is a lifetime package offering study materials, video lessons, study notes, practice questions, and more. With these packages, there’s no limit to asking a tutor questions.
The pricing for the Analyst Prep CFA Prep Courses ranges from $99 to $499.
6. Fitch Learning CFA Prep Courses
One of the most influential credit rating agencies is Fitch Learning, and they offer a CFA Prep Course you can use to prepare for your exams. The platform is known for the comprehensive training option, and you can learn from experts in the financial industry before you take the CFA exam.
They offer the Online Learning Self-Paced CFA Prep Course for all three levels of the CFA Exam. This course provides several features, such as:
- Short video lectures
- Mock exams
- 5,000 practice questions
- Adaptive knowledge checking system
- Mobile app
- Instructor helpdesk
- And more!
They also offer a virtual classroom option if you prefer an online learning package with live OnDemand classes and webinars.
The price range for the CFA Prep Course from Fitch Learning ranges from $695 to $1,195.
7. Wall Street Mojo CFA Prep Course
Offering a CFA prep course for Level 1, the Wall Street Mojo course provides a good option for practicing and preparing for your CFA Level 1 Exam. If you need a low-cost alternative to help you prepare for the CFA Exam, this might be the right option for you.
This CFA Prep Course offers:
- Online Videos
- Technical Support
- Case Studies
- Online Mock Tests
- And more!
You can gain access to the Wall Street Mojo CFA Prep Course for a very low price. The regular price is $399, but they often run deals for as low as $49.
8. Salt Solutions Master the CFA Exam Prep
When you choose the Salt Solutions CFA Prep Course, you will have a program with instructors that get how difficult it is to pass the CFA exams. This CFA prep course offers video lessons, plenty of practice questions, practice quizzes, and more.
Salt Solutions used to be called AdaptPrep, but they are moving the platform over to a new name with even more advantages. It’s a versatile team of experts ready to help you prepare for the CFA exams.
The program offers study checkpoints with a holistic approach. It’s a self-paced program currently in the beta version for the CFA Level 1 Exam only.
9. Udemy CFA Prep Courses
If you’re on a very tight budget, you can use Udemy to find the right CFA Prep Course for your needs. Udemy offers several options with incredibly low costs. Two of the most common options include:
CFA Level 1 by PrepNuggets – This course is a deep dive into corporate finance from a top-selling CFA prep course provider. It will cover many of the necessary topics needed to help you study for the CFA exam.
Exam Prep: CFA Level 1 Bootcamp 2021 Curriculum by 365 Careers – This course offers two parts covering Ethics, Corporate Finance, Economics, Alternative Investing, Quantitative Methods, and more. It’s one of the highest-rated CFA prep courses on Udemy.
Study Tips for Your CFA Exams
Choosing the right CFA Prep course will go a long way to helping you study for your CFA exams. Whether you’re studying for Level 1 or all three levels, you need to study properly. It’s recommended you study for around 300 hours for each level. Here are some tips to help you along the way.
Create a Study Plan
Having a good plan with a study schedule will go a long way to making sure you can get prepared for your CFA exams. You want to make sure you have a solid study plan. Some of the CFA prep courses offer study schedules and plans, which can help you.
You don’t want to be cramming for the CFA exams, or you will likely be part of the high percentage that fails. Make sure you start studying as early as possible. At least four months before the test is best, but if you can start sooner, do so.
Get into a Study Routine
Routines take time, which means forming healthy study habits is essential to passing any test. Having a routine that you are already used to following will make studying more beneficial. By creating healthy study habits, you’ll allow yourself to focus on the information instead of being distracted by not having a plan. To be successful at most things, you need to be prepared. Take time beforehand to form a plan, an outline of what you will accomplish, doing so can eliminate wasted time and being distracted by giving yourself a structured plan to follow.
Practice with Practice Questions
Every good CFA Prep Course offers practice questions. Use these questions to help build confidence and address your weaknesses in knowledge regarding the CFA exams.
Take Multiple Mock Exams
Most of the best CFA Prep Courses will include more than one mock exam. Make sure you take several of these exams to prepare for the real CFA Exams. This will help to ensure you know where you’re weak to help you study the right material as you prepare.
If you want to make sure you don’t fail the CFA exams, you should also understand why people tend to fail these exams when they take them. Since more than 50% will fail Level 1 and Level 2, make sure you understand the following reasons why people fail the CFA exams.
Top 4 Reasons Why People Fail the CFA Exams
1. Don’t Study Enough
Of course, you need to prepare, and the right CFA prep course will help, but you have to use it. While some courses claim to cut your study time down dramatically, make sure you study enough. It’s recommended you study at least 300 hours for each level, if possible.
If you study properly for Level 1, it will be much easier to study for Level 2.
2. Not Identifying Weak Areas
When you study for the CFA exams, you need to figure out which areas you’re weak in when it comes to your knowledge. If you purchased a CFA prep course with quizzes and practice exams, use these to help figure out where your knowledge gaps are and what you must address.
It’s essential to identify your weak areas so you can study properly for the CFA exams. If you don’t identify the right areas, you might not study the material you need to know the most.
3. Lack of Practice
CFA Prep Courses give you thousands of practice questions for a reason. When you pay for one of these programs, you need to use these practice questions often. With proper practice, you’ll gain better knowledge, and you’ll be in better shape to pass your CFA exams.
4. Trying to Cram Too Late in the Game
When you don’t pace your studying enough, you will likely struggle a bit more with the CPA exam than you might expect. This isn’t some high school or even college exam you’re preparing for. More than half of those taking it every year fail.
You want to pace your studies and keep them at a pace that makes sense. About 15 hours per week is a good pace if you have enough time. Any more, and you might burn yourself out and stop retaining the knowledge as well as you’d like.
These four reasons are some of the most common reasons why people fail the CFA Exams. If you want to make sure you pass, choose the right CFA Prep Course for your needs to ensure you get the study materials you need and use them to prepare for your exams.
Frequently Asked Questions About CFA Prep Courses
What does CFA prepare you for?
When you get your CFA charter, you will gain the necessary skills and expertise in several areas of finance. This set of skills allow you to advance your career or start a career in one of many areas of finance. The CFA exams will measure your competence and integrity before you start a career as a financial analyst. They also give you the certification to become hirable in several areas of finance.
Is Passing CFA Level 1 Hard?
Yes, every level of the CFA exams is challenging. With proper studying and a good CFA prep course, you can increase your chances of passing each level.
Can You Study CFA On Your Own?
Yes. All three of the exams found within the CFA program are designed for self-study. You can do it on your own with a top CFA prep course, or you can choose to use a tutor. The most effective option will likely depend on how you prefer to study for big exams.
How Long Should You Study for CFA Level 1?
According to Investopedia.com, about 42% pass the CFA Level 1 exam the first time they take it. You need a strong study plan, and most people spend about 300 hours preparing for the exam. It’s best to allow four months or 17 weeks to study for the CFA Level 1 exam.
Can You Pass CFA in 3 Months?
Yes, you can pass the CFA in three months if you study enough and dedicate enough time to prepare for the test. While it’s recommended you study for 17 weeks or four months, if you focus on Ethics from the CFAI and study hard, you can pass the CFA in 3 months.
Can CFA Level 1 Get You a Job?
Yes, you can get a job if you pass the CFA Level 1 Exam. Most likely, passing level 1 will give you the ability to work as an accountant, assistant account manager, fund analyst, investment product analyst, intern, or junior equity research analyst. These jobs are often stepping stones to a higher-level position in the future.
Are CFAs in demand?
Yes, CFA positions are in high demand in the United States and other countries, especially India. Many countries are looking for people who have passed the CFA exams (all three or a specific level).
Is CFA better than MBA?
Both CFA and MBA are high-level training programs and are often seen as rival programs. However, they are very different, with MBA focusing on leadership and business management. CFA focuses on investment analysis. Both provide a way to climb the corporate ladder and earn a larger salary.
According to BusinessBecause.com, MBA graduates will earn an average of $135K per year, while CFAs will earn $92,600 per year. It’s possible to complete both programs and those that do make an average salary of $195,000 per year.
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