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CFA : Importance of a Study Schedule and How to Create One April 2, 2012

Posted by Ishmael Chibvuri in Latest Articles!!!.

It is important to follow a study schedule to keep you on pace. Without quantitative study goals you are unlikely to pass the exam. After constructing your study schedule, write or type up the schedule and keep a copy where it is visible. The act of codifying your study schedule will help you stick to the schedule. By writing your schedule out on paper, you are making a promise to yourself to follow the schedule.This may seem unnecessary but it is extremely important.

There are various ways you can construct your study schedule.

  1. Set a minimum number of hours per week that you will study, i.e., I will study at least 15 hours per week, preferably more.
  1. Pros: Having a numerical goal provides discipline and should get you into a routine.
  2. Cons: 15 hours per week may not be enough studying for you to pass, which you won’t know until it is too late.

Set a deadline for completing each book. I.E., I will finish all five Schweser books by the end of Mach, or I will finish book 1 by January 21st, and book by February 7th, and so on…

  1. Pros: Setting a goal to finish reading the material before the end of March will give you a lot of time to review.
  2. Cons: If you set deadlines for finishing each book and it looks like you are going to miss a deadline you’ll rush through material to finish on time, decreasing your retention. An example, my goal was to finish reading all five books by the end of March. With three and a half weeks left I still hadn’t read books 4 and 5, which caused me to rush through the books. I retained very little and had to commit substantial time reviewing books 4 and 5.

Combining an ‘hours per week’ goal with a ‘deadlines for finishing each book’ goal is a good idea because it protects against the weakness of using just one of the methods.

Also, do not skip the practice questions at the end of each chapter. Doing these questions will prepare you to answer quickly on test day, and timing is a crucial part of the exam. It is important to be dynamic with your study schedule. If you feel that you need to study more per week, change your schedule to reflect the additional required study time and stick to your new schedule.

My study schedule looked like this:

  • Four days per week, 2 and ½ hours per day. 30 minutes during lunch and 2 hours after work. Give yourself a free day during the week to do what you like. This will keep you sane.
  • Four hours on Saturday and four hours on Sunday.

This equates to 18 hours of study time per week, which will put you in a good position on test day.

Studying for over 5 hours in one day rendered my brain a useless quivering mass. However, this will be different for everyone. Its been proven that when studying a large amount of material you will remember better the first and last items studied. These phenomena are known as the primacy and recency effects.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primacy_effect. It has also been shown that taking breaks in the middle of complicated learning sessions helps improve learner retention. http://www.recallplus.com/Breaks.asp For example, if you are reading a particularly difficult chapter and you take a break in the middle of reading the chapter rather than taking a break at the end of the chapter, you will learn better.




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