CFA Level 1: How To Nail It on Your First Try

19 May 2020

We all know the first paper is foundational – and can be the most daunting for those just starting out on this CFA journey.  No need to do anymore guesswork – we’ve compiled exactly what you need to know here so you can allocate your time, energy and focus in the right areas. Be well-informed on the breakdown of Curriculum Weightage, Costs Incurred and Exam Duration before you decide to take this leap!

Curriculum Weightage:

The curriculum weightage is the key for anyone preparing for the CFA exams! With the topics on “Ethical & Professional Standard” and “Financial Reporting & Analysis” set to weigh the most in the coming CFA Level I paper, students are advised to spend more study time on the concepts and tools on the above topics. 


Costs Incurred:

We are certain you would be able to find countless of articles about how much it costs financially to take the CFA level 1 paper but here we summarised a whole list of costs (financially, effort, time, etc) that you would have to pay for when studying for your first paper, on first try:

Exam Duration & Question Format

Did you know that the CFA paper 1 is split into two sessions – one in the morning and one in the afternoon? Intensive period indeed.

  1. a) Morning: 120 questions  (3 hours)
  2. b) Afternoon: 120 questions (3 hours)

That means you have approximately 1.5 minute to attempt every question. These are mutually exclusive questions with three available answers per question in a similar format below: 

Which of the following is least likely to be considered as an alternative investment?

  1.         Real Estate
  2.         Commodities
  3.         Long-only Equity Funds

Release of Results 

The most nerve-wracking part of CFA Paper 1 only occurs 60 days after completing the exams – the release of the Exam Results. The minimum passing score for the CFA level 1 paper is never disclosedsays CFA institute (we are assuming it is based on the intake’s bell curve!) but we encourage candidates to aim minimally 70% of the points by topic to try to be among the right hand side of the bell-curve!

Read more  on the above quote here. If you need any help in understanding how to read your topic area performance summary then read the official release by CFA Institute here.

Last but not least, Funds Partnership Asia wishes all candidates taking their CFA Level 1 paper the best of luck but always remember: Exams are always going to happen. You are either going to pass or fail but that one word does not get to decide your future!