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  • Post last modified:April 27, 2021

Do you want to rise to the top of the investment analysis field? If so, you’ve probably already considered sitting in for all three parts of the CFA exam. In this post we have covered details about the Chartered Financial Analyst test or CFA exam as it is popularly termed as. 

To become a chartered financial analyst takes at least 900 hours of study, costs several thousand dollars, and can be one of the toughest testing situations you ever face. So, let’s explore a few important things about CFA.

Why do people do CFA and its benefits? 

The rewards are extraordinary. Not only does having the letters “CFA” on your business card show that you have a high level of competence in your chosen profession, but you’ll also have an almost unlimited earning potential throughout your career.

So, what does CFA exam test you for? It tests your understanding of value assets, portfolio management, wealth planning and more through its 3 exams. 

You are expected to skyrocket your career in investment banking to a senior management role after successfully passing these tests and becoming a charter holder.

You can learn a lot more about CFA, its benefits, curriculum, exam registration and more on the website of CFA Institute.

Take these statistics into consideration to assess the benefits of passing CFA exams for your career.

  • Over 25000 firms employ the CFA charter holders to meet their evolving needs.
  • There are over 175,000 CFA charter holder professionals influencing over 160 industries globally

Passing the CFA exams is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea and involves a lot of preparation. The image below will give you a taster of what to expect in all level of CFA exams. 

Before you make the life-changing decision to sit for the three-part test, it’s essential to know some key facts about preparation, testing fees, and more. 

Keep in mind that you need to prepare in two ways. First, there’s the academic prep that is indispensable for success on each of the three modules. Second, it’s smart to deal with the money question early. 

Once you get into study mode, you don’t want to break your concentration by worrying about how to come up with the fees for the next part of the series. Taking care of the financial arrangements well ahead of everything else can go a long way toward freeing your mind to focus on the material. 

Here are the most crucial things to know before applying for the chartered financial analyst examination.

How much does it cost?

On the road to any academic degree or professional designation, whether it’s the CFA, CPA, MBA, or even a PhD., one of the first obstacles is expense. Four-year college degrees can cost in excess of $100,000, master’s and doctorate degrees even more. Career competency licenses like the CPA or CFA don’t cost nearly as much, but most people who aim for those goals already have college or grad school behind them, so it’s an additional cost.

Total expenses for the chartered financial analyst tests vary based on when you pay. The organization that oversees the registration process and collects the money offers early-bird, regular, and late application deadlines. Plus, there’s a flat $450 initial fee that you have to pay even before taking a single examination. So, put $450 into the expense column to begin. After that, each of the three parts cost anywhere from $650 to $1,380 each, for early and late-payers, respectively. 

Regular registration costs $950. So, if you apply for all the early-bird rates, your grand total would be $2,400. Being late for all three parts means you’ll fork over a total of $4,590. All three regular applications would cost $3,300.

How to Pay?

It’s easy to see that paying attention to the deadlines can save you more than $2,000. Candidates pay in lots of different ways, like borrowing from family members, putting the fees on credit cards, using savings, or taking out personal loans. 

If you don’t want to run your max your credit cards and end up paying potentially excessive interest rates, and if you don’t have savings or family options, a personal loan is a wise way to cover the expenses. The pro of opting for a personal loan from a private lender is that you can negotiate for favorable interest rates, terms, and repayment periods. Plus, you can use one loan to take care of all three testing fees at once.

How to Prepare for CFA Exams

There are two ways to prepare. 

One involves taking online or in-person classes. The available options range in quality and cost, but many will set you back several hundred dollars. 

The other, more sensible way to prepare is self-study. You have to be disciplined to make it work, but you’ll have two key advantages over the classroom method. One, the costs are much lower. Two, you can create your own study schedule even if you’re currently working full time. 

Expect to spend about 300 hours for each section of the CFA examination. 

There are three parts, so that means you need to budget a minimum of 900 hours of book time. 

Many candidates add 50 or 100 hours to the allotted time for the first test because it’s the toughest. Pass rates are typically under 50 percent for parts one and two, while just over 50 percent for part three.

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