CFA, an acronym for Chartered Financial Analyst is one of the most reputed global designations awarded to finance and investment professionals by the CFA institute. It follows a three-level exam structure wherein an eligible candidate is tested for competency, integrity, and knowledge in financial analysis. Anyone willing to pursue this designation has to appear for the three-level exams and secure the minimum pass rate. Considered to be the gold standard in investment analysis, the CFA exams broadly cover topics like accounting, economics, money & asset management, ethics, etc. Since it is a self-study program, candidates can opt for a CFA course online to get preparation guidance from expert finance tutors and CFA charterholders.
CFA exams: An overview
CFA is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious investment management designations worldwide, handed out by the CFA institute, a global non-profit professional organization. CFA Institute is a community of more than 1.64 lakhs charter holders and financial professionals in over 151 countries. The purpose of setting up this institution is to promote and develop the highest level of education, ethics, and professionalism in the investment industry.
- Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree or any equivalent.
- Candidates in the final year of their graduation degree can also apply; however, the last exam window should not be of more than 11 months.
- Candidates must have 4 years of professional work experience or a combination of work experience and higher education totaling four years.
- Candidates should have an international passport & be able to take the exam in the English language.
- Lastly, the candidate should be living in a participating country.
The CFA program is a three-level exam that each candidate must appear and pass to earn the designation. The curriculum of each level is designed to test a wide array of skills essential for investment professionals. The following discussed is an overview of the three-level exam that justifies the essentiality of taking a CFA course online for expert guidance.
- Level 1: Conducted twice a year, this exam focuses on the basic knowledge and comprehension of investment tools and portfolio management. The key topics under this curriculum include CFA Leve 1 derivatives, ethical & professional standards, investment tools, fixed income, economics, etc. One has to answer 240 multiple choice questions in a span of six hours.
- Level 2: Offered once per year in the month of June, this level focuses on asset valuation and the application of investment tools in contextual situations. While the CFA level 1 exam entirely focuses on the basic knowledge and comprehension of investment tools, the Level 2 exam concerns the application of all these tools. It goes in-depth into investment management and tests the candidate’s ability to apply them in real-life situations.
- Level 3: The last exam of the CFA program, level 3 focuses on portfolio management and wealth planning. The syllabus for level 3 is comprehensive that includes new topics such as behavioural finance, risk management concepts, etc. Other than portfolio management and wealth planning, the curriculum also covers seven key topics that are grouped under two broad headings i.e. Ethical & Professional standards and Assets classes.
Along with guidance from a CFA course online and having relevant work experience of at least 48 months, one can appear and pass the CFA level 3 exam to become a charterholder.
Factors to look for while enrolling in a CFA course online
As one of the most valued and recognized degrees in finance, the CFA exams are quite difficult to crack. However, one can pass the exam with rigorous dedication and over 300 hours of preparation for each level. Given that the CFA is a self-study program, one can find the entire syllabus and study materials on the CFA official website. Any candidate who wishes to and is eligible to appear for the exam can access these study resources.
A CFA course online is an essential guidance aid while preparing for the CFA exams. These courses are designed by a qualified team of finance professionals and charterholders that attempt to break down every topic in detail for the candidate to grasp and understand better. While there are numerous preparation courses available online, it is important to choose the best one that will assure quality and effective guidance throughout. The following are some factors that one must consider before enrolling in a CFA course:
- In-depth coverage: CFA curriculum demands the candidates to have in-depth knowledge of all topics and concepts. Hence, it is important to prepare with courses that cover every concept in detail and make the candidate familiar with important investment tools as per standards.
- Self-paced learning: Since CFA is pursued by working professionals, they cannot afford to attend classes at a certain time every day. Hence, it is important to enroll in courses that facilitate self-paced learning wherein the candidate has 24*7 access to the study lectures and materials. Students can learn anytime, from anywhere without abandoning their other commitments.
- Mock tests & papers: Efficient learning is a key aspect here that comes with rigorous learning and practice sessions. Topics like CFA Level 1 derivatives, equity investments, financial reporting & analysis require the candidates to be well-versed with concepts while being able to comprehend them in real-life situations. Therefore, regular practice and mock tests should be a key inclusion in the CFA preparation course.
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