The CFA exams are the biggest moments of a chartered accountant or investments analyst’s life. It’s the gateway to climbing higher and higher up in their career. However, it is also one of the most difficult exams they’ll encounter.
Fortunately, there is just as much help as there are difficulties. If you’re planning to take the CFA exams sometime soon, you can study from a huge wealth of learning resources. Even better – you can enroll in a fully-fledged CFA study program.
In a CFA study program, you will learn everything there is no know about these exams and how to pass them. You will get dedicated guidance and tutorials from teachers and instructors. You’ll have access to the best CFA study materials around. You can collaborate with others as well to improve your understanding of the material.
Simply put, taking CFA exam prep courses or study programs is the best CFA prep method in order to pass the exams easily. Here are our picks for the best CFA preparation courses.
- Two scheduled mock exams a day – at 5 am and 5 pm, to accommodate as many time zones as possible.
- Completely free to try out. You can get about 150 questions or free before you have to purchase any.
- Over 3,500 practice questions and sample tests on all topics.
- Annual billing instead of being just until you pass.
- Fewer mock practice questions compared to some other papers.
- Not much in the way of best CFA materials for Level II and III, only practice papers mainly.
They offer over 40+ hours of video lectures on each and every single aspect of the examination. They will cover all the topics, including the quantitative mathematics and economics sections, followed by the financial and investment evaluation process.
At each step, you will get a ton of exams, sample questions, study notes, etc. It is typically considered one of the best CFA study programs around just because of how much material you get.
So, what exactly is included in the study materials? For Level 1, they give you the opportunity to practice using the question bank. The Analyst Prep question bank is one of the biggest ones. After you’re done practicing, you can evaluate your own progress from the mock exams.
It isn’t just good for level 1. They also have some of the best CFA level 2 study materials. The question bank has over 200 case studies to examine, each with 6 questions to test your knowledge just like the actual exam would.
For level 3, there are also lots of questions that revolve around handling and managing finances and wealth.
One unique factor Analyst Prep offers is customizable quizzes. Basically, you can actually customize test quizzes or mocks according to topic and difficulty. You can design quizzes to focus on specific topics you are not very well versed in yet.
Analyst Prep is surprisingly affordable. Each of the Practice Packages has hundreds of questions, plus attached performance tracking tools that can tell you where your weaknesses are. You also get a limited number of live chat questions to ask a tutor. Each time you purchase it, you get access to it for 12 months.
There are three CFA packages for different levels of study help. For $199, you get the Practice Package. For 12 months, you can freely access the question bank and do CBT Mock Exams.
For $349, you can get the practice package’s CFA prep materials, as well as some video lessons, study notes, and summarized reviews. This package is good for learning as well as revising.
For $549, you get lifetime access to everything Analyst Prep has for preparing for the exams. This includes mock exams and question banks for all three levels, plus video lessons and reviews for Level I specifically. They don’t actually offer video lessons for level II or III.
- Covers the curriculum very quickly and thoroughly, in less than half the time of most other courses.
- 7-day full refund guarantee. You can trial the course and its materials before deciding to commit.
- Live online tutoring is unique to Princeton Review.
- A huge amount of resources for all students.
- Some depth and detail are lost due to the speed of the Essential course.
- Though the quality is superb, it is one of the most expensive CFA study courses.
- No CFA Level III prep materials offered.
Now, most people will tell you that you have to study for about 250 to 300 hours to get a good result in the CFA. However, Princeton Review promises to cut that down to just 120 hours.
They offer over 50 hours of video lectures covering all 10 of the main topics in the Level I exam. This is followed by over 900 pieces of study notes. These notes are perfect for memorizing and understanding the smaller concepts. Combine them with the flashcards for the best effect.
Once you have fully covered the syllabus, you can start working on the practice questions. In fact, the study materials are designed so that you can split up learning and practicing easily. You won’t waste practice material before you’re fully finished learning the topics.
There are nearly 3200 practice questions available with the Princeton Review. Detailed solutions are available for these as well, so you can figure out what mistakes you made.
There are 4-6 mock exams that will prepare candidates for the CFA exams ahead of time. The mock exams are designed to be just like the actual exam.
All of these are included in the Essential On-Demand Course, which is available for Level I and Level II exams. For Level I, a second option is the Ultimate LiveOnline Course.
In addition to giving out study materials, the LiveOnline course offers you 24 hours of live instructions given online. You will learn the topics directly from a certified teacher and expert. The instructors all have CFA charters already, with many years of working in Finance or teaching at Universities.
What makes this the best CFA program is the fact you can also get 1-to-1 sessions with an instructor. Most of the other CFA courses don’t offer this and limit you to email interactions.
Unfortunately, if you are looking for the best CFA level 3 prep course, you might have to look elsewhere. Princeton Review has very little coverage of the Level 3 exam. They are focused entirely on being the best CFA level 1 online course. It’s understandable, considering Level 1 is where you need to learn all the topics and concepts initially.
There is also an option for Live Online Tutoring. Instead of getting a course, you will be put in touch with a tutor directly. With a tutor, you can get personal advice that actually works for you and a tailored study plan that will highlight your weaknesses without wasting time on your strengths.
Don’t worry – even if you get online tutoring, you can still get the full set of questions, videos, slides, and mock exams.
The cost of tutoring is $200 per hour, though it may be discounted on occasion. You can get up to 14 hours of 1-on-1 instruction. Yes, it may be pricey, but it is also the best way to pass the CFA exam bar none.
Regarding prices, the Essential course costs $499. The Ultimate course costs $999. While they are on the expensive side, they still remain one of the best CFA level 1 prep options. Plus, you have a Pass Guarantee. If you do not pass the first time, your full tuition fee will be refunded.
My Guru CFA Tutoring
- Affordable 1-on-1 tutoring.
- Both online and in-person are available. Lots of platforms for flexibility.
- Video recordings are available at an affordable price with group tutoring.
- Not a lot of study materials are available.
- Sometimes your personal tutor might not be suitable for you.
Compared to a book or video lecture, a dedicated tutor can explain a topic in a flexible manner. They can abstract it and use different analogies or examples to improve a student’s understanding. Everyone is unique, so the study materials and tips that work for one person might not work for another.
However, dedicated tutors are also expensive. For instance, Princeton Review charges $200 an hour for one on one tutoring. It is also limited to just 14 hours of tutoring.
For the best CFA tutoring, look no further than My Guru. They are a well-known test prep company in the US focused on providing the very best tutoring to everyone. On top of personal tutoring, they have recently branched out to blogs, summaries and eBooks on various topics.
According to most people, it takes about 300 hours of study in order to pass the CFA Level 1 exams. This is the average for most people who use CFA test prep materials and courses. However, since most of their studying is self-studying, this time tends to be spent very inefficiently.
With a dedicated tutor, you won’t waste any time trying to figure out the next topic. You won’t focus too much on topics that are unimportant to the exams. Thanks to their experience with the CFA exams, a tutor can streamline the whole studying process and make sure that you focus on the correct things.
My Guru’s CFA tutoring platform is quite flexible. For online tutoring, a video call program like Google Meet, Zoom or Skype is used. Alongside the videos, a whiteboard software is also used to illustrate concepts. If you prefer the atmosphere in a classroom, this is very similar to that.
All the notes, documents, and supplementary materials recorded in each session are stored. All the sessions with your tutor are also recorded so you can view them later.
My Guru’s CFA tutors are all highly experienced and dedicated. Individually, they tend to have professional postgraduate degrees and many years of experience in finance at large organizations. Each of the tutors has a track record of success from previous students.
In addition to tutoring, My Guru has a self-paced CFA prep course. This course does not replace tutoring entirely but is meant to be a supplement. Like most other CFA courses, this includes a question bank, video lessons and lectures, mock exams, and study notes. This course is actually carried out in partnership with Analyst Prep, so you are in good hands.
The basic online 1-on-1 tutoring costs $109 per hour. For in-person, it costs a little more at $129 per hour. However, this is still the most affordable 1-on-1 tutoring for CFA examinations.
The premium online tutoring costs $179 per hour. In this, you get access to the live recordings of your sessions that you can review later. You also get access to an instructor 24/7, so you can shoot them a question whenever you need.
If you have any friends or coworkers also taking the CFA exam alongside you, you can sign up for small-group tutoring instead. It won’t be 1-on-1, but still almost as good. Small group tutoring costs $109 per hour as a base rate, plus $30 per person. Video recordings are available.
Wiley Efficient Learning
Wiley is one of the biggest finance and accounting firms out there. They provide a lot of training and guidance on the different aspects of the CFA exam. This ranges from providing the best CFA level 2 study materials and even the best CFA level 3 prep classes.
The Wiley Efficient Learning platform is an industry-recognized one. They have been awarded for their education works, and are one of the few such programs to get this. They also have one of the highest pass rates out of everyone – 90% of students pass. This statistic accounts for over a million examinees over the years!
Wiley’s instructors are experts in their field and highly accredited. Plus, the Wiley Efficient Learning offers several different approaches to delivering the best study materials for CFA level 1 and beyond.
For starters, they offer both interactive online classes, tutorials, and webinars. You can email instructors and get direct tutoring.
There are several different levels of the Wiley Efficient Learning Package. Each one depends on how much material and hands-on help you require. For those who are good at self-study, Wiley is one of the best CFA preparation and self-study courses out there. The pricing varies across packages, so make sure you know your abilities before you choose one.
The self-study course provides you with all the materials you could possibly need. It costs $645 and covers several questionnaire sets and a couple of mock exams.
The next level of package is $995. It covers online classes and online mock exams, books, and several hours of video lectures and recordings. However, the critical benefit of this package is the ability to get responses from instructors. If you have any questions, you can send them to an instructor and get their response later on. However, if they are busy, they may not help you as an instructor immediately.
Another incredible part of the CFA Wiley program is that they guarantee you a pass. Until you have passed the exams, you will have access to all the study materials. You can keep trying as many times as you need to.
The ultimate package is worth $1,395. Here, Wiley gives you even more online classes, mock exams, dedicated tutoring from instructors, and more. Plus, the instructors will always respond to you in 1-2 days at most.
So, if you want to do mostly self-study with a little bit of extra help, then the first option might be best. But if you are the type who needs a lot of guidance, then the higher tiers would be the best CFA preparation courses for you.
- 110+ hours of video content for studying and reviewing in total.
- Student discussion board so that you can discuss your studies and CFA prep with other students.
- Huge number of practice questions, plus on-demand online tutoring and classes.
- Only two mock exams, which is very few.
- One of the most expensive options even for the lower-end packages.
Kaplan Scheweser CFA Program Study Packages
The Kaplan Scheweser study materials are incredibly concise. They are the best CFA preparation courses for anyone who wants to master the CFA material just sufficiently enough to get a solid passing grade on the exam.
Basically, they prioritize time and efficiency over grades and academics. This is a fairly common mindset in the fast-moving corporate world, which is why the Kaplan Schweser is so popular.
They are best known for the ScheweserNotes and the QuickSheets, both of which are excellent references to have at hand. Two packages are offered: the Essential Package and the Premium Package.
The essential package costs $699 and includes most of the core study tools, such as the references and video tutorials, 4 mock exams, jumpstart study materials, communication with instructors and checkpoint exams.
The premium package includes all of those, plus additional OnDemand workshops and review classes that you can visit at any time. The Workshops include an additional 55 hours of instruction, on top of the 40 hours already given. It costs $999
Both of the packages include Schweser’s PassProtection. Basically, if you don’t pass the exam despite spending hundreds of dollars on study materials, don’t worry. If you register for another exam within a year, you can purchase the same study package free of charge.
Other CFA exam study materials provided by Kaplan include a QBank and a computerized mock exam. The QBank has over 3,500 practice questions that are almost identical to the style and type of questions in the actual CFA.
The computerized mock exam, similarly, is meant to emulate the style of giving the actual exam. The program interface and layout are almost exactly the same as that of the real exam.
You can purchase the QBank for a specific exam window such as February or May. Once you do, it will be valid and available until the exam takes place. Afterward, you can always purchase a new set of questions for further practice for free of charge if you need to.
On Schweser’s website, you can see a list of all the different materials that are available for each exam, as well as when access to them opens up. This gives you a solid schedule for your studies, allowing you to set a pace.
Overall, Schweser’s CFPA Program has a 97% recommendation rate. Nearly everyone who has used it recommends it to others.
- Review and study materials are extremely concise and streamlined, focusing only on the necessary details and information.
- Question Bank questions are targeted for different exam windows and new ones are available after each.
- QuickSheets and the Schweser’s Secret Sauce books are extremely portable and can be carried around anywhere.
- Lots of mock exams, up to 6.
- 7-day free trial so you can check if the CFA review materials are suitable for you.
- No unlimited access to materials. You may lose access if you want to take a gap between two attempts at the CFA exams.
- The study materials are a bit too slim, causing you to miss out on valuable detail and depth in your preparation.
Comparison Table of the Best CFA Study Materials
|AnalystPrep||Wiley Efficient Learning||Kaplan Schweser Program||Princeton Review||
My Guru Tutoring
|Price||$199 – $549||$645 – $1,395||$699 – $999||$499 – $999||
$109 – $179+ per hour
|Video Lectures||40+ Hours||110+ hours||40 hours||50 hours||
|Number of Practice Questions||3500+
200 case studies
|2000+ practice questions||3500 practice questions||3200 practice questions||N/A|
|Number of Mock Exams||8||2||6||4+||N/A|
|Materials||Video Lectures, Study Notes||Video Lectures, Study Notes, Student Discussions, Dedicated Tutoring||Video Lectures, Study Notes, QuickSheets, “Secret Sauce” Book||Study Notes, Flashcards, Live Tutoring||
1-on-1 tutoring and Group Tutoring
|Free Trials and Refunds||Limited study materials for free||No Free Trial||7-day Free Trial||7-day trial with the refund||No Free Trial|
The CFA exams are probably the most important ones in the life of a financial analyst. When it comes to choosing the best CFA preparation courses, it is important to do research thoroughly. If you choose the wrong one, you won’t learn effectively and waste your time. If you choose the right one, you will top the exam with minimal effort!
If you want to be done with studying as quickly and efficiently as possible, we recommend Analyst Prep or Wiley’s courses. On the other hand, Princeton Review and My Guru offer personalized tutoring, which can be extremely effective.
- Which is the best CFA study material?
The best CFA study materials are the Princeton Review and the Wiley Prep Course. They are extremely thorough, but also quite expensive.
- Which course is best before CFA?
If you have plenty of time to prepare, we recommend Wiley’s Efficient Learning or Analyst Prep. However, if you don’t have a lot of time left before the CFA exams, then the SchweserNotes may be more suitable.
- What is the best CFA level 1 prep?
Princeton Review offers the most focused CFA Level 1 Review course, with a huge volume of practice material and optional tutoring.
- Who has the best CFA app?
Kaplan’s SchweserNotes are available on a variety of platforms, including an app for digital and online studying.