Why Knowing Your Learning Style Can Help You Pass the CFA® Exam

Image depicting the four learning styles you can use to pass the CFA Exam

Everyone processes information differently, and there is no one-size-fits-all learning style for success on high-stakes exams. School administrators and educators have studied the concept of learning styles for over thirty years to improve school curriculums and teaching outcomes. Many people are described as visual or auditory learners, but there are other descriptors worth considering. Sometimes, learning different subjects calls for employing one learning technique over another.

Understanding your learning style can ensure that you prepare for the CFA Exam more effectively. Knowing how you digest information can help you decide whether to form a study group or study independently. Here is everything you need to know about understanding your learning style and passing the CFA Exam.

CFA Exam Overview

The CFA Charter is a professional designation awarded to financial professionals. To earn the Charter, you must pass all three CFA exams and meet other professional qualifications. On average, a CFA candidate needs three to five years to complete all program components. Successful candidates become CFA Charterholders. There are approximately 170,000 Charterholders around the globe. 

Different Learning Styles

The academic community has designated four distinct learning styles. While many people may fall into more than one category, understanding the characteristics associated with each type can optimize your studying experience. The primary learning styles are:

  • Visual learners
  • Auditory learners
  • Kinesthetic learners
  • Reading and writing learners 

By exploring your learning style, you’ll know how your brain best processes information. Thus, you will give yourself the best chance of studying for the CFA Exams more effectively and efficiently.

Visual Learning Style

Visual learners need to see things to learn. They learn best when they envision relationships and ideas. Maps, diagrams, pictures, and charts can work well for visual learners. Other methods that work for visual learners are videos, webinars, or seeing in-person demonstrations. Visual learners are often attracted to vivid spoken language and colorful imagery. Many people are visual learners, and this style is commonly accommodated in educational institutions. 

Kinesthetic Learning Style 

People with a kinesthetic learning style learn best by touching and manipulating materials. They learn by doing exercises and may get restless if required to sit still for long periods. These types of people learn to perform best when they can solve problems or participate in hands-on activities. Learning tactics that work best for kinesthetic learners are often used with visual and auditory methods, creating multi-sensory activities.

Reading and Writing Learning Style

People who learn best through reading and writing are comfortable and passionate about the written word. They prefer to learn information by reading and can condense and rephrase written information well. This traditional learning style is favored in many upper-level academic institutions. 

Auditory Learning Styles 

Auditory learners retain information best through their sense of hearing. They favor listening to facts rather than seeing them or reading them in a textbook. Concepts should be explained out loud in an interesting, engaging manner. Some auditory learners speak and read slowly, while others find it challenging to sit still for long periods. When studying, auditory learners should focus on audiobooks for learning more complex concepts. They may also retain information better if they talk about it with someone else about the material studied. 

UWorld Finance Works for All Learning Styles

Are you ready to start studying for the CFA Level 1 Exam? UWorld Finance offers excellent exam preparation tools for just about any learning style. We designed our CFA Exam learning tools with active learning in mind. Active learning is a scientifically proven study method that helps test-takers master high-stakes exam concepts and boosts memory retention. This active-learning approach puts candidates in the driver’s seat of their learning experience.

You can learn more about how active learning works with our CFA Exam learning tools to optimize your chances of success by visiting our article, Benefits of Active Learning for CFA Candidates


Prepare for the CFA Exam with UWorld Finance. Get a FREE trial of our Level 1 Online Learning Tools.

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