Why a CFA® Study Group Is a Good Idea

CFA candidate participating in a CFA study group

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program is the gold standard for finance professionals. One of the requirements for becoming a Charterholder is passing all three CFA Exams, which takes a great deal of time, effort, and perseverance to complete. Each exam is difficult, so it is good to set yourself up for success by finding supportive resources to prepare for all CFA Exam levels.

Unfortunately, many finance professionals are very private about studying for the CFA exam, perhaps due to a lack of experience with study groups. However, there are benefits in sharing the CFA Exam experience with other CFA candidates. Below are the top five reasons why joining or creating a CFA exam study group can help you emotionally and mentally prepare for all CFA Exam levels. 

1. Support Network

One reason why people fail the CFA Exam is not being motivated to study. Finding a study partner or group can help boost that motivation by offering you a sense of camaraderie, belonging, and community. Building a support system provides support from people who understand exactly what you’re going through.  They can help you get over those “study blocks.” 

When you find a study group, you surround yourself with others working towards the same goal of passing all the levels of the CFA Exam. These other candidates will be relatable, experiencing the stress, frustrations, and triumphs of studying for the CFA Exam while balancing other aspects of their lives. This support network can validate your feelings and concerns about the exam and provide valuable advice to get through the more challenging situation. 

Also, when you’re part of a cohesive group trying to accomplish the same goal, your approach to studying and integrating your study time into your daily routine will not seem as burdensome. You begin to feel less lonely in your journey knowing you have fellow CFA candidates in the same situation and with you every step of the way as you proceed with your goal of attaining the CFA Charter.

2. New Perspectives and Fresh Ideas

Becoming part of a more extensive network of CFA candidates introduces new ways of thinking. Everyone has unique ideas and perspectives, which can be beneficial as you review things with a different lens. This is especially true when tackling a challenging concept or problem. Different perspectives might help you gain a better understanding of the material. 

Study groups also inspire fresh ideas, creativity, and advanced communication. A study group consisting of CFA candidates from diverse cultures, careers, and life experiences provides even better ways to explore different CFA concepts. All of these varying perspectives are crucial to the overall success of the study group. 

3. Organization and Accountability

If you are part of a CFA study group or partnership, ideally, you’ll meet regularly.  This mutual expectation encourages a more disciplined approach to studying for the CFA Exam. Study groups promote better study habits, especially since there is an element of accountability to be prepared before each study session. 

Being a study group member might also help inspire you to become more organized in your professional and personal life. Sticking to a schedule will not only help you carve out the time needed to complete everything you need to accomplish in a day but will also keep you on track to pass the CFA exam sooner than later

4. Confidence

As a CFA candidate studying for the CFA Exam alone, it is easy to become overwhelmed and doubt yourself when you struggle with challenging concepts. When you’re in a study group with others going through the same things as you, you can ask questions, express your thoughts and feelings and, most importantly, get the validation you need to know that you’re on the right track with your studies. 

Joining a study group will give you confidence that you’re not the only person who doesn’t understand certain concepts. You will often find someone facing the same obstacles as you within your study group who has found a way to overcome them, offering you much-needed perspective. 

This relatability and shared experience boost your confidence to prepare for the exam, especially when other CFA candidates can give advice, review with you, and provide tips and tricks that might also work for you. 

5. Increased Knowledge

Finally, studying with another CFA candidate or a CFA study group means that you’ll learn more from others. As you have more study sessions and more in-depth conversations with members of your study group, you’ll be able to fill in learning gaps and gain more insights into complex CFA concepts. 

You might also have the opportunity to teach others in the study group concepts they might not grasp or understand. Teaching someone else is always a great way to articulate your understanding of the concepts while gaining a deeper understanding of the concepts yourself. 

If you have started your CFA journey or are contemplating it, definitely consider joining a CFA study group. The best place to find, join, or create CFA study groups is through social media sites such as Reddit, LinkedIn, Facebook, or by searching for online forums.

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