Before we begin, an important disclaimer: these are CFA exam study tips that should never trump your knowledge of the CFA curriculum. These set of tips are meant to be a last resort – when you just don’t know what else to try. None of these rules work all the time, so only use them if you have to.
Courtesy of 300hours.com, here are the top 5 CFA Exam Study Tips:
#1 – Watch out for answers that do not really answer the question.
In non-numerical questions, sometimes you can have answers that are (probably) correct, but if you read the question carefully you realize that this answer doesn’t actually apply to the question. Congratulations! You’ve just eliminated one answer.
#2 – If two or more alternatives say the same thing, each is probably wrong.
The examples I’m thinking of for this one are questions where you have to figure out long/short positions, in-the-money/out-of-money configurations, or FX questions. Very occasionally, in the CFA exams you may manage to find out that e.g. two answers, although different combinations of financial instruments will result in the same investor position relative to market movement.
#3 – The answer to one question is sometimes given away in another question.
This only applies in the vignette format, which is for Level II and Level III. Level I questions are completely independent so this does not apply to Level I.
#4 – Don’t try to apply definitions from outside the course.
Answer the questions based on information from the readings, not based on educational knowledge that you have. This sounds completely against the spirit of education, but in the end if there is a question that is based on outdated information (for example) answer it according to the CFA curriculum.
#5 – Never argue with a question.
Accept it at face value. Don’t waste time having a mental debate with no one during the exam.