These timed examinations, one of which consists wholly of an essay, are very challenging—especially for working financial advisors with busy schedules. But earning the CMT charter is certainly worth the time and effort, as the charter gives you a specialized set of analytical skills that are in high demand by clients and firms everywhere.

To help you understand what to expect as you prepare for the CMT Exam, we’ve asked an expert instructor from the CMT Association to offer some quick insights on how what to expect as you embark on your journey to become a Chartered Market Technician.

What to Know as You Prepare for the CMT Exam

Expert CMT Exam Study Tips to Help You Stay on Track

Once you’ve decided to sit for the CMT exam, you need to create a plan of action to stay on track. Here are some expert tips and advice to help you remain focused even during challenging times:

Strike a Balance

The CMT Association recommends 100 hours of study time for the Level 1 exam, 140 hours for Level 2, and 160 hours for Level 3. Studying is a state of mind and you need to maintain it; it’s like going to the gym, you need to keep working those muscles to stay in shape. Stick to your plan and don’t get distracted. We’re looking for minimal disruption here. That said, life is full of change and it might not be possible for you to stick to your normal study schedule all of the time, so if you do have to make changes, don’t panic! Just make sure you set aside some time to sit down and re-plan because being organized will be your greatest asset in this. So, with that in mind…

Develop a Plan

The old Benjamin Franklin quote remains true, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Stress and anxiety when your studying comes from the fear that you’ve missed something; with a good study planner, covering every topic and pinned down to dates, you won’t have to worry. If you have a good study planner in place, you’ll focus on the day-to-day and the big picture will be taking care of itself.

I’ve Finished Studying…What Do I Do Now?

If you find yourself facing a testing window change, you can use the extra time to review any areas of weakness you need to address. Essentially you now have an extended period of final review allowing you to ensure you’re as strong as possible in every area. Get the most out of the many tools available–take a mock exam, run some questions in your test bank and keep developing your knowledge. You can also use the time to reach out to your peers and support each other; perhaps form some study groups and have sessions you wouldn’t have had time for before the date change. Keep yourself and others motivated, check in on each other and use your online community to stay positive.