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7 CFA performance tips

You have around one in three chances of completing the CFA Level 1 exam on the first try. If you're not a fluent English speaker or take a test outside of the USA or Western Europe, this figure is much lower. Here are seven quick steps to take to give you the extra boost on the test day.

1) Pace yourself. Control yourself. Research and don't get rushed at your own speed. One of the great limitations of CFA training is that you have to proceed to the group's speed, and this can be too quick or too slow for you. It is also easier to use reference materials and online learning and research at your own pace, free of distractions.

2) Using free tools available. Many free test questions, history guides and other tools are available to help you study. Many online courses providers (e.g. Vast Talent and KESDEE) can give you a free demo to trial their goods before you purchase.

3) Take tests for practice. The only way to get acquainted with the exam (and with the pressure of the day is to practice, practice, practice. That ensures you still have to examine questions (before bed, on the bus, in the workplace) so you know the terminology and the type of questions and can work more effectively on the test day. It's much easier to take one or two full-length, timed CFA level 1 mock exam in the month before the examination to give the exam a sense of the time and timeliness.

4) Keep up-to-date. To keep up with business trends, read newspapers and financial journals (such as Financial Times, Economist, Business Week, Wall Street Journal, CFO Magazine, etc.). Not only can you hear a lot about what is happening in the field of banking, you will even meet handy sources to aid you with the test.

5) Have a decent sleep night. It's much safer than trapped last night to make sure you are well-rested. Your brain functions best because you sleep well in the evening and you enjoy it during the (long) day. You will need a lot of endurance to complete all parts of the exam, so take your beauty sleep.

6) Come early. There is absolutely nothing other than getting overwhelmed during the exams, such as making sure to get to the test site early (the most available a few hours before the review starts which helps you to spend up to an hour in the spring period before the start time), scope the space to come for convenience. There are limits to what you can bring to your test site, but arriving early would encourage you to ready yourself mentally.

7) Miss problems. Don't get embroiled with a question you know you can't answer or it will take you too long. Since you have several questions to answer within a specific timeline, you are best at ignoring questions and coming back to them at the end (time permitting).

Good luck!

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