How To Study For The CFA Exam In Solitude

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So you’re a self-motivated learner who doesn’t need all that much help to pass a test only 43% of people got through last time. Or you don’t live in New York or Boston of San Francisco or Toronto or London. Or you’re a cheapskate. Or it’s three weeks before the exam and you haven’t done a thing to prepare.

Whatever your situation, we’re here for you, distilling the salient difference between all of the many online CFA prep courses for you to quickly peruse as you scramble to figure out how the hell to cram months and months of work into 21 sleepless days. We’re sure you’ll figure it out.

We’ve listed only those courses that are up to the CFA Institute’s snuff, because, given the established likelihood of failure, would you really want to go in with a curriculum that the test-makers haven’t signed off on? We didn’t think so. Of course, that means no pass rates for any of the below, per CFAI rules. The below are for Level I programs, although many of the providers offer Level II and III study courses, as well. And don’t forget to check our earlier list of live classroom courses, as most of them have online options, as well.

Bloomberg Exam Prep

COST

  • $599

ADDED COSTS

  • four additional mock exams and unlimited ask-a-tutor questions adds $400

FORMAT

  • 2,400 micro lessons
  • more than 6,000 practice questions
  • six full mock exams
  • fully digital platform with real-time Performance Dashboard
  • course expected to take 200-250 hours
  • tutors available to take questions (up to 20 under the Essentials package)

GUARANTEES

  • Pass Insurance gives students who fail on their first attempt six additional months of access, provided that they have completed at least half of the micro lessons on scored at least 70% on three or more simulation exams

DISCOUNTS

  • none

BPP Professional Education

COST

  • £840 (approximately $1,200)

ADDED COSTS

  • live online classes add £90 (approximately $130)
  • revision course (4 review classes) add £240 (approximately $350)
  • mock exam add £30 (approximately $40)

FORMAT

  • 12 classes
  • focus sessions covering specific technical areas
  • more than 3,000 practice questions

GUARANTEES

  • Intensive Course students (those taking both the taught and revision courses) qualify for Lifetime Pass Assurance, allowing students who complete all steps and score at least 70% on steps 3 and 6 may retake the course as many times as needed to pass

DISCOUNTS

  • CFA UK members get 10% all courses, 25% off online live classroom revision and 40% off BPP CFA Learning Media materials

Bullish Bear Finance

COST

  • two practice exams are $49 each
  • individual topic areas range from $5 to $19

ADDED COSTS

  • tutoring is available

FORMAT

  • two full practice exams
  • 10 topic areas

GUARANTEES

  • none

DISCOUNTS

  • none

Center for Business Studies

COST

  • Fr. 990 (approximately $1,000)

ADDED COSTS

  • Schweser Study Notes (optional)

FORMAT

  • 11 classes
  • post-session study questions
  • downloadable handouts
  • online forum with lecturers
  • trial exam

GUARANTEES

  • none

DISCOUNTS

  • none

EduPristine

COST

  • ₹24,000 (approximately $350)

ADDED COSTS

  • none

FORMAT

  • 22 five-hour live virtual classes
  • five-day live virtual crash course
  • more than 2,500 practice questions
  • six mock tests
  • more than 110 hours of online recordings
  • comprehensive online materials and study notes

GUARANTEES

  • none

DISCOUNTS

  • discounts available on Kaplan Schweser materials

Global Banking Training

COST

  • £1,000 (approximately $1,450)

ADDED COSTS

  • review classes and mock exam add £300 (approximately $450)

FORMAT

  • 11-22 classes
  • includes free “Investment Banking Boot Camp” career-development program in London

GUARANTEES

  • none

DISCOUNTS

  • available for multiple candidates, early enrollment, students and individuals in transit employment

IFT

COST

  • $220 for Basic Package

ADDED COSTS

  • Basic Plus Package, which includes notes, quizzes and the question bank adds $130
  • Premium Package, which includes notes, quizzes, the question bank, Q&A with instructor, summary videos, a full mock exam and priority support adds $380

FORMAT

  • video lectures
  • lecture slides
  • example videos

GUARANTEES

  • Basic and Basic Plus packages offer a retake discount to students who fail
  • Premium Package offers unlimited access to videos and notes until a student passes

DISCOUNTS

  • none

Kesdee

COST

  • $300 for a 12-month subscription to the entire library and e-Diagnostic Exam; individual course libraries available for between $25 and $90

ADDED COSTS

  • none

FORMAT

  • 63 modules
  • e-Diagnostic Exam

GUARANTEES

  • none

DISCOUNTS

  • none

Quartic Training

COST

  • £495 (approximately $700)

ADDED COSTS

  • additional introductory courses in essential financial math and accounting add £60 (approximately $85) each
  • six Quartic workbooks add £200 (approximately $300)
  • classroom revision course (London) adds £645 (approximately $950)
  • CFA SchweserNotes Package adds £200 (approximately $300)
  • CFA Schweser Essential Prep Package adds £335 (approximately $475)
  • Wiley Study Guides add £150 (approximately $200)

FORMAT

  • more than 70 hours of virtual classroom videos
  • one-to-one tutor introduction
  • more than 1,000 practice questions
  • six distance learning workbooks
  • four progress tests
  • mock exam

GUARANTEES

  • none

DISCOUNTS

  • none

Top Finance

COST

  • €999 (approximately $1,100)

ADDED COSTS

  • final review adds €360 (approximately $400)

FORMAT

  • online class or video instruction
  • 6 practice exams
  • SchweserNotes, SchweserPro QBank, Schweser’s QuickSheet, Schweser Library and Schweser Study Planner
  • InstructorLink
  • weekly study tips

GUARANTEES

  • students who fail the exam get 50% off a repeated course

DISCOUNTS

  • none

Wiley Efficient Learning

COST

  • $795 Silver Course
  • $545 Self Study Course (no lecture videos)
  • $345 11th Hour Course

ADDED COSTS

  • 18 online Saturday classes add $299
  • online mentoring add $199
  • add 110 hours of streaming video lectures to Self-Study Course for $385

FORMAT

  • 110 hours of streaming video lectures
  • 1,500 practice questions
  • question bank with more than 500 questions
  • two full-length mock exams
  • 60 pages of formula sheets

GUARANTEES

  • unlimited access to materials until you pass, without conditions

DISCOUNTS

  • college students and faculty get 20% student discount
  • 15% discount until Feb. 21, 2016

Related: Which CFA Prep Course Is the Best?

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