Quantitative Methods - Introduction
The Quantitative Methods section of the CFA curriculum has traditionally been placed second in the sequence of study topics, following the Ethics and Professional Standards review. It's an interesting progression: the ethics discussions and case studies will invariably make most candidates feel very positive, very high-minded about the road on which they have embarked. Then, without warning, they are smacked with a smorgasbord of formulas, graphs, Greek letters, and challenging terminology. We know - it's easy to become overwhelmed. At the same time, the topics covered in this section - time value of money, performance measurement, statistics and probability basics, sampling and hypothesis testing, correlation and linear regression analysis - provide the candidate with a variety of highly essential analytical tools and are a crucial prerequisite for the subsequent material on fixed income, equities, and portfolio management. In short, mastering the material in this section will make the CFA's entire Body of Knowledge that much easier to handle.
The list of topics within Quantitative Methods may appear intimidating at first, but rest assured that one does not need a PhD in mathematics or require exceptional numerical aptitude to understand and relate to the quantitative approaches at CFA Level 1. Still, some people will tend to absorb quantitative material better than others do.
What we've tried to do in this study guide is present the full list of topics in a manner that summarizes and attempts to tone down the degree of technical detail that is characteristic of academic textbooks. At the same time, we want our presentation to be sufficiently deep that the guide can be effectively utilized as a candidate's primary study resource. For those who have already purchased and read the textbook, and for those who already clearly understand the material, this guide should allow for a relatively speedy refresher in those hectic days and weeks prior to exam day. Along the way, we'll provide tips (primarily drawn from personal experience) on how to approach the CFA Level 1 exam and help give you the best chance of earning a passing grade.
Expect 12% of the questions on your CFA Level 1 exam to cover topics under Quantitative Methods.