Many of the candidates preparing for their upcoming CFA exam are working full time and trying to balance an adequate amount of study time with personal matters. These challenges make it tempting to find shortcuts or alternatives that might alleviate the overwhelming task of scouring through a ton of reading material. In previous years, CFA candidates were provided a list of textbooks to purchase that cost a significant amount of time and money. However, in 2007, the CFA Institute introduced their own set of six study guides that replaced the required textbook readings. Future changes can also be expected, since the CFA institute will be including their study guides and one online sample exam with registration fees for exams in 2008 and beyond. Click here for more on CFA Institute's bundled curriculum.

There are many alternative study guides and quizzer programs available to candidates from other companies that could reduce the amount of study time required. Keep in mind that your learning style, past education, and work experience will determine which mode of exam preparation is best for you. If you have a bachelor's degree in a subject other than finance or accounting, or have little experience in the financial field, you may need a longer and more intensive preparation. This is because you will have to learn the basic concepts before learning the more complex topics that are tested on CFA exams.

In determining which exam preparation method is best for you, you can also join a CFA candidate forum. In this way, you can ask CFA candidates at various levels what study materials and methods were the most helpful in their learning experience.

Additionally, there may be a CFA candidate study group in your area. Try a search on for CFA study groups in your city. Since the CFA program is global, you have a high chance of finding such a group that is close to you.

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