Prepare for your CFA® exam with the best CFA exam study material. Candidates average 300 hours of time for each CFA level - make sure you are studying in the most efficient way possible with one of the courses below.
A CFA prep course should be looked at as an investment in your future. Ensure you pass each level of the CFA exam the first time around.
The CFA designation can accelerate any career and lead to a promotion in your field. Start your preparation now with one of the below CFA prep courses.
Summary: Easily compare and contrast different CFA prep courses below. Find the best fit for YOU.
Table of Contents
- Our Picks for Best CFA Exam Study Material
- Comparison Table
- Who Needs a CFA Exam Prep Course
- Princeton Review
- Kaplan Schweser Review
- Bloomberg CFA
- Uworld Finance
Our Picks for Best CFA Exam Study Material
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|CFA Exam Prep||Princeton Review||Kaplan Schweser||Wiley||Bloomberg||Uworld Finance|
|Subscription Length||12 months||12 months||Until you pass||Until you take test||12 months|
|Videos||- 50+ hours||- 40+ hours||- 90+ hours|
|Best Feature||Only 120 Study Hours||Diagnostic Exam||Hybrid Learning Style||Adaptive learning software||Compare Results|
The CFA exam is a coveted designation for finance professionals. The CFA exam (similar to the CPA exam) is challenging and pass rates are low. Finding your best approach to preparing for the CFA exam can be challenging. CFA exam prep courses can be time-consuming and expensive. Do you need CFA study material? The answer depends on several factors.
Factors to Consider
- Study discipline – if you routinely have trouble maintaining a study schedule, you’ll find that a prep course is worth it.
- Improvement needed – take a free CFA exam practice test to see where you stand. If your score needs improvement, an CFA prep course may be a good option.
- Budget – CFA prep courses can get expensive. If money is tight, consider our best value recommendation, or self-study with CFA prep books.
- Learning style – if you have a history of successfully studying with books, a self-study approach with a good CFA exam prep book may be your best plan.
Benefits of an CFA Prep Course
- Simulates actual test – the online exams included in an CFA prep course do a great job of simulating the real CFA.
- Identify strengths and weaknesses – the best CFA prep courses offer advanced diagnostics to identify the topics you need to focus on.
- Comprehensive study plans – CFA exam prep courses will help you craft, and stick to, a customized study schedule that works for you.
- Pass rates - CFA exam pass rates are typically in the 40-50% range. If passing on your first attempt is critical, you should try a CFA prep course.
Why an CFA Prep Course May Not Be Your Only Option
- Expensive – some CFA exam prep courses may be over $1,000.
- Time-consuming – prep courses often require significant study/prep time.
- DIY alternative - self-study using prep books may be a cost-effective alternative.
Bottom Line - If you need to pass the CFA exam and have the budget, a top CFA prep course is a great option.
CFA Exam Study Material Reviews
- Test-Guide Rating: T-G Recommended
- Price: Starting at $399
- Discounts: Available Here
Princeton Review Feature Summary
Princeton Review Pros and Cons
Princeton Review Summary
The Princeton Review offer their online self-paced course for $399 and candidates get access for 12 months. The course includes 900 slides of comprehensive study notes, 50+ hours of video lectures, over 1500 practice questions, and 2 mock CFA level I exams. This review course covers all 10 subjects that will be seen on the CFA level I exam. Experts picked the most important topics that will be tested and created the 900+ slides for candidates to study.
The Princeton Review takes pride in the fact that this course will save candidates 165 hours of study time for their CFA level I exam. The industry average in terms of study time is 285 hours – Princeton Review says that their students will only need to study for 120 hours to pass the CFA level I exam.
The Princeton Review backs up their study hour claim with their money back guarantee. If students do not pass level I of the CFA, the Princeton Review will refund the money used to purchase the course. While Princeton Review only offers prep materials for level I of the CFA, this course is a great combination of price and value.
Best features of Princeton Review – Efficient study hours and money back guarantee.
- Test-Guide Rating:
- Price: Starting at $649
Kaplan Schweser Feature Summary
Kaplan Schweser Pros and Cons
Kaplan Schweser Summary
Kaplan Schweser has a couple of different options available for their CFA prep courses. They offer their essential self-study package for $649, their premium online class for $1099, and their premium plus package which ranges from $1499-$2598. All are great options, but we will be taking a look at the premium online class available for $1099.
The premium online class is led by CFA charterholders and includes study notes, diagnostic exams, quizzes, customizable question banks, practice exams and key formulas. One unique feature of this course is that candidates can participate in live in-person classes or completely online.
If candidates are located in Boston, Chicago, New York City, Toronto, or Washington D.C. they can attend live classroom sessions – if you are not located in one of these cities, everything will be recorded and made available on-demand.
All courses by Kaplan Schweser come with a pass guarantee. If candidates do not pass the exam, the next study package will be made available free of charge. The availability to attend live classes or on-demand lectures is a cool feature and caters to a variety of different candidates.
The diagnostic exams are another cool feature that will save CFA candidates plenty of time by pinpointing what material needs to be studied the most.
Best features of Kaplan Schweser – Variety of course offerings and diagnostic exams.
- Test-Guide Rating:
- Price: Starting at $995
Wiley Feature Summary
Wiley Pros and Cons
Wiley offers a suite of test prep products for all 3 levels of the CFA exam. For the CFA level I exam, Wiley offers products ranging from $445 to $1395. For this review, we will be focusing on the CFA Program Gold Course which is available to candidates for $995.
The CFA gold course includes 90+ hours of video lectures, personalized study schedules, print or eBooks to help learn material, 1000s of practice questions, and 2 full-length practice exams. The course is unique in that they offer 14-17 weeks of live online virtual classes where students can attend live lectures about different CFA topics – if students cannot make the lectures, they can watch them on-demand on their own time.
The course also gets material across via bite-sized lessons that are designed to keep the attention of the students and increase retention levels. Candidates get access to the course until they pass their desired CFA level. With Wiley, candidates get the pass guarantee – partner until you pass your CFA which includes updates and upgrades.
Best Feature of Wiley – Hybrid learning style and access until you pass.
- Test-Guide Rating:
- Price: Starting at $399
Bloomberg CFA Feature Summary
Bloomberg CFA Pros and Cons
Bloomberg CFA Summary
Bloomberg offers prep courses for all 3 levels of the CFA exam. Their prep courses range from $699 to $1999. For our purposes, we will be looking at the CFA level I essential prep course which costs $699. Bloomberg classifies their prep courses by date that the candidate will be taking the test so it should be easy for candidates to figure out which course will be best for them.
The Bloomberg Essential CFA level I course includes practice questions, 6 full-length exams, micro-lessons, and 20 ask-a-tutor questions. All tutors in the Bloomberg system are CFA charterholders. Bloomberg also uses adaptive learning software that analyzes a candidates performance and focuses on target areas – the more a student studies, the more customizable the prep course becomes.
Bloomberg says that 98.2% of their graduates are either satisfied or extremely satisfied with the prep course. Bloomberg also boasts that students who complete the course are only spending 179 hours on average, which is much lower than the industry standard. If candidates do not pass their CFA exam, Bloomberg has a money back guarantee set in place.
Best features of Bloomberg CFA – Adaptive learning software.
- Test-Guide Rating:
- Price: Starting at $299
Uworld Finance Feature Summary
Uworld Finance Pros and Cons
Uworld Finance Summary
UWorld Finance offers prep courses for level I of the CFA exam. Their prices range from $199 to $299. We will be taking a look at the elite course that is offered for $299. Candidates will get access to this course for 12 months and will have the option to renew the course if needed after the 12 months expire.
The elite course includes 1100+ practice questions that follow the exam blueprint. These practice questions are continuously monitored and updated to reflect the most relevant material for level I of the CFA exam. All practice questions include comprehensive answer explanations that show step-by-step guides on how to answer the questions.
The course comes with customizeable practice exams so candidates can create unlimited practice tests. Performance graphs are also included with the course so candidates can monitor their performance and personal progress. One cool feature of this course is your ability to compare your results with your peers – candidates can see how they stack up against the competition when taking this course.
Best Features of Uworld Finance – Comparative peer feature.
CFA Exam Study Material FAQ
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Last Updated: 6/28/2021