Time is running short. The CFA exams are only 25 days away. I need to apply some time management hacks to zero in on my problem areas so I can quickly improve. My best tool for this purpose is Schweser’s Q-Bank.

Below is how I use Q-Bank to improve.

First, I randomly select a topic. I have 13 index cards broken down by major subject area.

  1. Equity
  2. Asset Allocation
  3. Economic Analysis
  4. GIPS
  5. Performance Evaluation
  6. Fixed Income
  7. Portfolio Management (Institutional Investors)
  8. Private Wealth Management
  9. Trading Monitoring and Rebalancing
  10. Ethics
  11. Alternative Investments
  12. Risk Management
  13. Behavioral Finance

I then have my wife randomly select an index card which becomes my next study session. Studying for the CFA exams incessantly drives a wedge between me and the family, so I attempt to include them where I can. She picked equity which contains a single reading so I gave myself 2 hours to review (some subjects have more readings and would be allocated more time accordingly). I removed the equity card from the stack so I don’t repeat equity without first going through all of the other 12 subjects at least once.  I opted for random order just to keep things interesting and resist the urge to play favorites.

For review, I read the summaries in Schweser Notes, and included an overview of the formulas again, writing them out several times until they were easily recallable. For anything unfamiliar in the summary, I looked to Schweser Notes to refresh my memory on the material. Next, I completed a 25 question quiz in Schweser’s Q-Bank where I scored a 64%. Not the score I was looking for. I dig deeper into Q-bank and see which learning outcome statements (LOSs) gave me the most trouble over all of the quizzes on equity I had taken (this was my 3rd quiz). Equity has 26 LOSs and I scored less than 66.67% on 9 of them. I chose 66.67% because everything under this score was 50% or lower. It looked like an obvious cut-off score between the material I understood and opportunities for improvement.

Next, I went through my Schweser Notes and thoroughly read the 9 LOSs that I was struggling with. After spending about an hour reviewing my weak LOSs, I took another quiz in Q-Bank (this time only 20 questions) and I scored a 70%. Still not the score I was looking for, but it is good enough. It satisfices (satisfy + suffice = satisfice in the level 3 curriculum). When I look through the Q-Bank by LOS the improvement is decent. Some of my LOSs that were problems were not tested in my newest quiz, but the ones that were all improved except for 1.

Next, my wife selected asset allocation. I gave myself 4 hours to review and then subjected myself to a 50 question quiz in Q-bank. 76% was my overall score. Asset allocation has 2 study sessions. In study session 8, I scored an 84% and in study session 9, I scored a 68%. Currency hedging struck again! 76% satisifices though, so  I am moving ahead.

Next time asset allocation and equity come around, I will focus more on my weakest LOSs using the Pareto Principle. That is, I will spend approximately 20% of my time on my stronger subjects and the other 80% with my weaker ones.

Economic Analysis is next. Back to the grind.