I like to think of myself as a big-picture guy :) meaning that I hate doing something till I don't understand the big picture behind it. Understanding the "big picture" may not be of too much help to most people which is ok (to each his own and all of that) but it does help put things in perspective. So here's my take on what I've gotten myself into.
To be awarded teh CFA charter which allows you the rigth to use the CFA designation you need to: (a) Pass the 3 exams and (b) Meet the professional & ethical requirements. Let's talk about a for now.
The 3 exams are based on a curriculum called the candidate body of knowledge (CBOK) which is determined by the institute through a practice analysis survey of professionals around the world. This CBOK covers 10 areas each which are listed here. These topics are tested in the 3 exams in a different level of detail. The approximate weights that each of these topics carry in each of the exams can be found here. One thing that immediately strikes you is that no particular area has unduly high or low scores which means that you cannot afford to leave any 1 section out completely. Being an engineer I know for a fact that an equal amount of time if not more is spent on pouring through the past years papers to determine which topics have been glossed over historically. Alas, those days are no more :(
Here's a bit of statistic that I found most interesting. The pass percentage is 35% (man that's lower than my favorite number 40 from engineering :P). A candidate can pass the exams in about 18 months but it takes on an average of 4 years to pass them all with 6 months of study on an average for each exam.
So here are the numbers (and my attempts to align them to the Indian education system in brackets)
1 CFA charter (the degree)
3 exams to pass (the 3 exams to pass)
10 topic areas for each exam (10 subjects that stay the same :(( )
Level 1 has 18 study sessions (18 text books)
which are divided into 76 readings (that have 76 chapters)
10-15 hours of study per week for 18 weeks (no study leave)
250-350 hours of studying (same as above)
0 social life and loads of prayer and good luck to boot :)
In case you're wondering about the LOS; I would akin them to the Syllabus that is available for each exam we used to give in college.
Well, now that the big picture is crystal clear let's hit the books :D
Cheers till next time.