The short answer to passing the CMFAS 4A on the first try is pure hard work. But that’s not what you are in here for. Your day job is hectic enough with all the advisory work on IPOs, M&As and IFAs. What you are really searching for is a shortcut or at the very least, a step by step guide.

Below is possibly the only available proven guide anywhere to properly plan and short circuit the process of preparing and passing the CMFAS 4A exam.?First things first, we have to remind you that there’s no escaping from memorising the?facts and figures.?That said, there sure are ways to effectively study for the exam.


Hardcopy vs softcopy study guide

  • Get the hardcopy: You will need to highlight, scribble all over and dog-ear it. It’s so much easier to study it on paper than on your smartphone or iPad. Don’t scrimp, spend the money to get the hardcopy. For some people, choosing the hardcopy over the PDF can mean the difference between passing and failing

Planning and squeezing time out of your busy schedule

  • At least 1 month, but ideally 6 weeks: We highly recommend the time gap between registration for the exam to the actual day of exam to be at least 1 month. Ideally, it should be about 6 weeks
  • Not as easy: You’ll be bogged down by plenty of corporate finance work in the office and the exam isn’t as easy as you think. You can’t tikam your way out of this, guaranteed. Give yourself ample time to prepare

Planning your schedule mathematically

  • Devour the study guide: Set aside 3/4 of your available number of days before the actual exam reading the study guide. Assuming you have 4 weeks before the exam, spend 3 weeks reading the study guide
  • Breaking it down (hours – study guide): Over the 3 weeks study guide period, you have 15 weekdays (3 weeks x 5 weekdays in a week) and 6 weekend (3 Saturdays and 3 Sundays over 3 weeks) days. Assuming that the weekends free up more of your time and you can spend?twice?the amount of time to study on each Saturday and Sunday compared to a single weekday, you get the equivalent of 12 weekdays out of the 6 collective Saturdays and Sundays (6 weekend days x?twice?amount of time). All in all, your 3 weeks are the equivalent of 27 equivalent weekdays
  • Breaking it down (no. of pages – study guide): The study guide contains about 200 pages
  • Putting it together: With 200 pages and 27 equivalent weekdays, that means you will have to read 8 pages (rounded up) per equivalent weekday. In more exact words, you must read a total of 8 pages each day from Monday to Friday and 16 pages each Saturday and Sunday
  • Revision and practice questions: The remaining 1 week you have would be spent revising and practicing. We’ll come to the things to be done shortly

Make sure you adhere to the above pace or its equivalent (depending on your gap between registration and actual exam date). It keeps you focused and goal-oriented. It’s hard to start but after the first step, it gets way easier.

  • I got no time: I can already hear your complaints about the lack of time, work exhaustion, etc. Here’s a major tip to wring extra time without sacrificing much of your chill time. Clock the 8 pages of reading per weekday while on the train or bus to work and on the way back home. Ditch the web browsing

In part 2 of our post, we give you invaluable tips on how to study the guide effectively!