Bloomberg CFA® Exam Prep Review - Financial Analyst Insider

Bloomberg CFA® Exam Prep Review

Bloomberg is well known as the premier aggregator of financial news through the ubiquitous Bloomberg financial terminals.  Bloomberg also recently expanded  into the test prep market with a dedicated CFA exam prep course product.  This article provides an in depth review of Bloomberg’s new CFA prep course.

What Makes Bloomberg CFA Prep Unique?

Bloomberg’s CFA prep course includes a number of innovative features that help differentiate the product.

Advanced Technology

Bloomberg’s CFA prep course includes a highly advanced adaptive learning algorithm.  Bloomberg’s algorithm evaluates your actual performance on test questions and incorporates that information into a highly efficient study program that targets your weakest areas.  By creating a hyper focused study program, Bloomberg is able to make your study time more efficient and effective.

According to Bloomberg’s statistics, students that fully complete the self study program, spend only 179 hours studying for the exam compared to 320 hours as reported by the CFA institute.

Efficient and comprehensive Study Material

The curriculum is condensed into small, micro lessons.  Smaller, bite sized lessons help you retain the most important information more efficiently.

Comprehensive Test Bank

Bloomberg offers CFA candidates a comprehensive test question database with over 13,000 questions.

Personalized Support from Tutors

All students have access to Bloomberg’s instructors.  Each instructor holds the CFA charter and has significant industry experience.  Depending on the course package, students have the ability to have their questions answered directly from Bloomberg’s tutors.

Pass Insurance

If you take Bloomberg’s CFA prep course and don’t pass your exam, you will receive a full course refund.  Bloomberg’s pass insurance program does require students to have completed at least 95% of the prep course in order to be eligible for a refund.

Range of Low Cost Product Packages

Bloomberg offers students a range of course options based upon their study preferences.  Each package is available at a significantly lower price than other large prep course providers like Schweser.

Course Options

Bloomberg offers student’s three primary course options: Essential, Premier, and Ultimate courses.  Students also have the ability to select two more time sensitive course options: the Sprint and the Endurance course option.

Essential Course

The essential package is targeted to students that have a good grasp of the curriculum and are comfortable with a self study program.  Notable course options include:

  • Core study study material.
  • 20 Ask a Tutor questions.
  • 6 mock exams.
  • $599 cost.

Premier Course

This course includes the core curriculum with additional access to tutors and extra mock exams.

  • Core study material.
  • 80 Ask a Tutor questions.
  • 8 mock exams.
  • $999 cost.

Ultimate Course

Students that prefer access to personalized tutoring sessions along with the core study material will benefit from the Ultimate course option.

  • Core study material.
  • Unlimited Ask a Tutor sessions.
  • 10 mock exams.
  • 2 private tutoring sessions.
  • $1,599 cost.

Sprint Course

This option is available for students studying at the last minute.  I don’t recommend you try to study for the CFA exam at the last minute, but if you find yourself in this position, the Sprint course offers discounted access to the Bloomberg CFA study material.

This option includes course access for just two months, but the course access is available for a much lower price point.

  • Core study material.
  • 2 months of access.
  • 4 mock exams.
  • $499 cost.

Endurance Course

The endurance course offers the core study material for a longer time period.  The CFA exam has very low pass rates each year.  The endurance course represents a good option if you think you may need longer access to the study material.  This option includes:

  • Core study material access for 4 years.
  • 10 Ask a Tutor questions.
  • 4 mock exams.
  • $1,299 cost.

Using the Bloomberg’s Platform

Bloomberg CFA Dashboard

Main dashboard when you log into your account.

Bloomberg’s CFA course is entirely online.  This means you can access the course from your home computer, a tablet, or even your cell phone.

The first thing you see when you access your account will be the dashboard with your current diagnostic and tracking information.  The main dashboard includes a map showing each lesson you completed, your overall average score, and your average time taken per question.

At the bottom of the main page is a detailed listing of each lesson plan which is organized by exam topic.  The left side of that screen highlights the topic’s weight on the CFA exam as well as the percentage of the material you have covered and your average percentage correct on questions from that topic.

The left hand side of the screen includes the primary menu with 5 main navigation options: dashboard, knowledge map, exams, ask a tutor, and download.

Dashboard

Topic List on Dashboard

The bottom section of your dashboard includes a detailed topic list with your performance in each section.

The dashboard is your main starting point.  This section contains your individualized performance and recommended study plan.  Whenever you want to jump into your customized study plan, just click the start button at the top of the screen.

If you would rather work on individual topic sections, you can just move down to the bottom of the screen and click on a specific study topic.

Knowledge Map

Topic Dropdown List

Click into one of the subtopics or you can view the topic list in a visual map format on the right side of the screen.

The knowledge map includes a visual picture of each study session with the main exam topics.  For example, within Quantitative Methods, there are 8 subtopics.  Each subtopic may will have multiple individual lessons.  The Time Value of Money subtopic has 19 individual lessons.

Knowledge Map Detail

a close-up for the topic map under the Financial Statement Analysis section. Each circle gets filled in as you complete that section.

When you complete an individual lesson, your individual performance on each practice question is analyzed to evaluate your relative strengths and weaknesses.  The magic of Bloomberg’s platform is that your performance is evaluated in real time, so your study plan is constantly changing based on your performance.

Exams

Baseline Assessment for Level I

You complete an initial baseline test to measure your starting strengths and weaknesses.

Your first stop within Bloomberg’s study program will be with the Baseline Assessment exam.  This is a 90 minute exam with 60 questions that will give Bloomberg’s algorithm a baseline indicator of your relative strengths and weaknesses by topic area.

This exercise will also give you a good indicator of your strengths and weaknesses before studying.  After you complete the assessment, you’ll have an opportunity to review your answers to each individual question.  A detailed explanation will be provided as well.

Ask a Tutor

Ask a Tutor screen

This section saves all your questions and answers from Bloomberg’s tutors.

This section allows you to ask questions in real time as you encounter them during your study sessions.  Whenever you ask a question, your question and the tutor response will be saved in a folder within this section.

Your number of available questions varies by the course option you selected.  If you didn’t select the unlimited ask a tutor option, the number of questions you have left is always highlighted in your inbox.

Download

This is the section where you can download pdf study material organized by topic directly to your computer.  You can read the course material offline or you can print it so you have a hard copy of the study material.

Purchase Considerations

Bloomberg’s CFA prep course is comprehensive and technologically advanced.  Notable positives about the course include:

  • Highly advanced algorithm that provides a personalized learning platform with the potential to reduce your overall study time.
  • Access the course from any device, including mobile and tablets.
  • Ability to select which calculator you plan to use on the test for step by step calculations.
  • Easy to use.  The platform allows you the choice of following a customized program or a program based on your preferences.
  • Knowledge Map provides an easy to use visual map of the main subtopics within each section.
  • Access to tutors that will answer your questions on any topic within the platform.
  • Pass Insurance that allows you to receive a full refund in the event you don’t pass your exam, but complete 95% of Bloomberg’s prep course.

The one area of improvement I found in the course was the lack of physical textbooks.  Many students today are very comfortable reading text from a computer, phone, or tablet.  However some people just prefer to read from a physical textbook.

If you happen to prefer a physical textbook, you do have the option of downloading the material to your computer and then printing it.

Final Thoughts

Bloomberg’s CFA prep course represents a nice blend technology, high quality study material, and access to personalized tutoring services.  The learning adaptive algorithm is a unique feature that has the potential to reduce your overall study time if you follow the process and fully utilize the technology.

The best way to find out if Bloomberg’s platform is right for you is to try it out.

  • Click here for a free trial of Bloomberg’s CFA prep course.
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