Wiley offers a comprehensive study program for all levels of the CFA Exam. Program options range from self study options to more comprehensive class room led instruction.
In this article, we provide a detailed review of the Wiley CFA exam prep products and my personal experience using the program for level 1 of the CFA exam.
Preparing for CFA Level 1
The CFA Level 1 exam is a lot like entering the shallow entrance of a large Olympic-sized pool before swimming across. This is by design. You are starting a long journey through a series of three tests (the CFA designation) that will arguably get narrower but deeper as you swim in your lane to the other side.
Indeed, Level 1 is the initial test covering myriad topics of interest to analysts such as economics, finance, accounting, and corporate governance. It covers nearly everything, but at a very shallow level, much like just entering the pool.
This article will help you develop a strategy to swim across to the other side, focusing on what skills candidates should develop to be successful. It will also include a review of Wiley’s CFA exam prep courses to help you reach that goal.
See our guide to the Best CFA Exam Prep Courses.
Wiley CFA Program Options
Wiley offers a wide range of CFA preparation packages from the “Platinum Course” to the “11th Hour Review Course.” As someone who likes to use the materials on their own, I selected the “self-study course”, which offers access to the core study material, but does not include the virtual live classes.
Wiley’s CFA exam content delivery is based on an adaptive event planner and delivery system that breaks down the CFA into digestible parts segmented by each Learning Outcome Statement.
The candidate is able to review the main text for each section, and once finished, you can opt to take review questions. At the end of each section, there is a longer review that goes over the main concepts in the section.
Wiley also offers CFA candidates the flexibility to purchase individual components of their study program. This is a great option for candidates that already have study material, but may need some extra practice in a few targeted areas.
Notable individual study material options are highlighted below:
- Formula Sheets
- Study Guide
- Test Bank
- Lecture Videos
- Online Mentoring
- Virtual Classroom
The Platinum course represents Wiley’s flagship CFA exam prep product. This option includes all the core study material as well as access to enhanced program offerings.
Key premium features included in the Platinum course include:
- Access to core study material including practice question test bank and printed study notes.
- Full access to the 11th Hour Final Review program.
- Access to live CFA exam prep classes.
- On demand video lectures which covers all core exam topics (ranges from 50 to 100 hours depending on exam level).
- Professional online mentoring including the ability to ask exam questions to instructors.
- 14 to 17 weeks of live virtual classes.
- Full set of printable flashcards.
The Platinum course is ideal for students that prefer a formal study structure with access to instructor feedback and traditional classroom lecture settings.
The gold course is a great option for CFA candidates that prefer access to the structured virtual classroom series, but don’t need access to every premium feature such as live classroom settings and the 11th hour final review product.
The gold course includes a nice mix of structured study programs along with the core study material. Notable features include:
- Core study material access.
- 14 to 17 structured live online virtual classroom lectures.
- Professional mentoring access.
- On demand video lectures.
The Silver course is a nice option for students that prefer to use some online classroom lectures, but don’t need access to the more structured 14 to 17 online classroom program or the online mentoring feature.
The silver course includes the following features:
- Core self study material.
- Access to more limited on demand video lecture library.
CFA candidates that are comfortable structuring their own study program will prefer the core self study course. This course provides students with the core study material without any additional premium classroom content.
This is a great lower priced option for highly disciplined and self motivated students. Just keep in mind that you need to structure your own study program and follow it to get the most value from this course option.
11th Hour Review
Many people think about the CFA exam in terms of a marathon. When you hit that final month in your study program, it’s time to start sprinting towards the finish line.
Wiley’s Final Review product is designed to give you one final, highly structured push towards the finish line.
The full course includes a highly focused study guide focusing on the most critical topics, 2 additional mock exams, and extra practice questions.
Understanding the Course Features
Bite-sized lessons are the breakdown of larger macro concepts into individual topics. For example, within economics, there are myriad topics ranging from supply and demand to foreign exchange.
The bite-sized lessons are designed to focus on the sub-topics that compose the larger topic. Each lesson is structured around efficiency to focus only on the most important topics.
Formula sheets cover every formula expected to appear on the CFA exam. The CFA Institute doesn’t provide formulas to solve any of the problems; thus, one of the main challenges is memorizing important formulas.
Wiley’s formula sheets are an easy way to quickly review all important formulas on the exam.
Regularly taking full length mock exams are critical as part of your study preparation. Wiley’s mock exams are meant to simulate the number and content of questions that a candidate will face on exam day.
The main difference is that the candidate will take the three-hour test on-line, while the real test will be taken off-line. Try to regularly take mock exams as part of your study program.
Online Video Lectures
Wiley’s on demand video lecture library includes traditional classroom lectures focused around the most important exam topics. The video lectures are organized around each level of the exam.
- Level I – includes over 90 hours of video content.
- Level II – includes over 100 hours of video content.
- Level III – offers over 50 hours of video content.
Practice questions are questions provided on each topic for the candidate that test covered material. Unlike mock exams, these questions are not necessarily timed and can be taken at one’s leisure.
Wiley’s test bank includes over 4,000 practice questions and two full length mock exams. Enhanced diagnostic features keep track of your individual progress on each section of the exam.
The best thing you can do for your study program is regularly take practice questions as often as possible. By taking practice questions regularly, it becomes very easy to memorize formulas, concepts, and other more challenging exam content.
What I Selected
I used the Wiley Self Study option for Level 1. For the self-study package, I found two main resources particularly useful:
- 1) Bite-sized lessons
- 2) Practice questions
The bite-sized lessons allow one to focus on one topic (e.g., demand in economics) without being overwhelmed. Indeed, I was able to easily digest the main points and then take review questions on the concept to deepen understanding.
The practice questions were also vitally important. They provide a good opportunity to review the concepts, and if one uses the provided timer, you can do so under near test-taking conditions. This practice will allow you to excel on the day you take the test.
Comprehensive Study Material
Wiley offers a wide variety of choices to fit your study preferences. Whether you prefer a structured study program or you just need access to the core study material, Wiley has you covered.
Advanced Diagnostic Tracking and Comprehensive Test Bank
Wiley’s study program includes detailed tracking to monitor your progress across every core exam topic. With over 4,000 practice questions, you have the ability to comprehensively test yourself with every key topic on the exam.
Highly Effective Premium Options
Extensive Virtual and Live classroom options can be exceptionally helpful when struggling on certain exam topics. Wiley offers access to comprehensive classroom lectures as well as access to online mentoring with instructors. These are great resources to help you get over a few final hurdles on the exam.
The best way to decide if Wiley is right for you is by trying the platform yourself.