What’s in the Box

For a chronological index of my path to the CFA, click here.

A couple weeks after signing up for a CFA exam, your study guides (curriculum) arrive on your doorstep!

These are supposed to contain, in one place, all knowledge necessary to pass your exam. So you shouldn’t have to buy a lot of finance and investment textbooks and then wonder which sections to study.


The first impression upon seeing the box of study guides is that it looks small. But then as you move to bring your box inside, you notice that its heavy – like a stack of phonebooks (but luckily with larger fonts). According to the packing slip, it all weights about 18 lbs.

It’s an exciting time to crack open the box and see what you’ll be studying. Here are the 6 books covering what I’ll need for the Level One exam:

    Vol. 1: Ethical & Professional Standards and Quantitative Methods
    Vol. 2: Economics
    Vol. 3: Financial Statement Analysis
    Vol. 4: Corporate Finance and Portfolio Management
    Vol. 5: Equity and Fixed Income
    Vol. 6: Derivatives and Alternative Investments

In addition to the study guides you get a little brochure directing you to the CFA’s online preparation toolkit as well as some quirky postcards (e.g. the dog no longer getting walks, coffee becoming a new food group, etc.) to send to your friends to let them know you’re unavailable because you’re too busy studying. 🙂

Only thing missing at this point is an exam-approved calculator. But there’s no rush to order it immediately. The first major study sections concern ethics and professionalism – no math.

Update: I finally passed all the CFA exams and wrote an eBook about the program. If you’re interested, click here.