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 CFA Mind Maps Review – How I Passed CFA Level 1 
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Joined: 28 Feb 2017
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CFA Mind Maps – Discover the secret to pass the most challenging yet rewarding credential in the world of finance on the first try.

The Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) exam is the test that anyone who dreams of becoming a CFA Charterholder has to pass. The pass rates for each level exam fall between 40 to 50%. There are only around 135,000 Charterholders across 150 countries and territories in the world. These numbers say it all about the CFA exam.
I have passed CFA level 1 and am preparing for the level 2 exam right now. The only materials I am using besides the CFA curriculum is CFA Mind Maps. It came to me accidentally after I lost hope in prep courses and materials. To some extents, it changes my life, so I want to share it with whoever is preparing for the test about it. I do not usually write a review, so I will just do it my way.

What Makes CFA Exam Difficult?
The CFA Exam is hard. Anyone who is preparing for, has taken, or start to consider taking it, knows that truth. However, consider the career and salary opportunity it opens to people who pass the test, it is worth the challenge. What I found most difficult about CFA Exam, as someone who passed CFA Level I, are:

- The study material is long. Each level requires you to read 6 CFA books of 700 – 800 pages with ten topics. And not just read, you have to memorize it, and use the knowledge you acquire to do exercise and mock tests. That is a crazy workload.
- Most of the test takers, still have a full-time job. Some of them even have to take care of their families.
- The exam lasts 6 hours for each level.
- The questions are, sometimes, tricky. If you do not understand the problem, you can’t answer it.

Why Are Popular CFA Prep Courses and Materials Not My Choice?
Like a lot of other candidates, I spent days researching for the optimal method to prepare for the exam. There are a large number of advice, tips, and tricks, prep courses and materials available in the market. I experienced the free trial CFA notes, prep courses for CFA Exam. There are some features I found in all of them:

- The online video courses are so long. Some of them are 50-hour long. Some are even 100+ hours long. They require too much time. And as I tried some class without reading the CFA books, I found it difficult to understand the content.
- The CFA notes and CFA prep books are not much shorter than the CFA curriculum by CFAI. For me, it makes no sense to spend time on the material that requires almost the same or much more time to study.
- All the courses and materials are super expensive. Packages with both online courses and materials usually cost from $500 to $1,000+ for each level. The cheapest CFA prep material provider I found offered some CFA notes for more than $200.

My Own Take In CFA Exam Preparation
Finally, after I did my homework and talked to previous test takers, I received some popular advice below. As I passed level 1 already, I must say that they worked.

- Stick to the official CFA books by CFA Institute. In the end, they are who design the questions.
- Try to understand the materials, not just memorize them.
- Study on your own but discuss with other test takers.
- Summarize what you learn to know the root, and the pic picture of the topic and for later review.

But here is something I haven’t talked about. When I was half a month into my studying for CFA Exam, my friends sent me a sample from a CFA prep material provider. I didn’t have much hope on it because I had tried them all (almost). But as the studying was too hard, I still gave it a try with a little bit of hope that it worked.

CFA Mind Maps – My Only CFA Prep Material
I was given the CFA Mind Maps of 2 topics in CFA books of level I. I was making a mind map at the same time, so I was interested in it quite a lot. I will wander a bit here on why I choose mind maps to summarize the CFA books. I have been using mind maps since high school. It was useful to most of my classmates and me, both in high school and higher education.

Why do mind maps work?

- The colors and shape in a mind map stimulate the brain to get the information the map presents.
- Mind maps show the connection between elements, so you have to understand the matter to be able to establish the links between them. Mind maps are short for containing only keywords, therefore; it is perfect for reviewing or limited time.
- Mind maps activate your brain to enter the natural thinking process which is more enjoyable and exciting to learn than the passive methods of listening.

Back to the CFA Mind Maps. I was doing pretty good making my mind map. But it was very tiring to summarize thick books. The CFA Mind Maps were like the savior from nowhere to me. I save me tons of time choosing keywords, design the maps, etc. With the pre-made map, I could focus on studying and studying only.

Pricing detail of CFA Mind Maps
The sample worked well for me, so I decided to get to know the product better. CFA Mind Maps is a product of a team called Way to Finance Success. They have mind maps for CFA level 1 and CFA level 2. The mind maps are available as a full set of 10 topics for each CFA level or as separated topic. Check out below for pricing details:

CFA Level 1

Topic: Ethical & Professional Standards – Quantitative Methods – Economics – CFA LEVEL 1 – 2017: $ 27.9
Topic: Financial Reporting & Analysis – Corporate Finance – Portfolio Management – CFA LEVEL 1 – 2017: $21.9
Topic: Equity – Fixed Income – CFA LEVEL 1 – 2017: $14.9
Topic: Derivatives & Alternative Investment – CFA LEVEL 1 – 2017: $7.9
Total: $72.6
Level 1 – 2017 – Full Set Of 10 Topics: $59.9 (save $12.7)

CFA Level 2

Topic: Ethical & Professional Standards – Quantitative Methods – Economics – CFA LEVEL 2 – 2017: $23.9
Topic: Financial Reporting & Analysis – Corporate Finance – Equity – CFA LEVEL 2 – 2017: $29.9
Topic: Fixed Income – Derivative Investments – CFA LEVEL 2 – 2017: $14.9
Topic: Alternative Investment – Portfolio Management – CFA LEVEL 2 – 2017: $15.9
Total: $84.6
Level 2 – 2017 – Full Set Of 10 Topics: $69.9 (save $14.7)

The great features of CFA Mind Maps
I am using CFA Mind Maps by Way To Finance Success to study for my CFA level 2 exam because it has helped me pass CFA level 1 test. I can summarize its great features below:

- The mind map works for many people, backed by science. The mind map method is one of the most efficient memorizing and learning way. The structure and elements of a mind map turn your brain on the active learning mode. You will feel it challenging and exciting to explain the relations and levels in a mind map. You will sense a desire of conquering the mind map. That is how you will remember and understand the problem that the mind map present. It is way more interesting than the passive learning most CFA prep providers are offering.
- The CFA Mind Maps are well written by people who took the CFA exam themselves. I believe that CFA test candidates can understand how hard it is better than anyone else.
- CFA Mind Maps is much shorter than other CFA Notes, or CFA Summary. For example, the CFA Note from one of the most renowned prep providers is around 1,500 pages long for the CFA level 1. The CFA curriculum by CFA Institute is around 2,500 pages. That means only 1,000 pages cut. And you will need to study video courses, workshop, and other materials by the same providers to achieve what they promise you will get with them. The CFA Mind Maps cut down each reading into 1 or 2 maps only: a reading of 40+ to 100 pages in 1 or 2 mind maps will save you a lot of time reviewing.
- CFA Mind Maps get updated every year based on the change in official CFA books from CFA Institute. Hence, you do not need to worry about leaving some new part behind
- It is cheaper than most of other CFA prep courses and materials in the market. To be exact, CFA Mind Maps’ price is 25% of the cheapest available prep materials and around 4% of the most expensive courses. Imagine what you can save when using CFA Mind Maps to prepare 2 CFA levels.
- It is brief, and in pdf format so I can carry it around easily and use it even when I do not have an internet connection. Some other providers’ materials are too long, which makes the printed books too thick to carry, or the navigation of the e-books difficult.
- It saves the time of making mind maps or summarize the textbooks. If you ever tried to create a mind map, you will understand my point here.
- It is useful to study with limited time and to review when the test is coming. In the final two weeks, you have no time for video course, workshop, re-read the long CFA notes, etc. Mind maps are the most suitable choice.
- CFA Mind Maps help you to understand the matter, not to memorize it only. With 240 multiple-choice questions in CFA level 1, sometimes the options can be confusing if you do not understand it to the root. When you understand what it is, you do not need to learn it by heart. It is already there with you.

Conclusion - CFA Mind Maps
CFA exam is challenging. Do not believe anyone who tells you the opposite. They are either geniuses or liars. We can pass the test with enough preparation. The most important things are:

- to find what methodology that best suits you;
- to be disciplined and determined;
- to spend sufficient time to study; and
- to maintain your health.

If mind maps worked for you before, this CFA Mind Maps would work this time, too. If you are confused with all the offer of CFA prep courses, and materials available online, try CFA Mind Maps along with other methods to see what is the best offer for you. Consider your time and financial budget, too.

Here are some CFA Level 1 and Level 2 Mind Maps for your further consideration

Thank you for reading my CFA review. I hope we will all pass the CFA exam ahead!

28 Feb 2017
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