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5 ways to identify a good-quality prep school for the CFA® Program exam

Last week, we talked about how expensive CFA® Program exam prep courses can get, and the 3 types of students for whom it makes sense to pay these fees. Now that you’ve decided you fall into one of these three categories, the next task is to select a good prep school – but how?

Before wasting your hard-earned cash on a school that doesn’t suit you, use this handy list to check off against the features every good quality prep school should offer its students:

1. A good class size

In huge classes with just one lecturer, you don’t get enough time for consultations, or you might feel shy asking questions in front of so many others. Some students cannot focus once the class size is too big, so make sure the class size suits your learning style.

A smaller class size lets you build good relationships with the lecturer and fellow candidates, and you could even ask the lecturer to slow down if they’re going too fast – without feeling embarrassed.

2. Lecturers who are CFA® charterholders themselves - and have actual work experience on the topic they're teaching

Ideally, the lecturers in prep classes should have a CFA® charter themselves. This way, you know they have taken and passed all three levels of the exam, and are in the best position to give advice on test-taking strategies and question weights.

It’s even better if the instructor has real-world experience (and is a subject matter expert in that particular portion of the exam!), because they can explain concepts or answers using actual examples. This sharing might even come in handy when you're answering the open-ended questions in the higher level exams.

3. More than one lecturer per semester

Just like how different people have different study methods, so not every lecturer may teach the content in a way that suits you. To maximise the chances of getting a lecturer whose teaching style works for you (or simply to minimise the chances of getting stuck with a lecturer that’s difficult to follow for the entire prep class term), choose a school that offers more lecturers per term, so you can experience different teaching styles.

4. A solid study programme

Good prep programmes often use study materials developed and updated either according to CFA Institute, or created by lecturers who are familiar with the requirements. In addition, they should budget the class pace to proceed at a speed that’s not too fast, but manages to cover all the topics on time (here, word of mouth or reviews are your best bet to check class speeds).

There should be a good number of exercises, homework, practices and mock tests scheduled upfront, so you know you’ll get sufficient compulsory practice in. As a bonus, the best schools make the effort to offer assistance outside of class time, such as providing students a way to discuss questions with one another or consult one or more lecturers. AB Maximus does this with our 24/7 whatsapp chat (for all students and lecturers from Southeast Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe and North America), so you also get to learn from the solved questions of other candidates.

5. A good company track record

Before paying for the classes, have a last look at the track record of the prep company. How long has it been operating? Is it government-backed? Does it also partner with other reputable institutions? Does it use authorized teaching materials? Does it practice what it preaches? Make sure that your prep centre has a promising future so you won't suddenly have nowhere to go to classes to!

Why not give us a try? Here’s why you should consider AB Maximus for your CFA® Program exam prep course.

Has this list helped you to decide on your future prep school? Let us know in the comments.

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