Springtime ... warmer weather, green grass, blooming flowers, baseball season openers, The Masters, and ... the CFA exam. You've answered the MBA vs. CFA question and now you are forced to study when everyone you know is getting ready for summer.
I never understood why the CFA exam is scheduled for the first week in June every year. It's almost as if the CFA Institute wants to add an extra layer of difficulty by making it harder to study.
Here are two key tips I learned taking the exams that can help you:
1) Establish a Regular Reading Schedule. Cramming is not a high success strategy for passing the exams. The material for the exams is not overly difficult to learn, but the quantity is a bit overwhelming (especially for Level 2). To get through the material you need to establish a regular reading schedule. For me, my train ride commute gave me the perfect setting for regular reading. Find some way to get in an hour of reading every day - make it part of your daily routine and do not deviate.
2) Take Practice Exams. I did not take notes and I skipped all of the practice questions included with the individual topics. I chose to simply read straight through the material. Then, in the final month, I would devote all of my studying to practice exams. There is wealth of academic and scientific evidence that proves practice tests improve learning and memory. Come exam day you need to recall a vast amount of information and simply reading and taking notes does not do much to improve your ability to recall information. You need to practice recalling information by taking practice exams. Once you can recall a piece of information once, it becomes easier to recall in the future. Practice, practice, practice.
The exams are a major pain, but seeing the letters "CFA" after your name is worth the effort (especially since putting "MBA" after your name on your business card is just pathetic).