CFA Books – Choose the Best CFA Material to Pass the Exam That Changes Your Life


Materials are critical in passing an exam. Get to know the most popular CFA Books in the market and find out which one is the most suitable for you.

CFA books


CFA exam is the most important exam in the life of anyone who wants to become a charter holder. There are various options of CFA Books for candidates to use in their CFA study. Here are some of the best CFA prep materials in the market.

CFA Curriculum by CFA Institute

CFA Curriculum is the products of CFA Institute, the organization that will build the CFA test. The CFA exam is also based on the curriculum. Therefore, CFA Institute’s books are the most credible CFA material provider.

The CFA books by the Institute comes in 3 levels as the CFA exam. Each level consists of 17 to 18 study sessions. Each study session has 1 – 4 readings, learning outcome statements, and problem sets.

Every year, the CFA Institute will update their curriculum to correct the errata, or to update content. The CFA curriculum is available in two formats: e-books and print. The print curriculum comes in a set of six volumes for each level.

The curriculum will cover ten topics below. They will all appear in the CFA exam.

I. Ethical and Professional Standards

II. Quantitative Methods

III. Economics

IV. Financial Reporting and Analysis

V. Corporate Finance

VI. Equity Investments

VII. Fixed Income

VIII. Derivatives

IX. Alternative Investments

X. Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning

The most significant benefit of the CFA curriculum is that it is the most complete and informative book set on CFA program. It will profit the learner even after they finish the exam. It is also the material that test builders use when composing the actual exam.

However, the CFA curriculum books are all very long. Each book has from 2,500 – 4,000 pages. The time that you need to read the book is already huge. So, to study the CFA curriculum, you will need to start at least 5 – 6 months before the exam for the best result.

Details of each level book set:

2017 Level I: 3824 pages – 60 readings – 18 sessions – 6 volumes

Price: $298.95 – paperback, $239.99 – e-book

2017 Level II: 3424 pages – 52 readings – 17 sessions – 6 volumes

Price: $298.95 – paperback, $239.99 – e-book

2017 Level III: 2512 pages – 32 readings – 18 sessions – 6 volumes

Price: $298.95 – paperback, $239.99 – e-book

SchweserNotes™ CFA by Kaplan

Kaplan is one of the first CFA prep material providers in the market. Their study options have been using by generations of CFA candidates. A lot of them passed the exam thanks to the SchweserNotes as their CFA books choice.

SchweserNotes is available in a set of products for each level. The SchweserNotes package includes Notes, QuickSheet, Practice Exam, Study Calendar, and Instructor from CFA experts.

The SchweserNotes is a set of 5 books. The notes are built around the Learning Outcome Statement in a concise way. It is about a half long as the CFA curriculum. Therefore, theoretically, you can save a significant amount of time reading the materials.

The Schweser’s QuickSheet is a compact study tool for CFA candidates. It includes important formulas, definitions, and concept. The sheet comes in laminated tri-fold form with six pages of 8.5×11”.

Another part of the package is Volumes 1 of Practice Exams with 3 Full Exams inside. It is for buyers to apply what they learn in real exams to see what they achieve, what they need to study more. It goes with the access to the Online Performance Tracker to compare scores with other people.

The Study Calendar helps you follow your study plan and waste no time. You can also ask for exam-related and content-related advice from a CFA® expert during office hours.

Each package of SchweserNotes is available for $379 which is quite expensive for material only. You will receive access to e-books and other online products. However, the access to online products expires after the exam.

The SchweserNotes covers enough content to help candidates pass if they study hard. They can save some times using the notes instead of the curriculum. Nonetheless, if you want to understand the CFA program, nothing will surpass the CFA curriculum.

There are reports from users of SchweserNotes that they do not cover everything in the curriculum. It makes sense since they are trying to cut the length. So, there are still chance that you fail the exam because of what is not in the notes. Besides, the length of the SchweserNotes is not convenient for review in the last weeks before the exam.

Wiley CFA Study Guide

The Wiley CFA Study Guide is also a package of products to help candidate pass their CFA exam. It consists of 5 CFA books with over 1,300 pages that cover the concepts needed for the exam. It is a lot shorter than the SchweserNotes.

The Wiley CFA Study Guide will cover every Learning Outcome Statements, important concepts. There are also exam tips included for taking the actual exam. The book is in color-coded reference system for learners to follow cases and examples easier.

The authors of The Wiley CFA Study Guide are CFA chartholders and instructors with years of teaching experiences. They put in the books their exam tips, in-depth example and test-taking advice for candidates. Each Wiley CFA Study Guide is about 250 pages with the price of $224.95.

The Wiley CFA Study Guide is not enough to pass the test, according to many users. The best way is to use it the CFA curriculum. It cuts down the time studying with the curriculum. Such price for support materials is quite expensive.

CFA Mind Maps by Way to Finance Success

This product is the youngest of the all. It comes from a group of former CFA candidates. They were there in the test room and realized what worked for them and what did not.

While the SchweserNotes and Wiley Study Guide choose to approach CFA exam by summarizing and paraphrasing, the CFA Mind Maps use mind maps.

Each reading will become 1 – 2 maps with keywords, so it is pretty short. The mind map shows the key concepts and relationship between them. The candidates have to make sense of those relationships on their own, which stimulates their brain to think and memorize actively. The shape and color in the mind map make it easier for the brain to take in the information.

The CFA Mind Maps is much shorter than both the SchweserNotes and Wiley Study Guide. It goes well with the CFA curriculum when candidates try to understand the concept in reading. The mind maps present every important thing in the reading; learners only have to read the curriculum books to get the idea.

The length of the CFA Mind Maps is perfect for last-day review. It is brief, logic, and sufficient. When you need a concept, just look into the mind map to see how things go. It is easier than skimming through hundreds of pages.

The CFA Mind Maps comes in sets of topics or a full set of CFA books for level 1 or level 2. The content gets updated every year based on the CFA Curriculum. Here are the pricing details. It is very cheap, compared to the first three products and others in the market.

CFA Level 1 Topics

  • Ethical & Professional Standards – Quantitative Methods – Economics – CFA LEVEL 1 – 2017: $ 27.9
  • Financial Reporting & Analysis – Corporate Finance – Portfolio Management – CFA LEVEL 1 – 2017: $21.9
  • Equity – Fixed Income – CFA LEVEL 1 – 2017: $14.9
  • 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 Topics

  • Ethical & Professional Standards – Quantitative Methods – Economics – CFA LEVEL 2 – 2017: $23.9
  • Financial Reporting & Analysis – Corporate Finance – Equity – CFA LEVEL 2 – 2017: $29.9
  • Fixed Income – Derivative Investments – CFA LEVEL 2 – 2017: $14.9
  • 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)


There are various CFA books in the market for candidates to choose from. Many of them actually work, many are just scams. The best way to choose the right one is to pick what best suit you: studying methods, financial conditions, studying strategy, and time. This step will decide half of your success during a CFA exam. So, good luck!

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