Looking to ace your CFA exams? Your success begins with choosing the right CFA exam prep courses.
In our Best CFA Courses article, we’ve handpicked and compared the top seven online courses, breaking down the unique pros and cons of each one and offering in-depth insights into how you can go about making the right choice for your individual needs.
Let’s get started so you can make the first step towards getting your CFA designation.
The 7 Best CFA Courses
|Best CFA Courses
|Kaplan Schweser 4.7/5
|Best Overall Course
|The Securities Institute of America 4.5/5
|Best for Supplementary Material
|Wiley Efficient Learning 4.4/5
|Salt Solutions 3.9/5
|The Princeton Review 3.6/5
1. Kaplan Schweser: Best Overall CFA Prep
When it comes to CFA prep, Kaplan Schweser is the stand-out choice, offering a range of packages that fit all needs and budgets.
All three levels of the CFA exams are available in Essential, Premium, and PremiumPlus packages. Note that for the 2024 curriculum, the Ultimate package will replace the PremiumPlus package with improved features.
Kaplan Schweser Pros
- Expert Instruction: Kaplan Schweser employs industry professionals and CFA charterholders to provide in-depth instruction and insights. With more than 30 years of experience, it’s one of the most experienced course providers that works with over 1000 school districts and 10,000 businesses
- Comprehensive Study Materials: Depending on the CFA level and package you’re in, Kaplan Schweser provides hundreds of practice quizzes, tutorial videos, and more through its SchweserPro QBank. You’ll also find a 5-volume SchweserNotes & QuickSheet, flashcards, mock exams, and review workshops
- Pass Protection: Kaplan Schweser provides a pass-protection guarantee — which provides additional confidence and support. This means you have a free course retake for up to 24 months after purchasing your initial study package if you don’t pass the exam
- Performance Tracking: Its adaptive learning technology allows you to track your performance and focus on weak areas and optimize your study time. In its QBank, you’ll get performance metrics, which include your scores on practice exams, accuracy in quizzes, and time spent on different subjects
- Community and Support: The forums, instructor assistance, and peer interaction enrich the CFA course experience, which fosters collaboration, addresses individual queries, and creates a supportive learning environment
Kaplan Schweser Cons
- More Expensive: Given its leading status in the CFA prep arena, Kaplan Schweser’s price tag is notably higher than some budget-friendly courses. That said, the materials are high quality, complete with personalized support and instructor interaction. Therefore, considering how tricky it is to pass the CFA exam and the expenses associated with retakes, it’s a wise investment to start with the best course within your budget
- No Free Trial: Many customers prefer to test a product before committing. While Kaplan Schweser doesn’t offer a free trial, it does have some free CFA materials on the website that can give you a glimpse into the course structure
Overall, Kaplan Schweser’s rich history and tailored courses position it as a leading choice for any candidate preparing for the CFA. While it’s worth bearing in mind its higher cost and lack of a comprehensive free trial, its proven track record and flexible offerings can often justify the investment.
Interested in getting started? Have a look at Kaplan’s comprehensive CFA study packages.
2. The Securities Institute of America: Best for Supplementary Material
The Securities Institute of America (SIA) offers specialized online tutoring tailored to CFA candidates.
Rather than traditional courses, SIA’s offerings include personalized tutoring sessions, free practice questions, mock exams, and a unique money-back guarantee.
The Securities Institute of America Pros
- Online Tutoring: Instead of traditional courses, SIA offers online tutoring, where you get personalized guidance, flexible scheduling, access to expert instructors, targeted focus on weak areas, and convenient learning from any location.
- Money-Back Guarantee: SIA is so confident in its tutoring that it’s even willing to offer a refund to any students who don’t pass the exam on the first attempt.
- Free Practice Exams: The collection of free practice questions and mock exams can be a valuable resource for exam preparation without the additional charge. The free exam includes 13 multiple-choice questions to be answered in 18 minutes.
- Live Chat and Phone Support: SIA provides immediate assistance and addresses issues by offering personalized support and guidance to ensure you stay on track and fully understand how to navigate its CFA tutoring program.
The Securities Institute of America Cons
- No Traditional CFA Courses: Those looking for full CFA exam preparation courses might find these offerings limited, as the company specializes in supplementary tutoring.
- Lesser-Known Brand: As a newer or less established name in the financial prep industry, some students may be hesitant to trust their prep to SIA compared to older, more established test prep companies. Additionally, SIA only provides CFA level I to date.
While The Security Institute of America doesn’t provide traditional CFA courses, its tailored online tutoring and free practice tests underscore its commitment. As a newer brand, SIA’s unique money-back guarantee further demonstrates its dedication to student success in financial exams.
Recommended: Interested in getting started? Have a look at The Securities Institute of America’s (SIA) CFA tutoring and study materials.
3. Wiley Efficient Learning: Most Flexible Pricing
With a history of over 200 years in educational support, Wiley offers a CFA course that exemplifies its dedication to the finance sector.
Wiley offers tiers to its course packages: Platinum, Gold, and Self-Study. Each course includes a study guide as well as the Wiley mobile app.
- Most Flexible Pricing: Compared to some other test prep companies, Wiley offers more budget-friendly options without compromising on the quality of content
- Course Test Bank: With more than 12,000 practice questions available in various formats, including LiveOnline and OnDemand, the course provides CFA study materials to help you in your upcoming exam. Each lesson features multiple related questions on each topic, aiding in your study process
- Access Until You Pass Guarantee: Wiley’s CFA course offerings include continued access to materials until you pass the exam, providing long-term support. Unlike many CFA exam providers, Wiley ensures that once you purchase its CFA tests, they don’t expire — this allows students to study at their own pace without the pressure of a ticking clock
- Exam Simulator: A standout feature of Wiley’s CFA program is an exam simulator designed to mimic the real CFA exam environment closely. It enables you to practice multiple task-based simulations and 30 multiple-choice questions in a virtual setting that replicates the actual test conditions
- Offline Mobile App: Keeping up with modern study habits, Wiley’s CFA tests are accessible through its mobile app. Wiley’s CPAexcel app for Apple and Android devices also allows offline access to practice questions and videos, enabling you to prepare anytime, anywhere
- Expert Instructors: The courses are often taught by experienced professionals who can offer professional online mentoring on CFA-related topics
- 24/7 Customer Support: Wiley ensures that help is available at any time, providing continuous assistance and convenience
- No Money-Back Guarantee: Wiley’s CFA course doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee. However, Wiley offers a complete refund, minus shipping fees and ebook charges within 10 business days of purchase. After this time period, refunds will not be granted
- Lack of Tutor Interaction: Students using Wiley’s platform may feel left in the dark as there’s no option to directly interact with tutors for clarifications or questions regarding the course material
Wiley’s long history in educational support shines through in its CFA course, particularly in its flexible pricing and access until you pass guarantee. However, potential users should be aware of the lack of a money-back guarantee and direct-tutor interactions.
For more information on the CFA designation in general, make sure to check out our in-depth What Is a CFA overview.
4. AnalystPrep: Best Practice Questions
AnalystPrep stands out in the CFA preparation space for its focus on rigorous exam practice. Catering to those who value hands-on testing, it offers a robust question bank at a cost-effective price, making it an attractive option for practice-focused students.
AnalystPrep offers the Learn + Practice Package, Practice Package, and CFA Exam — Complete Course Package (for all three levels).
- Comprehensive Learning Content: The Analyst Prep CFA course boasts one of the most comprehensive collections of learning content, including 4,000 practice questions, over 60 hours of video lectures, study notes, and full-length mock exams. This makes it the go-to choice for those who emphasize mock testing in their study strategy
- Ask-a-Tutor Sessions: Every AnalystPrep bundle includes “Ask-a-Tutor” sessions for personalized assistance, with support ranging from five sessions to unlimited access depending on your bundle. What’s more, since all tutors are CFA holders, you can be sure of their knowledge and expertise
- CFA Question Bank: AnalystPrep touts its question bank as the top-rated among CFA candidates, using questions akin to the actual CFA exam. In fact, these questions are crafted by AnalystPrep’s in-house team — all of whom hold or are pursuing credentials like CFA, FRM, and doctorates
- Most Affordable: Priced competitively, AnalystPrep offers one of the best CFA prep courses on a budget without compromising on quality
- Limited Additional Resources: While AnalystPrep excels in practice questions, it might not provide extensive resources like interactive tutorials
- No Physical Study Aids: For students who prefer traditional study materials like printed flashcards or textbooks, AnalystPrep might fall short
AnalystPrep is often considered a good choice for CFA courses due to its affordability and comprehensive study materials, including question banks, video content, and mock exams.
Tailored to various learning styles and offering personalized support like “Ask-a-Tutor” sessions, it can be a valuable option for many CFA candidates.
5. Salt Solutions: Great for Adaptive Learning
Salt Solutions, being relatively new in the CFA preparation landscape, brings a fresh approach. By prioritizing adaptive and level-based learning, it caters to students who prefer tailored learning experiences over traditional cookie-cutter courses.
Salt Solutions provides lecturing and test preparation guidance across three distinct levels (I, II, III), which correspond to each level of the CFA exam.
Salt Solutions Pros
- Level-Based Learning: Salt Solutions structures its CFA courses according to the various levels of the CFA exam, ensuring that students get targeted preparation for each stage of their CFA journey. Each level includes multiple-choice practice questions, video lectures, review notes, performance analytics, mock exams, and the Salt Solutions’ CheckPoints scheduler
- Custom Quiz Builder: This tool allows you to create personalized quizzes by selecting specific topics and difficulty levels. This custom quiz builder caters to individual strengths and weaknesses, allowing for a more personalized study experience
- Instructor Support: You get access to a discussion forum and may submit questions to your instructors. The instructors will respond to your query within 24 to 48 hours
- Full Exam Access Pass Guarantee: If you opt for Salt Solutions’ Full Exam Access, you are given a pass guarantee. This allows you to use the materials specific to your level for as long as necessary until you successfully pass the CFA exam
Salt Solutions Cons
- No Printed Materials: Those students who find comfort in tangible study resources may feel a void, as Salt Solutions does not offer printed materials as part of its course offerings
- Less Experienced: As a newer entrant to the CFA prep market, Salt Solutions does not have the extensive track record that some of its competitors boast. This might be a concern for those who prioritize tenure and long-standing reputation in their selection criteria
While Salt Solutions offers a refreshing, tailored approach to CFA preparation with its level-based and custom learning, potential users should weigh their need for physical materials and the value they place on industry experience when considering this provider.
6. The Princeton Review: Best Support and Guidance
The Princeton Review’s CFA program offers specialized exam prep for each CFA level. While all courses come with quality study materials designed to assist you in passing the exam, they differ in content and presentation.
Level I offers three different options (Essential On-Demand Course, Ultimate LiveOnline Course, Tutoring), whereas Levels II and III have only one program available (Essential On-Demand Course). Each level includes a seven-day free trial.
For a limited time only, The Princeton Review is providing access to its course for 12 months.
The Princeton Review Pros
- Comprehensive Online Materials: The course offers over 3,000 practice questions, more than 900 slides of detailed study notes, over 50 hours of expert video lectures, and mock exams that mimic the real Level I CFA exam
- Expert Instructors: The Princeton Review stands out for the individualized guidance it provides. You will get access to lessons taught by instructors who are experts in their field, from tenured professors to investment bank portfolio managers
- Free Trial for 7 Days: You can try a full course for seven days for free before buying it (for all levels). This way, you can see how the course works and if it’s helpful before you spend any money
- Pass Guarantee: If you don’t pass the CFA exam after finishing this course, you can take the course again for free. But to get this chance, you must either pass your first practice test or finish the whole course
The Princeton Review Cons
- Limited Offerings for Level II and Level III: Level II and Level III packages only offer Essential On-Demand courses and don’t offer the LiveOnline course or Tutoring in their packages
- Limited Study Notes: According to some CFA student testimonials, the study notes don’t cover all the topics in the questions. That’s why it’s a good idea to use the CFA Blueprint as a guide along with any study program. The CFA Blueprint is a guide outlining the key concepts and skills that the CFA Institute expects candidates to master for the CFA exams.
The Princeton Review’s CFA courses are notable for their comprehensive curriculum and expert guidance. With easy access to help from seasoned teachers and a pass guarantee, this course would also fit students who prefer online self-study.
7. Bloomberg: Most Versatile
Bloomberg’s course offers comprehensive preparation for the CFA exams, including practice questions, simulations, and adaptive learning technology. It’s designed to provide candidates with the tools needed to understand, practice, and master the necessary skills to pass the exams.
Bloomberg offers an Essential Package, Premium Package, or Ultimate Package for its exam prep courses, with the option of upgrading for the next year’s curriculum.
- Comprehensive Coverage: Microlessons cover the whole curriculum, along with up to 10 simulated exams and 10,000 practice questions
- Knowledge Map: The course includes a non-traditional layout that visually represents different exam concepts or topics. This can help students understand how information is connected and identify areas that need further study. You will have the option to revert back to the standard layout if this isn’t your thing
- 14-Day Free Trial: The exam prep courses for all levels include a 14-day free trial. This allows students to explore the content, assess the teaching style, and determine if it suits their needs before purchasing
- Adaptive Learning Technology: Its AI software examines your performance and tailors the course to focus on areas where you didn’t do well. The more time you spend on it, the more the program adjusts to fit your needs
- One-on-One Tutoring: Receive individualized support from top-notch tutors, all of whom are CFA charterholders. You can talk about your progress and challenges, and receive tailored strategies. You can also use the Ask-a-Tutor messaging system to obtain a personalized explanation from a skilled CFA program tutor
- Pass Insurance: The CFA prep packages offer a pass guarantee, providing reassurance and additional support if a candidate does not pass the exam on their first attempt. Receive a full refund if you complete the course and don’t pass your exam
- More Expensive: Quality often comes at a premium, and Bloomberg’s CFA course is no exception. Its pricing is on the higher end when compared to many other CFA course providers
- Complexity of Platform: Some users may find the platform or tools complex to navigate, which can hinder the learning process. The multitude of tools and progress-tracking methods on this platform may overwhelm those looking for a simpler test prep solution, making it less preferable for some
Bloomberg’s CFA course stands out for its coverage and AI software technology across all CFA levels, embodying the brand’s commitment to comprehensive financial education. However, candidates should weigh the cost and consider the extensive layout of the platform before fully committing.
Best CFA Courses FAQ
What is the best course for CFA?
The “best” CFA prep course varies based on individual needs. Kaplan Schweser is often regarded as the top choice due to its comprehensive offerings and long-standing reputation. However, options like Wiley, AnalystPrep, and Bloomberg also have strong attributes worth considering. For more information, check out our Best CFA Courses page.
Is Wiley or Kaplan better for CFA?
Both Wiley and Kaplan Schweser are highly respected in the CFA prep industry. The Kaplan CFA Review Course boasts a rich history and tailored CFA prep courses, while Wiley offers flexible pricing and mobile compatibility. The better option will ultimately depend on your individual preferences and study habits.
Are 7 months enough for the CFA?
Seven months can be sufficient for CFA preparation if you maintain a consistent and focused study schedule. It’s recommended to devote 300-350 hours of study per CFA level, so with a structured plan, seven months should suffice. If you’re considering taking the CFA exam, our Mock Exam CFA Level 1 can help assess your readiness and prepare effectively.
Do I need a CFA course to pass?
While many candidates use materials from the CFA institute, a CFA exam review course offers structured guidance and additional resources. Resources such as our CFA Mock Exam Level 2 can be particularly beneficial for exam readiness.
Is the CFA worth it?
Yes, the CFA designation is globally recognized and can significantly boost one’s career in finance. Earning the charter demonstrates mastery of advanced financial analysis and real-world portfolio management skills, often leading to greater job opportunities and potential salary increases. For more information on what a CFA is and how it can boost your career, we recommend having a look at our What Is a CFA article.