Derivatives for the CFA Level 1 curriculum don’t have a huge weight. Moreover, you don’t have to read many pages on derivatives. However, you should not skip that part. Please note that unless you work every day with derivatives and/or you have been learning the material recently, this will not going to be an easy topic for you. There are some things you should bear in mind.
First of all there are a number of formulas that are not easy to memorize. Use mnemotechnics and other tools (e.g. flashcards) to memorize them. Draw all the graphs. It will help you understand and subsequently solve problems from that area. It is not enough to learn formulas, you have to understand the material and that will be examined on the CFA Level 1 exam. This will be especially important when you pass your CFA Level 1 Exam and start preparing the level 2 exam.
Take your own notes with formulas, explanations in bullets and graphs. Notes will be helpful in the reviewing phase. Try to connect different parts of this area. There is the same logic applicable to different derivatives, and sometimes very similar formulas and graphs are used for different types of derivatives. If you put notes with explanations, formulas and graphs on couple of sheets of paper, you will quickly acquire the logic and solving derivatives problems will be easy for you.
The CFA Exam topic area weight for Derivatives for Level 2 is slightly higher, and derivatives in the CFA Level 2 curriculum are incomparably more complicated and candidates should plan to dedicate significantly more time to that area. While reviewing, in the case you don’t have enough time, try to focus on the most important and more elaborated topics (within the area) and learn the formulas and steps you have to do well in order to solve a problem.
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