GUEST BLOG POST – Marshall Nicholson, TimePrep user
I first heard about TimePrep for CFA Level 1 exam on Analyst forum last year, in a topic about passing the L1 Exam in 72 days. Since I just started working as an intern in an investment bank, I pretty much don’t have time for anything – I see my girlfriend every 2-3 days, best friends on Saturday night and that’s it. This is why I value time above all else, and why I considered buying the app in the first place.
Essentially, what TimePrep does can seem pretty straightforward – you tell the app your weekly study routine, the progress that you already made, input some parameters regarding your learning strategy and that’s it – the app then gives you your study plan. Simple, right? If only you knew.
I believe that every CFA candidate (including myself) has the same issue – you spend a significant amount of time in planning your preparation, you read blogs and forums, searching for the magic formula, and then when you’re all done and you start learning, everything seems fine. Until the first night when you cannot focus. Then you have to readjust your whole study plan, change the days and content of your studies in those days etc. Well, not with TimePrep – it does everything automatically.
Before I purchased TimePrep, I had a pretty loose record – in contrast with my initial study plan, I was already late 16 days, I cut the number of practice problems I planned on solving in half, and frankly I started doubting myself. I read the first two Schwesser volumes, and a part of the third volume. After I bought the app, I entered that learning progress, decided which strategy elements to use (practice problems, end of chapter problems and cheat sheet in the end), I set 1000 practice problems to solve, and based on my previous measurement, and on the help from the app that says an average candidate reads 9 pages per hour, I continued on my weekly routine. After a really easy routine setup (you’ll just love it), I even saw that I can enter the days when I don’t plan to learn (3-year aniversarry with my girlfriend – check), and the days when I plan to maximize my efforts (vacation the last 4 days). The last step of the setup is where I saw what TimePrep really is about.
It basically told me the following – based on what you entered so far (the learning strategy elements, how many volumes and readings I already read, what my weekly routine and exceptions look like), it should take you 240 hours to complete your preparation. And you only entered 216, which means you have to add another 1,5h to your weekly routine if you want to learn everything on time. Of course, I added the time and TimePrep generated my study plan in a matter of seconds.
What you get is one large calendar, that tells you exactly what to do, and when to do it – read pages 237-268, solve 17 EOC problems and start the other reading untill you reach page 281. Then your daily study is done, you press the big green button „Session completed“ and you can fall asleep without thinking will you finish on time. Of course, you feel good about it. But that was what I expected of TimePrep when I bought it, and although it is phenomenal it didn’t stun me as something other did – rescheduling.
TimePrep has a rescheduling system that is excellent – for starters, there is a big red button „Session failed“ right below the green one, and to press that button means that you failed, and I hate failure more than anything. That is why I tried to complete everything successfully, but eventually I had to deal with failure and press the big red button. I expected something complex, because I know how much effort I put into changing my study plan, but what TimePrep did was simple and elegant – it told me that I have 2,5h missing (the session I failed), and that I have to compensate the time. I decided to add that time on Sunday, and I just tapped to create a new study session that Sunday, expanded it to 2,5h and tapped „Save“. What TimePrep did was actually recalculation of my whole study plan in a few seconds, which now adapted to the new schedule. It almost felt as if I didn’t fail my study session at all.
That is my experience with TimePrep that I wanted to share with the readers of this blog. Although there are other features of this app like excellent tips for passing the exam, a statistics module that tracks your progress and your success/failure rate (they called it „Consistency ratio“ and I’m proud to say that mine is 96% for now), and an option to change your learning strategy in the middle of preparation, I think that it’s core funcionality, the study plan and rescheduling system are the main reasons to buy this app. Esentially, CFA Level 1 exam is all about self-control and discipline, and TimePrep is the only tool that helped me with that so far.