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How to Prepare for "Ethical & Professional Standards" for CFA Exam

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

- Paluck Agarwal CFA

Ethics holds significant importance across all three levels of the CFA Exam, carrying a substantial weightage in the overall assessment. The weightage for Ethics varies across levels. Following table gives you the details.

Level 1

15- 20%

Level 2


Level 3


This subject predominantly revolves around theoretical concepts, requiring candidates to extensively read, comprehend, and effectively apply the knowledge to diverse scenarios presented in the exam questions. However, it is observed that many candidates tend to postpone their preparation for this section until the final stages, which often results in suboptimal performance.

To excel in the Ethics section, it is crucial to adopt a proactive approach from the beginning. Here are a few study tips that have proven to be highly beneficial:

#1 - Incorporate Ethics into Your Study CFA Exam Routine: Study Ethics on an Ongoing Basis

To enhance your understanding, retention, and application of ethics, it is beneficial to incorporate it into your study routine alongside other subjects. By breaking down the volume of information into manageable chunks, you can better absorb the material. Additionally, studying ethics while tackling challenging areas like quantitative methods, financial statement analysis, or derivatives can provide a mental break.

#2 -Recognize the Value of Ethics: Understand the ROI in Studying Ethics

Given the significant weightage ethics carries and the absence of complicated calculations or analysis, investing time in studying ethics can significantly boost your overall exam score, which is invaluable. Studying ethics thoroughly during Level I will prepare you for 10% to 15% of the content in both Level II and Level III, as there is minimal change in the content.

#3 - Practice Makes Perfect: Emphasize the Importance of Practice

Merely reading the text will acquaint you with the guidelines to be followed, but true understanding of how to apply them in real-world scenarios comes from practicing a variety of questions. Engaging in question practice allows you to apply the concepts learned, solidifying the learning process.

#4 - Reinforce Learning through Repetition: Engage in Multiple Readings and Question Practice

Research indicates that the human brain learns new information through repetition. It is recommended that candidates read the text at least twice and practice all the blue box examples, end-of-chapter questions, and the practice questions available on the candidate resources portal. This approach enables mastery of the content.

#5 - Ethics as a Crucial Skill: Develop a Strong Ethical Thought Process

Professionalism and ethics play a crucial role in the investment industry, as conflicts are inherent to business operations. Developing a clear understanding of how to navigate ethical dilemmas not only helps you achieve a good score on the exam but also equips you with valuable skills for managing situations in the workplace. Recognizing the importance of ethics as a subject will foster a better approach to studying and ultimately contribute to a higher score on the CFA Exam.

These strategies will greatly increase your chances of achieving a high score on the CFA Exam.

Do "Like", "Share" & "Subscribe" and stay tuned for more study tips. If you have any specific doubt do leave it in the comments section below. Also let us know if you find this subject challenging by clicking on the poll below. Feel free to reach out in case you need help by scheduling a personal session with me using this link.


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