If you’re good with numbers and have a keen analytical mind, one of the best careers you can pursue is financial analysis. According to the CFA Institute, professionals in portfolio management, consulting, and commercial banking can earn well over $100,000 a year in their positions.
If you’re interested in pursuing this career path, the best way to get started is to study for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam with the aid of an online CFA program. We’ve looked over the four best options currently available— check out our rankings and full reviews of each one below.
Full List of CFA Study Materials
Our top four picks can be found below, as are a few additional courses we reviewed that are listed as honorable mentions.
The 4 Best CFA Exam Prep Courses of December 2021
|Wiley CFA Review||$445 - $1,395
|Analyst Prep CFA Review||$149 - $549
|The Princeton Review CFA||$799 - $999
|Bloomberg CFA Review||$499 - $1,999|
Full Reviews of the Best CFA Exam Study Materials
1. Wiley CFA Review
Best CFA review course.
Out of all the online prep courses for the CFA exam, Wiley Efficient Learning offers the best overall experience and the most appealing combination of features for the vast majority of students. Depending on your specific needs, there’s something included with this online prep course for everyone.
Wiley CFA Features
Whether you’re interested in sitting for the exam this year or next year, there are three different courses available for each level of the CFA exam. One of the most affordable options available is the Self-Study Course, which includes:
- 2,000+ practice questions
- 90+ pages of formula sheets
- Digital/physical study books
- Performance tracking technology
As you can see, Wiley’s Gold Course includes:
- 90+ hours of video lectures
- Live online classes and bootcamps
- Digital/printable flashcards
- Instructor support from online mentors
And if you want to save time while studying, you may prefer the low-cost 11th Hour Final Review Course, which only contains:
- 11th Hour Mock Exam
- 11th Hour Print/eBook Study Guide
- 25+ hours of video lectures
- 90+ pages of formula sheets (same as Self-Study)
- Performance tracking technology (same as Self-Study)
Pros and Cons
Pro – Impressive History: This education company has existed in some form or another for over two centuries— so the first thing you can expect is a time-tested formula for helping students pass their exams and quickly start careers in a variety of high-skill trades. But that doesn’t mean their material is outdated; all this means is that Wiley has an impressive track record of helping students understand complicated subjects like financial analysis.
Pro – Formula Sheets: There’s a threat all students face when studying via repetitive lectures and practice quizzes: burnout. In order to help prevent burnout among their students, Wiley’s courses come with visually engaging materials like formula sheets. These go a long way towards breaking up the monotony of a typical study session, which is a huge help for students who may otherwise struggle with motivation.
Pro – Extra Tutoring: Wiley’s Self-Study Course is the best choice for students who prefer to study independently and don’t need extra help from a tutor. However, students who would rather have access to extra assistance from an instructor should consider their Gold Course. Because the Gold course combines these extra features with Wiley’s excellent self-study course, this is one of their most popular sets of learning tools among its catalog.
Pro – 11th Hour Review: Wiley’s 11th Hour isn’t like a full review course— it’s closer to a last-minute cram course that can help you remember some key concepts and subjects in the last few days before your exam date. I think it’s a fantastic resource that can help you avoid burnout when studying, but doesn’t offer enough on its own to justify a purchase. Instead, your best bet is to sign up for Wiley’s Platinum Course that includes everything in the Self-Study, Gold, and 11th Hour Final Review courses!
Wiley CFA Bottom Line
They’re one of the oldest and most reliable companies around still offering modern educational services. This doesn’t happen by accident; Wiley only achieved these impressive results by offering products and services that provide tangible benefits to students. Sign up for their Gold course if you’re looking for the best online resource to help you pass your financial analyst exams!
|Wiley Self-Study Course (Level 1)||$645|
|Wiley Self-Study Course (Level 2)||$645|
|Wiley Self-Study Course (Level 3)||$645|
|Wiley Gold Course (Level 1)||$995|
|Wiley Gold Course (Level 2)||$995|
|Wiley Gold Course (Level 3)||$995|
|Wiley Platinum Course (Level 1)||$1,395|
|Wiley Platinum Course (Level 2)||$1,395|
|Wiley Platinum Course (Level 3)||$1,395|
|11th Hour Final Review (Part 1)||$445|
|11th Hour Final Review (Part 2)||$445|
|11th Hour Final Review (Part 3)||$445|
2. Analyst Prep CFA Review
Best for instructor support.
Some students dislike online classes and prep courses because it can be more difficult to contact an instructor when you need help. Unlike a traditional classroom where you just have to raise your hand, it can be a lot harder to get a hold of your teacher when they mostly communicate through emails and pre-recorded video content. Fortunately, Analyst Prep has an elegant solution that manages to retain the benefits of online instruction while still providing that much-needed personal communication.
Analyst Prep CFA Features
Enrolling in Analyst Prep’s CFA review course provides:
- 3,000 CFA Level 1 practice questions
- 978 CFA Level 2 practice questions
- 648 CFA Level 3 practice questions
- 40+ hours of video lectures
- 8 mock exams
- Performance tracking
- Formula sheet and financial ratios sheet
- 12 months of access
Pros and Cons
Pro – Subject Matter Experts: Analyst Prep’s curriculum is mostly video lessons taught by a subject matter expert. These lessons are closely aligned to official learning objectives outlined by the CFA Institute, so you can rest assured that these lessons will actually prepare you for both your exam and your future career.
Pro – Instructor Support: The best aspect of Analyst Prep is their instructor support. If you encounter an issue with your study course, it’s easy to get in touch with either someone in tech support or an instructor who understands the material. They have a fully staffed live chat feature for quick responses, and any other questions are usually resolved within 24 hours.
Pro – Extra Sheets: Much like our top pick, Analyst Prep offers convenient formula sheets and a sheet covering financial ratios. These are perfect for cram studying and can also be a great reference material to prevent you from wasting time getting hung up on the minutiae of a specific practice question.
Con – Part 1 Focused: Unfortunately, there’s a clear bias in terms of exam coverage— there’s a lot more content for Part 1 of the CFA exam than there is for the other two parts. Because of the discrepancies in the amount of content you get for each section of the exam, you may prefer to just stick with Analyst Prep’s Level 1 review course and rely on other materials for subsequent parts. However, it’s still a good idea to consider enrolling in a combination package— especially since it costs less than $300 to get lifetime access for both Level 2 and Level 3.
Analyst Prep Bottom Line
Check out this course if you want a lot of help on Part 1 of the CFA exam. Even if you’re disappointed by the lopsided distribution of questions, the instructor support, formula sheets, and subject matter experts who helped organize this course can all come together for a powerful educational tool.
|Analyst Prep Practice Package (Level 1)||$199|
|Analyst Prep Practice Package (Level 2)||$149|
|Analyst Prep Practice Package (Level 3)||$149|
|Analyst Prep Learn + Practice Package (Level 1)||$349|
|Analyst Prep Unlimited Package (All Levels)||$549|
|Analyst Prep Unlimited Package (Levels 2 and 3)||$249|
3. The Princeton Review CFA
Best for fast-paced learning.
Although they’re not officially partnered with the Ivy League school itself, The Princeton Review is a test prep company that offers a similarly prestigious educational resource. They’re mostly known for helping law students, but they also offer an impressive library of online courses on wealth management, valuing assets, and other difficult concepts related to professional financial analysis.
The Princeton Review CFA Features
If you sign up for their Level 1 Essentials Course, you receive:
- 3,150+ practice questions
- 4 mock exams
- 50+ hours of video lectures
- 900 study notes and 50 flashcards
- 6-12 months of access
- Pass guarantee or your money back
For a slight price increase, you can upgrade to the Level 1 CFA Program Ultimate Course, which adds two additional features to the Essentials Course:
- 24 hours of live online instruction
- Private Q&A sessions with your professor
Pros and Cons
Pro – Time Saver: The Princeton Review does an excellent job preparing you in a quick and effective way. Efficiency is a top priority, and they claim to reduce your study time by over 100 hours— all while guaranteeing that you’ll earn a passing grade.
Pro – Affordable Tutoring: The features included with The Princeton Review’s Ultimate Course are essentially two different forms of online tutoring, which can be very expensive if you try to enroll in it through a separate service. For that reason, it may be worth upgrading if that’s something you’re specifically looking for; otherwise, you can safely stick with their Essentials course in order to save some money.
Con – Levels 2 and 3: Keep your expectations reasonable when considering this CFA course— again, it’s not associated with Princeton University in any capacity. Additionally, it’s structured in a similar way to Analyst Prep, which means that most of the content can be found in their CFA Level 1 study material and less is contained in their Level 2 packages. It’s also important to keep in mind that they don’t offer any Level 3 virtual classes whatsoever, so you should consider using Wiley’s instead.
The Princeton Review Bottom Line
While they may not be affiliated with any higher learning institutions, this is still an excellent way to prepare for a rewarding career in financial analysis. I recommend their Ultimate course if you’re specifically looking for affordable tutoring; otherwise, their Essentials course is a great way to quickly get up to speed on all the necessary exam concepts.
|The Princeton Review CFA Essentials Course (Level 1)||$799|
|The Princeton Review CFA Ultimate Course (Level 1)||$999|
|The Princeton Review CFA Essentials Course (Level 2)||$799|
4. Bloomberg CFA Review
Best for Level II and Level III.
It’s only natural to consider a course on financial analysis created by the same company behind the ubiquitous Bloomberg Terminal. With such deep connections to the modern financial industry, the lessons and practice materials included with this online CFA program is an excellent way to start preparing for a rewarding finance career.
Bloomberg CFA Features
Most of the courses available through Bloomberg Exam Prep offer the same features, which are:
- 8,000 practice questions
- 11 full length practice exams
- Ask-a-tutor questions and private tutoring sessions
I have a few different recommendations based on what you’re specifically looking for:
- Sprint: This is the best choice if you want to quickly work through study materials for a specific exam section. With two months of access at an affordable price, this can be a lifesaver if you’re taking the CFA exam for a second time.
- Endurance: If you want to take your time when studying for the CFA exam — maybe because you lead a busy schedule and can’t devote several hours a week to studying — this is an appealing option that provides four years of access.
- Premium: However, this is by far the best deal if you aren’t worried about the pace at which you study. It currently costs around $100 less than Endurance but includes eight times the number of ask-a-tutor questions and nearly double the amount of mock exams.
Pros and Cons
Pro – Balanced Study Material: Bloomberg CFA Review is divided into three parts in order to cover the three different CFA exam sections, or Levels. As with most of the courses on this list, you get the most practice questions and mock exams for Level 1— although the distribution of tests for the other two levels are much more balanced than Analyst Prep and The Princeton Review.
Pro – Flexible Budgeting: Depending on your need and budget, you can choose between a few different courses in Bloomberg’s catalog. Since most of the content is shared across each one, the biggest differences can be found in the amount of tutor access you receive and your overall access period for the entire course.
Con – Video and Audio Content: Why is this course so low on our list? Put simply, the only thing missing is video or audio content. If you want to learn from an instructor’s lecture or presentation, you’ll have to look elsewhere— we recommend Wiley in this situation.
Bloomberg CFA Bottom Line
Although they have an impressive name and reputation, Bloomberg Exam Prep doesn’t offer the most appealing educational resource for aspiring financial analysts. Fortunately, they do offer more robust content for Level 2 and Level 3, so I recommend enrolling in one of their packages if you need extra help on either of these parts.
|Bloomberg Exam Prep – Sprint||$499|
|Bloomberg Exam Prep – Essential||$699|
|Bloomberg Exam Prep – Premium||$1,199|
|Bloomberg Exam Prep – Endurance||$1,299|
|Bloomberg Exam Prep – Ultimate||$1,999|