The Best CFA Level 1 Courses

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Contributor, Benzinga
October 14, 2020

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Are you getting ready to take your chartered financial analyst (CFA) exams? This professional credential is not required, but passing these exams can open many professional doors. Chartered financial analysts go on to hold positions in many prestigious companies.

But these exams are tough. In 2018, fewer than 50 percent of CFA program enrollees passed the Level I and II exams (three levels total). And only nine percent of candidates passed all three tests consecutively in the past decade.

Whether you need help with exam prep, or you’re a financial professional who wants to learn something new, there is an online course for you. They range in scope and price to fit most individual needs.

CFA® Level 1 (2020) – Complete Financial Reporting &Analysis

CFA® Level 1 (2020) – Complete Financial Reporting &Analysis
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Level 2- Quantitative Methods

Level 2- Quantitative Methods
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Advanced Financial Management for CA/CMA/CFA/ACCA/CS/MBA

Advanced Financial Management for CA/CMA/CFA/ACCA/CS/MBA
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Quick Look: Best CFA Courses

What Makes a Great CFA Class?

There are many course offerings online that help with CFA exams. But what makes a course stand out from the rest? Check out the following criteria before you decide on a class:


Can you find free CFA classes? Sure. The beauty of online classes is that they range in price.

So no matter your budget, you can find something that suits your needs. However, keep in mind that often you get what you pay for. That doesn’t necessarily mean that higher prices equal quality. But you may have to pay something for premium content and instruction.

In addition, if you have the time, you can scour the internet for the information you need. Often, you can piece together skills and content from a variety of sources. But online courses offer the convenience of getting everything from one source.

Instructor’s Knowledge/Reputation

Next, find out about your instructor(s). Who they are is just as important as what they teach. You need instructors who are qualified to teach you.

Check out their background and how much experience they have in the industry. Sometimes you’ll find online classes that are offered by industry experts. But don’t rule out everyday people who have a wealth of experience. They can give you a unique perspective that industry leaders can’t.

Also, don’t forget to check out your instructor’s reputation. If possible, take a look at the course reviews before enrolling. Past students will let you know how knowledgeable the instructor is and how well the course was delivered.

If reviews aren’t available on the course page, you may need to do some extra homework. Specialty courses such as CFA preps are sometimes offered by financial education sources. These are different from your run-of-the-mill online learning platforms. So you may have to do some extra digging online to find reviews for them.

Course Content

You don’t have to take CFA exams, but it’s a good way to get ahead as a financial analyst. However, most CFA courses are offered at different levels. Double-check the course syllabus to make sure that the content is in line for what you expect for the advertised CFA level.

Best Online CFA Courses for Beginners

Are you brand new to financial analysis? These CFA beginner courses are for you.

CFA® Level 1 (2020) – Complete Financial Reporting &Analysis

All Levels • 70 videos • 8 hours
CFA® Level 1 (2020) – Complete Financial Reporting &Analysis
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1. CFA Level 1 (2020) – Complete Financial Reporting and Analysis by Udemy

Financial Reporting and Analysis is one of the major topics for the CFA Level 1 Exam. If you plan to take this exam, this class may be for you. Instead of endless pages of dry text, this course uses illustrations and animations to go over complex concepts.

The class from Udemy is taught by PrepNuggets CFA Materials Founder Keith Tan. He passed all three exams on the first attempt and he wants to help you do the same.

The class includes eight hours of on-demand video and downloadable resources and articles. You also receive lifetime access to brush up on this material if you need to. The class is relatively inexpensive compared to others in this category.

Get this course

2. Wiley’s Level I CFA Program Silver Course by Wiley Efficient Learning



Want to prep for your Level 1 Exam? Wiley’s Silver course may be just what you need to pass the first part of your CFA exam. It’s pricy, but you receive a lot of content and perks, including:

  • Exam plan schedule tailored to your own exam date
  • 90+ hours of pre-recorded video lectures
  • 5,000 practice questions
  • Study guides available in print or e-version
  • Mock exams
  • Printable flashcards
  • Wiley Mobile App access

These exams are tough. But with the Partner Until You Pass Guarantee, you receive updates and upgrades until you pass the exam.

3. Online Level I CFA Program Classes by Kaplan-Schweser


  • Who’s it for? Beginners
  • Price: $1,099 - $1,499 Depending on which package you choose

What’s the best way to reinforce learned material? Attend live weekly classes online with Schweser’s Online Level I CFA Program Classes. They do offer traditional classroom sessions, but busy professionals may not have the time. So this may be the next best option.

If you can’t attend the live class, recordings are available after class. Furthermore, you can view on-demand videos of past sessions to review at your own pace.

In addition, you also receive a two-volume set of workbooks for use with the weekly classes. The workbooks have examples, material, and questions for use in conjunction with weekly lectures.

This class is a bit pricy. However, you do receive a guarantee that if you don’t pass this year’s exam, the company will cover the following year’s prep package for you.

Best Intermediate Online CFA Courses

Interested in gaining more foundational knowledge before your CFA test? These intermediate-level CFA courses may help.

Level 2- Quantitative Methods

All Levels • 35 videos • 5.7 hours
Level 2- Quantitative Methods
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1. Level 2 – Quantitative Methods by Udemy

Are you prepping for the Level II CFA Exam? If you are, you may need to brush up on quantitative methods. This inexpensive Udemy class covers all the concepts you need to take the exams, including:

  • Correlation and regression
  • Multiple regression
  • Time series analysis
  • Probabilistic approaches

Get access to 5.5 hours of lecture and 35 downloadable resources. Udemy also offers lifetime access to the course material, as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Get this course

2. Wiley’s Level II CFA Program Self-Study Course – 2019 by Wiley Efficient Learning

  • Who’s it for? Intermediate
  • Price:$595 for eBook $620 for a printed book

This is a self-study course for Level II CFA professionals. The course is completely self-paced. It includes bite-sized lessons, practice questions and two full-length mock exams. In addition, you also receive a dashboard with performance metrics, a personalized study schedule and a study guide.

Like Wiley’s other study courses, there is a 14-day trial period and you do not have to pass for an additional course if you do not pass your exam. It also includes free upgrades and updates for the following year to prepare you to take the test again.

3. CFA Level II Online Classes by Kaplan-Schweser

  • Who’s it for? Intermediate
  • Price: $1,099 - $1,499 Depending on which package you choose

Are you registered to take your Level II CFA exam? This 15-week block of live online instruction may help you pass this challenging test. Course fees include archived sessions, study guides, and on-demand video lectures.

Classes have different start times. But if you can’t make it to the live class, a recording is available after the lecture. These classes are brought to you by Kaplan Schweser and CFA Society New York. And all classes are led by a CFA Society New York instructor.

The fees for this course are competitive compared to other exam prep courses. But you can also upgrade your online class package to include three- or five-day reviews if you feel you need extra help.

Best Advanced Online CFA Courses

Ready to take your CFA exam but need a final review? Try one of these expert level CFA courses.

Advanced Financial Management for CA/CMA/CFA/ACCA/CS/MBA

All Levels • 432 videos • 44.3 hours
Advanced Financial Management for CA/CMA/CFA/ACCA/CS/MBA
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1. Advanced Financial Management for CA/CMA/CFA/ACCA/CS/MBA by Udemy

Finance professionals can learn advanced concepts with this class from Udemy. Micro-lectures and case studies through this comprehensive course cover a variety of topics including mergers and acquisitions, risk analysis, advanced capital budgeting and portfolio management.

The class fee gives you access to over 44 hours of video and 432 downloadable resources. In addition, you receive a certificate of completion as well as lifetime access to the full course.

Get this course

2. Wiley’s Level III CFA Program Silver Course – 2019 by Wiley Efficient Learning


  • Who’s it for? Advanced
  • Price: $795 for eBook to $820 for paper book

If you want exam prep help for the final CFA exam, this full course may help. The Silver Package Course by Wiley offers more than just content. Get over 50 hours of lecture videos and study guides to use alongside the lectures.

In addition, you also receive over 950 practice questions and metrics to track your progress up to exam day. The package contains two full-length exams and print-friendly flashcards to help you study.

You also have the option to learn on the go with the Wiley Mobile App. Review material anywhere with this convenient app.

It’s a relatively pricy course, but you can try it out for free for 14 days. The trial doesn’t require the commitment of a credit card.

Final Thoughts

Most CFA courses are divided into levels that correspond to the exam levels. Some courses that help with exam preparation are updated to reflect that year’s new exams. Before you enroll, make sure the course is up to date and has the required information.

Furthermore, finance professionals may benefit from these classes, even if you don’t take the exams. This extra help and knowledge may help with advancing job roles or boosting your resume. Finance majors may also find these classes helpful with their own classroom assignments. Interested in other financial courses? Check out our guide on the best financial management courses.

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About Sarah Horvath

Sarah is an expert in the insurance, investing for retirement and cryptocurrency space.