The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams are among the most prestigious and challenging certifications in the finance world. They demand a deep understanding of a broad array of financial topics, rigorous study, and a significant commitment of time and resources. For candidates in countries with less access to study resources, the challenges can be even more daunting. However, with determination and strategic planning, these obstacles can be overcome. This article explores the specific challenges faced by CFA candidates in resource-limited countries and offers practical solutions to help them succeed.


Limited Access to Quality Study Materials

One of the most significant hurdles is the limited availability of high-quality study materials. While candidates in developed countries can easily access a plethora of textbooks, question banks, and online resources, those in less developed regions often struggle to find even the basic study guides.


– Online Resources: Leverage the power of the internet to access free and affordable study materials. Websites like Khan Academy, Investopedia, and the CFA Institute itself offer valuable resources.

– eBooks and PDFs: Many study guides are available in electronic formats, which can be more affordable and accessible than physical books. Platforms like Kindle and Google Books can be beneficial.

– Study Groups and Forums: Join online study groups and forums such as Reddit’s CFA community, AnalystForum, or LinkedIn groups where candidates share resources and support each other.


High Costs of Enrollment and Materials

The financial burden of enrolling in the CFA program and purchasing necessary study materials can be prohibitive for many candidates in resource-limited countries.


– Scholarships: The CFA Institute offers scholarships to help reduce the financial burden. These include the Access Scholarship, which is specifically designed for candidates who cannot afford the full cost of the program.

– Used Materials: Look for second-hand books and study materials from previous candidates. Websites like eBay, local classifieds, or even university bulletin boards can be useful.

– Shared Resources: Form study groups to share the cost of materials. Splitting the cost of textbooks and online subscriptions can make them more affordable.


Limited Access to Prep Courses and Tutoring

Professional prep courses and tutoring can significantly enhance a candidate’s chances of passing the CFA exams. However, these services are often scarce or non-existent in resource-limited countries.


– Online Prep Courses: Enroll in online prep courses offered by reputable organizations such as Kaplan Schweser, Wiley, or Bloomberg Exam Prep. These courses are often more affordable than in-person classes and provide comprehensive study plans.

– Webinars and Free Classes: Take advantage of free webinars and online classes offered by various educational platforms and finance professionals. YouTube is an excellent resource for free lectures and tutorials.

– Local Networks: Connect with local professionals who have passed the CFA exams. They can provide mentorship, guidance, and potentially even tutoring.


Lack of Study Environment and Support

A conducive study environment and a strong support system are crucial for effective preparation. However, candidates in resource-limited countries may face challenges such as unreliable internet, lack of quiet study spaces, and limited support from peers and family.


– Public Libraries and Study Centers: Utilize public libraries or study centers if available. These places often provide a quiet and focused environment.

– Time Management: Develop a strict study schedule to make the most of available resources and time. Consistency and discipline are key.

– Virtual Support Networks: Build a virtual support network with fellow candidates globally. Regular virtual study sessions and discussions can help maintain motivation and provide support.


 Limited Exam Centers and Travel Costs

For some candidates, reaching the nearest CFA exam center may require significant travel, adding to the overall cost and logistical challenges of taking the exams.


– Early Planning: Plan travel and accommodation well in advance to secure the best rates and ensure availability.

– Local Advocacy: Work with local financial associations or groups to advocate for more exam centers in your region. Sometimes, a collective effort can lead to positive changes.

– Remote Exams: Stay informed about any initiatives by the CFA Institute to offer remote or online exam options, which could reduce the need for travel.



Preparing for the CFA exams in resource-limited countries undoubtedly presents unique challenges. However, with the right strategies and a proactive approach, these obstacles can be overcome. Leveraging online resources, forming study groups, seeking scholarships, and maintaining a disciplined study routine are essential steps toward success. Remember, perseverance and determination are your most valuable assets on this journey to becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst.