The term ‘meta-learning’ might be a new term for you and it would have made you ponder how it can affect your CFA preparation. Before we get deeper into the topic, let us put forth few questions –
- Have you tried searching on the Internet for the number of hours you need to study per week to prepare for the exam?
- Have you searched for guidance on which sections to attempt first?
- Do you look for hacks on preparing for the exam?
If your answer is affirmative for any of these, you have been practicing what is termed as ‘meta-learning’ which is defined as the ‘study of disciplines’. Speaking from a technical point of view meta-learning is beneficial as it allows you to understand the entire methodology of taking the exam. Problems creep in when you do it too often and deny yourself the required time for preparation. In the age of the internet where information is available at the fingertips, CFA aspirants may fall victim to ‘meta-learning’. They become so engrossed in learning from the experiences of others that they often fail to work on the fundamentals i.e. thorough exam preparation.
Should I Stay Away from Meta-Learning?
The answer to this is a ‘No’. Thanks to the Internet, it is now possible for every candidate to get well-acquainted to the format of the examination or hear inspirational success stories. With information being available more easily and faster, thanks to the technological connectivity, you will be able to prepare yourself better for the examination. Knowledge of the exam format or trends in the examination over the past few years is always better than remaining in oblivion and waking up to the hard realities on the day of the examination.
But like all other good things in life, ‘meta-learning’ also acts as a double edge where it can hurt your preparation. Candidates often get too involved in understanding the examination and the process so much so that they take their eyes off the subject matter altogether. Though it is good to mock papers and search about the hacks to success, there is no alternative to thorough preparation given the vast syllabus you have to cover in order to clear all three levels and earn the charter. Given the fact that there are no shortcuts to CFA success you need to moderate ‘meta-learning’ to ensure it acts to your advantage.
How Do I Draw Leverage from ‘Meta-Learning’?
The first trick to draw leverage from meta-learning is to dedicate time for it. You may have already dedicated a fixed number of hours to prepare for the exam and on a similar note dedicate 1-2 hours every week for this task. While studying a certain topic if some question arises in your mind that would qualify as ‘meta-learning’ note it down and try searching for answers in the time you have dedicated for this. Doing so ensures that you don’t deny yourself the required time required for thorough learning and at the same time you can find answers to some of the tough questions.
Secondly, if you are in the habit of posting questions on different forums, try searching for the answers first in the forums than posting a fresh query. Chances are the same question would have been raised by someone in the past and there are series of posts for the same and this will allow you to find answers immediately. Posting a question ties you to the forum where you would waste time in visiting the question every time a new answer is posted and it can be days before you come across an answer that resolves the query you had in your mind.
Lastly, if you have joined a CFA Online Preparation course you should always try and get your queries resolved by such coaching institute. These institutes have people who keep track of all the latest developments of the syllabus and its changes, suggested by the CFA Institute and would be able to answer most queries you have in your mind and thus save you from hours of search on the Internet and CFA exam specific forums.
To conclude Meta-Learning is good if you know how to smartly use it or else it can be one of the biggest reasons for your undoing.