*By Zee*

You may not be doing as many CFA practice exams as you should.

If you're a regular reader of 300 Hours, you'll know that practice exams is a very important aspect of preparing to pass the CFA exams. Although you may not get a great score the first time around, practice is the key to acing the exams.

As a Level I candidate, I thought I was going above and beyond when I got 6 practice exams to sink my teeth into. I didn't manage to finish all of them: my official tally of practice exams for Level I was 5 practice exams.

It was only later that I realised that the better candidates were about averaging that number, plus there was a free mock exam that is given by CFA Institute that should have been absolutely prioritised. Of course, I completely missed that as a green CFA Level I candidate.

This post is to help you avoid one of the basic mistakes that many candidates make, and know exactly how many you should be doing, using research that we've done with CFA Insights.

**So Why Do I Need to Go Through So Many Practice Exams?**

As we've covered before, practice exams are important to passing. They:

- Help you understand what are the main testable topics
- Get you used to the exam format
- Gives you a good avenue to retain concepts you've learnt

You'll probably not get the best of scores on your first practice exam, but don't get discouraged. As long as you go through the detailed answers carefully and review concepts you're unfamiliar with, you'll continue to improve your scores and timing. For a good practice exam post-mortem guide, see this discussion by @Sarah in our Forum. You can also join for free and ask a question or start a discussion!

So How Many Practice Exams Is

__Everyone Else__Doing?

In CFA Insights, we cover this topic extensively, but we'll go through some of the learnings here. Passing candidates average slightly more than 4 full sets of practice exams for Level I, as per the chart below:

On average, you can see that most of us was like my Level I self - attempting about 4-5 practice exams.

The minimum we would recommend for any level is about 4 practice exams. Most prep packages have 3 practice exams - add in the free CFAI mock exam and you have 4. That should be a minimum number in any candidate's case if they want a good chance of passing.

Just as a frame of reference, my practice exam tally was:

We also see the number of average practice exams increase as we go up the CFA levels:

The minimum we would recommend for any level is about 4 practice exams. Most prep packages have 3 practice exams - add in the free CFAI mock exam and you have 4. That should be a minimum number in any candidate's case if they want a good chance of passing.

Just as a frame of reference, my practice exam tally was:

*5 practice exams for Level I**7 practice exams for Level II**7 practice exams for Level III*

We also see the number of average practice exams increase as we go up the CFA levels:

I have no finance background prior to this (you can find out how this influences your performance here), so if you're of a similar background I suggest that you at least aim for what worked for me.

Here are some you should definitely be looking at:

If you're sitting for your CFA exams soon, how many practice exams have you attempted, and how many do you plan to go through? Let us know in the comments below.

**So Where Do I Get More Practice Exams?**Here are some you should definitely be looking at:

- CFA Institute gives away a free mock to every registered candidate. You should be all over this.
- Sophie also posted her ultimate guide to CFA practice exams where she has her recommendations - read it here.
- We also have practice exams available from partner providers in our Store, available for instant download.
- Remember that we have a free practice test available for our Level I readers!

**What Do You Think?**If you're sitting for your CFA exams soon, how many practice exams have you attempted, and how many do you plan to go through? Let us know in the comments below.