Hi Andyd. I personally used test prep providers to prepare for the CFA. I think one of the best known providers is Schweser. You can check their website at http://www.schweser.com
. I also know about Stalla (http://www.stalla.com
) which is another good test prep provider. I cannot comment on the latter since I did not use it for my preparation although I did see the actual books. I did not find the latter as user friendly as Schweser but that may be more a matter of personal taste. You can also buy the actual AIMR books at http://www.aimr.org
. Some people find it more useful to have the actual books but you don't necessarily have to buy the recommend textbooks. The difference is that if you buy the textbooks (~1200$), you are good for the 3 levels (unless there are new editions coming out) whereas you will have to buy the study notes for each of the level (~299$) if you do it with a test prep provider.
If you have a good finance background already, a test prep provider should be sufficient to make you pass each of the level. You can also check out this website: http://www.analystforum.com
which is an active CFA candidates community where you can post your questions. I am not too impressed with many of the threads on that forum but it is the only one I know of that is CFA related.