If you’re just entering the ForEx game, a good way to start is getting a little education under your belt. You may do a little or nothing at all, but you don’t want to start until you’ve reached a good point of understanding.
There are A LOT of different methods for learning ForEx, and it can get overwhelming. Therefore, this handy guide breaks the learning process down into four easy steps to help you find the best way to get information tailored to your needs and become an informed, experienced trader.
A little knowledge will take you a long way. Taking a course or educating yourself through other means will take you from gambling all your money away to a skilled, savvy trader. To get there, you need to know the types of courses, assess their credibility, and learn how to decide what works best for you.
Breakdown: Finding The Perfect Course
The following breakdown gives you a synopsis of this entire article so you can quickly skim for what you need.
Performing the steps listed in the order they’re given may be ideal for your situation, but you may not need every portion. For example, you may not need to analyze the credibility of a course if you’re already using one that is well-known.
Take what applies to you and run with it!
Assess Your Needs
This is an optional prerequisite, as you may already know what you’re looking for. However, since there’s so much information involved in understanding ForEx, it’s important to know how you best retain information, and then you can base your course type on that.
Look at your learning style, lifestyle, and budget. Once you get these factors out of the way, you can narrow down your choices and prevent getting overwhelmed with the number of available resources.
Look At Different Types of Trading Courses
Based on your needs assessment, you can then start looking at the available types of courses.
You can take your needs and the provided suggestions into account and only look for the courses that directly apply to you. If you’re on a budget, you can look at the section that provides places to look for free resources!
Analyze the Credibility
If you’re not going with a renowned ForEx course, such as Babypips of the ForEx School Online, you should put the course up to a credibility check.
You can read over this section and find out what you need to look for and what you should avoid. There are plenty of tips in this section of the article to determine the most worthwhile course!
Keep Track of Information
You may take one course, multiple courses, or a mix of courses with experience or workshops.
Gathering all your information and keeping it organized is critical to make sure you haven’t wasted your time or forgotten important things!
Step 1: Assess Your Learning & LifeStyles
Learning is a commitment, no matter:
- What course you choose
- How much money you put into one
- How much you want to learn
Ascertaining your learning needs is key to narrowing down your selection of sources.
You can use step 1 (Assessing Your Learning Style) and apply it to step 2 (Looking at Different Types of Courses) to eliminate courses you don’t think will work as well for you. This will save time in your search!
Your learning style plays a bigger role than you may think!
It will save you time and money to pick a course that fits your learning style! Your lifestyle also plays a part in your decision, which has also been tied into the explanation of each platform listed.
Auditory learners gain new information best by talking or listening.
You probably did best taking notes on lectures, watching videos, and participating in discussions in school. Therefore, it’s best to apply this to your trading courses, in that using the spoken word should be your strategy.
Best Course Platforms
- Podcast or Audiobook
- This is great if you’re pretty active and like to listen to music, as you could replace the music for these mediums instead. Podcasts and audiobooks are great if you’re constantly on the go, as they’re convenient and allow you to multitask!
- This format is great if you have a little more time and also like to be in a setting of like-minded people. It could be great to find other people who have the same interest as you because they may give you insights and resources you didn’t have previously or hadn’t considered.
If you like to learn by doing, touching, and interacting, the kinesthetic learning style is your preference.
An ideal course for you is something you can interact with, like one that allows you to do mock trading.
Mock trading essentially lets you “trade” fake money and act out trading to learn the methods and patterns.
For this course format, look for workshops or online courses that emphasize mock trading (or are based on it entirely). Any in-person and/or interactive platform is the way to go for you!
Best Course Platforms
- Online Course
- Online courses are perfect if you’re a busy person. Whether you take care of your kids, work multiple jobs, or travel a lot, online courses provide flexibility while still catering to your learning style…if you find an interactive one!
- Mock trading workshops
- Great for if you have a little more time on your hands and like to ask questions as you work.
- Joining a group
- Perfect for social butterflies! Group trading is great for getting information through doing and interacting with others. It also doubles as social time if you like to combine work and play.
Visual learners usually do best with seeing pictures.
They prefer scenarios when words are organized in sections and “word bubbles,” graphs, charts, and powerpoints.
This is great for ForEx, as it’s a visual platform. You really look at charts all day, so visual learners will be able to watch people trading and learn by their example.
Best Course Platforms
- Online Course
- An online course with an emphasis on visuals would be your best bet. This is great if you like to learn at your own pace and pick up where you left off when it comes to learning. Look around for courses that have visuals in their advertising and take them to the instructor before beginning.
- Workshops and Demonstrations
- Instructors who use a lot of visuals in their demonstrations (or if you attend workshops) would be best for you! You can ask professors (or watch their previous recordings) to get a feel for how their classes work. Make sure they use visuals for explanations and that they demonstrate what real-life trading looks like.
Step 2: Look At Different Types of Trading Courses
Before you start learning about trading, it’s important to know your learning options.
There are various trading courses available, with pros and cons to each.
Keep in mind that some types of courses may work better for others than for you. As long as you can find a reputable source and the course information helps you work in the direction you’re trying to go, that’s what matters!
Renowned Online Courses
Among traders, a sworn-by course is Babypips – which has been around for about 10 years.
It offers a very broken-down way to understand trading – they even have a section for absolute beginners called preschool, which is great if you’re just beginning and 100% fresh to trading ForEx! Not only do they let you know about trading in layman’s terms, but they also have a great layout and a huge range of topics for anything ForEx related!
ForEx School Online
This site’s great if you want to dip your toe into a few different courses or choose from a few. They have a few free courses, so you can get a feel for what you’re getting yourself into before you decide to take the plunge and spend money on their actual courses!
They also have a great breakdown, listing various strategies, and explaining underlying concepts, such as supply and demand.
In-person courses are usually referred to as workshops.
A group of people is put together to do more hands-on training, such as strategy practice or mock trading sessions. These are great (and more common) for traders who have a little background in trading, but there are still workshops available for complete beginners too!
You can go to Reddit (or any ForEx trading forum) and look for your area or city.
There’s bound to be at least one trading group near you, especially if you live near a city.
If safety is a concern, check out if they have any media or community presence. You can see what they are up to and possibly speak with someone that leads the group before entering.
A good rule of thumb is to trust your gut; if something doesn’t feel right, it likely isn’t.
Mentors are sort of a shot in the dark.
So many mentors that seem to be “one call away,” and yet, they charge you at an hourly rate telling you things Google already told you from 15 minutes of research.
If you really want to work with a mentor, keep in mind:
- Their reputation (check blogs, forums, and reviews)
- Social media presence (do they have an active, loyal following that engages with them? Or does it look like they bought their followers?)
- Community presence (do any fellow traders know of them? Do they go to community events?)
“Expert-Led” Online Courses
These types of classes can be hit or miss.
If you’re taking a course from a place that is not necessarily well known, it could be amazing… or it could be a huge waste of money. When deciding on one of these classes, use the credibility basics portion in step 3 (Learn Credibility Basics) to help you assess what you’re getting yourself into.
Usually, they can be a less expensive alternative to other online courses. You just have to be careful. A large following may not indicate they’re as popular as it seems!
The Collegiate Route
If you want to go into professional trading, your most sound option is to get a good feel for the groundwork.
This will give you a deep understanding of how ForEx (and stock trading) works. You’ll understand economics, trends, and finances in a way an overview course doesn’t provide. This amount of depth and accreditation is a solid base for starting your ForEx career!
Unfortunately, there is no “ForEx Trading degree.” However, there’s still hope if you’re thinking of trading professionally, or you want to commit to the financial field.
Typically, those who trade through an employer need some sort of related degree as a prerequisite.
The most common degrees among traders are usually:
This may be a good option, as it’s less of a niche education than a “ForEx course” and can be applied to other career paths.
These disciplines give you a lot of knowledge in surrounding fields and allow you to market yourself as more multifaceted than the next potential hire! Essentially, it looks great on a resume and gives you a more well-rounded education!
You can get certifications that qualify you to be more of a professional trader.
If you’re looking to get the most rigorous and thorough education within the ForEx trading realm, an accredited certification would be your best bet! Certification is usually obtained by those who will be trading in a professional setting.
The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute offers these types of certification, which would increase your chances of getting hired!
This may be better suited if you are looking to trade professionally, as the course can take up to four years to finish and the topics and testing are thorough and rigorous. For example, you would learn about professional standards, corporate finance, and other things related to working for a company. If this is what you need, go for it!
Mass Course Providers
With Udemy, anyone can come along and design a course. This is great, as it’s a pretty dense forest of knowledge for people who know what they’re talking about. Of course, there isn’t a rigorous check to ensure each course is of the best quality.
That may take some of your own research, which could take time.
For Udemy, they do have certifications that show a course is up to a quality standard. This is demonstrated when a course passes their “Quality Review Process (QRP).” Check for the QRP symbol before signing up!
“ForEx Trading A-Z” (from Udemy)
This is a pretty inexpensive course, and it’s one of the more well known ForEx courses that Udemy provides.
It costs about $13, and it’s good for any skill level!
There are plenty of perks with this one, as you can use it throughout your trading career due to its extensive information! Some perks of this course include:
- Depth of information for any experience level
- How to read the important information, like charts and calendars
- Inexpensive for the information provided
Perhaps you don’t want to use a traditional online course, as you don’t learn that way.
There are alternative methods, including doing your own research (with free ebooks, regular books, and gathering general information).
This is best if you like to take your own notes, get a comprehensive understanding of various sources.
If you have an auditory learning style, you could listen to these books on tape.
Or you could join a group or get a mentor to assist you. This would be best if you like to learn through experience.
If you decide to go the free route:
- Public library
- You can check out plenty of books from the library to skim through, pick up knowledge, and take notes.
- Some libraries have extra rooms where you can simply read and use their resources!
- If you don’t have a laptop of your own, most libraries have computers that are free to rent. You can learn a lot online just by browsing for:
- Websites and free eBooks
- YouTube videos
- Online magazines
- News (especially places like Yahoo! finance)
- If you don’t have a laptop of your own, most libraries have computers that are free to rent. You can learn a lot online just by browsing for:
Step 3: Learn Credibility Basics
You may gather a list of good courses, but you should analyze their credibility before signing up!
Search for a professional website and check reputations through word of mouth or the internet to double-check. Common sense is always a good thing to have, so use your intuition and follow these steps to find some great courses from great sources!
Credibility Analysis: What to Look For
This is incredibly important.
You should be able to know the professor has quality work. Perhaps a sample of a course is posted or given upon request. You can see if there’s weird design, font, lack of organization, or poor grammar and spelling.
They should also communicate well and be responsive if you e-mail them. (Bonus points for multiple contact methods and listed hours of availability.) Some further examples of professionalism are listed below.
Solid, Dynamic Material
An experienced professor will offer material that is:
- Interesting (aka: fun)
- Well organized
They shouldn’t simply post some reading and a quiz you might skip over because you’re bored.
This means they have taken time to ensure the material will get through to their students. It also means he has experience teaching and knows what people need. He should include:
- A variety of materials
- His own videos
- Guest expert videos
- Logical organization and formatting if there’s a lot of text included
Modern & Relevant
A course may have tried-and-true methods, and that’s great; learning the methods well known in the industry is incredibly important. However, the course should also mention current trends and news through e-mails or bulletins.
It should be updated and not look like the same information the instructor uses every year.
Some key things to look for:
- A course’s own webpage (unless it’s from a mass provider site)
- Quick webpages and functional, non-buffering videos
- If there’s an easy way to download materials (such as posting pdf formats) is great for mobility while still learning
Credibility Analysis: What To Avoid
The all too familiar saying “it’s too good to be true” definitely comes into play here, as scammers claim you can get 100% ROI from trading, which, especially if you’re beginning, is rarely true.
Even advanced traders aren’t making these kinds of returns.
This scam is used to lure novices into thinking there’s some easy secret the course providers know, and you don’t. The truth is, you have to take the time, effort, and possibly money to educate yourself properly.
You’re going to want to know if what they’re saying is true if they offer slightly less out of reach guarantees.
For example, let’s say they claim they can “double your money” in X amount of months. This may be a realistic claim, but you should still be slightly apprehensive. Ask them for documentation or “proof.” If they are honest in their claims, they should have no hesitation to show you their verification.
They may even say they will invest for you, which is the worst thing you could do.
Some random service on the internet is not going to take your money and make you a millionaire. You can get a reputable broker to help you with your investments, but you likely won’t find him online.
Getting Too Personal
Keep the fact that many courses are scams in the back of your head.
Ensure you only give your information away if the course provider has a verifiable reputation built up already.
If they’re a little new but still seem credible, you may need to reconsider or read the fine print and make sure everything checks out. Also, ask for a risk disclosure. If they are willing to provide one or do so before you even ask, that’s a good sign.
Additionally, testimonials should be traceable to make sure they aren’t made up.
You may think a random e-mail or text is from something you signed up for but don’t remember. Again, this is an intentional tactic.
Scammers try to weave your name into an e-mail or other personal greetings to make it seem like a familiar source. Usually, you should only click links if you remember signing up for their e-mail list. If you get these communications frequently, delete them, or unsubscribe.
Reputable services know that spam is illegal and don’t ask you to do something out of the blue in a spammy way.
It may seem like a real person, but it’s most likely not valid if you don’t know the source.
If you’re truly intrigued, you can check out the company’s reputation and its online presence.
Look for them on social media. That’s easy to find and can be linked to individual people with solid reputations and loyal followings.
Search their name on forums (or post your own forum) to see if anyone’s talking about them or ask fellow traders if they’re aware of the company in question.
You could also check review pages or YouTube channels to see what others have to say.
Step 4: Keep Track of What You Learn
You can base this step on your learning style, too. However, keeping notes is best for referencing what you’ve learned.
You could build a personalized “cheat sheet” for when you’re trading, and even write things you learn while you’re trading.
One great way to manage information is to digitally organize everything into folders. You could do this physically, too; it just depends on your preferences and lifestyle!
However, the perk of using an actual trading course stems from the fact that it’s great for note/information management in that:
- It’s organized
- Easy to manage
- Easy to track where your information was sourced from
- Good to understand what you’ll learn about before you make the investment
You could follow the example in the table below to get started.
The way it works is:
- Jot down information in a bulleted style (left) during a podcast, lecture, class, etc.
- After class, organize your information (right)
It’s often too distracting to organize while you’re busy capturing information.
|New information (dump)||Previous information (organized)|
|ForEx is short for Foreign exchange Good news source is yahoo finance||Definitions ForEx:: foreign exchange Strategies Tips Sources Check Yahoo! Finance for trading news|
While taking notes is a given assumption during lectures, you can also take notes when watching others’ demonstrations, especially when you trade!
Learning from your mistakes is the quickest way to learn if you already know a little bit about what you’re doing. Write down a mistake and what you’ll do differently next time.
Afterward, you can make a post-it note or reminder on your phone or desktop to remind yourself about your mistake and solution (especially if you keep making the same mistake)!
You’ve looked at your personal learning style, lifestyle, types of courses, and how to assess the credibility of those. Your next step is to make pros and cons in narrowing down your decision!
Remember that there’s no “quick and easy” way to learn ForEx, even with an informational course!
Your experience will compound over time and give you all the skills you need. Again, try mixing and matching different learning types, such as workshops and podcasts, for multiple perspectives!