I can not speak for a swing trader, but if you are a day trader, let me be honest without sugar coating anything: Thank God if you are flat after 3 months, appreciate if you break even after 6 months, you are guaranteed to lose money and get blown out, and your sole purpose right now is to minimize the damage. Any money you make is purely beginner's luck. There is nothing, absolutely nothing that will shorten the learning curve, regardless of how well you prepare yourself (I mean, come on, everyone did their home work, read some books before they started trading, it is hardly an advantage). Once you understand the above paragraph, you will know how to prepare yourself, I lost 19 out of 20 games when I started, and you will go through the same thing (better or worse). Think of your account as a stock that is guaranteed to free fall, then it will consolidate, then it bottoms, then it rebounds, and the day it breaks out into a new high, which will take a few months, a year, or never, you crossed the line as a profitable trader. DO NOT follow anyone's advice in those chat rooms, no one can be right more than 50% of the times, it is perfectly ok to look at the charts, see why they took it, but in the beginning, do not ride coat tails, it will only slow your progress to become profitable. Narrow down your watch list, trade no more than 10 stocks, follow them every day, learn their rhythm, DEVELOP your style. If you don't know what you want to do when the market opens, you are not even a trader, not even an unprofitable trader, you have to have a style, a strategy, a play, find it, master it.