We first heard about Passed Tense back in mid 2013 which piqued my interest, due to their adaptive question bank engine that tailors its difficulty to your level of mastery. You may have known them as Paul, Mike and the PassedTense team whom have been active at the 3H Forum hosting Level I Questions of the Week for a while now.
Since launching their CFA Level I online course a few years ago, they’ve grown from strength-to-strength given the popularity of their adaptive exam engine tool. Aptly rebranding themselves now as AdaptPrep, they’ve also launched a brand new CFA Level II course in time for June 2016 exams.
Given my reputation as a CFA-dork (which you probably know by now!), I have had the opportunity to experience the AdaptPrep CFA platform for a few weeks. Here are my first thoughts:
#1. Short and engaging videos that complement printable manuals
Upon logging on to AdaptPrep’s platform, you’re immediately greeted with an orderly, colourful block-style layout of all the readings you need to do.
Quite often, a key question that pops up for CFA candidates is whether a provider’s material is sufficient to replace CFAI curriculum itself. AdaptPrep’s videos and study manuals are designed so that most users can watch them, work problems, and be ready for the exam on a standalone basis. However, the interface also provide guidance to read through the CFAI summaries, work the end of reading problems, and if necessary, read through the full reading.
For those who enjoy video-based learning, you’re in for a treat: AdaptPrep’s videos are well produced for the web, succinct and led by instructor Mike Carmody. The videos are not simply just a recording of a typical classroom session which may be dull for some. I personally found that the shorter average length (~10 minutes) and graphical production value is better for my concentration and breaks the monotony of just reading from a book.
This is the best-selling feature from AdaptPrep, where the bank of adaptive questions increases in difficulty as you progress through your studies.
In order to gauge how ready you are for the CFA exams, AdaptPrep introduces the concept of Earned Level – which in essence is a measurement of difficulty using their proprietary algorithm – so that you can track your progress and exam-readiness over time. Everyone starts with an Earned Level of 3, and a target of 7 and above means you’re well prepared for the exam. With the average CFA exam difficulty rated at between 5.5-7.0, getting an Earned Level of 7 should stand you in good stead! Generally, taking more than 7 Practice Exams and scoring more than 70+ gets you to an Earned Level of 7.
The Practice section also allows you to go for Quiz or Exam mode, where you can also generate custom questions or mini-exams that on particular topic, or level of difficulty. The only difference is that Quiz mode results doesn’t affect your Earned Level, but Exam mode does.
We are seeing a clear trend towards online learning with lower pricing by CFA training providers. Generally, established incumbents are updating their courses for online learning with video recordings of their traditional classes.
AdaptPrep’s a little different – their courses are completely built from scratch and tailored for online learning globally, backed by quality teaching by experienced instructors. With the Complete package for Level I for $299 and Level II for $399 , it’s extremely affordable and good value for the quality. Here’s a quick comparison AdaptPrep has done for CFA Level I:
Pricing & availability
Simple and focused, AdaptPrep’s offerings can be clearly summarised as follows:
- Learn is basically just AdaptPrep’s video lessons packaged with a printable manual;
- Review is some helpful materials like AdaptPrep’s Formula Sheet, Calculator Guide and summary review videos;
- Practice is the Adapt Exam Engine which is available on a subscription basis (from 3 days up to unlimited time);
- Complete is basically everything included for a fixed price, and it’s free until you pass – pretty neat deal!
In practice, I see the AdaptPrep Complete Package and Practice as realistic options for CFA candidates out there: the former for those who would like to take advantage of this affordable option anywhere in the world, the latter where you purchase a time-specific subscription as an additional source of practice materials for your CFA preparation, if video learning isn’t for you.
Reputation & effectiveness
In my view, despite its relatively young age, AdaptPrep is a serious contender as a new training provider because:
- Growth: they have been building up their reputation in the past few years through providing high quality study materials at a super affordable price by focusing on the core essentials that you need to pass the CFA exams. There are good reviews on their website, and this should only build up over time as candidates give them a try.
- Commitment to Level II and Level III materials: With the recent launch of Level II materials in time for the June 2016 exams, they’ve committed to launch Level III mock exam materials in time for June 2016 as their first Level III product.
Free Trial and Formula Sheet
For those who are keen to try them out, they are running a promotion to ship out free, high-quality printed formula sheets when you sign up for a trial for Level I or II. The free trial includes all the videos and questions for Quantitative Methods.