CFA Provider Review: Bloomberg Exam Prep

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CFA Provider Review: Bloomberg Exam Prep

By Christine

As all of our team have completed the CFA exams, we know how important choosing the right provider is to give you just enough advantage to pass. Our Review series covers the best names in the CFA provider business, combining our thoughts on providers’ latest products with independent candidate reviews.

Our detailed review for Bloomberg Exam Prep includes:

  • Details on their full product range
  • A summary of all packages on offer and what’s included with every package
  • Candidate reviews and ratings
  • Our final thoughts and recommendations, pros and cons on Bloomberg as a CFA provider

About Bloomberg Exam Prep
Picture

Bloomberg as a brand probably needs no introduction – the ubiquitous Bloomberg terminal has been commonplace since the eighties.

Bloomberg Exam Prep, however, entered the CFA provider market in 2015 with a Level I online-first approach for CFA virtual learning. Powered by Mindojo, a startup that also counts the Economist’s GMAT Tutor as one of their products, Bloomberg’s adaptive learning and high interactivity aspects of their initial product was what impressed Sophie in her review.

Bloomberg’s packages was also notable for offering a mind-blowing 10 practice exams, comfortably more than what we recommend. Since then, Bloomberg has rapidly iterated their product, launching their Level II and Level III packages soon after.


An Overview of Bloomberg’s CFA Packages
Bloomberg currently offers three packages for CFA candidates: Essential, Premium and Ultimate. As far as we know, apart from special offers (which you’ll know about if you join our mailing list), there aren’t any options to purchase individual components of the packages.

True to Bloomberg tradition, all packages offer generous practice exams – with the cheapest Essential package already offering six practice exams. All packages also offer what Bloomberg calls ‘ask-a-tutor’ questions – a service where you can get answers to any CFA questions you have.

Apart from the number of practice exams, the difference between the packages seem to be the level of tutoring offered -the Premium package offers more ask-a-tutor questions and the Ultimate package offers unlimited ask-a-tutor questions and two private tutoring sessions, conducted via video conferencing.

​The packages start from USD 599 for the Essential Package up to USD 1,599 for the Ultimate package. Specific questions about a particular bit? We’ll go through details of each product item in the next section.

Package
Price
$599
$999
$1,599
Main Study Course
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
Simulation Exams
6 full exams
8 full exams
10 full exams
Dashboard
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
Knowledge Map
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
Topic Recommendations
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
Cheat Sheets
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
Ask-a-tutor support
20 questions
80 questions
Unlimited questions
Private tutoring
2 sessions
100% money back guarantee
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎

Bloomberg’s Detailed Product Range
CFA Provider Review: Bloomberg Exam Prep Product Range

Study Guide: Covers the entire CFA curriculum in their adaptive learning platform

  • Bloomberg uses an online teaching platform, which means you will need internet access when and where you plan to study. However, this means no heavy books to lug around, and the platform works on tablets and mobiles too, so convenience is a major advantage.
  • The entire curriculum is covered in ‘micro-lessons’, which combines taught concepts, worked examples, and mini-quizzes to move you through the curriculum. The experience is surprisingly effective – learn a concept, get tested with one or two questions, and on to the next bit. You can easily try this out for yourself – Bloomberg offers a two-week trial to get you started.

Practice Exams: Industry-leading 10 Simulation Exams to sink your teeth into

  • Right from the start, Bloomberg distinguished themselves from others by offering a maximum of 10 full ‘simulation exams’. We recommend that candidates complete about 4-7 exams, so Bloomberg’s offering is definitely more than enough.
  • As with all Bloomberg material, the simulation exams are taken online. They can be paused, weighted to the official CFA Institute topic weightings and timed just like the actual exam.
  • Bloomberg’s simulation exams are also available as printable PDFs for those who want to take the exams offline. Your answers can then be fed into the Bloomberg web site to get the your scores and detailed explanations.

Practice Questions: over 13,000+ practice questions peppered throughout the material

  • Bloomberg doesn’t offer a ‘question bank’ in the same sense as some of the other CFA providers do. Instead, questions are shown to candidates as they progress through the material, and of course through the simulation exams. There is a lot of practice, too – the entire course, including simulation exams, is comprised of over 13,000+ CFA practice questions.

Pass Guarantee

  • Bloomberg offers a simple and effective pass guarantee, giving you a ‘no-win-no-fee’ level of certainty:
    • If you don’t pass, but completed 95% or more of their course, you can get your money back, or continue to get access to an updated package
    • Even if you did not meet the completion requirement and fail, you can still get a free account renewal

Additional Perks
The Bloomberg CFA Prep platform includes a ton of extras that smoothens the learning process:

  • Dashboard: Their performance dashboard helps administer and plan your own approach to learning the CFA curriculum. It’s also the place to go for stats about your learning style, including areas covered, time taken, as well as success rates for each reading. All stats are appropriately weighted to the appropriate CFA exam weightings.
  • Knowledge Map: The Knowledge Map is an interactive graphical representation of your progress so far. It’s a little bit like Tony Stark’s fancy hand-waving visualizations in his workshop in the Iron Man series (with clicking rather than hand-waving), and shows you how you’ve progress and how well you’ve done in each section. Navigating this map lets you review topics and readings, and know exactly where they sit in the bigger picture. This tab also includes a table of contents, and allows you to navigate manually to any concept and fast-forward to advanced parts by taking a quiz to unlock them.
  • ‘Next Recommended Topic’ functionality: Built on ‘multi-million dollar technology’, the adaptive learning process also recommends the next topic for you to learn, based on your performance in the previous lessons. Bloomberg claims that by using the recommendation engine, candidates are likely to save dozens, if not more than a hundred hours compared to any other CFA prep approach, all while boosting chances to pass the CFA exam.
  • Cheat Sheets: These are printable quick reference cards with key concepts and summaries – useful for reviewing and topping up your knowledge in the last few days before the actual exam.
  • Lesson Summaries: These are several dozens of pages of printable PDFs covering the entire curriculum in a condensed form. Ideal for skimming or reviewing by candidates who like reviewing paper they hold in their hands.
  • Ask-a-tutor questions: If you need more help understanding a concept or question, there’s always an ask-a-tutor help button on the interface. Clicking it allows you to send a quick question to Bloomberg’s tutors who will then get back to you, usually within one business day. Essential packages get 20 ask-a-tutor questions, Premium packages get 80, and Ultimate package purchasers get unlimited ask-a-tutor questions.
  • Private tutoring: Ultimate package purchasers also get two one-hour tutoring sessions via videoconferencing, which is recommended to be used when stuck with particular bits of the curriculum, or would prefer a bit of consultation when working through a particularly tough area.

Our Conclusion on Bloomberg Exam Prep
Our Conclusion on Bloomberg Exam Prep as a CFA Provider

Pros

  • Price: Bloomberg’s packages range from USD 599 to USD 1,599, which makes them about comparable to the likes of Kaplan Schweser or Wiley, but you do get quite a lot with their basic Essential package. Bloomberg also runs offers from time to time, and if you purchase more than one level you get a discount, so keep your eyes peeled!
  • Time-savings: Bloomberg states that their candidates spend on average just 184 hours to complete their entire CFA course. Assuming this is all candidates spend working on the CFA program, this represents significant time savings!
  • Lots of practice: As mentioned, 13,000+ practice questions and 10 simulation exams make for a lot of practice – a key ingredient in maximizing your pass chances.
  • Top-notch online platform: Bloomberg’s online software just works, and is available through most mobile devices as well as computers. There’s nothing to install as everything is online, but you will need an internet connection to access your material.
  • Metrics and adaptive learning: Because Bloomberg is based completely online, your performance metrics, topic recommendations and progress are completely tracked and informs you as you go along.
  • Pass guarantee: As with many providers, Bloomberg offers a money-back guarantee if you fail while using them as a provider
  • All three CFA levels covered: Bloomberg offers a complete product offering for all three levels. You currently get a bulk-purchase discount if you purchase 2 or more levels at the same time: 20% off if you buy two levels, or 35% off if you buy all three levels at the same time.


Cons

  • Limited offline access: Some materials, such as lesson summaries and cheat sheets are printable, but for the most part, Bloomberg’s course is designed to be taken online. This may be no problem at all for some, but if you’re unsure, have a go at their two-week trial before deciding to take the plunge. Bloomberg has stated that offline app access will be enabled through an incoming update.

Conclusion

  • The decision on whether to go with Bloomberg will ultimately depend on how comfortable you are with an online-learning approach. If you are insistent on books and paper exams, Bloomberg’s offering is most likely not your cup of tea. But if you are keen on the advantages of online learning: convenience, instant access, flexibility, analytics and responsiveness, Bloomberg’s range of packages and materials have a lot of to offer, and work very well.

Bloomberg’s CFA Provider Rating
(149 candidate ratings)
CFA Level
Level I
Level II
Level III
No. of Ratings
131
18
Overall Rating
4 / 5
Very Good
4 / 5
Very Good
Study Notes
3
3.5
Practice or Mock Exams
3.8
3.5
Review Notes
Question Banks
4.1
3.5
Classroom Courses
2.8
4
Review Courses
2.9
4
Video Lessons
Quality of Online Platform
3.7
3.5
Readability of Notes and Tutorials
3.6
4
Quality of Instructor Support
3.6
2
Value-for-Money
3.5
3.5

Bloomberg’s CFA Candidate Reviews
Bloomberg CFA Candidate Reviews

★★★★☆ Very Good
By tolly66 (Level I)

According to their timer, I have put in 103 hours of study time already (with an additional 100 hours with other materials). I have taken a practice exam and asked multiple questions from their tutor. Also, I initially attempted to study straight from the CFA Curriculum (CFA Books), so I have a decent comparison. I am studying for Level 1; I don’t have any information on Level 2 or 3 for Bloomberg’s software.

Pros:

  • Unlike the CFA Books, the Bloomberg software won’t put you to sleep and is great at explaining points of confusion. When I first started with the CFA Books, I was having a difficult time with Economics, and the Books were not helping. I moved on to other materials and hoped to revisit Economics at a later date. When I purchased the software, Economics was the first subject I went to, and the software made comprehending the lessons easier. Bloomberg achieves this through their question-based approach to teaching materials, which forces to users to think about questions and materials and their machine-learning software, which guides you through different lessons based on your previous performance.
  • The software also gives you “Practice Questions” within each concept, usually in blocks of 10, which is useful for building endurance. Combined with their machine-learning software, this feature strengthens knowledge retention, as it will direct back to previous readings, to check if you remember key lessons.
  • Bloomberg has an “Ask-a-Tutor” feature, which allows you to send questions to CFA charter holders. The response day is usually 24 business hours, which is a fast turnaround.
  • The pass guarantee shows that Bloomberg stands behind their product. Also, the 95% completeness clause is an outstanding motivator for test takers.
  • The dashboard shows you the percentage of correct answers within each reading, which helps pinpoint weaknesses and areas of improvement. Also, the dashboard shows how much time has been spent on each topic.
  • The support team is quick to respond to software problems and are quite helpful.
  • The practice exams have weighted properly, and it shows how long it took a user to answer each question. You also have the option of printing the exam and inputting your answers manually.

Cons:

  • The Direction seems completely random at times. When using the CFA Books, I keep an organized notebook, arranged by reading/topic. With the Bloomberg Software, it will direct you to another topic, while you’re in the thick of a current one. Thankful, you do have the option to ignore the recommendation and stay on your desired topic. You’ll need multiple notebooks to keep all information organized.
  • There were a few questions that had incorrect answers, which I have brought to the support team’s attention. They have taken care of those.
  • Sometimes, the “Ask-A-Tutor” feature does not give the amount of detail needed to settle confusing information. You are allowed to ask two follow-up questions without losing additional tutor requests (for my level, I have 20 “Ask-A-Tutor” question). This shortcoming is probably due to the shortage of instructors during the Bloomberg Prep banner. For the CFA Level I, they only have one tutor available. I believe they will expand their tutoring staff shortly.

Conclusion: You can tell that Bloomberg is a newcomer in the CFA Exam Prep market, but they are doing an adequate job of helping users learn the material. In addition to Bloomberg, I receive Kaplan’s “CFA Question of the Day” in my inbox. Since I started using Bloomberg, my accuracy on Kaplan’s questions improved because I felt more comfortable analyzing the information in each question and using the mental evaluation system the software forced me to develop internally. I recently took a practice exam, and I scored a 65%, which is close to passing, and I haven’t even started with the ethics part of my study material. The Bloomberg software has made me feel more comfortable facing the challenging questions that the CFA will throw at me five weeks from now.
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★★★★☆ Very Good
By y***** (Level I)

Bloombergprep have a unique software that guide me from the start to finish all the material including all the practice from learnt material for retention purpose. This old-new approach have some features that worth noted as below:

  • A unique software that throw me a new material and practice questions relentlessly and with just blindly following the software will allow us to get through all the material needed for the exam AND practice questions to retain information I learnt from previous module. For some people this method is highly attractive but maybe due to my age count, humble background or some other reasons, I cannot optimally utilize this feature, I felt that what I learnt is scattered around in my brain, and have some difficulties to relate one topic with another, I feel comfortable if I can finish a one whole topic one by one, but the software throwing me some topics simultaneously and adding a practice questions from previous material in between, highly stimulating and interesting way of learning I presume, but its just not suitable for me.
  • The learning process done with Question and Answer session, its like you have your personal tutor with you explaining everything and asking questions to stimulate your curiosity, quite fun as you will not feel alone while you study, and have a practical questions along with it. The end of module practice questions is also a big help to apply what we have learnt.
  • I can manually picked what I want to learn actually, and have a study sequence according to my own likes by picking whatever topics available (using this heavy loaded diagram in one page) that I want to learn at a time, but sadly with my moderate internet connection I have, opening Bloomberg page/module taking quite some time, if I added it up for months, I surely regret how much idle time I have wasted for waiting the page/module to open. If the internet connection is slow, then I just gave up studying and do something else instead. If your country having a good stable internet connection, it would not be a problem.
  • They have a tutor that can answer questions (basic package have 20 tokens, each for 1 questions I use to ask a tutor feature) questions pop up or explain some topics I can’t understand quite promptly and clearly, but unfortunately most of the time I asked a questions about mistype practice questions, material or else, they end up giving me extra 20 tokens for asking some mistyped questions or material again and again. Good people behind the platform but as this is their 1st year some minor error here and there is actually expected.
  • The package include 6 Full Exam! plenty of exam simulations is good for your health! I used 4 of them and quite satisfy with the questions quality and the answer provided.
  • I ended up spending more than 300hours using this platform, but mostly due to waiting time of opening a module/page, will recommend this provider to younger people love to learn from their iPad/notebook with good internet connection, value for money too.

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★★★★★ Excellent
By davidsedrak (Level I)

I signed up for Bloomberg’s CFA Exam Prep back in February and going through their curriculum has helped me focus significantly. I was studying from Kaplan Schweser material but realized that there was too much material, it became overwhelming to cover. Bloomberg is all algorithmic and tests you on your weaknesses to help ensure you pass. They offer guarantees on passing for all 3 of their packages and it’s all online based. I’m able to study everywhere, on the bus on my way to work, whenever I’m waiting around, or at my desk. I highly recommend Bloomberg for whoever is looking to save some time too. I’m 78% through the curriculum and have only spent 112 hours rather than the usual 300.

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★★★★★ Excellent format helps retention
By TJ Hooker (Level I)

BB uses an excellent format with regular questions recapping the topics you’ve learned as you go along. The topics are broken down into ‘micro’ topics which are easy to work though. Also there are a lot of questions as you go along. It’s a great tool
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★★★★☆ Questions throughout is a great idea
By ComplianceGuy (Level I)

The constant testing of knowledge through questions throughout the learning stage helps to ensure that you have grasped the concept before progressing to the next stage
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★★★★☆ Good, but format needs to improve
By Naanull (Level I)

I believe that the format for learning is actually quite good. I believe that the format need to improve. As it stands it is a great compliment and a good preparation for the exam, however, as a stand alone it is not sufficient to excel.
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★★☆☆☆ Fair
By mrbones92 (Level I)

The content is good but the ai software is quite frustrating. After you have finished a section and you get a few questions wrong further down the line, it resets those topics undoing your progress. I also think the instructions are quite concise as they assume you already know a lot. Therefore a printed curriculum is a must have. I expected more from Bloomberg to be honest.
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★★★★☆ Very Good
By tolly66 (Level I)

Bloomberg is new to the CFA game and it shows as there were some bugs with their “Ask-A-Tutor” feature and their predictive analysis. However, the staff quickly replied to all concerns and credited my account accordingly. The practice questions and tests were definitely a HUGE reason why I passed Level 1.
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★★★★☆ Very Good
By Jonhwang (Level II)

Interesting lesson structure, engages without making factual information difficult to digest.
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★★★★★ Excellent
By far_w (Level I)

Excellent CFA preparation tool. Definitely a must-try. You will find the teaching of concepts as small concise nuggets of information very effective.
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★★★★☆ Very Good
By Quanr (Level I)

Good and straight to the point material. A great time saver too.
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★★★★☆ Very Good
By Oliviakmp (Level I)

Useful online learning but lacking some useful information
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★★★★★ Excellent
By Lance (Level I)

The CFA preparation materials are plentiful and the information is very relevant. I’ve found it to be helpful.
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★★★★☆ Very Good
By Zentra17 (Level I)

Possibility to reset progress from modules (currently in only gives th epossibility to reset entire course)
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★★★☆☆ Good
By g***** (Level I)

Bloomberg is good for practice questions. You still need to read the book!
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★★★★☆ Very Good
By g***** (Level I)

Quite decent. Liked the adaptive nature of the course construct.
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