CFA Provider Review: Wiley Efficient Learning

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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 Wiley 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 on Wiley as a CFA provider

About Wiley Efficient Learning
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Wiley’s CFA program started as Elan Guides in 2009 under Basit Shajani, where it quickly grew to be associated with quality materials at value-for-money prices. Although well-reviewed and doing well, the fledgling company needed more support  and firepower to expand their offering to a complete three-level CFA product. It was at this point that their success caught the eye of mega-publisher John Wiley & Sons.

John Wiley & Sons acquired Elan Guides in January 2014, rebranding it as Wiley Efficient Learning and rapidly expanding their offering to the current three-level CFA suite. Shajani continues to be strongly involved through his current position as Editor-in-Chief for CFA Prep Materials.


An Overview of Wiley’s CFA Packages
Wiley has five custom packages for you to choose from. Four of them are designed to take you through the entire curriculum with varying degrees of support: Platinum, Gold, Silver and Self-Study. The last package, 11th Hour Final Review, is an intense review-only course designed to help you firm up your knowledge close to the CFA exam.

Specific products can also be ordered individually, but you’ll probably find best value-for-money through one of the packages. You can of course top up with individual purchases if you’d like to add something to your package.

The five packages Wiley offers and their components are compared below. We’ll also go through each of the components and whether they will be suited for you.

To see packages offered by our recommended partners, check out our other reviews.

Package
Platinum
Gold
Silver
Self-Study
11th Hour Final Review
Level I
$1,295
$995
$795
$595
$375
Level II
$1,295
$995
$795
$595
$375
Level III
$995
$795
$595
$395
$375
Pass Guarantee
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
Adaptive Study Planner & Schedule
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
Bite-sized Lessons
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
Formula Sheets
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
Dashboard & Performance Metrics
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
Study Guide
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
Full Length Mock Exams
2 full exams
(1 for L3)
2 full exams
(1 for L3)
2 full exams
(1 for L3)
2 full exams
(1 for L3)
Practice Questions
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
Video Lectures
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
Live Online Virtual Classes
✔︎
✔︎
Online Mentoring
✔︎
✔︎
✔︎
11th Hour Final Review Course
✔︎
✔︎
11th Hour Review Study Guide
✔︎
✔︎
Additional 11th Hour Mock Exam
✔︎
✔︎

Wiley’s Detailed Product Range
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Wiley’s product range has expanded in the recent years – it now includes review courses, video lectures, instruction courses and adaptive planners. The result is a great product range covering pretty much any study format you can think of.

Study Guide: Five volumes of concise notes

  • Available in five printed volumes or as an ebook, this is Wiley’s study notes on the CFA curriculum. It goes through all the fundamentals, concepts and Learning Outcome Statements (LOS) needed to pass each CFA exam level, so you can use this as your primary source to learn the CFA curriculum. The format, summaries and reference systems make it more easily digestible than the official CFA curriculum – it’s a significant advantage because it allows you to finish your studies sooner and keep you fresh for your practice exams.

Practice Exams: Two or three Mock Exams available per CFA level, more on the way

  • Wiley offers two (or one in Level III) Mock Exams for each of their study packages, and an additional 11th Hour Mock Exam if you purchase the 11th Hour Final Review or Platinum Packages. This means that you can get a maximum of three Wiley Mock Exams for Levels I and II, and a maximum of two Wiley Mock Exams for Level III.
  • For the serious candidate, we think that you should supplement this with additional mock exams – we recommend that candidates complete four or more practice exams for each level. Wiley also offers two additional mock exams for CFA Level I through their Mock Exams ebook, which you can buy separately. Don’t forget that you also will have a free mock exam from the CFA Institute, which you should definitely complete.
  • We reached out to Wiley specifically on this point, and Wiley have also assured us that they are constantly enhancing their products and working hard on adding more mock exams for future offerings. 

Review Notes: 11th Hour Review Guide

  • The 11th Hour Review is Wiley’s one-book final review guide to each CFA exam level, condensing all readings and key formulae to help ‘top up’ your knowledge as you work through your mock exams. As this is just one book, it’s handy to bring around in the final month and on the actual CFA exam day, if you’re keen on doing some last minute reviewing before the morning and afternoon exams.

Question Banks: Thousands of practice questions for Level I and II

  • The Wiley Test Bank as thousands of questions – 4,000+ questions for Level I and 1,200+ questions for Level II, and includes answers and explanations for each. It also includes a quiz planner that allows you to create customised exams and filter by topic if you wish. The Test Bank is accessed online, so you’ll need a computer and internet access for this.


Classroom & Video Courses: Live Online Classes, topic-based Video Lectures and Online Mentoring

  • Live Online Classes are a new addition to the Wiley CFA product range. It’s a set of 16 weekly instructor-led classes lasting about two to three hours and consists of a lecture, worked problems, and a Q&A session. The class is also recorded so you can catch up on it later if you can’t attend the live ones.
  • You can also work through the entire curriculum through Wiley’s Video Lectures, going through all fundamentals and concepts needed to pass each level. 50-90 hours of video per level are included. As per most video lectures, the instructors explain the concepts, work through examples, and work in exam tips along the way.
  • Wiley also offers something called Online Mentoring, which is basically an online Q&A. If you need something clarified or a question worked through, just post it up and you’ll get a response in 24 hours or less.

Review Course: 11th Hour Final Review Course

  • Wiley’s 11th Hour Final Review Course is their knowledge-booster course, meant to be taken closer to the actual CFA exam day. Unlike Schweser’s review courses which are scheduled at certain dates, you can take Wiley’s review courses at any time, as the material is already prepared. It consists of:
    • 40 hours of review-focused video lectures
    • A full-length mock exam and seminar
    • The 11th Hour Review Study Guide (which we went through in a previous section above)
    • Formula sheets

Pass Guarantee

  • Wiley’s Pass Guarantee is simple – you can keep access to your course and repeat as needed until you pass, no questions asked.

Additional Perks: Adaptive Planner, Formula Sheets, Performance Dashboard

  • A few additional features included in Wiley’s packages are worth a quick mention:
    • Formula Sheets: All packages include formula sheets which summarise the basic concepts and formulae needed for each level. This is a great tool – it should be used and annotated as you work through the curriculum and mock exams.
    • Adaptive Planner: Wiley’s adaptive planner helps you schedule your CFA studies, helps you stay on time, and is flexible enough to accommodate if your commitments or schedule changes.
    • Performance Dashboard: A significant advantage of online exams and online prep material is that your performance can be automatically calculated, summarised and compared. Wiley’s Dashboard and Performance Metrics helps you evaluate your performance, and highlights problem areas where you should focus more attention.

Our Conclusion on Wiley
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Pros

  • Price: Wiley’s prices have increased slightly recently, but they are a cheaper alternative to Kaplan Schweser, and now has an expanded offering. You can check their latest offers here.
  • Great notes: The Study Guide and 11th Hour Review Guide have consistently been well-reviewed by candidates for its digestibility
  • Wide range of products: Wiley’s packages cover most candidates’ needs, and you can top up with additional supplements if you need them
  • Top-notch instructors: High-quality instructors like Basit Shajani and Peter Olinto really make the difference to your understanding of more challenging CFA concepts, especially in video lectures and online classes
  • All three CFA levels covered: Not all providers offer all three CFA levels. Wiley does offer a complete product offering for all three levels, although their Level III offering has less material.
  • Consistently updated: All materials are updated every exam cycle, so you know you’re always using the latest curriculum
  • Pass guarantee: Wiley’s pass guarantee is simple, covers everything you’re concerned with, and no questions asked

Cons

  • More mock exams please: Candidates are likely to require more than the two mock exams included as standard in their packages. We recommend at least four, so although candidates can combine this with the Final Review mock and the free mock from CFA Institute. Wiley has stated that they will bring more mocks to their CFA offering so this will only improve in the future.​

Conclusion

  • Wiley offers a comprehensive set of materials for you throughout all three CFA levels at reasonable prices. The quality of their notes, guides and videos are excellent, but you may need to supplement with an extra mock exam or two. Remember that you can also grab bargains and save by checking out the latest discounts, freebies and trials in our Offers section.

Wiley’s CFA Provider Rating
(315 candidate ratings)
CFA Level
Level I
Level II
Level III
No. of Ratings
181
127
7
Overall Rating
4.1 / 5
Very Good
3.7 / 5
Very Good
3 / 5
Good
Study Notes
4
3.8
1
Practice or Mock Exams
3.6
3.2
3
Review Notes
Question Banks
3.5
3.2
4
Classroom Courses
3.6
3.2
Review Courses
3.4
3.1
Video Lessons
3.9
3.3
Quality of Online Platform
3.7
2.9
3
Readability of Notes and Tutorials
4
3.7
1
Quality of Instructor Support
3.7
3.4
Value-for-Money
3.6
3.6
2

Wiley’s CFA Candidate Reviews
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★★★★☆ Very Good
By Nicolas (Level I)

I believe that the material is very good in summarizing the CFA content. However, I find a lack of explanation in significant parts of the reasoning behind the practical problems and calculations. I find the material more focused on laying out the content, how to work the problems and solve them than in actually explaining why or how to come to the conclusions. I often find myself trying to understand better the reason why to avoid just focusing on memorizing. It is always easier to remember the things you understand or you can work out the logic behind it than to just learn by hard.For the price of the course with the books, I believe that the online study guide should include more video content supporting the lessons and explaining further to help understand the content reducing the need for memorizing which is always more time consuming
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★★★★☆ Good for L1
By h***** (Level I)

Wiley was a great provider for level 1 – I got a student discount, and the materials received were thoughtfully laid out and structured. Compare the material side-by-side with CFA Institute curriculum and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Test bank works well to help your answering speed. Mocks are fine, but could be better edited to follow real exam. I found the difficulty level tougher than the real exam, which is great for practice but bad for self confidence!
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★★★★☆ Very Good
By d***** (Level I)

In my opinion, Wiley notes are better compared to ones provided by Schweser since they are cheaper and also tend to cover the curriculum better than the Schweser notes. Also Wiley provides lot of examples in each LOS thus explaining the concept clearly. If I compare Ethics notes, there are lot of examples in the Wiley notes as well as some important points are captured which Schweser doesn’t which I realised when I appeared for the Level 1 exam.
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★★★★☆ Great instructors and notes, bad platform
By h***** (Level II)

THE GOOD: Instructors and notes are top notch, the summarised mini-notes and tips throughout the material are great. Instructors are easy to follow and engaging. Mocks are fine.
THE BAD: However their e-platform is hard to use – lots of questions have errors in it and overall I found myself struggling with the format more than learning.
OVERALL: Helped me pass. I’d recommend it, but choose your study method carefully.
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★★★★☆ Very Good
By B***** (Level II)

Very good for the price, I used schweser on level 1 and for the same price each reading has multiple video lessons which helped a lot. Test bank is not as big as schweser but is still very good. Online platform is nice, I like the user interface and metrics features but the site can be slow at times.
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★★★★☆ highlights the important bits well
By marlon (Level I)

Wiley really does a great job highlighting the most important concepts from a course load that is 100 miles wide and 1 inch deep. Their virtual classroom instructor Professor Degraaf is a fantastic coach and motivator.
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★★★☆☆ Good
By j***** (Level II)

Loved the concept of short bite-sized videos, but some were extremely outdated. The end of section questions and QBank didn’t lend itself to the vignette style of the level 2 exam. Only 1 practice exam.
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★★★★☆ printer friendly version please!
By Rpatty (Level II)

I wish they had a printer friendly version for the study questions. I also reached out to online support to see if I had missed it, but they said they don’t have the print feature.
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★★★☆☆ Good
By j***** (Level III)

Level I and II were totally fine, but the amount of mistakes in the study notes in level III is horrifying and a no-go for anyone who completely relies on the material.
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★★★★☆ Qbank needs some work – they’re on it
By Sean245 (Level II)

A few small tweaks would make a big difference to the Qbank. To their credit they responded to my suggestions and said they were all being implemented in 2018
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★★★★☆ Very Good
By Will-O (Level II)

The explanations are great and the instructors really go the extra mile. I just feel that the lack of “slides” such as those used by Schweser are a downside.
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★★★★☆ Very Good
By jkogan (Level I)

They’re good, straight forward, and you get what you pay for (which is comparatively less if you buy at the right time)
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★★★★☆ Very Good
By marlon (Level I)

Darren degraaf is the best motivator and core concept instructor I have ever had the pleasure to learn from.
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★★★☆☆ Good
By gregor (Level I)

Videos were very good but Mocks were not up to par. Also had some issues with the platform.
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★★★★★ Excellent
By B***** (Level I)

I spent a lot of time trying not to decide what program to use and I’m happy with my choice
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★★★★★ Excellent
By j***** (Level II)

As said in comment on L3. L2 notes are totally fine and I enjoyed learning with Wiley.
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★☆☆☆☆ Poor
By dimon84 (Level II)

was late with everything, customer support non existing, out of date recylced videos
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★★★★☆ Very Good
By n***** (Level II)

Online platform is great but needs improvements. Hopefully it is better this year.
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★★★★☆ Good overall
By e***** (Level I)

good videos and books, excellent customer contact, 2 good mock exams, a bit pricey
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★★★☆☆ Good
By Riyad (Level I)

Video is fantastic. Mock is good but quality of questions bank should improve.
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★★★★★ Excellent
By Krish (Level I)

Well drafted and crisp notesm videos are way too excellent and well explained.
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★★★★☆ Very Good
By A***** (Level I)

The mock exams for this provider were much different than others is a good way.
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★★★★☆ Saves time
By Radnor80 (Level I)

Cut the CFA study next down by 2/3rds, whilst still covering the major points.
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★★★☆☆ Good
By Murizzo (Level I)

Customer service and product are good. Website and technology are terrible
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★★★☆☆ Good
By Murizzo (Level II)

Customer service and product is good. Website and technology is terrible
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★★★★★ Excellent
By j***** (Level I)

As said in other comments. Ignoring Level 3 i was very happy with Wiley
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