I just cleared Level-II a couple of days ago. I am planning to register early for the next level so that I have ample time to prepare for the essay item sets. I have prepared only from CFAI curriculum in the last two levels and found it an amazing resource of knowledge, not just for the exam, but beyond too. Should I go forward with the same approach for Level-III as well? Or would it be necessary to refer to other materials as well? Also, I tried registering on CFAI website and found myself facing two options – CFA e-book purchase and e-book + print options. If I go ahead with the e-book option, can I come back later to buy the print version separately, if need arises? Please advise.
@Knath87, I would suggest to go with Curriculum only for Level-3. Not that you cannot pass it with other prep providers. But since with downsized curriculum, we can happily read curriculum without spending extra time. With reading curriculum you will not miss out anything and also get your concepts very clear. I have noticed that other prep providers leave out stuff which they think are unimportant.
As regards to purchasing the curriclum e-book/print. Last year when I purchased they made it an default option to purchase e-book and you have to shell out entire money same as e-book purchase for buying print option one. Earlier it used to be just $20 extra. Not sure if they changed it now. But if last year option is still there you can come back and buy print curriculum. As of now there is no hurry. You can start sometime in Oct/Nov. I have started in November last year. Have a plan and stick with it. You will happily complete it and leave sufficient time to do practice papers.
I’ve heard a lot that Level 3 takes a different approach, so I think @RaviVooda’s recommendation is a good one, especially for a recent L3 candidate. I did my Level 3 years ago and nearly failed , using third party books exclusively and ignoring the curriculum. L3 is a different beast somewhat from L1 and L2 with the essay bit, so the curriculum should be an excellent source of reference. Plus it’s free with the registration too!
@RaviVooda : Thanks a lot 🙂 This time the print option is $150 extra as compared to the ebook option with $20 for the shipping cost. I am hoping that there would be an option to come back to buy the print copies in case the need arises.
Yes, I am a devotee of the curriculum. Somehow, I could never bring myself to rely fully on third party materials – call it my paranoia.. I will stick to CFAI this time too. And as you and @Sophie put it, it is good to know that it the preferred resource for L3.
This is great, as it fits my preferred style with respect to the main reading source. I’d like to ask a follow up question regarding ancillary tools.
Flashcards: Have any L3 takers used 3rd party flashcards, and were they useful? How about making your own?
Practice tests: Is Schweser as good for L3 as it is for L1 & L2?
Q-bank: Does it make any sense for L3? Besides the practice tests, what is the best way to practice essay-type questions (e.g. come up with your own questions and then answer them)???
Hey @edulima, for L3, I got Schweser practice papers and CFAI mock (7 in total). I would go for more variety of providers, so maybe 3 from Schweser, 2 from Elan, 1 from Fitch, 1 CFAI mock to make up 7, as there is the danger of getting used to a particular style by each provider. The idea is to try them all to shock the system, so you’re prepared for all sorts during the essay paper.
@edulima I studied pretty much the same way as @ravivooda (CFA notes only) and we were going at the same pace throughout our preparation. Q banks and Schweser notes are pretty average for L3. I do however suggest the purchase of Schweser lecture videos to supplement CFA notes. Sometimes when you are tired and cannot read anymore but still want to press on, the lecture videos are a great alternative and they sometimes give good tips on how to remember certain concepts. Good luck with your preparation! Please send us any questions you may have. Happy to help you guys along as @sophie did for me!
@Sophie , @RaviVooda , @Alta12 I have read and passed Levels 1 and 2 exclusively studying with Schweser Notes. Next year would be my third attempt at L3. Reading the above posts, just thinking if I should study from the curriculum books. Its just that I find the curriculum takes more time to get through.
Considering that I’m used to studying from Schweser notes, do you think it would be wise to switch over to CFAI curriculum? My gut feeling is to stick to Schweser notes and supplement it with CFAI if time permits.
@AjFinance I used Schweser for L1 and Elan for L2. In my view, CFAI notes are a must for L3. Particularly if using Schweser has not worked for you for L3 twice now, I would strongly recommend you ditch Schweser. What has worked for L1 and L2 won’t necessarily work for L3 mainly because of the essay component. It really showed which candidates were using Schweser and which were using CFAI notes when the mock exam questions were being discussed in the forum.
Thanks so much @Alta12, I really appreciate you offering to help out as we progress in our preparation. In my case, I need no convincing to go with the CFAI readings. 🙂 A quick question for you and/or @RaviVooda: did you guys make up your flash cards summarizing your readings? If not, what kind of summarization/memorization tool worked best for you specifically for L3?
@AjFinance, please count on me to unite forces and tame this 3-head beast!
@edulima I have never used flash cards throughout the three levels. I know it works very well for some people but I think pure memorisation doesn’t work that well for L3. You will find there are less things to memorise in L3 when compared with L2 (For example you cannot memorise how to answer an IPS as every case study is just a touch different). Practice exams across a number of different providers (so you don’t get too used to a style) and the CFAI mocks AM and PM are a must. But find what works best for you!
I passed all three levels purely based on the curriculum. And I agree with @RaviVooda, this approach makes even more sense for level three where the curriculum is quite a bit shorter than the other levels. Personally I also thought it was much easier than level two, but that’s a question of individual strengths and weaknesses I suppose.
If you’re going to be travelling a lot, I’d definitely get the e-books. If you’re staying at home, I’d stick with the printed material because it’s easier to flip through and easier on the eyes. I cracked and got both.
@Alta12 @RaviVooda I will have the curriculum e books anyways as it comes with registration. Plus I travel for around 3 hours a day, so I might have to refer to the e books while I travel. In the past, the only reason I opted for Schweser was due to lack of time, but I might just change my approach given that the curriculum is not as vast compared to Level 2.
Also, how did you manage your time with work while trying to go through the curriculum? I mean by when did you target to get the curriculum completed and the revision done, before getting started with the past exams?
@Edulima Join the gang 😉
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