CFA CFA Level 3 L3 progress

L3 progress

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    • mattyc
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      I thought this would be a good thread to get started so we could all track our study schedules.  Personally Im in my first run through of Schweser on SS 8.  My first go around entails reading, taking notes and doing blue boxes.  My target is to be done with this stage by the beginning of March.

      How is everyone else coming along? 

    • hairyfairy
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      I’m only just starting. Hopefully due to work this should be easier than L2. Decided to start with portfolio management. 🙂

    • WesMantooth
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      I have a similar plan…minus the note taking. I’ve gone through readings 16-24 so far in Schweser and attending a review class once a week for 3hrs. Plan is to cover roughly two readings per week this way. Should be through the material by end of March. Then brief notes on each section and review questions in Schweser and CFAI for 3 weeks in April. Then the first Mock April 25th and 1-2 mocks every weekend after that with focussed review in between on the weaker areas.

    • FitMBA
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      Moved across the country, started a new job covering a new sector and have barely cracked my books. Not sure what the best approach is for me at this point. This is my first time looking at L3 and work will be super busy for the next 2 months. Any advice appreciated! Feeling overwhelmed :neutral_face: 

    • WesMantooth
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      @FitMBA everyone’s starting point, past knowledge, and speed of learning is different. You need to determine (A)how much time you have available between now and test day, and (B) map out what you need to get done to prepare yourself and how much time that will take. Hopefully A > B.

      Personally I started in Jan studying regularly but am getting anxious that the level of understanding required in L3 to be able to produce answers to long answer questions is substantially higher than what was required in L1 and L2.

      Multiple choice tests require you to be able to recognize or calculate the correct answer. L3 requires producing the answer from scratch without any “triggers”. I’m thinking I need to ramp up my schedule to be able to do this…

      thoughts? 

    • edulima
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      Hi @WesMantooth‌, while I agree that the level of understanding required in L3 is not comparable to L1 and L2, I do believe there are “triggers” for producing answers. Again, the main difference is that you need to identify those triggers and be able to retrieve and express your understanding of the triggered material, in many cases applying it to a given situation. 

      My feeling is that taking notes after each reading helps you to both actively memorize the concepts once understood and review the material without having to go back to the books as you get closer to the exam.

    • WesMantooth
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      @edulima I agree note taking improves likelihood of retention by spreading it across different modalities and engaging different areas of the brain in the learning process. I do scribble down notes as I’m going through the readings for this reason.

      What I don’t do is take structured notes in hoping to replace going back to the books as you say. I don’t use that method for 2 reasons: (1)I find it way too time consuming with not enough benefit, maybe because my handwriting is so painfully slow, (for L2 I actually started out typing out notes but gave up because I found typing to be such a mindless exercise that I didn’t think it was helping with retention), and (2)I don’t trust my note taking to be comprehensive enough, I prefer to go back to chapter summaries from the text rather than notes and if I still need more refreshing I’ll go back to the actual text because at that point I must be missing context required to understand/remember. I like to try and remember the CFAI wording as much as possible and recreate my own understanding each time.

      To each their own!

    • edulima
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      That makes sense @WesMantooth, each one should go with whatever works best for them to retain the material while keeping a sense of sanity. Best of luck over the next few months!!!

    • mattyc
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      As I mentioned before Im in the note-taker camp.  @wesmantooth I dont trust my initial interpretation ala notes either as a substitution for a 2nd run through.  I use it primarily to ingrain the material as I read, otherwise I end up reading and zoning out.  Its just a way to help focus.  I read through my notes when I go back to Schweser for the 2nd time and add if theres anything missing, I havent found this too time consuming but my handwriting is a combination of a doctors prescription and hyroglyphics as I write very fast.  It sounds a lot like your scribble.

      @edulima I like the description of triggers.  Its similar to bringing key concepts on note cards for a presentation.  That might be helpful, thanks.

    • Abhay
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      Hi, Just starting with the study schedule , would need to focus on it.

    • Jim
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      I am just finishing reading 13/study session 5. I feel really behind, but I honestly had no gas in my tank until about 3 weeks ago. I did Dec 2013 Level I then June 2014 Level II, and I think the lack of time between the two helped stay focused. Having that 6 months off between L2 and study for L3 spoiled me. It’s like training for a marathon from scratch after 6 months of not running. It’s been sloooow going to find the motivation/energy. 

    • WesMantooth
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      @Jim totally agree on the marathon training metaphor! I’m on the same schedule from Dec 14 to June 15 to now and getting started for L3 was way harder than anticipated! I had plans to start in Nov but didn’t actually get into it until Jan in reality!

      In my opinion how you spend the last two months are the most critical anyways. Not to say that studying early on isn’t beneficial, but I think it loses value the further away from the test it is. I think it is important that you are familiar with and understand all concepts by the beginning of April. How you spend those last two months is super critical because as with Marathon training, it is all about “peaking” at the right time! You need to have those six text books worth of material fresh in your head by June 7th, that is all that matters. April should be all CFA study, by May you should be studying in your sleep! April is a refresh on all topics, and May is locking them in.

      For me any more than two months of that intensity is risking burnout…its a fine line between peaking and burnt.

    • mattyc
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      @jim I hear you.  Its really difficult to get back in that groove.  I started in Dec. and Im still not fully engrossed in my routine yet.  When do you plan on being done with this stage in your prep?  Make a long term plan, its the best way to keep yourself accountable on a daily basis.  Im on Fixed Income chap 21 right now.  Not a fan of my pace so just yesterday I revised my target from weekly to daily and ramped up the aggressiveness.

    • mattyc
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    • Jim
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      A lot of people want to do a “once over” and just read through the materials before really doing problems. Doesn’t work for me (i.e. is just time wasted because I don’t retain the info). I don’t tend to move on from a topic until I feel comfortable I have done enough practice problems to score in the 80% range. The risk, of course, is that you run out of time, but I tend to try to study at least 3 hours a day (on average). I usually start with mastering what I can in Schweser first, then take the CFA Mock, do a boot camp, then revise/read/scour/practice with CFAI books until the bitter end of May. The one thing I tend not to focus on are the online classes because I don’t have an attention span to listen to anyone talk for 3 hours straight. And it’s not active learning to me anyway (though you get some good tips once in a while). Nothing beats just doing tons of problems and being a total misanthrope for the months of March-May. Good luck to ramping up!

    • WesMantooth
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      @jim @mattyc @abhay @fitmba @hairyfairy any updates on progress?

      I’m currently up to Swaps at the end of book 4. Recently started going back to the start to review CFAI questions from the beginning of the material, haven’t gotten far on that though. Finding my first pass on the material may have been too light, having to relearn concepts is taking time.

       Just got access to the Schweser Secret sauce. This year I went with the online version, which I’m regretting, I need a paper copy to read, not a fan of electronic readings.

    • mattyc
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      @wesmantooth I’m also finishing up book 4 and hope to start book 5 today.  The day of my last post I recreated my study schedule to be more aggressive so Im now on pace to finish my first go around on 3/5.  Then Ill start all over again and add in EOCs, Qbank and Secret Sauce.  Hopefully taking my first mock on 4/18.

      My issue is the amount of actual hours Im putting in.  My projected vs. actual is grossly mismatched.  Just in the 17 days in Feb since I started really tracking everything I estimated around 1.5 hours a weekday and 2.5 on weekend days, but Im actually a full 12 hours short of that.  At this pace Ill only total around 140 hours, maybe 180 factoring in taking and grading mock exams.  So even though Im sticking to my daily study objectives Im not putting in a sufficient amount of time which scares me.

      Other than that Im feeling pretty good about where Im at on 2/25.  Did anyone start practicing essays yet?

    • daharmattan1
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      In case it’s helpful I stumbled across free study notes at http://www.cfaexamlevel3.com. They send a great overview of Behavioral Finance right away and then drip out the rest of the study chapters over time. So far it’s mixed with pretty useful email tips/tricks etc. Anyway, another supplemental resource. I found the first three chapters I got to be on par or better than Secret Sauce–but definitely that level of detail. After talking to the creator it looks like they’re developing (and will release in early April) a notecard app for L3 as well which would be cool because I haven’t found a good one.

    • mattyc
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      Took my first practice exam over the weekend.  I didnt feel ready but then again when has anyone felt ready for their first mock?  Got a 57% on the 1st Schweser test, obviously lots of room for improvement but also better than I expected.  A couple collegues of mine are taking a class and the instructor said to expect to score in the 40s in your first mock and try to consistently be above 60 by exam day.  Anyone else take a practice test yet?

    • WesMantooth
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      57 on your first mock! You are killin it! I am not ready to write a mock yet. I have one scheduled for April 25th. I’m in review and question mode until then. The next 6 weeks are going to be hectic! Good luck!

    • mattyc
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      Thanks!  I was definitely pleasantly surprised.  Felt like the material tested in that one wasnt heavy on difficult topics so Ill take it with a grain of salt.  Keep hammering away.

    • ustbookmarket
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      Anyone who wants to have CFA Level 3 2015 materials? Send me an email at (username at 300 hrs)@gmail.com

    • daharmattan1
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      That’s awesome! I’m getting an email series from http://www.cfaexamlevel3.com that has both free study notes and access to old mock exams. Supposedly we’ll be getting 6-7 morning AM session exams to practice with for free from them.

    • mattyc
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      About 30 days out and starting to feel the time slipping away.  Im 4 practice exams through right now, very gradual improvements but primarily scorring low to mid 60s.  Im working through the Schweser workbook questions and CFAI practice vignettes during the week while reading Secret Sauce and flashcards during my commute.  Weekends are strictly taking and grading practice exams.  Ive been able to identify the areas that consistently give me trouble but whats frustrating that I cant seem to work through new problems on those weak topics even after a concentrated review. 

      Oh well, Ill just keep going until its over.

      How is everyone else progressing?

    • WesMantooth
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      I’m only two practice exams deep. First one was an epic fail, prob 45-50% tough to say with the essay portion. Second test was probably 50-55%. So I’ve got a lot of studying ahead, the only bright spot is that everything is familiar I just can’t seem to keep all the material fresh in my working memory at this point. Im going through the CFA EOC’s and reading cfaexamlevel3 notes chapter summaries. Every Saturday I will write another exam and grade it.

      Its pretty easy at this point to identify weak spots, but I’m finding it hard to get the time to review them all! One chapter at a time..refresh and practice. Praying I will have enough time to fit it all in by June 6th!

      best of luck!

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