CFA CFA Level 3 Winning strategies for L3 essay paper

Winning strategies for L3 essay paper

  • This topic has 9 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated Jul-20 by Zee Tan.
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    • concernedape
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      First time L3, totally green to essay writing. I wanted to see if there was any sage advice on how to prepare for essays right from the start. Some specific concerns:

      Anything I should be keeping in mind while doing my first round of studying? In L1 and L2 I’ve learnt to note down things that tend to be tested in MCQs, e.g. GIPS policies, calculation formulae, etc. Is there anything that needs to be thought about from an essay perspective?How do you grade questions? There are 1,001 ways to answer a question with a sentence, so I’m wondering how do you grade your own mocks. I’ve seen my mocks’ model answers but they don’t tell you how to score yourself.Is more essay practice actually useful? The questions seem very focused, i.e. they don’t test a wide variety of topics, so I’m wondering if it’s actually counterproductive to go through lots of mock exams for essays. I feel like time is better spent going through the material once you’ve got the idea of how to answer essays.How many essay papers to practice on? Related to the above point, should I practice more, less, or the same as my MCQ?

      Thanks! 🤟

    • rutadaniel
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      L3 newbie as well. Haven’t even thought about how to approach this – commenting to get notified of an answer.

    • Analyst0719
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      The CFA institute will post lots of prior year essay questions online. I took over 10 old essay mock exams from the institute (some of them might have even been actual old exams).

      Also really refresh time value of money from L1. There will be a significant retirement planning related question that is heavily based on TVM. good luck!

    • fabian
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    • concernedape
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      Amazing – thanks!! Bookmarking this for the next 7 months….

    • policedog
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      Right from the start, especially when you practice, use bulleted lists and get straight to the point.

      For example, say you have this question:

      What emotional bias, if any, is Steinmore experiencing when recommending investments for Mirren’s college fund?

      A candidate might answer:

      The emotional biases that Steinmore is experiencing are loss aversion and overconfidence.

      But what you’re going to do, which works just as well and takes 90% less time:

      Loss aversionOverconfidence

      This kind of writing takes some getting used to, so practice this from the start.

    • lugnuts
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      I just opened my books about 20 minutes ago and you guys are already talking about essays?!

      Amazing find on the past papers, I’ve been looking for them.

    • lugnuts
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      BTW, does anyone know if both pens and pencils are allowed in the essay paper?

    • concernedape
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      Pens and pencils are both allowed, I’ve heard…

    • Zee Tan
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      Pens and pencils are both allowed, I’ve heard…

      This is correct.

      Some additional points:

      Your pencils can be wooden or mechanical. I recommend using a pen as ink doesn’t fade, so it will still be clear when the examiner gets your paper. If you make a mistake, just cancel, don’t use corrective fluid.

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