|How to pass CFA level 3 - my advice
||[Aug. 7th, 2013|01:59 pm]
It is with relief to discover last night, at 3am, that I finally passed the CFA level 3 exam. |
At first glance, my result seems worse than last year (for which I got band 10) - especially in Ethics which I thought you MUST pass. As you can see, you can do absolutely badly in AM and still salvage the situation if you smash PM.
Q# Topic Max Pts <=50% 51%-70% >70%
1 Portfolio Management - Individual 20 * - -
2 Portfolio Management - Individual 15 - * -
3 Portfolio Management - Individual 16 * - -
4 Equity Investments 17 * - -
5 Economics 20 * - -
6 Portfolio Management - Institutional 18 - * -
7 Portfolio Management - Institutional 14 - - *
8 Fixed Income Investments 17 * - -
9 Fixed Income Investments 9 * - -
10 Portfolio Management - Risk Management 18 - * -
11 Portfolio Management - Performance Eval. 16 - * -
Q# Topic Max Pts <=50% 51%-70% >70%
- Alternative Investments 36 - - *
- Economics 18 - * -
- Equity Investments 18 - - *
- Ethical & Professional Standards 36 * - -
- Fixed Income Investments 18 - - *
- Portfolio Management 18 - * -
- Portfolio Management - Asset Allocation 18 - - *
- Portfolio Management - Risk Management 18 - - *
But a PASS is a PASS, and reason enough to do a dance and celebrate. However, I will also spend a moment to give my two cents to those endeavouring do level 3 next year, or who weren't quite so successful at level 3 this year.
First, level 3 is a different kettle of fish in terms of studying tactic compared to levels 1 and 2. Whilst I didn't touch the CFAI curriculum for levels 1&2, using the CFAI Curriculum is CRITICAL to passing level 3. Happily, it's not as volumous and more interesting to read.
So what do you focus on in the CFAI textbooks?
1. Blue box examples
2. End of chapter questions.
3. white text examples.
The reason for doing all of these questions/examples at least once is because the actual AM portion of the exam comes straight from those Blue Box and EOC examples.
Also, the CFAI has a tendency to test topic areas that are listed fairly late in the textbook chapter. They know that most people don't read right to the end of the textbook chapter - so that's where they pull out the people who didn't put in the slog.
As usual, I got the Schweser secret sauce and critical concepts quicksheet. They were my crib notes.
Also, invest in the $500 odd dollars for the Schweser online classes if Marc LeFebvre is teaching it again next year. If you are lucky enough to live in the US of A, also get yourself to the live CFA prep lectures Marc does around the country come April/May. He truly sets you up for success - provided you heed to his instruction ie. by doing lots of Blue Box and practice questions/papers.
Other than that, just don't give up! As with every CFA level exam, it's not particularly hard, but there is SO MUCH to learn, memorise, and then regurgitate and apply on the day which is taxing on the stamina too. Don't allow fatigue to let you down. Train for the event, like a mental marathon, build your mental endurance by doing practice papers in 3 hr sittings in the last week. The day before the exam, REST. Rest your energy and brain power for the big slog on exam day.
Advice for passing level 2
Level 2 is the crucible that separates those who are strong at numbers/finance from those who are so-so.
My advice for passing level 2 - apart from doing practice multiple choice problems (Schweser) is to hit the big ticket items. I think the biggest one on level 2 was financial statement analysis. Make sure you do really really well in those heavy weight topic areas. It will carry you across the pass line if you get <50% in less important, lighter weight areas.