Sign up  |  Log in

Im about to sign up with Kaplan but Im seeing Marcs name a lot for people who sat L3....advise

Hi All,

First of all congrats on passing L3, I cant imagine the torture of waiting extra for the results but finally theyre out. 

So Im going to register for L3 2020 (and bare with my ignorance), I have been using Kaplan for all levels and I was dead set to sign up with Kaplan for L3 they provide in person classes where I live which is what I need to force me to study on weekdays given my demanding job. BUT I have been reading the forum & I have never actually heard of Levelup until I came to l3 forum. Based on most of the threads I feel like I should go with LevelUp for L3 because most of you used it (i think)… since the style is diferent in L3 now I am paranoid to keep my same prep provider/style for L3…

Ive always used kaplan + some supplemental material from CFAI… Im not sure if this will be enough this time. Any thoughts before I deplete my account with kaplan again laugh, I mean if im spending money might is well be worth it. 

You’ve made it this far, and you know what it takes to pass. Don’t be fooled by false promises and unrealistic claims. Schweser’s study packages give you the proven study tools and expert instruction you need to finish the job.

I used Kaplan for all 3 levels. For Level 1 and 2, it was OK. for Level 3 it missed a lot of detail which was tested on the exam.

I did the following: I read the CFA books. After a reading, I read Kaplan and added notes in the book. I did the same after I did mocks. Add all your comments in the Kaplan books and use these to study finally. It worked well for me (passed level 3).

One more thing. Not a lot of people are keen on Wiley. I used there mocks and I have to say, the AM mocks are the best I had (compared to Kaplan and CFAI mocks). I have to say, there are a lot of typo’s but the level of difficulty really makes you understand the curriculum.

I’ve been keen on using the Curriculum, my only worry is time.. im wondering how did you balance goin through the lenghty curriculum whilst having a job? & I havent seen the curriculum for l3, is it less lenghty than l1-l2, everytime I started with it in the past levels I gave up because i thought it was just WAY too much material, maybe its diferent for l3? Im going to start studying early, but i do feel like videos usually help me retain way more vs just reading. 

I’ve been using Kaplan throughout all levels and it has been fine for me.

I heard for Level up too but I went with Kaplan. I used it for all the levels. I also used IFT videos. Use them to understand the material. Just practice from the official curriculum …EOCs, Blue Boxes along with Kaplan questions. That should be fine. 

We rise again


Used only MM and CFAI question bank. Passed L3 closed to 90th percentile. Note that I finished the materials just a few days before the exam. I couldnt even manage to complete all MM mocks.. (They have four full set, which are ridiculously awesome!)

For L2, I used MM and CFAI as well but I only watched like 70-80% of MM’s videos and completed 40% of CFAI’s question bank. Passed with first attempt, barely above the MPS.

Used Schweser because I’ve been using it for L1-L2. Dont want to mess with what works.

Supplemented with answering CFAI EOCs, online practice questions and mocks, and 2015-2018 am essay mocks, as well as watching youtube videos on answering and grading am mocks. 

Got around 90th percentile for L3. 

But is it the best resource available? Likely no, but as mentioned, I didnt want to mess with what works. On its own, it’s definitely not enough to be confident, as I had to look through a lot of other resources to make sure I got the concepts down. 

Kaplan for level 3 is a waste of time and money IMO. Trust me I tried multiple times with them including the premium package with pass guarantee in 2018. I used all their videos, online weekly courses, all q bank and mocks.. still failed in 2018. Flash fwd to 2019 i used the CFAI curriculum mostly and Daren Millar classes to bring this thing home. I am sure Kaplan works for some but test is directly from CFAI Books so why waste time reading anything else!? I would focus on the Curriculum and complement your studies with a provider with class or video directly based on those. 

I truly saw the kaplan quality detoriating over the years too! Their instructors basically read of slides and notes miss a ton of points. STICK to CFAI CIRRICULUM.

I used Level Up videos and boot camp, passed first time near 90th percentile and have nothing but good things to say about Marc and his approach.  He focuses on the curriculum and old essay questions and that’s what’s important.  Nothing is a magic bullet, you have to put the work in.  You also have to come prepared to the boot camp to get the most out of it.  

After doing official CFAI EOC questions, topic tests and mocks more than once as well as all relevant past essay exam questions (beautifully organized by Marc in the binder he provides at the boot camp), I supplemented with K-S practice exams and I think that helped me with the PM.  

Good luck!

I used Kaplan for all 3 levels.  Just below the 90th percentile on L3.  AM session Kaplan was lacking. Did all CFAI old tests and bought Meldrum mock exams to supplement.  I think it is all about what works best for you.  Some colleagues of mine love Meldrums videos, but for me, they would be a waste of time because I get distracted and wouldn’t pay attention.  Overall, Kaplan did a good job for the item sets, and ok for AM, but CFAI old exams were key to AM.

Agree with StxBnds. I used Kaplan for all 3 levels and was above 90th percentile on L2 & L3. They have enough content so you can learn all the material, but doing old AM exams is crucial. Write as many AM exams (Kaplan and old CFAI) as possible and make sure you are answering the question quickly and concisely. I’d suggest doing all AM practice exams in a timed environment. 

I used Kaplan as well for all 3 levels and it was just fine. It gets what you need to know content-wise, but don’t rely on their q-bank for practice questions. Use their mocks while also doing the CFAI mocks and the past AM sections (I did all back to 2015).

Use kaplan, mark meldrum, and bill Campbell grading services. Total comes out to about 1500 but it’s worth it and you’ll pass with flying colors.

Kaplan notes for foundation/summary… Then read the CFAI text afterwards to fully develop.

MM mocks, CFAI mocks (2004-2018), and Konvexity mocks for practice.

Boston mock, Finquiz mock, and ITF mocks for more practice.

Bill Campbell Grading service.

I would consider Marc’s services to be niche end game… I dont think he’s specaility is foundational. 

That last part of 125’s comment is completely inaccurate.  Marc’s materials (videos, slide book and focus guide) are absolutely foundational.  Seriously, I don’t get the Marc criticism and even hate on here, especially by those how didn’t use his materials or boot camp.  

There’s more than one way to pass and Marc’s method worked for a lot of us.  The key is starting early, working hard, mastering the concepts and doing problems, problems and more problems whether CFAI EOC questions, topics tests, mocks, old am questions.  Marc provided practical advice as to what was relevant and what to focus on.  

You will find time, I did it with a full time job and two young children. But with that being said, i didnt use curriculum either, maybe that was a mistake, because the institute does like to ask questions that will only appear in curriculum, but not to a significant amount. Ask the lv3 ppl this year, they will know which one i am talking about. Still, if time is a problem to you, you can still stick with the 3rd party material that will teach you just enough to pass. I personally used schweser notes and MM video for lv 3, it taught me just enough to pass, and saved time from reading the lengthy curriculum.  So my point is, if you wanna kill it and be the top 10%, go with the curriculum, it covers everything. If you dont have time and just wanna a pass, 3rd party is enough if you master their contents.  

I passed L3 this year and used Marc and LevelUp. It was definitely was a good foundation, his materials help you focus on the right areas, and I felt walking out of the exam that there was nothing I was completely surprised by. In the final month I focused on mocks and practice questions, and did buy the MM practice exams to supplement as they weren’t very expensive.

Nukular wrote:

I’ve been using Kaplan throughout all levels and it has been fine for me.


just kaplan. sweet short crisp. all levels passed in 1st attempt.

If I would to use Levelup for l3, how many hours per day/week is recommended to cover everything in a timely manner? because with Kaplan I would be going to a ‘in person’ class so they already have all the hours per week mapped out and with level up i would have to organize myself rather than have no other option than to attend that class today (with kaplanlaugh

let me know your thoughts

I used IFT for all 3 levels. For L3 he goes through past 5 years AM questions. It gave me a decent idea of what to write and how much to write. I also purchased MM mock mainly to watch the mock exam marked by Bill Campbell. 

Hi Marc…these accounts for candidates with 3 recent posts all pushing one provider from someone who took level 3 three times are fishy.

Kaplan is getting progressively worse with each level, and while it is OK for level 1 and 2, but NOT for level 3. It is just not the same breadth and depth as in CFAI material, and misses a lot of the points. Kaplan QBank and mocks for level 3 are a waste of time!!!

If you are serious about passing, use CFAI material, start early (November or December) to have enough time for practice and actually absorption of material, you will thank yourself for doing that. You may use Kaplan as a reference, but not the single source. 

I made a mistake by using Kaplan books and finished them by April. Then I went to Marc’s LevelUp Bootcamp in NYC and after finishing it I had 2 realizations: (1) I will never use Kaplan material again, (2) Thanks god I attended this bootcamp, now I know how to win this war.

Remember, average level 3 exam taker has failed at least once, understands what it takes, and the competition is fierce. You need to get ahead of the game.

I worked very hard, I followed Marc’s advice, and I passed. Highly recommend his bootcamp. 

Amazing how money is not an issue for many.

I used both Marc/LevelUp and Mark Meldrum. My advice: save yourself some money and go with Mark. If you don’t care about money still get Mark and donate the difference to some charity. 

Honestly it all depends. You’ve gotten this far; I’ll assume you know your study style best. Next question, how much are you willing to spend? Where are you located (if you’re gonna do bootcamp and you happen to live away from one, hotel/flight/gas cost need to be taken into account)? Another thing… do you consider yourself a generally good test taker? If so, it may be easier for you to familiarize yourself w the exam format.

The consensus here on AF is clear…. get used to and do lots of mocks, and understand the material thoroughly. Also dont skip anything esp gips and amc; they could make or break you.

remember… you only need to be better than half of the exam takers (lol i used logic to motivate myself, and it lightened the load) 



I am in Dubai, there is no bootcamp availbale near me & I dont think i will be able to travel to one. So do you think it is a waste to do marcs videos without finishing it up with the bootcamp? 

Again, since this is the first time i hear about marc, (bear with me) is the bootcamp only accessible in person? So there is no live/videos for it. ?

My advice: Skip it. Huge waste of money. LevelUp bootcamp will not help you and there is a lot of suspicious marketing in this platform about the bootcamp. I attended the bootcamp and many people were very disappointed as well. He does not teach everything new and he does not even people to ask questions. The only value added come from his methodology to solve for IPS questions, which is now gone from the Curriculum. Save this money for yourself, or choose another provided. I was extremely happy with him; this guy is an absolute genious and the premium package is affordable. Some people are not very happy with his english accent, but there is consensus that he is extremely knowledgeable and very good in transferring his knowledge.   

layi01 wrote:


I am in Dubai, there is no bootcamp availbale near me & I dont think i will be able to travel to one. So do you think it is a waste to do marcs videos without finishing it up with the bootcamp? 

Again, since this is the first time i hear about marc, (bear with me) is the bootcamp only accessible in person? So there is no live/videos for it. ?

I did not use Marc’s videos so i cannot make any comment about it.  i’ve seen people here who likes his video & teaching style.  Bootcamp is essentially a full review of all materials + the glorified IPS class.  I believe bootcamp’s only accessible in person.


Go see Marc @ Levelup…I used his material and passed.