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CAIA Level 1 - March 2019

I Wanted to see how other people are feeling for the L1 March exam? What materials/techniques have been most useful to you so far?

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I am going to throw the question back at you - what have you found useful?

UM question bank and the CAIA Learning Objectives. I’ve started to look at the action words in the LO’s while reviewing (i.e. Recognize, calculate, apply) but I’m not sure how beneficial that is in actuality, but I’m hoping that it will give me some guidance as to the key formulas to memorize vs. which ones they are looking for a broader conceptual understanding of. 

I’m from a more academic background (MA vs CFA), and I’m finding that my instinct is to get bogged down in the minutia of the CAIA textbook. I tend to spend too much time reading everything in detail, which I recognize is one of my weaknesses. I think that I don’t feel confident enough in my ability to determine what is a priority/focus area.  With that in mind, going forward my plan is to focus on practice exams and flash cards of some key concepts that I need to work on.

What about you?

I’m studying the UM books at the moment and I’m getting bogged down on the formulas and the quant component. Theory would be my strong suit but I find that my entry level understanding of the math and stat areas of the material is like running into a brick wall.

Might just finish the books and hit the practice exams. Also thinking of finding a tutor of sorts. 

Does anyone else struggle here? If so, what have you found that helps?

I’ve been doing the UM qbank - mostly doing 100 question CAIA weighted tests, sometimes back to back. I’m getting around 60% so feel I’m getting there, but need to really focus on Intro to Alts (by far my weak point). 

This type of rote learning is very new to me and having never worried about failing an exam in the past (undergrad and post grad in politics) I’m finding it pretty stressful. As for how useful the approach has been? I think I’ll have to wait and see until I get my results!


UM Qbank has helped me the most out of everything. Exam day will be the judge of whether it will be enough. Some of the other UM products didn’t feel as useful as the MCQ. The lectures didn’t really seem to help cement my knowledge of any topic and I frequently found myself losing attention. The book was good to read over once but the benefits felt limited. The MCQ seemed to fill in the gaps that were left by the other two.

The formula sheet was not as useful in the beginning as it was when I started reviewing old topics. The formulas are fairly simple but look daunting at first glance. To really understand what was being asked, it’s necessary to have a practice problem as an example. 

Doing the CAIA mock exam helped me prioritize which sections need to be brushed up. Based on my results, I’m a very unethical person. I also used Kaplan’s mock exams but I felt a little bit blindsided when I got my results. I scored much higher on the CAIA mock than I did on the Kaplan mock which was against my expectations.

Two more weeks until exam day for me so I’ll be grinding MCQ and readying the final flashcards. Good luck to my fellow L1 candidates.