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Studying with CFAI materials?

I was wondering if anyone is studying exclusively from CFAI materials and how you plan on finishing it all? I just finished book 2 (I skipped book 1 for now) and feeling overwhelmed by how much I have to go through. Let me know your thoughts.

thank you

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Yes. I am. I agree, the curriculum is long, but there really isn’t a better substitute. I’ve read about 4/6 of the books and stopping there. I am only reading the remaining “updated/new” material.  At this point you need quality not quantity. Don’t fall into the trap I did last year by reading/ taking a class online and trying to cram problems and tests the last 2 months. You will get burned come game day. Goal this time? Practice the material while sharpening the blade on HOW to answer the essays,  via efficient approaches (get the most bang for your buck each time you sit down). 

Here is what I am doing this year with ONLY CFAI. This could apply for newbies starting now/soon as well. 

- Read summaries at end of each chapter (get a sense for themes and main points)/ review
- Read all blue boxes/ do as many as you can after you read them. (Get a feel for the equations and start working the material with instant feedback since the answers are printed with the blue box)
- Do ALL EOC. 
Take notes on stuff you have problems with learning. Read sections you know are important/have a hard time with. 

Find and download previous tests from prior years. (There are resources you can find these things from. CFAI site to start) work the essays by topic on each test once through (Build a repetitive process you can improve each time) Don’t expect good scores. Expect to learn how to answer it and practice it on the next test. Improve as you go. 

- Do the “practice problems” online. 

- Re-do all EOC.

- Retake all tests now one at a time, not by section. 

- Where is the weakness? Find it, fix it, repeat. 
 

How do professional athletes prepare for games? Sure, they read the playbook, but they learn the fundamentals and practice the plays in practice, and focus on cutting the weaknesses out one at a time. Chip them off one by one.

Keep repeating the process above until you master 85-90% of the questions. You can do it just like I plan to.

Good Luck

nodaysoff

Thanks nodaysoff. I’m reading every word and taking notes…is that too much? Yes, doing EOCs.

There is a lot of minutia in the curriculum, but it’s worth reading directly from the provided study source. It can help put the “big picture” together. Taking detailed notes can be very time consuming however. I read the curriculum, and I did use highlights rather than note taking, but I bought GoStudy’s notes package for my review notes and to glean insight on the areas to focus my practice on. I also used their notes to write out the majority of my flashcards.

EOCs are a good source of practice though, and can help get you used to writing answers in your own words (many are open questions rather than straight multiple choice). I did them twice.

At this point your not going to finish the books with enough time to get proper practice. Mindset should be do what makes you feel uncomfortable. Reading feels good. Taking notes on everything feels good. I did that and felt great…until I started taking practice tests…

Unless your a fast reader and can crush a book every week, don’t bother reading in detail. Or find an alternate study package that’s less robust. Again, studying from the CFAI is in my words the best way to get it all in. Your a L3 candidate. You know what needs to be done to pass. A lot of time it’s doing what makes you feel uncomfortable. Like doing problems before you “feel ready”. I am the last person to do it this way but I got my rear end handed to me spending too much time reading and not enough time being efficient learning through test / fail / fix / repeat.  You will naturally learn it as you go. Do EOC 5x if you have to on top of what I already mentioned. 

There are no perfect approaches .

Nodaysoff

I needed to hear that. Thank you. II started taking fewer notes. Next step is to focus on going thru the readings faster. I know what you mean about feeling comfortable reading and taking notes and uncomfortable taking practice questions. 

I am reading exclusively from CFAI. This is what I am doing:

Read in this order: Book 4 > Book 5 > Book 1 > Book 6 > Book 2 > Book 3. So after Fixed Income and Alternative Investments, I get a break with Ethics and GIPS. Then go hard again into Portfolio Mgmt which is heaviest rated portions.

Will do practice problems and last 3 year exam papers on the weekends.

Have you read them already? If not, how many books do you have left to read?

nodaysoff wrote:

Yes. I am. I agree, the curriculum is long, but there really isn’t a better substitute. I’ve read about 4/6 of the books and stopping there. I am only reading the remaining “updated/new” material.  At this point you need quality not quantity. Don’t fall into the trap I did last year by reading/ taking a class online and trying to cram problems and tests the last 2 months. You will get burned come game day. Goal this time? Practice the material while sharpening the blade on HOW to answer the essays,  via efficient approaches (get the most bang for your buck each time you sit down). 

Here is what I am doing this year with ONLY CFAI. This could apply for newbies starting now/soon as well. 

- Read summaries at end of each chapter (get a sense for themes and main points)/ review
- Read all blue boxes/ do as many as you can after you read them. (Get a feel for the equations and start working the material with instant feedback since the answers are printed with the blue box)
- Do ALL EOC. 
Take notes on stuff you have problems with learning. Read sections you know are important/have a hard time with. 

Find and download previous tests from prior years. (There are resources you can find these things from. CFAI site to start) work the essays by topic on each test once through (Build a repetitive process you can improve each time) Don’t expect good scores. Expect to learn how to answer it and practice it on the next test. Improve as you go. 

- Do the “practice problems” online. 

- Re-do all EOC.

- Retake all tests now one at a time, not by section. 

- Where is the weakness? Find it, fix it, repeat. 
 

How do professional athletes prepare for games? Sure, they read the playbook, but they learn the fundamentals and practice the plays in practice, and focus on cutting the weaknesses out one at a time. Chip them off one by one.

Keep repeating the process above until you master 85-90% of the questions. You can do it just like I plan to.

Good Luck

nodaysoff

Great advice here…

I’m retaking Level III, band 10 last year. I used Schweser and all 6 mocks last year to prep, in addition to the prior Level III morning exams. I was crunched for time due to life in general and didn’t have time to go the CFAI route (started in March). That said, the CFAI is without question much better if you really want to learn the material and get the right mindset for the AM portion. I knew the AM portion would be the deal breaker, everyone knows it, but on test day it didn’t happen.

I’m wrapping up book 2 now and the CFAI books, though lengthy, do give a better background on why/where/when you might apply the LOS concepts. You still have plenty of time, I banked 400 hours in 3 months last year, you have 5 months. It’s definitely quality for the AM and quantity can put you over the hump in the PM. My 2 cents…

Best of luck

I had to retake LI and LII but passed LIII on my first go. Other than the extreme dedication and commitment (700 hours in seven months) let me say this. PRACTICE WRITING. You have to practice writing at an efficient rate. It has to come natural by game time. There is little time on the exam to ponder. LIII requires knowing the material cold. Be used to how to answer quickly and concisely. Said differently, be comfortable with the structure of the AM. Then PM will come to you. I wrote probably 10 notebooks worth of practice. Get **** done for one and done.

Best of luck!

No days off. No excuses. No distractions.

studying based on the official cfa books, 2 books left. takes a while to read and do the practice tests but i think its worth go through everything

i think the official books in some sections lack enough problem sets. for some sections there arent enough question tests to really get good at using the knowledge. 

in previous levels i think there were end of study session practice tests in the official books in some cases but in this level i did not see any in books 2 to 5 at least

Check online. CFAI has posted problem sets for some of the readings. They also have practice questions online.

Thank you. Did you do Level Up Bootcamps and did that help with writing? I have a really hard time with writing. Did you answer in bullet points or short sentences? 

400 hrs in 12 weeks calculates to 33 hrs per week. That’s insane. How did you do that? I’m trying to get more and more hours of studying into each week. 

While I do use the curriculum, I usually complement readings with IFT videos.

In his lectures, Mr Irfanullah goes through the curriculum and spends time on the most important concepts.

I really like making use of these videos and think he does a great job!

For everyone looking for advice on the perfect study plan using CFAI only….Come back to this thread for advice after you have done EOC 4-5x. Mocks & AM Priors 3-4 times. Practice problems on CFAI at least at a 80% clip. Simple & focused = effective.