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CFA Level 3 - Review of Prep Providers, Post 2019 Exam

Equityhacker wrote:

You tried almost every thing.. what about your scores in CFA past AMs and CFA mocks have you noticed improvement in comparison with 17 & 18

I didn’t dive into the past CFA AMs until mid-April/early May, which I thought was probably a touch late. I was planning to use them more casually as study guides, but after taking Nathan / Chalk and Board’s essay writing workshop I realized how behind I was (the class was a huge wake up call for me), and after that I started timing myself on essays and using them more seriously, at which point I started noticing a meaningful improvement.

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ARSC13 wrote:

Since I prepared for Level 3 using three providers in an effort to cover all of my bases, I thought I might share my thoughts on which providers I felt helped me prepare best for the test while it’s all still fresh in my mind: 1) Chalk and Board online courses and essay writing workshop with Nathan Ronen, 2) Kaplan (books and qbanks), 3) LevelUp 4 day boot camp and supplemental videos with Marc LeFebvre.

Exam overview: I thought the exam was tough, but largely fair. A lot of the questions were asked in a way I felt was unfamiliar relative to previous years (based on the published historical morning essays). I didn’t feel that either session was out of left field, both were challenging but not impossible. If I passed I probably barely passed and if I failed I probably barely failed.

Prep provider review: I felt the best provider by a long shot was Chalk and Board with Nathan Ronen. His lectures were completely spot on 100%. Every question I would think through the curriculum and hear his lectures play back in my head all day throughout the test both morning and afternoon sessions. He hit all of the main points, didn’t miss a single one, even the nichey ones! Even if I ultimately failed, I would take his classes again to prepare next year, and would highly highly highly recommend both his lectures and his essay writing workshop to anyone. The lectures are engaging and surprisingly not dry given the content can be dense at times (I highlight this because I’m someone who is easily distracted if a topic is overly dense and I find my mind starts to wander). His essay writing workshops really help to highlight how important time management is on L3 and gets some of those anxiety jitters out of your system before it’s really game time. Worth every penny I spent, also very competitively priced for the value you get out of his materials.

I also took Marc LeFebvre’s bootcamp after a colleague recommended it as a way to beef up ahead of the exam after I got a late start to studying, and honestly didn’t get much out of it. Lot of talking about how grueling studying was going to be, sprinkled with a ton of self promotion, and followed with how we needed to be focused, but not a lot of pen-to-paper work outside of his 2 hour IPS writing workshop one night which was the only highlight - 2 good hours out of 40 total hours = probably not the most efficient use of my time or $.

Comparatively, I thought Nathan’s approach to digesting the curriculum was significantly more succinct and manageable, which was ultimately more helpful to me in my prep.

It is amazing how much people are spending to prep for this exam.  At some point CFAI will need to consider how un-level the playing field can get before they provide better test prep materials or just rein in test prep providers.

CFAI has always emphasized the idea to put the curriculum as first priority when studying for the exams. i dont think the playing field is uneven. we all receive the curriculum materials. thats my thought though

It's a long shot, gotta make it.

Epsilon wrote:

CFAI has always emphasized the idea to put the curriculum as first priority when studying for the exams. i dont think the playing field is uneven. we all receive the curriculum materials. thats my thought though

agreed. prep provider only help make learning experience more “user friendly”, if spend $50 can got access for colourful quiz all study session & 3 mock exams like what fitch learning have, why not ? think about some hours we can save to stay focus on our current job while prep this exam.

"You could not live with your own failure. Where did that bring you? Back to me." (Thanos - Endgame)

125mph wrote:

Voyager3 wrote:

LOL he certainly did. Failed to mention though that he has a PhD in finance.

Curious, was there any bashing of Daren Miller or s2000?

Level Up has a bit of the hedge funds problem…when you charge a lot, people don’t have patience when things don’t go right.

jounin83 wrote:

Epsilon wrote:

CFAI has always emphasized the idea to put the curriculum as first priority when studying for the exams. i dont think the playing field is uneven. we all receive the curriculum materials. thats my thought though

agreed. prep provider only help make learning experience more “user friendly”, if spend $50 can got access for colourful quiz all study session & 3 mock exams like what fitch learning have, why not ? think about some hours we can save to stay focus on our current job while prep this exam.

You sound conflicted.  This is a global exam, having an employer who will pay for 1 test prep is a luxury most don’t have.  So signing up for multiple sounds like an unfair advantage or as you call it, user friendly…

Malee wrote:

125mph wrote:

Voyager3 wrote:

LOL he certainly did. Failed to mention though that he has a PhD in finance.

Curious, was there any bashing of Daren Miller or s2000?

Level Up has a bit of the hedge funds problem…when you charge a lot, people don’t have patience when things don’t go right.

Or people realize that your HF (LevelUp) provides the same performance as index fund (MM, IFT…), but has substantially higher fees… 

I used Level Up videos and boot camp to focus on the curriculum and I thought it was a great program.  The materials provided were excellent, as was the boot camp itself. Everyone learns differently and there are a variety of reasonable ways to study for Level 3.  At its core, you have to gain a broad understanding of the topics, as well as master the details, and Level Up did a great job with both. This exam isn’t plug and chug, so a broad understanding and background are critical.  

I also used KS practice exams, which I thought were a decent supplement to the CFAI Topic Tests, Mocks, prior essay questions and EOC questions.

I’ve seen some support for Nathan Ronin   I watched a few of his sample videos for Level 2 and he made a sexist joke in one of them, so that was it for me   So inappropriate.  So unnecessary.  So classless.  And, he knew he did it because he defended it as a joke in his video.  That ******* will never get my money.  

For candidates wondering what method is best, I wouldn’t take any advice until results are out.  

Used IFT, thought it was fair in lecture and quality wise. Especially going over the blue box questions was helpful.

Nonetheless these online lectures are just a boost up to help you understand the curriculum better but the most important thing is how many times you go over the EOC and CFAI questions to understand the concept when the actual questions have many traps. I think those are key.

For me passed all three first time using IFT materials……spent the most effort on level 3…used IFT, darren miller online live sessions for essay portion and level up live bootcamp (not videos) also really liked Go to Study info (inexpensive materials).   After passing level 1 and 2 first time……I decided to really prepared extra for level 3 because at age 67 , i didn’t want to retake that test!! 

I am a big IFT fan….dry but cost effective and pretty thorough…I thought level up materials are very good detailed books and I was amazed at Marks teaching energy level and attention to detail…. however I agree that instructor LeFevre approach of criticizing other competitors is something he should remove from his repotoir!!!

Darren Miller had a very pleasant demeanor and a altruistic wanting to see people succeed…good overall advice on essay approach….

just a few thoughts…