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Thank you Marc LeFebvre - Level UpBootcamp

I found out today that I passed my L3 exam. This is my first and last post on this site. But I feel I owe Marc LeFebvre a lot, so I need to post my experience. 

For those new candidates in the L3 program and those retakers, the practical solution to passing this exam is: 1) Reliance on CFA Institute Materials only, the exam is solely based on the Curriculum content. 2) Start early, create a schedule and try to follow it stictly. 3) Work with a provider that relies on the curriculum, not study notes. In my view the most well rounded instructor and the guy that knows the curriculum upside down is Marc LeFebvre. 

I signed up for his videos and the Bootcamp in NY. Start studying early, work the EOC problems and Blue Boxes several times. Take his Bootcamp, but ensure you have covered the entire curriculum before his bootcamp, otherwise those would be your four most intense days in your life. 

Marc is very knowledgable, ultra responsive. His materials are the best in the industry. I did not touch any third party materials. 

I hope this helps other candidates. Best of luck. 

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 CFA® study packages give you the proven study tools and expert instruction you need to finish the job.

Seconding every word of the post above - I followed the same strategy, even down to attending the same boot camp in NY and passed first time. Thanks, Marc!

Posted in another thread, but feel the same as above. Marc got me across the line using videos and Boston Bootcamp. I used LevelUp for my third attempt at level 3. Failed pretty bad the first time working through CFAI curriculum but ignoring essay practice. Came close the second time working through the CFAI curriculum again but practicing essays. It wasn’t till my third run that Marc showed where I was screwing up the essays and missing concepts that span multiple topics. I scored just shy of 90%ile.

All his advice and materials were awesome, spot on, and what is needed to pass level 3. Which is hands down the hardest level by a wide margin. Those that tell you level 2 is the bear, haven’t taken the exam in the last 5 years.

All the best to future candidates. Thanks again Marc!

CFA Charterholder
CAIA Charterholder

Marc also arranged a NY study group and connected me with other candidates which ended up being very helpful especially for the AM session.

For LevelUp, is it pre recorded videos or live videos? 

(bear my ignorance) I have actually never heard of Marc until I came to this forum, Always used kaplan + CFAI supplemental, now Im wondering if I should switch it up for L3 since it is a different style.

I have observed this for sometime, why is that a lot of people praising bootcamps have very low AF points? 

Well for me I used Marcs program this year.  What I liked about it was the fact I could call, email and msg him anytime if I ran into any problems I was stuck on.

Also, if you really do Marc’s 5 x plan o.o…you don’t have time for anything else….

I'll get knocked down but I'll come right back up.

Marc is the best!

I don’t get why anyone thinks there’s any correlation between AF points and credible opinions.  I spent my time studying, not posting, and passed all three levels first time and levels 2 and 3 near 90th percentile (and we don’t have that info for level 1 since scoring was different in 2016).

So, yes, I have low AF points and also thought Marc at Level Up, his program, the materials he provided, his exam advice, his responsiveness, and his motivation were all stellar.  Start early, work hard, and listen to Marc.  That’s my advice.

So, you all can decide who’s credible, posters with lots of AF points or passers, regardless of AF points. Seems like a really easy choice to me.  

Would it be a good idea to use for example kaplan to start and finish all the readings/practice/ etc… then attend the bootcamp? or itll be too confusing? I have not have any luck with these crash/revision courses. For l2 i went to quartic revision, WASTE of money you barely practice anything which is what I woud look for in a revision course. Any thoughts? 

Posted this in another thread, but felt it’s relevant. I passed the 2019 L3 exam this year thanks to Marc.

I took the bootcamp this year after failing L3 last year through my local prep provider. Although there was indeed a lot of self promotion, I found the Core Curriculum slide book very helpful. I basically stopped using my local prep providers notes after the bootcamp, and solely used his Core Curriculum Slide Book + Focus book to prep afterwards.

The IPS workshop and his past 10 year of exams was very helpful as well. I reworked those binders about 3 times each before the actual exam and his method of solving the IPS question allowed me to solve the 6-8min question in about 2 minutes (and I was 100% confident on my answer)

Although you can print the past 10 years of exams by topic yourself, this will likely take you at least a few hours to do yourself which could be spent studying instead. Marc does this for you. In addition, Marc also identified questions that were no longer relevant from the curriculum for you  (I know IFT has a PDF on this, and after reconciling the questions Marc found irrelevant vs. IFT, I found Marc’s to be more reflective of current curriculum. For ex. there were questions IFT marked irrelevant, but Marc put as relevant as it was clearly still in one of the blueboxes in current curriculum)

Overall, I felt I benefited positively from attending the LevelUp Bootcamp as it covered a lot of material my local provider did not cover. It also made me focus a lot on areas where my local provider did not as well (especially the IPS materials). Attending the bootcamp gave me new direction as to how to study for the L3 exam, which I realized I’ve been doing wrong the whole time (hence my 1st fail).

To be completely fair, here’s a few criticisms I felt about the bootcamp:

  • Extremely costly. More than double the price of my local prep provider. 
  • There is a lot of self promotion (however, some of them I found funny and kept me awake). I felt about 25-30% of the class was self-promotion.
  • He does not go into detail about the material, and only gives you a high level look at most of the material (and tells you what to focus on afterwards). But this is because the amount of material is so large, there’s noway he can cover everything in detail within 4 days. I agree, I retained probably 10% post bootcamp as there was just too much material. You’re basically paying for the Core Curriculum Slide Books, IPS Book, and Past Exam book.. and likely will retain 10-20% of what he actually talked about during the classes.
  • I thought the exam workshop was going to be him actually teaching us how to answer AM questions, which would have been helpful, but it was just him pointing out some exam “traps”. Which, I guess was still helpful, but would have still preferred for him to maybe walk us through how he would solve an actual exam question.

Marc definitely knows his stuff, and he’s been in the industry for 20+ years. Here’s one of the self promo’s he did that I still remember:  Did you know Marc + few others founded Schweser’s Secret Sauce back when he still worked for them? Found that to be pretty interesting… I’ve definitely used the Secret Sauce back in L1 and L2.

If you passed the exam, I think that’s all that matters. He emphasizes the critical things to pass the exam (which you know that made you get through the final lines). It is simple: 1) Only use CFA I materials, do not bother with third party study notes as they do not truly reflect the difficulty, language and format on how the exam is presented. 2) Practice writing pen and paper over and over until your hand hurts, rinse your essays and continue to improve throughout your preparation. 3) Use old exams, he gives you 10 years of exams all sorted by topic. 4) He is your study partner, because he knows the curriculum better than anyone else. 4) Bonus - if you can create a study group to discuss the topics, that will enhance a lot your chances of passing. L3 is about synthesis and providing financial solutions to cases that require putting everything together. For the above reasons, I think Marc Lefebvre is an excellent instructor for this exam. My two cents. 

Echoed my experience this year - Marc pushes you to focus on the right things. I was also at the NYC bootcamp this year and it was a complete whirlwind, I left feeling like I needed a vacation but knowing I couldn’t afford to slow down. If you didn’t know the material before it began the bootcamp wasn’t going to help, but his tips on preparing for the AM portion were invaluable and the materials he provides are certainly a reliable route to success. He provides camp attendees with a binder overflowing with meticulously curated previous exams based on applicability to the current material, and as you work the questions you begin to notice patterns in the way material is tested. This process is without a doubt the best way to prepare for the main event and is the sole reason I finished the AM section with an hour to spare.

For Level I & II, Kaplan was more than sufficient, but for this level you need to understand the bigger picture to succeed. Reading the CFAI curriculum is the way to get there and Marc will give you the roadmap. And before I’m hounded for this - no, Marc doesn’t pay any of us to write this stuff. He really is that good.

Ms1 wrote:

I don’t get why anyone thinks there’s any correlation between AF points and credible opinions.

Congratulations on passing the exams. I am not saying Marc is good or bad, I have never used his material and hence don’t have any opinion. All I am saying  isthat its not the first time I have seen someone creating AF account and their first post is praising Marc (OP created their account yesterday after results were out and this is their first post). Might as well use AF to learn while studying for the exam. Sounds dubious to me. 

Your concerns are nothing more than unfounded conspiracy theories and not helping anyone.  Why didn’t I post a lot?  Because you have to sort through a lot of useless info on here to find the really useful info and I was studying and wanted to focus and not waste time.  It’s really that simple.  

I would also be highly skeptical of accounts that were recently created and have basically one-sided praise for a review provider.  

steve11 wrote:

I have observed this for sometime, why is that a lot of people praising bootcamps have very low AF points? 

That’s because we spend our time reading the curriculum, instead of posting on AF. I can send you my receipts for Levelup if you want. I registered on the 18th of September, 2018. I’m a 3rd time Re-taker and I almost made the 90th percentile Mark. Just eyeballing it, it should be 88th or 89th percentile. 

So quit thinking this is some arranged promo for Marc/LevelUp. We (at least I am) are just grateful that we no longer have to do this freaking exam again.

steve11 wrote:

I have observed this for sometime, why is that a lot of people praising bootcamps have very low AF points? 

That’s because we spend our time reading the curriculum, instead of posting on AF. I can send you my receipts for Levelup if you want. I registered on the 18th of September, 2018. I’m a 3rd time Re-taker and I almost made the 90th percentile Mark. Just eyeballing it, it should be 88th or 89th percentile. 

So quit thinking this is some arranged promo for Marc/LevelUp. We (at least I am) are just grateful that we no longer have to do this freaking exam again.

85% percentile with just kaplan, mark meldrum, and bill campbell grading services.

I’ve used em all man. Kaplan, IFT, Wiley, Ronen, John for accounting, and finally Marc for Level 3. This is my opinion:

Kaplan is fine for level 1.

Ronen for level 2. Even IFT for level 2 would work. 

Marc for Level 3.  Hands down.

Anyone with the time to research what worked for most candidates should realize that you need to use the curriculum material for Level 3.  Ronen says this.  Marc says this.  It’s all over AF.  You can use other providers and if you’re committed you’ll likely teach yourself the tricks and uncover the inconsistencies.  

The DIFFERENCE is Marc has done all of that for you. Puts it in an incredible amount of detail so you don’t have to uncover it yourself. And he explains things so clearly and simply.  

Lol, we didn’t engage in CFA porn.  

 Marc tips kept coming throughout exam day. Now I understand why he says ‘“Go See Marc!”. Was a difference maker.

CAIA Charterholder

Marc saved me. Biggest eye opener during the whole process: Kaplan Schweser cuts corners and is a joke for L3. Keep giving them your money if you want to fail year after year. 

When the CFAI says that the entire curriculum is testable, they really, really really…mean it.  Just take a look at old exams.  The best way (not the only way) to tackle it then is to study from the curriculum. That’s what Marc does.  So there are no short cuts, he doesn’t really tell you to focus in one area or the other, his strategy is collect as many points as possible to help you pass. It can be frustrating, I used Kaplan for 1 and 2, and sometimes you just want a summary…  But on exam day, I was really prepared, nothing surprised me on the exam.  

Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool. I will call you later.

Fddlstx wrote:

I’ve used em all man. Kaplan, IFT, Wiley, Ronen, John for accounting, and finally Marc for Level 3. This is my opinion:

no you did not.

you never tried Adapt prep, Bloomberg, Mark Meldrum, Daren Miller, Fitch learning, grading by S2000.

In my opinion…

for level 2 :  the best prep provider is Analyst Success (founded by Frank Stalla, later acquired by Wiley) & Richie Owen from Kaplan Schweser.

For level 1 certainly Peter Olinto is the best.

"Let's kill him properly this time" (Thor - Endgame)

FRM Holder - 2012
Passed CFA Level III - 2019

Guys, you don’t have to use Marc. You can use any other prep provider. But I can almost guarantee one thing: your chances of passing reduces significantly if you are not studying with a prep provider that is 100% focused on the curriculum. With the new readings, past paper practices becomes less relevant. And perhaps mocks will just be CFA psychometricians guessing which way the CFA MIGHT go. I would have paid 2k to get my life back and I’m glad I used Marc/LevelUp

I can vouch for Marc. 3rd time re-taker and finally passed this year after attending his bootcamp in Omaha.

Using Levelup is like applying Occam’s Razor to your prep plan. Knowing that he would cover all the bases of what I needed to know to pass the exam, I no longer had to worry about using this provider for ‘x’ or that provider for ‘y.’ As you all know, CFA prep is rife with rabbit holes that we’re all liable to go down. Marc’s simple plan of CFA material + Videos + Bootcamp keeps you on the straight and narrow. 

If I would to do Levelup, how many hours per day/week do you think I would have to put in to cover all my basis before bootcamp? I am asking because if i would do Kaplan locally with them, they are a ‘in person’ course so they already have the hours per week planned up until the revision. 

Let me know your thoughts 

I used LevelUp online videos and Bootcamp.  The good: I thought the online videos and accompanying slide book were well done and very helpful.  The slide book is one of the best study tools I’ve seen across the three levels and the videos are excellent. The bad/needs improvement: The Bootcamp was not what I would call a CFA Bootcamp at all, it’s more like death by PowerPoint with a surprisingly small amount of interaction (almost none outside of IPS).  Except for the IPS review, he basically just reads through the slides for four days during the Bootcamp, insults other providers/brags (taking away from time that could be teaching the material), and tells you how much hard work you must do before the exam.  I get it, it’s 4 days to cover the entire curriculum so you basically must fly through the material (e.g. read through the slides), but that doesn’t make it helpful or a good use of time, in my opinion.  That said, the IPS review is excellent.

I think LevelUp would be better off modeling the rest of the review session/Bootcamp off the IPS review – cover a handful of highly testable topics in depth and actually work problems.  I think this is much “stickier” learning versus passively listening to someone read through PowerPoint Slides.  I think Schweser may do this at their 3 and 5-day Bootcamps but I didn’t attend one, so I am not sure.  You can’t do it all in 4 days and when you try to its too watered down and turns into the instructor reading from the slide deck with almost no interaction (aka death by PowerPoint).

I was also very surprised at the near constant self-promotion and Schweser/Mark Meldrum put-downs at the Bootcamp.  Beyond just wasting class/study time (which is bad enough during crunch time) it came across as unprofessional to me.  Aside from the IPS workshop and book of old exams sorted by topic, the bootcamp wasn’t a good use of my time – I can read the slide deck on my own since that’s basically what he does.  Maybe other folks learn best by passively listening to 4 days of someone reading from PowerPoint for hours on end, but not me. 

That said, I passed as a first timer and its largely because of his videos and slide deck are great for learning the curriculum – you see the big picture and also understand the minutiae (which is tested).

Also, if you do LevelUp, I’d make sure you save a couple months (yes at least 8 weeks) at the end for mock exams.  My suggestions are CFAI (obviously),  Schweser has a couple good ones – the downloadable/electronic ones where you can input your scores online after you take the paper test – and some lousy ones (the ones in their book of practice tests), and Mark Meldrum’s exams were top notch, I highly recommend those.

Everyone has his/her preferences, and these are my observations. 

You guys are all silly. Sounds like Marc does a superb job making sure his students know theres no shortcuts and to study hard. He further hands out a binder of old exams to make sure you do them. Other instructors fail to slam it to your brains that the exam aint no joke.

Every post about him makes has a very similar element, work hard. Save the money, i can tell u to work hard.

sounds like those who passed are because they worked hard. You passed because of YOU

This thread looks like one of those weird ads they used to have in newspapers where the margin was filled with quotes from happy customers such as ”Peter, 25, from Boston, Mass”

If you're the first out the door, that's not called panicking