25 days starting from zero

Hi All,

Work commitments have meant I have not been able to start studying until today but am now off work until the exam. My study plan looks like this:

09th May -> 19th May - read and note schweser material at 100 pages per day

20th May -> 22nd May - CFAI topic tests

24th May -> 26th May - 3x AM past paper readthroughs and reread notes

25th May - 31st May - 7x mocks and debriefs (CFAI & Schweser)

I have left 2 days blank to accommodate extra work on weaknesses identified during mock stage.

My question is I think more aimed at previous passers (but all comments welcome) - does this seem like a sensible allocation of time, or should I reallocate toward the AM session? Is there a key resource or activity I have omitted from the above that was useful previously?

By way of professional background I did 4 years in multi asset portfolio management, 1 year commodities trading and now 2 years corp fin so am hoping my base knowledge level will help.


Are you a retaker or are you actually starting from scratch?

From scratch. Sat level 2 last june. Ended up with a similar situation last year but had c.2 weeks longer off work. The format of the AM session is the complicating factor that has led to my uncertainty RE study approach.

I think you should do a mock now and not wait. It will make your review better to see how material is tested. You also seem light on EOC questions.

I second that. No time better than now to get used to how different AM is from Level 2. That is really the biggest curve ball, and you need to get better at answering constructed response questions. Also, let you see where you might already have some knowledge in certain areas.

Looks like a decent plan to me… I am on the same program… I read through Schewser notes at a leisurely pace over the last two months and just finished a week ago… do I remember much? probably not! I am now reading over the secret sauce and then doing CFAI Curriculum end of chapter questions hoping to finish those by end of next week then take a week for online tests and last week for practice exam and then see how it all pans out… I find the material is not hard but just too much to remember…needs reinforcement through practice which maybe a bit later for at this point in the game…so if I don’t get through I will give myself ample time to practice questions next year…I have been away from the CFA for 7 years (1 year break turned into 7)…so this is just good for me to get back to it…

Might be benefit from doing 2 AM exams at the beginning – just read or transcribe the suggested answers. Looking back, I would have preferred to learn Behavioral, Individual and Institutional by just reading a half dozen old AM papers, and then to go into the text to clarify points.

Also, IFT offers a great crash course with 15-30 minute topic summaries + video solutions to the 2011-2016 AM exams.

Just thought I would revisit this having received results (pass - 1/2/7 AM, 1/0/8 PM) - maybe someone will find this useful 1 month before next year’s exam.

The good news is it’s entirely possible to do the entirety of level 3 from scratch in under 4 weeks if you can get the time off work.

I realise people may have varying preferences regarding study methods - but if you are the sort who gets a lot from reading and making notes then the following worked for me.

I targeted doing 12 hours a day over 25 days but it was probably more like somewhere between 8-10 hours of study per day.

Day 1 through 2 - Before even opening the textbook spend 1/2 days reading AM section exams - this was a piece of advice i received above that was bang on the money - very useful to contextualize all of the readings to prepare for the AM paper.

Day 3 through 14 - read and note all of the schweser. No need to pick up the CFA materials at any point (or do their EOCs) - I never looked at them

Day 15 through 19 - do all of the topic tests on the CFA website, if you get below 5 then research, reread and repeat until you hit 5

Day 20 through 24 - do 2x AM mocks a day (maybe just read through the first couple and make notes)

Day 25 - rest

Thanks to those who provided advice above.

The other thing that occurred to me is that we have this “how many hours” approach to the exam . I realise people will have different experiences regarding how well they remember short and long term, but something i think is very important is time weighting the hours. 25 days at 8 hours a day (for 200 hours total) would, for me, have been a lot better than 400 hours spread over 6 months.

Props on pulling this off. I couldn’t do it - moly brain works such that I need material to ferment for months to recall and understand it - but it goes to show that there are many paths to victory!

Wow. Great job!