Advice for Next Year's Crop

Since the vast majority of us who pass will not be back to this forum (which will be all of us, right? ;), let’s help out next year’s crew.

What advice would you give to those who pass Level 2 this year in their studies for Level 3 next year?

Don’t underestimate it. Plain and simple. I’ve put in twice the effort compared to level 2, increased my hours, doubled the amount of practice tests (from 6 to 12), done topic tests more than once, attended Schweser’s online classes, and so on and still feel way more uneasy than last year. It’s a mental roller coaster.

Be done by may 1. Need a full month for AM. Good luck. If you are a more math person, Level 3 will be harder for you.

how about focus on passing 1st then worry about others. It’s a curve based test so i’m hoping a lot of the people on this forum fail to bring the curve down. Simple as that, if it comes down to me or you i’m chosing me.

It’s not curved based…it’s based on what they think a minimal passing candidate should get.

Dumbest thread ever.

well i have wrote my "memoire " on my exam experience , it s a bit long but it should give next year’s crew some idea of what to do or NOT TODO ! first thing to mention : retaker with series of failure haha 2011 band 10 ( then-job : seed VC investment partner) I should say that my previous job was a proprietary trader for index arbitrage strategy so it helped though i dont remember how many hours i put in ;around 100-140hrs i think ; but definitely i did not re-read the curriculum , re-do 4 mocks and Also , i relied too much on schweser which was not as useful as l1/l2 IMO 2015band 9 (job: investment officer for development finance agency) After 4 years passing by without coming back to cfa exam ( got busy with travelling & personal issue) , I decided to go through the CFA again but then i ,out of the blue, took a job offer of the bilateral development finance agency in Feb and got busy with my new career training , i inefficiently put in 50 hours this time and vaguely used the curriculum ( not to mention that its the old version from 2011 haha) , did a survival strategy by ONLY going through 6 mocks with a cfa guideline , apparently not enough. 2016band 10 (job: investment officer for development finance agency) This time again i was aiming tospend more time but somehow things got crazy at work and i only took few days off and still find 2011 curriculum ok to use and after band 9 for50 hours given 4 years idle time , it gave me a false security that i was not far from the finishing line i guess. WRONG! My morning went along just ok but afternoon session was not so smooth , hence, band 10 . 2017 I got really annoyed with these high bands failures so this year i constructed my game plan and rarely strayed from it The plan looked like this • Get the 2017 curriculum : haha , no brainer right? And when i learn about the insurance stuff which is kinda new LOS comparing to what i had in2011 , i felt better :slight_smile: • Study concept 15hrs/wk start in feb by Using only 2 sources : curriculum and wiley lecture vdo which i find it very useful • Start doing AM mocks under real exam conditions in april ( every other week ) : schweser 2016 , cfai actual exams 2011,2012,2013,2014,2015,2016, also took a BSAS at local campus. On average i scored around 65 on them - for multiple choices :1 finquiz, 3 4 Cfai online mockexam ( am 2013,AM 2016, AM2017, pM 2017) + did all topic questions from CFAI website on average i score 68% - how about blue boxes?: Due to time constraints ,i only skimmed through them and may be focusing on few topics that i am not familiar with the concept • EOC : zero , i got constraint with time so i decided to put my energy on mock exams • Last week of preparation before D-day :I took a week off , went to a resort in upcountry so nothing (family, work, neighbors) could distract me, turned of mobile connectivity and re-read all curriculum books except ethics (i gave up on ethics study some time ago as my score is always ok and no incremental improvement from study observed from the past) • Re-do am actual exams 2014,2015,2016 , multiple choices of 2016-2017 mocks, the 2nd round scores were around85-90 of course i know this does not say much on your real exam 'sperformance BUT it gives me a lot of confidence which turned out to be a secret weapon as i usually got panic but not much this time . However , I would not say The real exam day felt like a walk in the park!! But at least , when i got stucked at some questions I did not feel so desperate. Just took a note then skip to do other question and come back to solve them. • Fitness: i keep my exercise regime intact by jogging 2x/wk and yoga 2x/wk . Did a 12-min energizing workout in the morning of the exam . • Meals: Eating bigger portion and less spicy meals during the last 3 days and eating EVEN BIGGER on real exam, trust me you need a lot of energy. DO NOT underestimate the power of full stomach:) Total hours spent for my above game plan:272 hours Exam day experience: felt good in general and well prepared . Pm usually haunts me for some weird reason but not much this time , i felt i could handle it better All in : im 90 % confidence that i should pass but hey , who knows and even if i fail i think i have put in my best-ever effort :slight_smile:

  • Use CFAI for base reading. Exclusively. Third parties only for mock/exams.

  • As many past papers/mocks as possible in last 40 days

Don’t buy into the perception that Level III is easy compared to Level II. Get an early look at the format needed for the morning "constructed response " questions, and build up your technique over time. I personally would recommend to repeat GIPS EOCs /TT several times over the 5 months to break down that heavy lifting through repetition, rather than cram it.


This definitely has little value until I post pass/fail, but while it’s fresh, my quick thoughts on what worked/didn’t:

  • When starting, definitely divide the target in half: AM and PM. Subdivide AM into Behavioral/Private/Institutional and: the rest (less Ethics/GIPS). PM is familiar – maybe not quite as hard as L2, but no cake walk either. AM is like a downhill skier learning to waterski – it’s not too bad after you fail 6-7 times.
  • The way to learn B/P/I is to quickly skim notes etc. on all the readings, then just do past AM papers. Perhaps leave the last 4 years untouched so you can get the real pressure-cooker experience in April/May. E.g., for the Behavioral biases, just make your notes/revision sheets from all the guideline answers relevant to current biases (the curriculum drops/adds/changes many). Do required return calculations like drills. It takes many dedicated weeks to get good at all the weirdness of the IPS. Don’t sweat too much about tax – some is important, but not likely all 30+ equations.
  • My process for the rest was to: i) Read GoStudy notes, ii) Read again while making revision notes/flashcards etc; iii) Do all blue box/EOC end-to-end; iv) 1st pass Topic Tests – tracked section/subsection for each question; v) make “heat map” of TT areas of focus and deep review of curriculum in those spots; vii) repeat last 2 steps – 2nd pass of TT, 2nd revision of new, tighter “heat map” in actual curriculum; viii) April 22 – start week off work to do full IFT essay primer / crash course + 4 full AM exams and revision … did 2 more AMs over the following week; ix) 2 week full pass, topic-by-topic, through: revision notes, flash cards, topic tests, then those topic questions in the 6 AMs I’d done. Also did all Private/Institutional questions back to 2005 or 2006; x) do everything all at once, burn out, write exam.
  • Would have been good to get cosy with the whole AM experience before April 22. It’s not too terrible, but takes a lot of experience to feel comfortable with. However, also happy about the 2 topic test passes and revision in March/April.
  • Burnout at the end sucked. Didn’t do the solid revision I’d planned for some key areas in the final week – GIPS among them. Was actually dozy in the PM exam – crazy. Have always ridden adrenaline highs, but just couldn’t get enough sleep in the final few weeks.

Both GoStudy and IFT were fantastic for the money. Highly recommend. Would definitely repeat the process of taking little steps into the content via GoStudy, and then reading directly from it to close gaps.

T+4 days: feel better than after L2, but again, none of this matters without the context of pass/fail come August.

Try to read/understand the curriculum if you have the time. Focus on blue box examples, EOCQ, and topic tests.

Note: some topic tests are ridiculous, so don’t be discouraged if you get 1/6 on some and 6/6 on others!

mock till u drop

nothing like taking the path less traveled i guess…?

yeah i know that skipping EOC sounds unorthodox but i usually got destroyed by PM and find that spending my time on re-read the curriculum to get familiar with the way CFAI phrase the wording/ perspective is more helpful ( im not native english speaker ).

funny when i was at a meeting with direct sources they didn’t have a problem with establishing it as a curve based exam. if you are just going by assumption keep that stuff to yourself

Tell who are those direct sources or we don’t trust you…

For those who just passed Level II - congratulations and you might want to review this

MORNING!. Of course you must know all the curriculum, but the key is to practice the morning session format. You already have 2 or more years of practice completing the multiple choice format, but mastering time management in the morning session is they key to pass.

Don’t bother readying the CFAI books, Schweser covers everything and won’t save you weeks of your precious time.

Disclaimer: Please delete post if I fail

Balance your time between AM mocks and good performance on the PM session. I will not have changed anything. perhaps a few % of time more focused on PM Mocks in the final 2 weeks. What i pretty much did was the following:

Study in 3 day iterations: Didn’t even touch the official books with a 10 yard stick. 1 day AM mock + checking and reading up on 1 day reading + EOC (50-80 pages schweser) 1 day PM mock + reading up on all errors. Every night do 1 or 2 video tutorials. before bed ( i never slept better in my life period). I did video tutorials during breakfast.

Personal life: Taking those 7-8 hours of sleep. Doing 20 mins of mindfullness after waking up. Study study and study. Took 1 or 2 times a week off. Really off. I went gardening 3-4 hours, Totally zen and shit. Exercise. Eat healthy. DIDNT DRINK for 3 months prior. Barely any social contacts. I did one evening with the SO and a day in the weekend sometimes. I got scared of my efficiency. Was affraid for a burn out from the study approx 20-30 hours a week, so compensated with mindfullness, excercise and making my own spinach/beets/coliflour in the garden. I was hell to life with, but all in all felt like a power trip. Wake up and boom! Look at your own strengths. For me I need this all or nothing mentality to keep pushing. You might even say there are similarities with people that join a cult or something… For others this will not work, nor be effective. IF I failed, I would spent more time on the PM sessions and readings, and only do about 40 hours of AM mocks + reviewing the answers.