Advice for those retaking L3

As I’m sure you’ve experienced, L3 is just a different beast. In my opinion, the material is not as complex as L2 but you have to know every section at a much deeper level (mostly because of the AM format). There is a ton of advice on this forum, but here are 2 tips based on my experience:

  1. For those retaking L3, watch this MM video. I found it very useful and hope you do too: Level 3 CFA Exam Results and re-taker strategies - YouTube

  2. One aspect that I found pretty challenging about L3 is that the quality of prep material is notably worse than the previous levels. I used Schweser for L2 and passed pretty safely / felt well prepared, but it’s not nearly enough for L3 (seriously … this goes back to the format of the AM section). Don’t expect Schweser to be sufficient. That said, I would still use Schweser or another prep provider to get through the readings quickly (and perhaps for the multiple choice banks/PM session), but it’s important to use an additional provider specifically for the AM section. I used Bill Campbell (aka the Magician, aka the godfather) and he was seriously incredible. Read the testimonials on his website ( … this dude loves to teach and he’s very good at creating mock AM exams that teach you the material efficiently while also showing you how to master the format of the AM portion.

Best of luck to all L3 candidates … almost here

Um . . . wow!

I blush.

Good work Bill!


That video from MM is great and spot on…

I had to retake after failing in December 2020. I put in the time, but I wasn’t organized in my approach which ended in me only getting “a little bit of this and a little bit of that” of each section. Safe to say that didn’t cut it. Once I printed off a calendar and planned out my 4 months of studying, I found myself retaining a lot more of the information.

I also created a 5 tab binder where I had tabs such as “Formulas”, 1-2 page “Cheat Sheet”, and “Summary Sheets” for each of the Topics tested. Creating note cards with the Summary Sheets and Formulas when combined with my “Cheat Sheets” really helped me narrow my focus during the two week grind leading up to the exam.

Most importantly, keep your head up as getting the “The CFA program is a challenging endeavor…” email is a serious punch to the gut, but I can tell you receiving that final “Congratulations” email makes the whole process that much more worthwhile. Best of luck!

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As we all know level III is a different animal. I found out I passed level III yesterday and became a CFA charterholder.

This was my second attempt at level III. In my opinion, there are many misconceptions about the morning exam. If you want to increase your chances of passing, you should spend the time learning about the morning portion of the exam AND practicing for it. I used Bill Campbell’s (s2000magician) Survivors Guide to the morning exam and his mock exams. Both the guide and the mock exams were key components in my study arsenal. I felt prepared for the morning exam and I was not “shell shocked” by the AM portion of the exam.

I was able to finish all questions, with a few minutes to spare. The AM portion of the exam was still very hard but I was able to gather points and not get rattled by the change in testing format.

I used the CFAI curriculum extensively for studying for level III. I also used Marc’s Level Up videos for helping with understanding topics that were new to me in level III. Marc is an excellent “sherpa” for the level III curriculum. Marc has mastered understanding and teaching the level III curriculum.

Just to emphasize, I don’t believe you will be as successful with level III unless you read and practice the entire CFAI materials. There’s a lot of details in the examples and in chapter materials that help increase the likelihood of success on the exam.

Finally, I believe that every candidate that passed level II can pass level III. Don’t give up!! It is not easy but it is worth it.

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