Advise for new Level III students pls

Hi all

I sat Level2 last weekend, and without tempting fate, am hopeful to move onto level III for June 2017- fingers crossed i get the chance.

I am hoping you could put together your best tips for Level III - providers/mock exams/essay approach etc.

I have largely followed Kaplan to date, with various complements (CFA material & other mock exams).

Thanks to all in advance.

I have a friend who failed lvl 3 in 2015, band 6, he said he only used Schweser.

I took lvl 3 this year for the first time, only used CFAI material. My friend took lvl 3 again this year, this time using more CFAI material. We were getting similar mock scores, despite it was his second go at the whole thing.

My impression from lvl 3 is that it may look easier on paper, but the change in methodology provides for quite a twist. Once you realize the importance of the multiple choice format for your score you figure the essay section needs to be dealt with seriously. And if you check out the mocks it is not really essays, it is more like short answer.

Kaplan with CFAI sounds good - don’t change what has worked before.

New thing at L3 is the essay part in the AM. Most important thing: Do timed AM mocks. CFAI always provides the last 3-5 year’s AM parts. I also thought Analystninja was good (although many of their questions are from old mocks).

For the PM, as on L1&2, just practice practice pratice. Don’t underestimate the technical topics (Fixed Income, Asset Management etc.), but after L2 that shouldn’t be a problem.

Also, something I forgot to mention…I haven’t verified it because I haven’t received my results, but all signs point to lvl 3 being the most competitive, so maybe the effort to pass lvl 2 would not guarantee a pass for lvl 3.

Pass Level II first?

Back to the ops

So you sat L2 and now you feel you are so close to the finish-line…Please do not undersestimate CFAI… CFAI can shock you with a fail in Level 2 even when you feel like you conquered the darn thing… There are many people who got stuck at L2 for years…



I would second Chizi’s advice.

Don’t let people police your thoughts. If you want to start thinking about L3, go for it. It won’t change your pass/fail.

start looking for a watch with programmable countdown timers…seems like thats mostly what it’s all about

The other night Lebron James went up for a dunk and looked like Kevin James. He slammed the ball into the rim and it went flying in the wrong direction. So, LV2 is not a slam dunk until you get your results.

Once you get them I’d analyze your broad based knowledge. If you know a lot of this material from school, classes, work, and I mean a lot…then go with Schweser. Schweser will devote 1 sentence to something where CFA will take 10 pages to describe the topic and break it down.

If much of this is new to you, then hit the CFA really hard, and really early and hope to finish the 2200 pages in Dec or Jan. Then you can practice, practice, practice and hope to get past L3.

Just my 2 cents. Don’t waste your time starting until you get the July results tho.

Start doing Level 3 mock exams right away and go through weak areas!



I understand you are excited, but may I offer advice I saw when I had taken L2, thought I passed (I did!), and started poking around on the L3 board.

First, wait until you get your results. You may be sure you passed, but it’s possible you didn’t. Google Dunning-Kruger, which is touched upon on L3. Also, as another poster said, the CFAI can be tricky.

Second: Even when you do pass, it may not be the best time to jump on the L3 boards and start asking everybody what they should do. We don’t get results until a few weeks after you do and nerves and anxiety will be at an apex then. The best example I can think of is an underclassman asking a senior how to survive his last year when he doesn’t even know if he’s passed.

Third: Take a month or two off. I know it sounds like a badge of honor to start studying for the L3 the day you hear you’ve passed the L2, but that’s more than enough time to prepare for L3. Matter of fact, I’d say the biggest problem I had for L3 wasn’t time to study, it was retaining facts. Starting too early can be as bad as studying too late unless you have an eidetic memory.

But if you want to ignore my advice above, here’s what I’d do:

If you *have* to study, I’d recommend you spend more time on Ethics for a few reasons. First, you already have the material. It doesn’t change from L1 to L3. Spending more time learning Ethics will cost you no money. The only additional piece of information you have to learn for L3 is the Asset Manger Code of Conduct. Additionally, if you didn’t pass, this information is applicable for L2 as well. Ethics is shockingly tricky, and from what I’ve seen it tends to be one of the subjects that seperates Band 10 failures from passers.

Next: GIPS. GIPS tends to get overlooked, and is mostly a set of rules. Most CFA takers tend to overlook GIPS (because the material is dry and awful), you could establish some “test alpha” by learning it. It’s only 5%-10% of the test, but it should cost you nothing. Here’s the GIPS manual, the first 50 pages are what’s going to be tested.

If you HAVE TO just learn everything, these notes are a little old, but good. Maybe non-calculation material like Behaviorial Finance so far out.

Hope that helps

Maybe focus on your job? Look for new opportunities and reconnect with old colleagues. You likely just spent 4 months of pure dedication to the material, CFA wont help much if you fail to allocate time to professional development.

Thanks all for comments. I hope level 2 doesn’t bite me in the bum, and I’ve done enough( fingers crossed) to move on. I have no intention of studying before the results are out and probably not for a little while after- just thought all you guys would have what study material and methods worked top of mind. As soon as some of you hopefully pass, I wouldn’t want you to disappear from here and your insight lost. I understand the exam is quite different from first 2 levels, and can be very difficult.

I wish I knew this when I first started studying for Level 3… but currencies and derivatives are really the glue behind most of the topics in global asset management (and hence Level 3). Having a strong foundation in both topics will serve you very well.

This was my first time taking Level 3. I used only CFA curriculum. More than the other two levels, in level 3 you learn more from practice than you do when going through the readings for the first time. You may think you retained most of what you read when you are done with the readings, but you really learn what you retained when you start doing past AM exams. My advice would be to use CFA curriculum and do as many past AM exams as you can in real exam conditions, meaning timed 3 hours. Also, mix in the EOC problems and topic tests on CFA website. Good luck

Mocks, mocks, mocks, and more mocks.

Subject to the result of your L2, IMHO CFAI and mocks are the best resources, forget schweser for L3( may be it was just me but i found that schweser does not give you the same depth as CFAI ) analystninja is also great for practising the essay portion ( u can ask them to grade the practice but i cant comment on that as i didnt go that far )