Band 10, so frustrated. Suggestion to improve? Please HELP! (Got the result after 24h)

Never received the result email, waited for an extra 24 hours and checked it online a few hours ago. 1st time L3 taker, Band 10: am 3a4b4c pm 4a1b3c

I am so disappointed. If it was band 6,7, I might actually feel better. I got a C at Ethics. I am not sure if that is tip of the scale. But as a non-native speaker, I always found Ethics tricky. And those GIPS, it is so hard to memorize. Not sure if native speakers feel the same way. And it seems I can never find a good way to resolve ethics questions. (I got C for my L2 exam as well though I passed…)

I came from science and engineering background so I decided that I have to read the materials which I don’t have enough background except previous exams study. I started from April and spent more than 300 hours to study Kaplan notes. During exam, I felt ok and finished most of questions and thought I would pass. So I don’t know what I did wrong.

My only fault probably is - I didn’t read the textbook and never did practice. However, I believe, if I truly know the content, there is no reason I need to practice. If you know it, you know how to answer it. (Also, notes are very concise and cost efficient than CFAI books I think) And I passed L1 L2 without reading CFAI textbook and practice. Maybe that’s not good for L3 for some reasons?

Anyway, I am debating, should I take it next year or should I just wait? Fresh from school I have no work experience. Also, what would you suggest me to do? Read the text? Practicing? Also, if I need to practice, any book, materials you would recommend?

Thank you!

PS, today is my 1st wedding anniversary with my husband. This result seriously ruined my mood. :frowning:

I also did not receive an email. Had to check results online this morning. Band 8. And I was Band 10 last year.

I would take again next year as you are still familair with the material. I think practicing is important. I know of a couple mistakes I made that really cost me. The test is as much about knowing the material as it is about how they ask the questions.

Hang in there! I would get right back up on the horse and take it next year while the material is still fresh - let the experience take care of itself. You did very well given the fact that you did not use the text or work through problems (so I guess this means you spent 300 hours on study prep provider material?).

Just having the knowledge and knowing the material will not get this done! There are many ways the same concept can be framed and so your interpretation of the facts and context expressed in the question are pivotal to providing the right answer…especially so if English is not your primary language.

I think you need to work through problems (and don’t neglect textbook end of chapter problems and textbook vignettes) and I think you will be in good shape!

Thanks! I guess I might just take it again next year. Yes, I spent all time reading notes… Part reason is that I didn’t even finish reading derivatives portfolios notes when taking L2. (I was busy at grad school, finishing papers…) I got good score at other parts except ethics and I passed. Maybe I used all my good luck there.

I guess another part of frustration is, the painful job searching… Graduated from a top undergrad school and recently got a PhD from a good Ivy school, I am still jobhunting and couldn’t find a way to break into finance. I don’t care about paycheck but it is hard to even find an entry level job, because they think PhD applicant is strange or overqualified for such positions. And for anything more advanced? I don’t have that working experience they asked…

Level III is a different beast than Levels I and II. To reiterate what EquitiesInDallas said (love the ML reference BTW), you need to understand how apply the material when answering questions for the the morning section and not just memorize the material. I struggled with level II, while all of my friends with accounting and engineering backgrounds walked through the exam. Level III was the eye opener for them. No more memorizing and ‘plug-and-chug’. Level III is about understanding and application.

First, practice exams are your likely key to passing. Read the material, understand it, and then answer questions until your hands are numb. As a purely anecdotal sample, my study group had four Level III Candidates (only one retaker). We finished no less than 7 full practice exams each, plus another 2-5 past CFAI exams. All four of us passed. My performance on the first few practice exams was pitiful; but the more I practiced, the better I understood what was asked and how to answer the questions (to at least guarantee myself part marks in each section).

Second, learn ethics and GIPS. You are only as strong as your greatest weakness. Ethics and GIPS typically amount to a decent chunk of the exam. They are not difficult sections if you take the time to read the CFAI curriculum (especially for ethics) and do plenty of practice questions.

Last, embrace the CFAI curriculum - especially the EOC questions and ‘blue boxes’. While Schweser does a great job of summarizing certain sections, they also skip a lot of the minutia. Going over in-chapter examples and obscure EOC questions can mean the difference been “we regret to inform you…” and “Congratulations”.

As far as extra study materials go – I mainly used the CFAI and looked to Schweser whenever I had difficulty with a particular topic or section. Any study program or material outside of the CFAI books is just a tool to help you understand the material better.

Don’t give up now. You are so close the end.

Top undergrad and Ivy PhD? In what subject area? You’ll kill L3 next year…if I can…you will.

totally non-business major… physical chemistry + material engineering… I started to take CFA because I think it might help me to learn how to read financial statements and pick stocks and then I found it interesting and decided to keep going…

You need to read the textbooks and practice. Then you will pass.

Thank you, thewritestuff!

Just wonder, what did you use for practicing and found most helpful? The EOC questions or some other exam books, like mock exam from CFAI website?

Practice, practice, practice!!! The AM session is way different than what you’ve already seen, and now you might know it very well. You really need to practice: go through past exams, go through as many Schweser practice exams as possible, learn how to write concisely so that you don’t waste time. I don’t know your scores, but I bet you did better in the PM than in the AM section. And if that’s the case, really, practice a lot! This is key to getting the right method of writing the AM section.

Why are you entering finance at an entry level position? Go use your great degrees and do something else!

It’s only your first attempt, don’t worry, sometimes its just luck, one year is not a huge investment. don’t over stress yourself!

congrats on your anniversary!!

That’s not good for lots of reasons. First, Level 3 has time pressure if you don’t know how to answer the questions and if you haven’t practiced working under that pressure. I would suggest that you should be able to finish a practice exam in the 70% range in 2.25 hours or less in order to be comfortable on exam day. You’re going to be slower on exam day with more attention on detail and some time lost due to pressure and stress. You need to know how to concisely answer the questions.

Yeah, you can pass an MC section or exam no problem without practice, but that’s truly not the case when you have a written session designed to put people under time pressure.

I’d also respectfully suggest that being a non-native speaker, this likely adds even more pressure to the AM section as you’re mentally translating back and forth.

The AM session really is not a memorization test like the other levels/PM. It’s about comprehension and application of what you’ve learned. I honestly can’t imagine how one would be proficient in applying theory if the first time they’ve ever attempted to apply it is in in the exam room. Unless your line of work covers all topics or what not, which would be unbelievable.

Got tired of semiconductor clean room type of work and wanted something new and challenging. (And also there are family reasons that I can only look up for jobs near NYC while many semiconductor / solar cell jobs are located in CA) My first thought was to use the analytical research training + knowledge in renewable energy field + some finance knowledge to land a job in equity research with energy/utility/semicon focus. I think it would fit my background. But turns out most jobs I have seen in this area prefers MBA.

You are right. Just realize because I don’t know there is such thing as template before the exam, I answered one question outside of the template and had to spend 2 minuted to copy it to the template table next page. I might just have been lucky to get 3a4b4c in the morning session.

Absolutely. You’re clearly bright to be in band 10 with zero practice whatsoever. Honestly a little more practice and getting comfortable with the format and time issues is probably what you need to push over the top. If you look at the suggested practice answers you’ll see what they are looking for, and some themes are generally consistent year to year. These are must have marks, but you only really get them from practice. Good luck.

I used the CFAI curriculum, notes from the University of Toronto CFA course and Schweser lecture notes to study. I also attended Schweser’s Windsor Week, which is probably the reason I passed on my first attempt.

For practice questions, I did every single question in the CFA Curriculum and most of the previous exams released by the CFA, including the mock exam. I also had weekly quizzes, and several tests/exams from the UofT course.

In the end, had I not spent a month doing just questions, I probably would have failed.