Before the passers are gone...

This is not a “what did you do” thread or typical “which is better” thread. I have always used schweser Qbank and study materials with the CFA texts and EOC’s. Did any of you guys use Stalla and find it better by comparison? Is there anything you thing is better than those two that really helped you? I realize that Qbank isn’t as useful at this level, but it is fine for doing drills and I’m trying to find things that you thought were closer to the real deal, particularly in depth, etc… Most of you know I’ve already done L3, unsuccessfully I might add, so this isn’t a noob asking q’s straight outta the L2 forum, but instead I’m trying to tweak my game from last year and get a little input on things you liked… Thanks in advance

skip QBank, memorize CFAI examples and EOC’s. Get Schweser video and quicksheet to help with the big picture. It sort of worked for me in 2011 with a bit of luck too. Doing mock will help with the format too (I kinda skipped this for L3, as a result I had to rewrite answers in AM)

I was also a band 9 failer last year - sucked hardcore. I realized that the material is so open-ended that there is no way to drill for it, so *any* Qbank-type deal is going to have limited effectiveness. So what I did was - after reading them through several times - take my Schweser books and clip out the blue examples and the end of chapter summaries and reduce Xerox it down to two stapled packets. One of them had all the textual outlines, the other had all the examples to go through it. Then I’d page through it every time I got a spare moment, in addition to rereading the text. Over and over I went through the examples till I had a firm grasp on every sort of question I’d need. It wasn’t a pretty pass - you can search up my score - but I didn’t do an insane amount other than this and I didn’t freeze up on any questions.

I just used Schweser and Qbank. Never opened CFAI text.

Guys, I really appreciate your comments, and I am certainly clear about the weaknesses and limited effectiveness of using practice questions like Qbank. I also understand the EOC’s and CFAI texts and mocks are a must. I like the schweser summaries idea as well. I also think I’m going to do the creighton bootcamp. Specifically, though, I was looking to see what question drillers people like best, given my limited experience with everything but schweser. Sometimes its nice to just be able to burn through some Q’s for extra highlighting of weak points.

I failed and wished I used some Qbank for PM section as there were many questions asking some random formulas…

use your old notes, do EOC’s, the blue box examples in the text are vital, and old CFAI exams (go back as far as you can get your hands on) for IPS is the best practice. You can sink endless $$ into this test, but what I learned from my 1st fail is this: AM is about time management. Flip the f’n page if you don’t know something b/c you need to jam along or your dead. You will lose points, but don’t get bogged down on something that you don’t know. PM- if you do EOC’s, blue boxes, and some practice tests/mocks, you’ll be great. Spend the time, learn what you were weak on, fill in the gaps, and you’ll pass next year. I didn’t re-buy schweser, used 2010 and 85% of the stuff is the same. Qbank for L3 I thought was awful. Used in 2010 on my fail, didn’t find value. Make a formula sheet and learn what you need to. Qbank is a L3 waste of $$, IMO. The CFAI texts are all you need if you have a basic foundation and/or notes already. Good luck re-takers. I failed every level of this test once, so I’m a 3/6… but at the end of the day, I just got my 3 letters. That’s what counts. Stay at it. It’s a marathon.

i would like to emphasize one thing…your conditioning come game day…i mean both mentally n physcially …a lot o people end up not being at ther best or slow off the blocks …

I passed and I used Finquiz I have some mixed opinions on them, lots of eratta and they pound lots of obscure LOS’s. If I had to do for the first time I’d say, do all of the LOS’s and examples, I’d pay for q-bank and not finquiz, I would do a ton of my own note cards especially every formula and all of the behavioral finance. I think to have confidence you need to find as many in depth Portfolio AM type questions as you can find and do them over and over again.

I just used the CFAI texts, but did buy the Secret Sauce and their formula sheets for Level II & III. Did the EOC questions and a good number of practice exams.

cpepin Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > I passed and I used Finquiz I have some mixed > opinions on them, lots of eratta and they pound > lots of obscure LOS’s. If I had to do for the > first time I’d say, do all of the LOS’s and > examples, I’d pay for q-bank and not finquiz, I > would do a ton of my own note cards especially > every formula and all of the behavioral finance. > > I think to have confidence you need to find as > many in depth Portfolio AM type questions as you > can find and do them over and over again. Finquiz was disheartening a lot of the time. So many things that were far out of the curriculum and also many questions that were repeats. I would not recommend them for level III in their current form. Possibly next year.

Qbank, CFAI, CFAI EOC and mocks. As cpepin said, as many of the in depth portfolio management type questions as you can get your hands on and as many past AM exam papers as you can get your hands on too.

Study from whatever material you want but the end of chapter CFAi questions are your friend. Do them all. Twice.

I don’t understand the hate of QBank. Sure the questions aren’t complex, but they hammer home equations and fundamental topics. Plus it is extremely efficient use of time. On average you can probably do a question, see the answer, and learn what you did wrong in about a minute. Think about how long EOCs or mock exams take. Can easily be 10 Qbank questions to 1 EOC/Mock question. That will be a lot more topics you are hitting with qbank. EOC/Mock questions are better to see where you stand on similar exam questions QBank is better for actual learning.

As a question driller… I went Qbank/EOCs until March, then EOCs (Again), Blue boxes in CFAI text, Schweser mocks, and finally old morning exams. I started mocks and old exams in April, and I had about 12 of them.

For the AM, the old CFAI papers are the route to go…I agree with some of the posters here, go as far back as you possibly can, you get a fair idea of how the AM paper is structured and how barebones and specific the answers need to be…I went with those from early on, so that i dont panic when the exam is too close…That really helped…the AM paper is a race against time…

Concentrate on the CFA text eoc questions. dont’ rely on schweser or stalla except for a formula sheet and practice exams, try to take 10 full length exams in your final month if you can find them. Not only is it great practice for the actual exam, you get 60 hours of quality study + time to review your wrong answers.

Thanks guys, I was a band 8 fail. I did every single CFAI EOC twice. Every Schweser EOC once and about 1k Qbanks. The general summary of all you guys statements is to focus on eocs, etc and that schweser Qbank is the best choice if one is going to use that type of material. I think this year, Im going to go all the way through the text starting in a few weeks and get it over with then start hammering Q’s before Xmas. Some people disagree with that because they say one cant retain it, but I don’t want to do this thing a third time. I think, in reading your posts, I probably should have done more practice tests. I did all the CFAI AMs that I could find, I think it was 08,09, and 10. I murdered the EOC multiple choices but didn’t murder the actual exams. In the actual exam, I was actually laughing with the guys around me about killing the AM and didn’t break 70 on a single topic. I think it had to be my style of answer, I need to look into that. I may do that Creighton thing, Apparently they spend time on covering the way to answer the AM’s I think this year, I will try to hammer as many full tests as I can, like the one poster said. Maybe ill “moderate” AF and try to answer as many Q’s that are posted as possible just so I can get some curveballs. Guess Ill be seeing you guys soon…

Just wanted to send a long a few notes on my experience with the CFA program. Everyone’s experiences and approaches are different. It was a transformative learning experience. I used CFAI texts and mock exams exclusively for all three levels. The books are VERY dense and take time to read and digest - at least to the level that the CFAI tests. I did not want to spend any money on prep courses and third-party materials. I commute on a train to work, so I had a morning and afternoon train ride that is perfect for working on a charter. Otherwise, it would have been harder to find the study time. I took Level I in December before 2006 and failed. I had put in around 250 hours of study, but had moved to take a new job shortly the test. That messed up my last month of prep. That was not enough time to prepare - and the last month before the exam is critical. So, started to prepare for the December 2007 Level I exam in January, 2007. After logging in an additional 700 hours of study, I passed Level I in December, 2007. Level II is a bear - I thought it was the hardest level due to the depth of the material. I started preparing for that test in January 2007 and took it in June, 2008. I had logged in approximately 1300 hours of study for Level II and passed on the first attempt. As turned out, I’m glad that I took the extra time to prepare because I had a death in my immediate family and my wife and I both had some illness. Level III - I heard it said that it was the easiest exam. Not sure that I agree. It’s difficult in a different way. Level III is about synthesis…putting all of the pieces together with the added time pressure of an exam. The pieces also have to be put together in the form of short answers. I starting preparing for Level III in August, 2009 and took it this past June. The last month was spent reviewing a collection of old CFAI exams back to 2006 and practicing. I logged in over 1400 hours for Level III and passed on the first attempt. I had other illness-related issues crop up again, so I’m glad that I had the extra calendar time to prepare. (Life gets in the way, and things go on.) Pens for Level III essays - I used a frixion from Walgreen’s drugstore (USA) which uses a type erasable “ink” that’s really rubber. It worked very well and made clean erasures. I think that I paid about $2.00 each for them. Well worth the small cost. Old CFA Level III exams - the exams, especially the more recent ones, do not include the pages and templates for writing the answers that are contained in the actual test booklet. I do not know why the CFAI just doesn’t provide copies of the exam with the templates and pages so one can get used to the format. In lieu of that, use blank lined sheets of paper to practice taking the CFAI tests. I probably could have cut the study time back by using third party materials. However, since the CFAI seems to want you to know everything (including footnotes), I thought it best just to use their materials. Practice the end of chapter problems in the CFAI books until you are sick of them. I found that to apply to all three levels. Get a good night’s sleep and breakfast before the exam. (Yes, that’s tough). That will give the brain the food and rest it needs to do its job. A tip of the hat to those who pass the exams consecutively…especially within the CFAI-suggested study time. If that works for you - all the better. Good luck to you all and study hard!

Q bank is valuable, don’t let people convince you it isnt. I remember counting numberous threads of people whining about how qbank is useless at every level, maybe it was to them but not to me. Take lots of practice exams, even if the schweser ones seem different than the previous years exams CFAI provides, they are still extrememly helpful in preparing you. No matter how much you think time won’t be an issue with L3, it will be when you sit for the exam under the added pressure.