Beginner's advice for CAIA I - experience with notes / classes?

Hi guys,

I’m a candidate for March 2016. So far I have just been reading the core text, Alternative Investments: CAIA Level I 3rd edition (Wiley). I have limited experience in the industry so finding some of the concepts a little tough.

I was looking at some of the instruction packages. It’s a lot to spend but I really want to nail the exam. For those who have passed the level 1, did you just use the core textbook or did you also get the study notes packs? Anybody do classes too?

Have been looking at these and trying to decide if they are worth it:

Appreciate your advice!

Used core textbook and Kaplan simultaneously for Level I.

It has been a few years since I took the exam, but I was in a similar situation with not a great deal of experienc beforehand.

For level 1, I used the core text and the Uppermark testbank. I used Uppermark for both levels and found their materials well prepared.

I would suggest going through each LO one by one, and summarising them based on the core text.

“Sometimes you’re the pigeon, and sometimes you’re the statue.”

I used the core textbook only. Following the learning objectives and reviewing those points are the best advice. The exams are structured to test your knowledge of the learning objectives in my experience.

Thanks all, appreciate it.

JTH and che, how long did it take you guys with the core text? I’m 3 months away from the exam now and given tough work schedule I’m thinking of pushing back to September. But then again, since it’s a new core text maybe they will go easier on the March exam so it’s worth cramming.

Viffer, did you find the Kaplan notes sped up your learning at all?

I was probably right around the 200 hour mark for level 1. That included reading the textbook, summarizing the learning objectives, working through all the end of chapter questions in the workbook and review.

This method worked for me for both level 1 and 2. I dont think extra study packages are necessary. Maybe Uppermark Qbank closer to the exam day would benefit you if you’re having trouble in a few specific areas and want exam-like questions.

For background I have a finance degree and work in private equity so that particular section was easier for me.

Thanks JTH. My starting knowledge is probably much less than yours, however I will give it a go with just the core text and the Uppermark Qbank. If I’m not progressing well by March I will push back to the September exam. Will save me quite a bit of cash not getting the Kaplan notes!

Hey bejw,

I followed a similar approach to JTH. I spent around 100 hours going through the core text, summarizing all the learning objectives. And then I probably spent around 50 hours answering every Uppermark Qbank question.

If you can average an hour a day of study from now until the exam I am sure you will be fine.

I would definitely aim for March, regardless of how prepared you feel. Remember most of the people taking the exam are also probably working pretty long hours. And at the end of the day, you dont have to swim faster than the shark, just faster than the guy next to you.

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Hey bejw,

I was reading this thread and wanted to catch-up and see how you are doing. It sounds like we have similiar concerns with a lack of finance background. Curious if you will be taking the March test and what you found useful to prepare. I just got the book and will be signing up for the September test, likely using the Kaplan study material and the Uppermark testbank.