CAIA L1 - Book


Long time reader, first time poster…

I recently completed my CIM (Chartered Investment Manager) designation in Canada. It’s a theory heavy, calculus light, designation acquired by completing 3 courses.

Since then, I’ve put a lot of time and energy into researching the CAIA and I feel like the subject material really appeals to me. I recently also completed the Fundamentals of Alternative Investments course.

My question is around the material in the Level 1 book. I’m 100 pages in and it’s pretty dense and heavy thus far (IRR, Kurtosis, etc)… is this the norm throughout the book? Has anyone completed the course by using just UM or Kaplan and only leaned on the book in parts?

Ill read the book… but I’m wondering how best to utilize my time and study for this beast.

Any insights would help.

Yes unfortunately - the text is written by academics so it’s incredibly formula heavy.

The key thing to remember is figuring out how to interpret the equations not necessarily memorizing all of them. e.g if excess kurtosis is 4 what does bell curve look like? It’s very unlikely that they would actually test you on calculating kurtosis

But should I finish reading the book or should I focus my time on UM and Kaplan?

I’d hate to spend hours and hours reading the book if my energy would be better spent on UM and Kaplan

Just to clarify - when you say use your time on UM and Kaplan are you saying read their shorthand books? or just do practice questions.

You’re going to need to know the content one way or another - just don’t worry about all the granular detail. Besides March is very very far away so you have plenty of time

I was planning on getting the full suite from UM and Kaplan. Basically the Platinum package or whatever gives you the most access for both. The real meat of my question is this: should I spend 50 hours reading the textbook or put that 50 hours into the test bank, study materials, study handbook etc etc. … or both!

The exam is already ludicrously expensive - why pay for so much more material? If you’re talking about optimal study methodologies then reading and doing practice problems is probably the best. There’s heaps of time before March so if you’re talking about using your time efficiently then any of your options would be perfectly fine. I didn’t get the UM or Kaplan packages so i can’t really comment on the content of their material (maybe someone else can chime in).

I would say that getting a Qbank is 100% essential as CAIA don’t provide any meaningful way to revise. UM have a pretty good Qbank - i thought it was pretty difficult (i found it harder than the exam) so if you’re scoring well you’d probably do well in the exam too.

So all in all - use whatever text package you want and do practice problems. I used the CAIA text and UM Qbank studying for ~80 odd hours passing with 2 stronger, 2 higher and 3 comparable.

Just get the UM books and testbank. I went through the books 3x and the questions 3x. Do them until they’re so easy it’s boring. I also memorized the formulas on UMs sheet. Usually you can rearrange a formula vs memorizing 3 different ones. I passed both on first attempt doing that. I did also buy the CAIA text books but just as reference and/or later reading.

My advice is to go with Uppermark. I went with Kaplan initially - good lecturer but questions etc are way to easy. With Uppermark, I came out of the exam thinking it was easy so I’d strongly recommend them. The lady that does their lectures also was top notch - my advice would be:

  1. Read

  2. Video Lecturer

  3. Practice Questions

  4. Repeat as necessary

Hi Mckenna,

All I did for L1 and L2 was read/study and summarise the UM material as it summarises it nicely compared to the CAIA book. Then did a ton of questions about 1 month before the exam and spent a lot of time doing it.

I did not watch any videos, did not use any flash cards and did not over complicate it.

You should be fine if you put the hours in,