CFA Program without Investment Background (Struggle at Level 3)

(First of all, I must state that I know CFA is about investing, I knew it all along, and I never mean to complain about it. I am sorry if it comes forward as that)

Currently I am a Level 3 candidate without any investment related experience. Level 1 and Level 2 were difficult, but I could pass them in my first attempt and I learned a lot while studying. So I could manage the curriculum and I benefited from it.

Now I am trying to study for Level 3, but without an investment background, honestly I feel so overwhelmed. I feel like even if I passed the exam somehow, I will lack the “in depth” understanding. I feel so disheartened and unmotivated right now.

I’m thinking that maybe it’s better to take a break and continue after having some real investment experience. What do you think about the CFA program without an investment background? Did you complete the CFA program without any investment experience? If so, what were the benefits for you? Also, how did you study for the Level 3? It would be really great if you could share your thoughts and experiences.

In my opinion Level 3 material is easier and understandable. But I think too that financial advisory experience would be much helpful in taming lvl 3. I work at PE firm and most of hedge fund and AI staff is easier for me to grasp.

Buy low, sell high.

That’s really the gist of all you need to understand about investing before you open the books.

I’m probably way off given that I still working on L2 and I don’t know what in the L3 corriculum. If you have a job and a retirement plan, you have experience with investing. Imagine yourself as your client. Or, imagine consulting your parents or grand parents. What would you do? What would you recommend? It might help to make it more personal. Also try “Wall Street Survivor” it’s a stock simulator. I was free when I played it back in '05.

I hope that helps. Also you could try getting a (easy to get into) FA sales job at an insurance or bank BD/RIA. It will help fill your experience requirement…

Thank you so much for all your kind answers. After writing that message, I gave a break, than next day I could understand the topic. But today I feel hopeless again. I guess it is more about me than the curriculum. Maybe it is just a bad time for me due to personal reasons.

I hope the best for you for your own goals and wishes.

Dont worry dude. My experience:

The CFA profession was totally different from what i was doing when i was taking the exams - all 3 levels. The journey was tougher because all i know were concepts and no real practical background about the things that i studied.

Just understand the material and you’ll be alright

I passed all my classes in college without prior knowledge of many of the subjects.


+1. Mix in some natural gas derivatives to profit from the daily volatility and you’ll be a rich man and won’t even need to complete the cfa.

Yeah true. Just bought a new condo. Thanks OPEC.

That’s why I am pursuing financial modeling