CFAI and Test Providers

I’ll like to:

  1. Offer my opinion on the preparatory courses and their teachers to help candidates make a more informed decision on which courses to purchase.
  2. Provide feedback to the CFA Institute on how they could do better to help candidates differentiate between the various preparatory courses CFAI promotes.

The CFAI could help candidates be better prepared. What the CFP does well is that before registering to sit for the CFP comprehensive exam, you must have taken prep courses from an approved provider that is affiliated with a college, and score a specific grade or better in all areas of financial planning before the CFP Board takes your money and considers you a candidate for the exam:

  • ensures a certain level of competency in their candidate pool

There are quite a lot of CFA prep courses out there. How do you know the best?

  • don’t go with the name of the prep course provide!!!
    • Instead, ask about the teacher. Who is going to teach each class? Knowing/understanding a concept to get a designation is very different from teaching another person to understand it to pass an exam.

Level I : I used Kaplan-Schweser videos. But there were teachers in the video package that I bought that I would not recommend.

  • The best teacher in the Kaplan-Schweser prep program is Andy Holmes in my opinion.
  • For all levels, if he is teaching, buy his videos.
  • Don’t buy the whole program offered by Kaplan. Just buy Andy Holmes’ videos.
  • There are others who present other subjects but they just read slides to you.
  • reading slides to your student audience is NOT teaching.

level II

Efficient Learning. I wished I had found them at level I. I really wished!

  • But again, don’t buy the whole program….Buy the teachers.
  • Basit Shajani, Peter Olinto, and Daren Miller. Anybody else, don’t buy
  • There is another instructor in the Efficient learning videos who is NOT a teacher…. he has A LOT of designations after his name so he is smart. BUT he only comes to read slides. That is NOT TEACHING.

John Harris Accounting Class is MAKES A DIFFERENCE FOR LEVEL II, no matter the program you go with

Peter Olinto can also TEACH accounting and derivatives very well. He is MUST for me

Bassit Shajani can teach very difficult concepts at the level II that I thought I could not understand.

Daren Miller could teach you everything….he will draw it out for you and in the exam room, you can picture it and hear his voice.

The common thread: Daren Miller, Peter Olinto, Andy Holmes, Basit

  1. They don’t read you pre-packaged slides.
  2. They make their own notes as they teach.
  3. The solve exam problems with you in the class.
  4. I’m from a small village in in a 3rd world country. I learn best with a teacher who use the old tried and true method of teaching.

level III

Daren Miller

  1. Makes his own notes every class….make your own notes in the class too.
  2. He uses a lot of diagrams and pictures to explain very difficult concepts.
  3. He focuses on the most difficult areas to understand.
  4. So make sure you go back to the curriculum for the easy pickings that CFAI sometimes tests. He could gloss over those because he expects you to read the curriculum especially the beginning, and end of long readings.

Marc LeFebvre at Level UP

  1. He is extremely detailed. I took his review course; not the prep classes.
  2. If you used his materials, you will not miss anything on the LIII exam. no detail is too small
  3. Be assured of a pass at level III, use BOTH MARC LeFEBVRE and DARREN MILLER.
  4. Marc to know the multiple ways the material could be tested (his past questions binder and IPS workshop is A MUST).
  5. Daren Miller to really understand the material at a deep level.

CFAI Must Do much better to help students make an informed decision by publishing pass rates. Make the prep providers disclose this so they have an invested interest in their customers. Not difficult to do…we go to space. GIPS and Asset Manager Code can provide guidance on they report performance.