CFAI Book is Red Herring

CFAI books are red herring. I probably read 50 pages of all the 6 CFAI books, did not do any EOC problems but never repented it during the exam. To me it appears like the CFAI books are just meant to create an impression that exam is tough. To teach any topic they have this round about confusing way of saying things which makes it a complete waste of time to read through it. Why don’t they say what they have to say in a concise paragraph. Maybe I have this attitude because I come from engineering background. But L1 is not as hard as projected by CFAI books. I am so glad I did not go through the CFAI books. If I had done, I would have spent probably 500 hours learning the material and still would have just wished for 70%. IMHO if a student coming from non-finance background picks up CFAI book as his guide there is no way he/she is going to score more than 60% after spending 300 hours. I do not think CFA L1 is hard at all. Look at the questions. The questions are all basic and they are concept checkers. I did learn a lot about finance, etc. but compared to the regular math or engineering problems that I solved in school the L1 problems were not at all close in level of difficulty. The part that challenged me was the massive course material and dawn of amnesia in me as I am 30 year old I guess. So, I did fumble on occasions where there was a need for strong memory. About the preparation material I would say, I do not think a student needs to study anything more than Kaplan material and do Volume 1 tests. The Kaplan problems were tougher and lengthier than real exams. Q bank prepared me good for the exam as well.

Ok enough with this, whoever you are it’s been established by nearly everyone here that Schweser isn’t enough. I did every single q-bank, and the second half of that test was from a different planet. Consensus is that if you read CFAI you would have been fine. SCHWESER IS NOT ENOUGH.

L1 is tough because of the breadth of material and how deep some of the questions drill into said material. I was telling a friend yesterday that individually, I could rock all of the sections no problem, however, to do it all at once is a much different task.

FYI… ‘breadth of the market’ was definitely one of the answers. For L1 - SCHWESER IS MORE THAN ENOUGH.

WOO! I know I got one right!

@CFAL1ed: A guy I work with went CFAI materials only and did exceptionally well on L1 and L2. I think that required more time than your approach. He also had a very firm quantitative background. I began studying for L1 on Nov 18 and did a couple thousand questions on Qbank/practice tests the two 1/2 weeks prior to the exam. I think it depends on the level of depth you want and how much time you want to put into it. It would be a nice luxury to read the CFAI materials but that’s just way too much time for me. The CFAI materials suffer from a lack of economy of words. Many of us learn more when we interact and have to mentally manipulate the concept or when we have to wire the new problem solving algorithms into our circuitry, and Qbank along with doing practice exam problems allows this in the most efficient manner. I put it like this: The objective is to maximize the number of correct answers on a timed test. You do this by improving your ability to answer test questions correctly and quickly. Sounds obvious but I wonder how many actually design their method of preparation with regard to that simple fact. PEACE!!

I agree, reading the CFAI books would have been a waste of time for me, so i kind of didnt. But there were some sections you couldnt afford to read from a prep guide only, for example Ethics. What I like about Schweser is that they focus on each LOS and tell you what the LOS wants you to know. It really organizes everything into concise ‘notes’ you can safely rely on, after you are done reading the textbook atleast once

Who cares about Ethics anyway? Most of it is common sense… The rest of the LOS’ are explained adequately enough by Schweser, at least for L1. I only opened book 1 of the CFAI text and didn’t even bother taking out the rest of the books from the shipping box.

For L1, Schweser is more than enough. I used only Schweser (except ethics) and passed with greater than 70 in all sections but one. You just have to know everything in Schweser. For L2, I am using both.

You have got to care about ethics, its 15% of the exam. and sometimes common sense fails us all, because some questions are worded in a tricky way. I didnt read any of the textbooks either, except for Ethics and a bunch of stuff in Book 5. The rest are still unopened.

I felt that using Schweser only for level I can get the average candidate a pass score. I just read Schweser once without doing any EOC problems and felt that I did decent on the exam, though, I would still wonder a bit if I could have learned ethics and FRA better by using the CFAI books. I majored in finance & statistics in college, and read 8000+ pages of advance finance material while studying for actuarial exams, but I didn’t have as easy a time with the accounting stuff. Maybe for level II I would consider reading the accounting stuff from CFAI books. Still, many thanks to Schweser for these concise study guides.

pennyless, so you’re not going to be an actuary anymore? i’m asking because i thought the people who choose that are usually quite certain about their career path

I used Schweser to study ethics but I at least did the EOC questions for ethics from the CFAI texts…I absolutely destroyed those EOC questions because they were easier than both the actual exam, but also the Schweser exam. Sure, the texts go into more detail about the concepts, but they sure don’t test you well on what you read…and that can give some people a false sense of confidence.

hueler, I am still going to remain on the actuarial career path, given that I spent a good number of hours to complete the actuarial exams. I have been doing non-traditional actuarial work, such as risk-based capital work for banks and some financial engineering. I think having the charter would a very helpful complement to my current skills and knowledge. At the age of 24, I do want to maximize my learning curve.

pennyless, I’m kind of in the same boat. I just took MLC, C, and CFA I this sitting. I don’t know how many people can appreciate what that means so I thought I would share it with someone who might appreciate it. I wish more people in the investment industry recognized the value of the actuarial program with respect to finance and investments. Part of the reason some of us pursue CFA is so that people will know what your damn initials mean. PEACE!!

hawgdriver, that’s a lot of exams in the short two months. I definitely know how much stress it could mean to be studying for all of those at once. The material on the upper level actuarial exams I took, financial economic theory (FETE) and advanced portfolio management (APMV) are definitely monstrous and difficult, but they add much financial economics and investment knowledge to the exam takers. Those two exams and the CFA exams would be good complements for setting a career in either actuarial or investments. Some people in the investment industry do understand the value of the actuarial credential. There’s one actuary I know that got a position in investment strategies with a large investment bank, and competing with him were people with top 5 MBAs and phDs. The position asked for “actuarial experience, CFA, or MBA”, and the guy has both the actuarial credential and the CFA and got the job at the end. The actuarial credential will gain more recognition in the future as more of us move out of the traditional actuarial role and work on investment type projects on the Street. It’s definitely not easy to get all the exams on both paths completed but I am sure it will pay off at the end. Good luck!

Same to you, thanks. 24 is relatively young to be as far along as it seems you are, congratulations on those achievements. Sorry to take us OT, but these things happen. I think we’ve established that the CFAI books are not used by many, but on the other hand my colleague that only used the CFAI materials may have the best mastery of all. Beyond getting the letters, it might be a profitable way to spend your time attaining that fundamental mastery. I cannot say if the value of that possible increased mastery achieved through reading the CFAI materials is worth more than the opportunity cost of the time one spends reading it. Personally, I doubt it. But again, I am unqualified to judge.

I just happened to see one of the posts here where one of the guys had started working through CFAI books only to find himself getting nowhere and ending up dumping CFAI and starting with Kaplan. I am glad I never touched it too much in the first place.

CFAL1ed Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > I just happened to see one of the posts here where > one of the guys had started working through CFAI > books only to find himself getting nowhere and > ending up dumping CFAI and starting with Kaplan. I > am glad I never touched it too much in the first > place. I think that you have to start out with the study guides and the question bank that the prep provider provide you, the question bank for just getting it right but one has to admit that the CFAI books are the ultimate word for an unqualified preperation. I cant imagine studying economics , ethics, quant, & fixed income out of any other reading. Stalla is good for FSA. Still you need consultation from the original books for concepts like ARO.