CFAI working around prep providers?

When I took the Schweser live mock exam on Saturday the local society president said that CFAI has been annoyed with prep providers because they have not been emphasizing enough that candidates should only use their materials as a supplement to the full length texts. That is, anybody who relies solely on them will (most likely) not pass because of how the test is setup, and that this has been the reason pass rates have been dropping so dramatically. I’ve also read some people’s experience with the CFAI mock and they seem to agree somewhat that some of the tested material wasn’t covered through the prep providers. Anybody have any more information about this? I’ve been scoring well on the Schweser material, but now I’m concerned about how much more difficult the actual test will be. I’ve yet to take the CFAI mock, so I guess I should get to the ASAP. If I have only read the Ethics from the texts. Anybody else have more information on this?

lol. They can’t test around the prep…that is impossible- the test was written a while ago and it isn’t like there is only one way to calculate duration or CAPM. FS&A is also a given, you have to test deferred taxes, leases and ROE. The prep providers know this and they stick it to the institute every year. Last year’s scores were pretty high- 46% pass rate.

And if they did test around it, then well, I’m SOL…haha

it is true, there is actually quite a bit that supplemental material misses, for example SEC filings is a good one, you will only know what 20-F, 6-K, 40-K, etc only by reading CFAI material. Economics, Corp Finance, US GAAP vs IFRS are good ones too. There is still time, since supplemental material covers majority of LOSes, if you read through CFAI material skipping over everything you already know you should be okay. People that use ONLY supplemental material deserve to fail since that are taking the easy way.

“People that use ONLY supplemental material deserve to fail since that are taking the easy way.” I disagree and your ‘greater than thou’ mentality is annoying as well. If you know the majority of the material, then you’ll pass. You can miss 70+ questions. If I didn’t read something that wasn’t covered in my prep and I’m tested on it, I can narrow my answers down and make a good guess. I do not believe they will test heavily on peculiar items- b/c that wouldn’t be an accurate way of gauging your knowledge of, well, the MAJORITY, of study material. I’ve worked my ass off these past few months and I conclude there is no easy way.

— What Nick said,

CFAI agrees with me that people that used nothing but prep material should fail, look a mock as proof 100%. Going to bring cups to testing center to collect the sweet tears of prep users on test day that will be shed as they encounter question after question that they can’t answer, mmmmmmm

You give no supporting evidence/logic for your claim that candidates will fail if they only use prep material besides “Mommy said not to…” You won’t be collecting tears from me in your cup.

CFAI has been known to include questions that the test providers gloss over, in my opinion they just try to reward people who are bothering to read the CFAI original material. However, it is usually not enough to cause well prepared prep-provider people to fail. I passed all exams on the first try using pretty much only Stalla. At Level 2, they had a section on the Treynor-Black model that I was woefully unprepared for. Apparently the Schwesser people were also screwed. Of course, Treynor-Black stuff was kinda complicated anyway, so it’s hard to say whether the people who read the CFAI material did any better. And if they did do better on the T-B stuff, did they also do better on the stuff that the prep providers cover?? Hard to say. I think at L1, the stuff is so basic (I know it doesn’t feel like it now, but by the end it will feel pretty basic), that there isn’t all that much they can throw at you without simply skipping the real essential stuff, that I wouldn’t worry about it. I think you should expect that somewhere between 5% and 10% of the questions will just be “WTF, where did that come from” types of questions. The trick is just to go ahead and guess and don’t let it phase you… it’s to be expected. Your guess still has a 1/3 chance of being correct, and you can still screw up 20-25% of the remaining questions and have a good chance of passing. A lot of this exam is about controlling your emotions and keeping focused. Remember that!

wow. top post on this forum in my book.

YO YO YO! Would you be in a position to name this person or at least mention the society that you are referring to? I know a lot of society presidents and can get this verified. Anyhow, I think you folks are panicing for no reason. I have read Schweser, Elan and the curriculum in their entirety and there are a very few things that they dont cover. I will post a list in a day or two so it might help you guys. From my experience with students in the past, there will be MAX 2-3 questions on the Level I exam where you’ll be like where did that come from. For example, on the Dec exam there were questions onn non-parametric tests (Spearman Rank Correlation Coefficient) and negative Sharpe ratios. Simple questions that one half-decent reading of the CFA books would have enabled you to answer correctly. A lot of people who had used prep providers were a tad disappointed (just go to the early Dec threads on this board) but they all passed. 2-3 questions is not going to make much of a difference if you have been fairly thorough with the rest of the material. There is NO WAY that the CFAI can make the exam to get around the prep providers. The providers cover most of the material, and some of them do a better job than even the CFAI books at times (for example, see Elan on consumer and producer surpluses) stop worrying about what these providers dont cover. Just make sure you know their stuff very well and you will be fine.

San Diego (mock at UCSD) This was to a room full of all 3 levels, and I can imagine there isn’t too much they could ask that’s completely out of left field in lvl 1. On lvl 2/3 it seems more possible. Still it was discouraging and scary to hear what she had to say.

Dont worry about it. Seriously the prep providers do a great job at Level I. Just get your head down and ignore all this panic-inducing talk for the next 10-12 days.

Agreed with the other vets here. At L1, if you know your Schweser or Stalla really well, you should be fine. And if you don’t know it really well, you’re about to find that out. And yes, there will be some WTF questions. Eliminate any obviously wrong answers, make your best guess and move on. There are 240 questions on the L1 exam and you only have to get 70% of them correct to pass.

Guys, I passed all 3 first time. Used only Schweser for L1 and L2. When I did L3 it was the first time that the Institute books were available, I thought that I would start early (October) and read through them all. When I got to December and had finished this task I found that I couldn’t remember a single thing. Went back to Schweser only, apart from end of chapter review questions, and passed. My recommendation is to know the Schweser material inside out and you will pass. Make sure that you do thousands of practice questions (q-bank is good but I didn’t use for L1), and just review the Institute end of chapter summaries and questions. The end of chapter summaries may highlight something that you feel Schweser/Stalla did not cover too well, then by all means go in and dig a bit deeper. What I found during the exam was there was a couple of questions where I didn’t know what the hell they were talking about, obviously Schweser didn’t cover them. But the notes will cover 98% of what is tested pretty well. Don’t stress about the surprise question, just guess and move on. But make sure you know the notes inside out and can answer virtually every question in the practice exams.

I only used the CFAI books for their EOC questions and summaries. I did quite well on the CFA mock and other practice tests. There were 2-3 curveballs on the CFA mock but I managed to guess correctly on one of them. Also, there is no guarantee that I would have got those questions right had I spent 500+ hours studying from the CFA books.

I think that some of the more senior members here might be forgetting that many of the people in this section of the forum are just getting their feet wet. I’m sure the material seems simple to you but this is a difficult undertaking at all levels and different people learn in different manners. I failed in December and can say I felt the Schweser Q-Bank that everyone speaks so highly of was terrible. I wasted 8 weeks doing questions that were not reflective of the CFA exam questions. I should have stuck with the CFAI materials and just repeated the EOC questions and summaries. I orgininally had thought the same thing as the original poster that the CFAI is somehow moving the mark a bit but how can that be possible? Instead I think the perhaps they are encouraging the providers to keep improving their materials. I’m using the Elan materials now and feel they are much better. Elan mocks are difficult and reflective of the exam I took in December. Better yet I’m actually learning how to apply the material better using the Elan mocks, not just memorize a bunch of garbage. There is a reason the CFAI encourages you to take the sample exams early in your prep so that you know what type and form of questions are on the exam. If you feel the materials you are using are not helping you grasp things appropriately, find a different method.

@beatthecfa: gonna wait for your list … :slight_smile:

The grass isn’t much greener on my side either. I studied only from the CFA books until late March. I spent a lot of time getting through everything. Even though I feel I am well-prepared, I feel that using the CFA books takes up way too much time. I got Elan’s 11th Hour to review and I like it a lot. I later bought their videos and mock exams as well. I recently got their free econ e-book. In my opinion, seriously, I would have been as well-prepared had I used Elan as I am having used the CFA books. I probably would have had a lot more time to practice as well. The CFA books are good reference material no doubt, and the EOC questions are very helpful, but there is just so much stuff to remember that it make more sense to go with a prep provider if you value your time more than the money you would spend on them.

I passed all 3 exams on the first try. Never once did I use the CFAI books besides Ethics. In fact, I would leave the remaining 4 books in shrink wrap and throw them away at the end of each summer. There is way too much material to get bogged down by reading the CFAI curriculum. You will loose focus and fall far behind sticking to a flawed study plan. Bottom line: There is a ton of material. Schweser does a good job capturing most of it (probably 95%). Its next to impossible to cover the ground needed and actually retain the information if you use CFAI curriculum.