Do I need to worry about my slow pace?

Hi, I registered my account here just yesterday and I am glad to be with you all!

I began studying for CFA Level III about 20 days back. I started with Equity Portfolio Management part from the Kaplan guide and I didn’t feel comfortable. The Level III Kaplan books seem like some 11th hour guide/ Secret Sauce because the Kaplan Readings only touch on the topics and do not give enough details. After reading about past experiences of many users on this forum I immediately switched to reading from the CFAI curriculum. The CFAI curriculum books are too detailed & tiresome but I am determined to study from them as after finishing the chapters I feel like like having a good grasp on the topics. I didn’t have many problems solving curriculum EOC questions. In fact, my accuracy rate for EOC question for the 2 readings has been close to 100%. It used to be just 70% for me in Level I & II when I studied from prep providers materials.

But the problem is that because of my job I get very little time. so even after 20 days of studying for Level III I am just in my 3rd reading (began ACTIVE EQUITY INVESTING a few days back). So my question is that do I need to be too alarmed about my slow progress given I am doing well in terms of getting EOC questions right? I believe I may get a bit of extra time during December Holidays so may be I can cover a bit more then. But on the other hand I feel 20 days for 2.5 readings is too slow.

I have the same thoughts! I am really moving at such a slow pace, not because I am too busy, but I don’t seem to be able to get myself in the mood of studying! Started with FI myself since it is known to be one of the challenging topics at L3 and because it is one of my strengths too. But I am barely doing any progress at this point, I am also studying from the curriculum (for the first time) along with MM videos… Hmm can’t get much done!

I haven’t started but have been thinking about my game plan a lot. I worry too that I will go through the CFA readings and LevelUp videos at too slow of a pace. I have always been more of a video learner rather than reading, so I’m wondering if LevelUp videos with Schweser notes could be more efficient?

I think you guys starting right now are wasting your time and risk burn-out before the exam. I started in January and felt I was peaking out in late April, and was struggling from burn-out and partially regressing until June exam date.

At mid-May, I was only 25% through the Schweser books lol because laziness and procrastination.

Had to take 2 weeks off work and study day and night to go through everything else and make time to practice questions and essays.

Had to rely solely on Secret Sauce to get me through some topics like alt inv because I just didn’t have the time.

Still passed on first try… But I never want to put myself in the same pressure again. Depressed and hated myself so much for cramming during the last few weeks towards the exam.

Sooner vs. better because its slow pace reading it first time for most specially with limited time in a given week because of other commitment like job.

You can target to complete notes/CFAI curriculum + BB + EOC + quizzes/TT for all topics from now to Jan (at slow pace). That way you will have enough time for revision in say in Feb/March (it’s surprising that in first revision lots of things seems new again and there are multiple topics to revisit). In April/May it’s more about repetitions (at least x3) along with quizzes/qbank/mock exams.

Ultimately given yourself more time by starting early to digest new information and practice to make it perfect.


I kind of agree with you that studying so far in advance may not have a lot of value but I have a lot of disturbances in the months of Jan & Feb. I would have to visit my hometown for a week to attend my sister’s marriage. I have a holiday planned with friends in the 1st quarter of 2020. I might have a change of job anytime in the next 8 months. And if I stay in my current job then it’s only getting more and more time-consuming. With all these things in mind, I want to get a grasp on the concepts of level III. Of course, a lot will depend on how much I can refresh all the concepts in the last 2 months.

Although I do agree that some people may face burn-out before the actual exam.

Thanks, everyone for your replies. I hope all of you become comfortable with the level III stuff and get into a good study rhythm. Surely we pick up pace as the main exam comes closer but I hope we can motivate each other to get more serious about our approach. Will also have to figure out how to deal with essay format.

The sure shot way to screw ones chances is to mimic in totality others people approach. If anything, this exam has taught me that it is highly personalised. You can’t have a one size fit all. I can’t comment on how some ‘Geniuses’ start late and still cruise through with exceptional result or by what count a secret sauce really turns out savior. But I can say this that to me I was thirsty of the knowledge part. I didn’t just wanna pass the exam I really wanted to internalise it.

There is nothing called as overkill, overprep or other laudatory stuff. Trust me, the same Samaritans who talk about their floating approach to the exam turn out to have taken more than 30 AM Mocks !! How on Earth is that possible if you start late Jan !?

Right now , I would not really bother about pace. If you are finishing off 1 reading a week, that is ok. Get used to it. May be November onwards you may step up the gas. But again to each his own. And don’t turn to AF for everything. That is another disastrous strategy. The forum is meant for picking up cues and get through some intricate concepts. The forum is not your daily journal.

Thank you!! I could not agree more!! You’ve said everything that’s on my mind. Every person is different, it doesn’t make sense to ask others about what will work best for US! I for one, know that I can’t learn fast, I like to take my time! So starting late is only going to screw me up. Also, sometimes others exaggerate with their study schedule, they could go as extreme as ‘I’ve started two days before the exam and passed at the 90th percentile’, whaaat? I’ve read some pretty weird things on here. Not sure whether they are lying or simply forgot what they really did (we tend to simplify things once we’ve done it and survived it!), but i know that some of the things I read on here and else where simply don’t make sense, like you need to have a super memory (and I mean super in the sense of an abnormal memory and ability, like some sort of genius) to be able to say I started this late and I still managed to retain this much information out of six big fat books filled with concepts and formulas!! Turning to the Analyst forum for everything doesn’t work.

To clarify, it really wasn’t by choice (initially planned to start January), but seriously have a problem with procrastination ever since. I was crying almost every other day basically from May to June. Don’t follow, it was f hell. This is a comforting story if you’re running late, but please don’t plan it like this.

15 straight days (with holiday) x 14 hours/ day = 210 hours (without seeing the sun + taking short meals + studying while taking meals + taking short baths + closed access to social media + breakfast was good coffee mixed with oatmeal in a thermos etc. ) + some odd hours throughout the months is not how life should be. Have mercy on yourself.

Just was really really really really scared of failing since the whole company (and everyone’s uncles) knew I was taking the exam. That was a mistake. Don’t tell anyone you signed up for the exam unless you’re 100% sure you can pass or they won’t spread it around.

You are on track no worries. Equity is more challenging in L3 than L2 or L1. The time your are putting into the topic is an investment. Equity in L3 accounts for a minimum of 10%. I recommend you cover fixed income after you are done with equity portfolio management.

Start a week before Halloween.

for now you should be chillllllllllliiiiinnn!! I Don’t think I actually put any real effort into studying until December anyways.

Just registered yesterday and I’m really going to enjoy these precious two weeks before my hard copy materials arrive. Definitely going to be starting in October as I have not long found out that I am going to have a small child on the scene come April!

Should make for some great additional pressure :grin:

Here was my schedule for 2018/2019:

Schweser Books:

  • Book 1: Ethics,AMC, Behav Fin (OCTOBER)
  • Book 2: PWM and Institutional Investors (NOVEMBER)
  • Book 3: Econ, Asset Allocation, Fixed Income (DECEMBER)
  • Book 4: Equity, Alts, Risk Management, Derivatives (JANUARY)
  • Book 5: Trading and Perf Evaluation (FEBRUARY)

Review all Books and Topics (MARCH)

Practice Test Month 1 (APRIL)

LevelUp Bootcamp + Practice Test Month 2 (MAY)

Bottom Line: Stick with CFAI and shoot to finish the material in February/March so you can take 1-2 months of nothing but practice exams. Starting now isn’t the worst idea, but definitely don’t wait until January if this is your first go at L3.

Good luck gents/ladies.

u have more than enough time. just dont forget to recap every now and again for the material to stay fresh

Same here, use to study from Schweser for L1 & 2 but I have decided to stick with CFAI Curr. but my pace is too slow started FI and just finished 18th reading & LOS a&b from R19, also using MM videos. But I think its fine because of 2 reasons 1. FI is challenging and its better to have a grip on it, 2. normally pace is slow at start and eventually gets better.

I went strictly with CFAI curriculum and made my own notes. It was a slow, difficult drudge, but I had time and I have found it was the best way for me to learn. :confused: I also could read through all my notes in the space of a long day and I highlighted things I thought would make an interesting question or were highly relevant to know.

I tried to crack into FI for the past week…and my concentration wouldn’t last more than 20 mins…sheesh…so hard to get back into pace.

Nah dude - that’s how I was. I would read about butterfly twists for like maybe 20 minutes before cracking a beer most days and texting my ex gf to ‘hang out’. I shared your eagerness about studying this soon, but don’t get down on yourself, you have a long way to go still and you don’t need to frustrate yourself about not focusing.

I think your body just knows it’s to early and you haven’t yet shifted back in to grind mode. If I could go back in time I would start studying later, and drink while studying a little less. Yeah I passed in the end, but it was close. And the amount of times I studied drunk off my ass is too many to count on all my 12 fingers.