Elan guides became Worse

Studied L1, L2 with ELan. Failed L2 2014 1st attempt (lack of time between Dec and June) and chose to use ELan again as a review because I knew they were superb (but they had problems delivering materials in time before WIley).

Main difference in the actual materials I noticed since 2014 - complete garbage new lecturer for online classes, new video lectures. He is just reading the text like machine - complete waste of time - I barely can focus on his machine like reading. Huge difference between him and Peter Olinto and even Basit. 2015 L2 materials are 80%+ old school 2014 course where Olinto shines and Basit also good. But now all new readings they record with new staff - no Olinto or Basit for new 2015+ readings. So I warn you - with each new year if they do not propose return of Olinto to the videos, quality will become worse and worse.

Printed materials are basicly same as 2014 (superb). So I can see that they are riding old school 2014 horse and do not maintain same level of quality for new readings. Yes now they ship fast, implemented some fancy online planner (who cares?) and do not deliver on basic product for new readings. Sad.

I dont understand why to buy ELan and completly change teachers (old readings are basicly already recorded in 2014)??

Willey / Elan was not too friendly with me when I asked if I could print out the 11th hour guide. They said I could print 100 pages per day.

I asked why?

She said: it’s just a constrain, which I thought to be pretty lame! If I am buying a book online, I should be able to print it.

I try to reason with her… I asked if I could buy the 11th hour guide and have it overnight delivered (she didn’t know). I asked if I could get the vitalsource version of the 11th hour guide until i received the actual hard copy books and she said… NO! You will have to pay $75 twice (for the ebook and hard copy). Whereas, Schweser although a bit more expensive allowed you to overnight the sauce and use the ebook for $10 bucks extra.

Phone lady was not friendly at all.

I hear good things about Elan Guides (i’ve never used their products) but they need to check their sales reps!

The sales rep who spoke with me on the phone didn’t want my buisiness…so she lost it!. I hung up and bought schweser secret sauce instead (more expensive than Elan) and got it the next day!

Basit sold Elan to Wiley. What that means for the future of their CFA exam prep packages and materials remains to be seen, as the bulk of their 2015 material was developed by Elan in 2014 and still applied, and thankfully still included all of Peter’s video lectures. It seems possible though that the days of Peter and Basit doing video lectures for Wiley/Elan are over, which would be too bad if it turns out to be true. I believe Basit may still be involved in study guide book editing and developement though.

We’ll have to wait and see what changes are in store for 2016.

Sad to see a great company like Elan/ Peter be sold to people who don’t have the same understanding of what it is to be a CFA candidate asking to rush deliver the secret sauce 2 weeks before the test.

I will never buy or attempt to buy anything from Wiley in my LIFE!

It’s not the same people anymore… They are going to just try to squeeze as much as they can from Basit and Peters reputation…

I really don’t like where Elan is going now.

The guides are still good even with them being gone. I thought even the new readings this year were well done in terms of the notes, but I agree the new videos were terrible. There’s still good value in the product but as the curriculum changes that will probably change

Totally agree with OP. I did the 24 hour free trial and Basit / Peter are amazing in different ways, but there was this other guy who droned on and on and added nothing to simply reading the text yourself. Also, he has a really wishy washy voice and is so boring that nothing goes in and you just nod off…

“Go to the third bullet.”

*** Reads third bullet ***

“That’s right. Now. Go to the fourth bullet”…

I made the mistake of going with Elan/Wiley over Schweser (I’ve used both). The company was just not prepared to release a Level II product and if I had to do it over I would go with schweser.

  1. The dashboard widget didn’t work correctly in the begining of the year

  2. 11th hour review guide and course was not available to very very late in the cycle.

3) Many of the practice questions include answers that said “question B is the correct answer” with no justification or explination!

  1. Customer service was ok. I think they were in a tough spot with a new product.

  2. Videos were good, but I am not sure why at the begining of the year some many people highly reccommened the product. Were these just marketing gimmicks?

  3. No pdf mock exams!

  4. A lot of the products (promised in the platinum package) did not automatically show up under my id. I had to contiuously contact them to update my dashboard.

  5. Print quality of books is low compared to Schweser.

If I had to do it again I would go with Schweser. Wiley does offer a pass protection which is one of the reasons I choose the product but I do feel like the company promised much more than it could deliver and should somehow compensate people who paid full price for a product that was not complete as promised.

Hopefully they will get their act together.

I feel what you feel

@ wiley_coyote

I agree with some of your complaints. But in the end, it’s about the teaching material, and that was rock solid on the whole, with the exception of the Fixed Income videos. I don’t regret my purchase decision for 2015 at all. But if the program becomes more Wiley and less Elan for the 2016 program and beyond, things could get worse based on what I’ve seen so far.

To be perfectly frank, Basit and Peter made that program. Without them, we’re looking at a totally different product that at some point will need to be judged on it’s own merits. Personally, I’m remaining hopeful that I passed Level II and won’t have to think about my pass guarantee and how the product may be different (worse) for the 2016 exam. We shall see.

Hi all – just quick comment to say Basit is not going anywhere – he’s busy writing Level III and will be working on 2016 text and video updates.

Part of the reason Wiley was interested in Basit and Elan content was that it was well regarded and we have no interest or incentive to change that. We’ve added some other SMEs to address the other pain point … release timing. Even before Wiley acquired Elan content the release times were not optimal … with more resources the timing will be much better going forward. Basit realized that to scale he needed to invest in infrastructure so that he could focus his time on content and teaching. For this June cycle there were also added tasks around moving the content from Elan’s platform to Wiley’s.

Regarding the Fixed Income videos … we hear you … we’re going to re-record and fix those.

More to come in later post about some of the other points made.

If we pass L2 this time, may you issue a list for L3 (like ELan always did before): Video-actual teacher on that video? It’s important to understand who will actually teach.

And explain please: will Peter Olinto record L3 videos?

PS: for L2 I confirm that everything that you have from 2014 is better quality than competitors (I compared for myself before paying) but new videos in 2015 (not just Fixed income) should be brought back to the hands of Peter Olinto. I just remember L1 2013 review seminars when he explained sense beyond printed question and I got exactly what he explained on actual exam = free point.

I agree, if we move on to L3 I’d want to know who is in the videos before buying and if Basit wrote all the guides. It’ll be an interesting decision if élan is in the level 3 mix next year because it sounds like hetherington at schweser is a really good level 3 instructor

I am quite disappointed that I was not able to download the videos on my Ipad or laptop. I commute 3 hours in total each day and it would have been helpful to use that time to watch the videos.

Yes we will publish an availability schedule that lists the video instructors for Level III once that has been completed.

@blackscholesvol – would the ability to download video to smartphone work for you? If not, can you epxlain why? The actual technology solution to protect content yet provide offline access to large streaming video files is not simple so your feedback is appreciated on this point.

I love Elan/Wiley guides and have used them throughout ny CFA exams. I really hope that Basit will produce the level 3 guide for 2016 (hoping I pass this year of course). I found the practise questions to be better in the old pdf format as I could work the calculations in the margins just like the real thing but the new way suffers from aids and prints in size 16 font! Its a real pain and i’ll have to rethink it going forward. Plus we had two Level 2 mocks in 2014 but only one in 2015. I loved the Olinto/basit videos especially for FRA and derivatives… amazing, funny and entertaining. I also watched Basits final Level 2 exam prep video about three or four times for motivation and to ease my mind. I have noticed a decline since Wiley took over and I hope this can be fixed. Even after all that I would still buy the Level 3 guides hands down.

Actually, streaming the videos offline somehow would be AMAZING. My commute to work is over an hour long and it would’ve have been great to catch up o the lectures during that time.

Talking about Wiley for Level 3 this year might be a moot point for me since I think I’ll be repeating Level 2, still I’d be concerned about the Wiley L3 release dates since this will be their first year covering this level. I don’t have a high confidence level that we’ll receive their study guides far enough in advance so we won’t have to cram. I can’t do another year of studying 30+ hours a week for weeks on end.

  • yeah, I completely agree that the Fixed Income videos were atrocious. I don’t really need to spend a hour listening to someone tell me that I need to be sure to read this, this, and that. It goes without saying that if something is covered in (condensed) 3rd party provider readings that it’s probably worthwhile to know. And now that the material is on VitalSouce, it’s harder to flip through the readings and notate that what’s important while watching a video like we could when we had actual books. (Hello? Am I supposed to watch the video on one monitor and have Vitalsource open on another computer?)

When I was at Stalla, Peter didn’t do any of the Level III videos; Level III wasn’t his forte. David Hetherington did the bulk of them.

Who knows? With a bit of luck, I might do some of the Wiley Level III videos.


The ability to stream video to a smartphone wouldn’t be particularly helpful assuming we’re primarily watching videos while commuting, IMHO. If the files are large as you suggest, we’d have to have wifi access throughout the entire commute or would eat up too much of our data plans. Also, given small smartphone screens, it could be hard to see examples, etc. Permitting viewing capability on only one type of device (a smartphone) and not others (iPads, tablets, computers) could lead to disappointment across your customer base. If you’re suggesting that we might be able to download video to a smartphone for offline viewing, I don’t know why we shouldn’t be able to download a video to all types of devices.

Thanks for working on this for us.