Exam Timing

So I was thinking yesterday as I was studying for L3 bs… I did Level 1 in December of '08. I had about a 2 month break and then began preparing for Level 2. That exam was in June. In that two month span I retained much of the information that I had learned in L1 and was able to apply it to my learning in L2. But now with the huge break between my prep for Level 2 and Level 3 (Roughly 7 months). I’ve forgotten much of what I’d learned. I mean I’m sure its still buried in my brain somewhere, but I can’t recall it easily which makes “connecting the dots” between the curriculum more difficult. Now I understand why the exams are spaced out this far if the CFAI’s main goal is to make passing all three more difficult. However, I’m under the impression that they want to create ethical financial professionals with a full mastery of all the material. And if this is the case, it would make sense to offer the exams more frequently as to enable a better schedule for learning. (Plus more exams mean more $$ for them) I’m not sure if this makes sense to anyone else… but its something I was pondering. Your thoughts? (Obviously this is a moot point because the current schedule is how it is… but as a hypothetical discussion, do you see more frequent L2 and L3 exams having any negative effects on the Charter?)

You don’t need L2 knowledge for L3. It might be used a little in the L3 material but L3 is an entirely different animal than L1 and L2. The format and focus of L3 makes it hard to guage your readiness for the exam. At least that was my experience.

That’s not really what I was getting at. But that being said, I heard very similar things about the transition from L1 to L2 and yet my familiarity with the concepts from L1 helped a lot. And I don’t think you can really say that knowledge retained from levels 1 & 2 won’t help you at all in L3. Its not like we’re switching from Math to History here. Its still finance. But the main question is: Why if they offer Level 1 twice a year, would they not also offer Levels 2 & 3 biannually? What is the benefit of not doing so (or rather the consequence of doing so)?

It keeps less people from achieving the charter. If they offered L2 & 3 twice a year, there would be a dramatic increase in the number of people that attempt the exams. A potential 1.5 years of exams is a lot less daunting than 3 years.

I have heard that CFAI might offer L2 twice a year. Not sure if it is true and if so when it would be implemented. I will ask John Rogers since he will be speaking at my local society next week. CF_AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, let me know when you get to the personal IPS and behavioral “finance” and then you can decide if you consider it to be “finance”. I don’t think swap guys studying for the CFA exam like peronsal IPS statements and behavioral finance. It is all finance, so technically you are right but L2 and L3 would be like comparing apples and oranges. I guess that is why the CFA charter is tough to attain. The BOK is so wide ranging and diverse.

Yeah I totally agree, I’m much more of a big picture learner… so this L3 stuff has been really interesting to me so far. But I do see that things are very different. @Steph, i guess that answers my initial question… They’re more concerned with making it exclusive than making people smarter (if that makes sense)

There are a lot of practical reasons to only offer L2 and L3 once a year. Two less exams to make up each year. Booking more exam space during peak holiday season in large cities is probably a nightmare. Grading of L3 is done in the summer when a group of people (graders) descend on Charlottesville for a week. It would be harder to find potential graders who can take the time off in the winter to go to C’ville and grade.