For those who failed and then triumphed

I am looking to get a little perspective from people who failed last year and passed this year (I know there are a few posts out here already)

Specifically, want to hear from people who put in the time, did the old mock exams, did the practice questions, scored well in practice. Just didn’t get the result on exam day

How did you change your approach (if at all) the second time, did you take a good size break before starting to study again? What do you feel put you over the edge?

Failed band 7 - Thinking about just reading secret sauce once a month to keep the concepts fresh without doing any studying until around January.

I failed last year band 8. I didn’t pick up a book again until second week of January 2016. In 2015 I studied 235 hours by also starting in January and trying to do about 10 hours per week. I took the same approach in 2016 with a goal of doing about 10 hours per week but some weeks I would get over that by taking a day off work randomly to study, or by getting more hours in on weekends. I ended up doing 280 hours in 2016. Of those 280 hours probably half of them came in the final two months because I had the week before the test off and I was hitting it hard on the holiday weekends.

This year I read CFAI books and did the EOC questions from January through the end of March taking it a book at a time. I still had to use Schweser for advanced derivatives materials like Swaptions, effective loan calcs and things like that because I was too dense to understand that stuff using CFAI and really I never learned that stuff to be honest. I used Schweser books from 2014 for that type of material though.

Started doing multiple choice mock exams in April. I was using old L3 multiple choice exams that they provided historically and the one from this year. Then in May I started doing old essay exams which I had the last five of already. I also went to Levelup Bootcamp in May and as I’ve posted in other threads the materials he provided were even more helpful, especially for things that I probably would have screwed up such as IPS return calculations. He has an IPS return calculation drill workbook that is basically old IPS return calculation questions all put together. He also has all old exam questions going back to year 2000 organized by study session that he provides to make it very easy to drill the hell out of whatever might give you problems. I did really well on the fixed income portions probably because I focused on those really hard. The year I failed band 8 I attended a week long Schweser review course that was no where near as helpful.

It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to read secret sauce once a month or so, but I never did it. I thought I might go over my notecards once per month b/w August and January last year to keep things fresh but when it came time to actually make the decision to pick up those note cards I always just was like…“nah.”