How to Choose a CFA® Level III Prep Instructor (Sponsored) 💯

If you have ever seen the Wizard of Oz, you recall that the Titled character, Oz, wasn’t revealed until the end of the story. Instead of speaking and acting outwardly, he was the “man behind the curtain” – who somewhat ineptly controlled the Land of Oz. When it comes to choosing which company to use for your Level III CFA preparations, be sure to go behind the curtain. Make sure that the instructor you choose is the ‘real deal’ – do be sure to look beyond the overall corporate messaging, and drill down into the instructors themselves. Ultimately, for Level III especially, it is the instructor who will make the difference.

Why? The Level III CFA® exam tests your ability to synthesize theory and practice. Therefore, you need to choose a test prep instructor with REAL WORLD experience. Here are six guidelines to consider when choosing a Level III CFA®Test Prep course, video series, prep books, and/or Bootcamps.

  1. Review the instructors’ resume(s) – go to LinkedIn, find out what they have actually done in their careers. Have they ever practiced what they teach? Do they have a degree in finance? Have they ever worked in the field? If not, they will not be qualified to teach you what you need to know in order to pass the CFA Level III Exam. A mix of practitioner and academic experience is the perfect blend.

  2. What have they done in their careers? Have they worked in the investment management industry? There is nothing WORSE than having an instructor teach you a theory, who cannot connect the ideas and concepts to actual investment practice. So be sure you are choosing an instructor who can tie theory to practice.

  3. Watch their videos – are they hiding behind a screen? Is there a talking person, instructing, or is there a voice talking behind a screen? If there is a talking voice behind a screen, it’s likely because the instructor is reading from a script. You want to be sure to find an instructor who can speak extemporaneously on any topic related to the test, and who can answer all of your questions not just with theory but with practical advise you as to how to connect that theory in real life.

  4. When you have a good instructor, body language tells you half the story. Be sure that your instructor’s body language matches with your style – review their videos quickly to identify what they will be like in real time.

  5. How many levels does the instructor teach? Do they only focus on one level and know that material like the back of their hand - or are they trying to cover all three levels of the curriculum? This is a daunting task if they are and probably not doing that very well. At least for Level III, a Level III specialist is the key.

  6. Finally, one final note: no instructor, book, or video will do the work for you. Understand that you have to start planning early, get familiar with the CFA® curriculum and know the material inside and out. Choose the right course that fits your style, and that will ultimately help you learn this material in a deep, meaningful way.

While the above six points appear to be incredibly simple, they are surprisingly telling. Don’t forget to do your homework – and please, don’t find yourself in the Land of Oz!

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