I really need specific advice about essay

Hi every one congrats for passing the exam I failed the typical failure: above 73 in item set and close to MPS in am session. I’m really afraid because many people failed level 3 three or four times. I searched the net about how to answer am session but they are general so I really need your advice how you approached each question?? Read the question then the case fact then answer? And how you write the justification without losing time?? I need specific strategy

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For me, I used past 10 year’s CFAI mock. I tried to use the older mock to have a taste of what’s the exam structure like, then I attempted the mock and STUDY THE SOLUTIONS, and I came up with a structure of how the solution are being answered, that’s the CFA expectation. And then I went back to my mock and adjust my answer to fit into the CFA solution structure. After one or two mock, you will have a basic idea about HOW CFA want the essay to be structured. I did that at my later stage of the study,

Thank you I will do that but guidelines answers are really long what you did in the exam? Just read the question and then answer?

Focus on the main points of the question. This comes with practice. The guideline answers are too verbose. You should be able to answer the questions with bullet points. Do as many mocks as you can, compare your answers’ main points to the guideline answers’ main points and you should start seeing a pattern of how to answer a question quickly and efficiently.

^ Short and sweet, bullet points too!!! :+1:

Nope, I just need to know the STRUCTURE. For instance, when asking about the risk tolerance of the two entities, CFAI mock solutions provide the structure of how to answer this type of question. I look at the skeleton of the answer and understand how it want me to answer this question. And you can apply the structure on the same type of question in the future. Trust me, the grader will appreciate you and give you a good mark.

You will NEVER HAVE ENOUGH TIME to answer the question as perfectly as the solution. Don’t be perfectionism for the AM section :slight_smile:

go see alex pdf to figure out what bullet point style meaning https://www.acelevel3.com

Purchase pdf adobe premium so you can reorganize pdf for each relevant topic from 2006-2019 become 2 parts (Question & Answer), print & binder each of them.

PS : in my case at the beginning i am using 2 ipad pro 2nd gen just because i don’t want to much papers in my room.

keep repeating writing on binder answer on the right while seeing the question on left and CFAI guideline + Alex guidance in front of you. after 2-3 month you will become master.

go for grading services (S2000, Daren Miler,etc) so you can save yourself from bias trap.

Thank you all I will practice like hell

Hi Bayan, I have the same issue, morning essay buried me each time, I am a retaker for too many times. Thanks for starting this topic. So far now I understand this is a thing CFAI never says anywhere, that you need some weeks/months to practice for the morning essay. I feel it should be written somewhere in big bold letters!! never thought this was the case, after so many failures! Each time I thought it was the content issue, i.e. knowing it better. Turns out it isn’t.

The eoc answers are really long and the guidelines answers are not what they use in grading what should we do???

It’s the second time I hear about acelevel3. Is it good? How is it compared with MM or LevelUp?


i never give credit my level 3 passed only because of 1 prep provider.

in my opinion acelevel3 only build the foundation that show you how to write in bullet point style (only need 2-3 days to grasp it).

after that you still must go through 2006-2019 rellevant old exam essay CFAI and still read guideline answers compare with what alex did.

after this process i recommend you go to grading service S2000 or Daren miller (in my case i use Daren Miler).

if you found during this process there is one question not covered by their mock exam don’t hesitate to create your own mock exam !!

i also create my own essay mock exam that consist Intermarket Currency Trade, Equity with the source from BB,EOC,CFAI portal questions.

I was unable to complete AM and blank about 18%, causing my band 10 failure last year. This year, I am above 90 percentile in AM.

My only way is practice, practice and practice. You need to reach a level when you see the question, you already know the answer. Because there is no time for you to think.

thinking only happens in mock, in exam you are replying on reaction already. let’s make it as “reaction”. Dun know whether you can get my meaning. Hope I can help you.

Got it. How much time did you put in for the exam?

The curriculum is full of open end question EOCs (those where you are not given 3 answer choices) and a ton of blue box examples.

When you practice these (in the course of your studying and preferably when you do your review) write your answers on a paper with pen (or pencil). This will give you plenty of exercise already before hitting the past AM exams. I used more then 10 scrap books during my studies just for this purpose.

And yes, it is true that on the exam you will not have time to think about your answer, you have to start writing asap.

I also could not finish, left 21 points blank, but still got a 65% which I consider good.

I’m sure my writing was messy, ugly, but most probably that did not matter.

Thank you all I was desperate now I will practice really hard

Hi Bayan,

As one of the members has already written, you need to understand the structure of the exam. Have a very good knowledge of the subject matter and the nitty-gritty. I believe that last 5 year CFAI actual exam AM papers are more than sufficient, although more practice does no harm. So first step would be to understand the material and read the end of chapter questions and solutions. These build your foundation. Step 2 would be to WRITE actual answers to previous year AM papers. Note that just reading the question and browsing to the solution does not help. YOU NEED TO TRAIN YOUR BRAIN to think fast, in a structured way, and then CONVINCE IT TO SEND SIGNAL to your hand to write (most difficult part for me). Then you should compare what you actually wrote and what the solution says. Many times after seeing the solution, we just assume that we know most of the points. But REMEMBER that only what is actually written on the answer sheet would be evaluated. So evaluate your answers using that prism. After going through 2-3 papers, you’d have a very good understanding of the approach CFAI prefers to take for answering questions.

I genuinely believe that if you follow a structured approach, your score in the attempted questions would tend be above 65%. And more practice would enable you to complete more questions. All in all, a much better performance.

Thank you I will

On Youtube there is a video of Mark Meldrum on how to structure the answers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vL_gRk1wFX0). I applied all his tips on the exam. On some questions it was really 100% the same method as he explained. I just passed the exam this year, so these tips helped me passing.

The formula IMO:

  1. Pay attention to the command words, e.g. Explain, Justify, List, etc.

  2. ALWAYS relate your answers to the case instead of just writing down general statements

  3. Make note of the time/points allotted for the question; this is a powerful guideline

  4. Use bullet points

  5. For quantitative answers, always label your final answer clearly