Important topics for Level 3

Just as Quants, Ethics & FSA were important for Level 1 and Equities & FSA were important for Level 2, what are the important topics for Level 3?

All are important. That’s the point of level 3.

Portfolio management. L1 and L2 are analyst tests. L3 is the PM test.

Portfolio Managment 50% of the exam… :slight_smile:

some stuff here

I feel like Level 3 is more about sythesizing topics across the bedrock of portfolio management rather than the key topic focus of Levels 1 & 2.

L3 doesn’t break topics out the way L1 and L2 does. It’s frustrating but that’s just the way the exam is. I found this list to be very helpful studying for L3, though. These are core topics that you must know well walking in to the exam hall.

nice link thx.


According to the CFAI 2015 Candidate Survey the hardest topics in L3 are Derivatives, Portflio Mgmnt and Ethics. Not sure how exactly Ethics can be hard as long as the material is 90% the same shit as in L1 and L2. I am actually learning now Ethics from my L2 book where I have all my notes from last year.

I suppose Derivatives will be a beast together with Portfolio Mgmnt & Fixed Income stuff.

Here’s an AF resource post I put together with a lot of really great additions from others on the forum.

1.L3 topic weights are not like L2.

2.Leaving topics is not recommended at any level.More so at L3.

3.Seen in totality,except for Ethics,there’s only one Topic!(Portfolio management)-a lot of synthesis of readings across study sessions is required to answer questions.

So a fixed income or “Risk Management”(Risk and derivatives) question is also coloured in Portfolio context.

For whatever it is worth,the following may help.

4.Portfolio Management>>>Fixed Income which is roughly equal to Ethics(Ethics not tested in AM till now,fortunately).Risk management+Derivatives may be covered more than Equity or AI.Though not always.

5.Economics is often tested in Morning session and has now been specifically included as a topic,unlike earlier,and mostly has direct questions based on formulae,in AM.Together with Performance evaluation/attribution/Indierect transaction costs(All Book VI) if tested and solved correctly ,may prove to be high scoring compared to qualitative sections.

6.Six out of eleven questions may be directly from Portfolio management.(Individual/Institutional)

7.Go back to point 2!


After I read the entire Ethics material I think I know where the difficulty in L3 comes from. The focus is much more on specific standards like Supervision and Conflicts of Interests. The cases are pretty vague and complex, so a special attention is needed here. Sure not an area to underestimate.