Level 3 Retakers I have some Insights or Newcomers

To All, Just so you all know my history I took Level 1 in Dec 04 (passed) Level 2 in June 05 (passed) Level 3 in 06 (failed pass rate 76%) Level 3 07 (failed pass rate 50%) Level 3 08 (pass rate 53% passed). Horray 3rd time is a charm. To be honest in 06 I took L3 for granted and did not work as hard as i should in 07 I studied my ass off and did even more in 08. I can’t begin to explain how frustrated I was in 07 . I sure for some of you out there you feel the same. I offer you encouragement to continue with your pursuit you are 2/3 rds of the way there …no point in looking back now. Look forward. I used schweser all the way. It is important in my opinion to read the readings as a general start( I started in Oct actually reading the CFA readings) and then took the online class with Dr Kuhlman (after 2 years of the same professor in a live class) I feell Kulhman did a good job of preparing you for the inevitable hell you will face. There are changes for next year as you all are aware but the material for the most part is not changing . Use Q bank it helps you qualify concepts and do the parctice exams and the ones provided by the CFA Institute. They do help . I can’t tell you the best study provider , best method of studying, etc etc. what I can say is make sure you can reflect on your study time and can you say to yourself did I work as hard as I could. If you can say that than great you worked your ass off unfortunately it was not your day it happened to me . Its hard to get the right mindset to do this all again I am only here to say keep at it …Don’t give up !!! If you would like to discuss more please feel free to contact me at majone123@aol.com… This exam is not easy it is hard you must be able to link concepts it does not rely on regurgation of concepts… I wish you all the best Regards

Hey thanks for sharing. I did the same thing as you taking the L3 exam for granted when the pass rate was at its all time high in recent years. I have always used Schweser and I don’t think the review course and mock exam were helpful. The online class with Dr. Kuhlman is offered by Schweser right? Did you finish preparing the materials before each class? I haven’t decided if I wanna give myself a 4th try until I come up with a different but solid study plan and stick to it.

I started reading the cfa material in October and had it finished by mid december. I only read it but there are good examples at the end of those chapters that must be done or at least followed. Then picjk up the schweser materials and start going throught that starting q bank in january or february(I answered about 2000 questions on q bank…it really does help in solidifying concepts) Then make sure you do all the practice exams and i purchased all the cfa exams…This is what finally worked for me. I found the online class with Dr Kuhlman to be helpful plus you could email him anytime if there was difficulty with a certain topic. mI took an online review class and found it was not helpful but that is just me…Also find someone to study with it goes a long way to have someone to complain to who understands what you are going through…hope it helps

Guys, I’d rather you concentrate on the things that differed that last time you actually passed. We don’t need much coaching on failing.

Like redmen, this was my 3rd time on this sucker. For the first time this year, I really focused on the end-of-chapter problems in the CFA texts. I also did all the online exams the CFAI offers. Yes, it cost a few hundred dollars to do them all but I passed so it must have helped at least a little bit. Most importantly, I practiced “how” to write my answers for the essay questions. I made sure to lay out my answers in a logical manner and to answer the questions being asked, not some tangential information. I won’t say I knew the material better this year because I don’t think I did. Two years ago, I used Schweser (with the online multi-phase seminar) and the old CFA exams exclusively. I thought I nailed the exam 2 years ago and ended doing very poorly, especially in the morning. I even discussed the exam with some people and we had the same answers yet I got much lower marks on the essays. I can only attribute this to not answering the questions in the way the CFAI wants to see it. Last year, I used Schweser (with the online weekly course with Dr. Kuhlman), the old CFA exams and a little bit of the CFA texts. I still did poorly. This exam was much harder overall than 2006 so I am not surprised. This year, I used Schweser again (the weekly online class), the old CFA exams, the online CFA exams and the CFA texts. My weekly process was this: Look at the slides (I did this to refresh the topic so I could focus during the seminar) Watch the seminar (I never watched them live) Go through the CFA text and note what wasn’t covered in the seminar Answer the questions at the end of the chapters in the CFA text Go through the Schweser notes for the topic Answer the questions at the end of the chapters in the Schweser notes Once I covered all the topics, I focused on: Making flashcards with formulas or other important topics Schweser Q-Bank (especially for GIPS and Ethics) Old CFA exams multiple times Online CFA exams Going back through some the CFA problems (GIPS, IPS for individual and institutional, fixed income, derivatives, attribution)

How does one get the OLD CFA exams? Are those part of the reading material we receive? thx.

The old CFA exams are available on the CFA website. It is sort of convoluted how to get to them but they are there. They usually have the last 3 years’ essay portions available. I will add two more things: I used pencil for the morning and I am so glad I did Use this forum. Everyone here is in the same boat so come here to ask questions, vent, offer advice, etc.

Thanks hezagenius. Anyway I can get to those exams on their website right now?

I was much like Redmen, yet one year earlier. Dec 2003: passed Jun 2004: passed Jun 2005: Failed miserably Jun 2006: passed I put in at least 250 hours on the first two tests. I know I put more hours in on 2005. I only used the schweser guides, schweser class and ethics book on the first three. I knew that L3 would be a bitch when I passed L2. Everyone said it would be easier than L2, yet I knew that it wasn’t. If half the people are failing this test, then it ain’t easy. I decided to use it to my advantage. Let everyone else thing that it is easy and half ass it. I will put in more time and crush it. Studying for the CFA is about time. I could deviate from schweser, yet would that really help me pass. I felt that schweser contained 90% of what I needed to know. So, I decided to continue following my study routine, yet just throw more hours in. I went into Jun 2005 with a very high level of confidence. I was going to go 3x3 in 1.5 years! People were asking me questions prior to the exam and I just felt great with my answers. I was ready. I sat for the AM section and killed it. At lunch, I never felt so confident. I tried not to call anyone at lunch. Then I hit the PM. The PM was brutal in 2005. The vignettes were 2 pages for each set of questions. I kept jumping forward to later sections only to realize that the later ones were just as hard. I remember looking up and feeling like I had been hit by a 2x4. I was pissed at CFAI. How could you put in 400 hours of studying and fail? The worst part was that I had no idea how to approach this test again in 2006. What could I study differently? After the test, everyone assumed I passed. I started to have hope. Well, August 22nd came around and I failed. I failed. I bet I would have been in the 4-5 band if they had bands right now. It was bad. Within 30 minutes I signed up for L3 in 2006. I had to do everything differently. I had to fight complacency. This is how I did it. - I decided not to start studying again until January. - to fight complacency, I signed up for a $900 weekly coarse put on by the San Francisco analysts association. - I purchased the schweser guides again (half price 2nd go around) and all the books. I even purchased the 2005 stalla notes from someone for $100 so that I could have a different perspective on subjects if needed. Many were saying that stalla was better. - I vowed to read both the schweser and the text books prior to the study session for each class. I also would do the end of chapter questions. - I signed up for the schweser 3 weekend course. - I worked out 4 x a week. - I did this from Jan-April. I found that the Schweser guides did a great job on the study sessions. Reading the text books were not as helpful. Yet the end of chapter questions were. Schweser just didn’t provide the number or difficulty of questions that I required. The end of chapter questions weren’t nearly as difficult as the test, yet they sharpened my skills at answering questions. - I decided to make my own flash cards. I would put the SS on one side and the answer on the other. I would take the cards with me to the gym and just hop on the exercise bike to go over them. I also went over them with a friend. The cards are great. - In May, I took the schweser exams and one online exam. IMHO, the online exam was a waste of time and scared the crap out of me. It was just like the exam, yet you couldn’t go back to look at questions again. I needed positive thoughts, so I never took one past the first…which I scored a 50% - I was scoring 80%+ on the schweser. I retook the AM tests and really tore them apart in terms of the IPS so I was ready for any IPS question going forward. I retook the test in 2006 and crushed it. Heck 3/4ths did. Yet, I had great scores. I did feel that the test was easier. 1 page vignettes, yet was it easier because the test was easier or because I studied harder and knew the material better? I think it was a combination of both. I find it interesting that everyone thought the PM section was easy this year. It surely wasn’t that in 2005. Anyway, I wanted to tell my story. I failed big time in 2005 and then came up with a plan to attack it differently. There was no guarantee that I would pass in 2006. Thank god I did because I wouldn’t have taken it again. Yet, even if you are in a lower band, you can pass this thing. You just need to come up with a decent plan and fight complacency. My quick and dirty plan. - Start in Jan - Use Schweser for SS and notes - Do all end of chapter questions in the texts multiple times - take any classes - don’t be cheap - exercise - May is for practice tests and reviewing schweser guides. Good luck!

yodhava Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Thanks hezagenius. Anyway I can get to those exams > on their website right now? https://www.cfainstitute.org/cfaprog/courseofstudy/essaylevelthree.html They just have 06 and 07 right now. If you do a search on this forum, someone has posted all the morning sessions since 2000 online somewhere.

and make sure you study what will be on the test . . . oh, and make sure you get 7 out of 10 questions right . . . and don’t run out of time.

Thanks hezagenius, just found it. http://cfasuccess.com has the old CFA exams.

yodhava, You will find that a lot of the questions from the older exams aren’t really relevant anymore. That said, I would at least cover the IPS questions from the older exams.

One technique that worked for me - do a ton of questions (no brainer there) but here’s the twist - Log your errors. Every time you make a mistake, take note of it - ideally noting what you got wrong, and what is right. Screwed up a formula? Write it out correctly (with emphasis on whatever you screwed up). Had a concept confused? Write out your newly enlightened perspective. Messed up because you mis-read the question? Write yourself a friendly reminder to “READ THE F’IN QUESTION CAREFULLY YOU DUMBASS!!” Even if you’re making the same mistakes, note it every single time. The frustration of realizing you made the same mistake again will help avoid repeating it. Reviewing study notes is one thing, but reviewing a log of points that you know you’ve screwed up at least once is a great way to shore up your weak areas.