Very grateful if someone could answer the following - hypothetical, of course - question: what would a typical topic be for the essay questions? Any indicative scope? Thank you.
There are actual past papers on CFAI website
The actual format is termed written response and is a fairer indication than essay questions, as anyone writing an essay in the morning session of Level III is not going to complete it due to time constraints.
As mentioned by zestzorb, the last 3 years of exams are on the CFAI website but as a guide they are typically more short answer or calculation in style and quite a few questions (about 30% this year) are in a table format whereby they will ask a question and you initailly have to choose in the first column from one of 2 to 5 options and then provide 1, 2 or 3 reasons why that is the right answer.
The more succinct you write the better your chance of getting the exam finished.
Almost anything can appear in the morning exam. However, on the published exams that I saw, there was always a few questions on individual and institutional IPS’s. They’d present a fact pattern for an investor and ask us to draft part or all of the IPS.