It would be of great help to me (on Level II) to get input from level IIIers in respect to CFAI text vs. Schweser. The most intriguing question: did anyone pass Level II w/ Schweser alone? For the rest of you, what do you feel is the optimal mix? Any input would be greatly appreciated.
I personally found combining the two quite effective, Schweser will give you a good guideline to focus your efforts because the material basically outlines LOS by LOS, while on the other hand you might easily get lost in irrelevant stuff in the CFA texts. I used about 80% Schweser and I felt well prepared going into the exam. Your game plan also depends on your background, I would say I used Schweser exclusively on the following sections, Equities,FSA,Economics,Corporate Finance,Alternative Investments and Quants. Having said that I had to do end of charpter questions in the texts and you could also read the summaries in the texts just to cement the principles. I personally did not think Schweser did a good job on Derivatives and Fixed Income, Derivatives are a littlle bit of pain to study with all the crazy formulars and stuff but they are easy points come exam day so don’t neglect them, I found CFA texts end of chapter on Derivatives absolutely useful (Swaptions are sweet in the texts if you do all the questions the complicated formulars will all make sense). PM has been kinda tricky in the past two exams so you wanna have a look at both the texts. Just to let you know, during the exam time was not an issue so its important to have a very good understanding of the underlying principles and the exam will be a walk in the park.
I used both, and I would highly recommend doing the same.
i used almost all schweser for the readings. but i did every vignette/multiple choice problems in the text to supplement the readings. i know that schweser is supposed to be the supplement, but it was the other way around for me.
appreciate it. thanks.
i would stick with schweser so you can spend more time doing problems. I would recommend doing all the questions in the CFAI text. only use the CFAI text for concepts you are having trouble with, otherwise you can get bogged down in minutia…
I passed level I and level II using only schweser. probably will do the same with level III.
Schweser all the way. Did do the CFAI mock exams, though to get in the right frame of mind.
My recommendation is to use mostly Schweser. It takes a LONG time to slog through the CFA material and a lot of it is not tested. That said, ask around/keep your eyes open on the forum and you should be able to hear about certain sections that are better to read CFAI books on instead of Schweser. Portfolio Management is a section that comes to mind that it helped me out tremendously to use the big books.
Wow! These posts are surprising. I used only CFAI text for LI. It was an excruciating experience.
I used Schweser almost exclusively to study. I did do the CFAi mock exams however, and then used the CFAi books to review the questions I got wrong on those mock exams. They tell you the pages to read in reference to questions - right or wrong I believe.
I used only schweser to pass level 1 and 2. Like others, I only used CFAI for mock exams. I think schweser did a good job covering all the material, and didnt feel suprised or unprepared for many questions.
I only used Schweser for 1 and 2. I think what helped me most was taking every practice exam and timing myself. I got some of my lowest scores the week before the exam, so I would suggest just putting your head down and getting through all the exams that Schweser gives you as well as CFAI exams on their website…and don’t focus too much on what scores you are getting.
i did schweser to CFAI 80/20 (maybe 85/15) for CFA II… frankly i couldn’t envision only using CFA II. i think i would physically die… i must have read some schweser sections 20 times. you just can’t do that with CFAI… and i think you will miss tons of things if you only read CFAI. yes, you will have seen everything but what’s your retention when reading it twice vs. reading it 20 times (and yes, i think the difference is that stark)… i definitely made sure i knew where CFAI was much more comprehensive. i’d say PM was probably the #1 area. all that factor model stuff. and if you don’t buy schweser, i’d borrow and look at (photocopy?) someone else’s derivatives book… it’s the only book i’d consider an absolute must from schweser (my earlier whining not withstanding). i guess maybe fixed income too
I passed, and used strictly CFAI, but skipped a lot of the “background” reading in the CFAI texts. I would especially encourage this for the Financial Statement Analysis section. The questions on L-II were very much like the CFAI practice questions, and I thought it was pretty easy. A lot of the questions on L-II reminded me of practice questions on the CFAI text, but the problem is just retaining all that info. I also used the Schweser Q-Bank to supplement my studies, and that was very helpful. I think it just depends on how much time you have and how easily you retain things. What made the test difficult, in my opinion, was the amount of stuff that you have to remember. Conceptually, a lot of the info is not that difficult, it is just a lot.
I used only Schweser and Secret Sauce and I found the exam to be quite straight forward. I managed to finish the exam with 30 minutes to spare (both in the morning and afternoon exams). People say CFA level II is the hardest, but my honest opinion is that CFA level III is the real beast. But again, this is only my opinion.
I used CFAI alone for ethics and Schweser alone for everything else.
"The most intriguing question: did anyone pass Level II w/ Schweser alone? " I passed all three levels on the first attempt using Schweser alone. The only thing I would change if I were to do it over again is to not bother doing the “book 7” type Schweser practice exams. Far too many calculations, not representative of the real exam, and teaches you to think the wrong way. Do CFAI book practice problems after doing Schweser studying and end of chapter reviews. Level 2 is the hardest for people with high aptitude and experience in the investing business but limited time to study. Level 3 is the hardest for those with less experience and those who are more diligent studiers. The biggest difference is time pressure.
Wow! Thanks for all of the feedback. And yes…I have the Schweser stuff now! Looks fantastic so far.
at last a discussion which says that schweser is not all that bad if all that one wants to do is pass level 2.