The front page is cluttered with too many “Where can I find the PM mocks” type posts. I’m going to summarize everything you need to know for this exam and a lot of the extraneous questions I see asked a dozen times per day. Hopefully we can sticky this post or keep bumping it to alleviate some of the clutter.

General information about L3 (CFAI)


_ What is a mock exam? _ The CFAI generally publishes one mock/practice exam each year. The mock is multiple choice and representative of the afternoon or PM portion of the exam. The mock exams contain 60 questions each and is representative of the topics you will be tested on in the PM session. _ Where can I find mock exams? _ Google…seriously…They can be found in 5 seconds. If you want to work in investment research yet lack the basic ability to search the internet I would consider a different career path. I would post a link to them, but I believe that would be against AF’s rules. Don’t PM me as I’ve already taken up enough time writing this… _ How many mock exams are there? _ I found six CFAI published L3 mocks, but some of the mocks overlap with one another and recycle item sets. Perhaps there are more. Relevancy List: http://irfanullah.co/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CFA-Level-III-MCQ-Mocks-Relevancy-for-20141.pdf_ What is an old AM exam? _ The CFA releases all of the old AM exams. Yes, these are the actual real bonafide morning session exams given to students. The 2014 AM exam is the same one that 20,000 people took last June. The CFAI doesn’t release any of the old tests for the other levels or the PM session of L3 so take full advantage of them. _ How many old AM exams are there? _ You can easily find one for each year going back to 2002, but the material has changed since then. _ How many old AM exams should I review? _ You don’t have to sit down and “write” all of the old AM exams, but I would certainly flip through a majority of them. Most of the L3 material is relevant and largely unchanged back to the 2007/2008 exam. Relevancy List http://irfanullah.co/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Level-III-Essay-Questions-Relevancy-for-2015.pdf_ What’s the difference between mocks and old AM exams? _ Mocks are practice exams that simulate the 60 question multiple choice PM session whereas the old AM exams are the actual exams given to candidates in prior years. _ What’s the MPS for L3? _ MPS is minimum passing score and is set by a group of individuals at the CFAI every year to determine the absolute score required to pass the exam. The CFAI does this for every level and never publishes what the MPS actually is. A lot of people think the MPS for L3 is generally between 60-65, but nobody has a clue what it actually is other than a few folks at the CFAI. How hard is the AM? How hard is the PM? The AM is very challenging. You no longer have the aid of three answer choices. On L1 and L2 if you eliminated just one answer choice you had a 50/50 chance of getting the question right. Personally, I think the PM is slightly easier than L2. _ What score should I be aiming for? _ A 70 in the AM and PM will guarantee you a pass. I’ve seen threads where people have talked about an MPS >70. Have you ever heard of a negative curve in your life? Of course not. As I stated earlier, nobody knows the MPS, but in all likelihood you could probably pass the exam with a 60 in the AM and a 70+ in the PM. The general consensus strategy is: Tread water in the AM and crush the PM. _ The pass rate is ~50% so L3 must be easier right? _ You’re up against candidates that have cleared L1 and L2 and still half of all L3 candidates fail this exam. In my opinion, the material on L3 is easier, but it is far and away the most difficult exam. _ Does the CFAI give partial credit? _ Yes. Show your work wherever calculations are required. Should I guess in the AM? No. The CFAI will award no points for general knowledge. I would not waste time formulating a bs answer when that time can be spent on material you know. How should I contruct my responses? You want to write in concise bullet points. You are not trying to win a pulitzer. Do not regurgitate the question in your answer. Spelling, grammer, handwriting, etc… do not matter. Sprinkle in as much CFA vocabularly as you can. What if I don’t finish in time. Can I pass if I leave an entire question blank? Yes, although you probably don’t want to leave the high value questions blank e.g. Individual IPS. I have seen candidates “report” that they left two questions unanswered in the AM session and still passed. _ Should I write down three answers even though the question only asks for two? _ No, don’t be an idiot. Follow the directions. You were taught at age 2 to color between the lines. The CFAI will grade your responses in order so that the third response is omitted from consideration. _ How is my AM exam graded? _ See page 9 http://www.cfainstitute.org/programs/cfaprogram/Documents/cfa_program_theory_meets_practice.pdf_ How many questions are there in the AM? _ Download the old AM exams and see for yourself. There are generally 10-13 questions that range from 10-25 points in value. Almost all of the questions will have 3 to 4 sub-questions. _ What topic areas show up the most? _ Once again, look at the old exams, but you are sure to see at least one Individual IPS question and one Institutional IPS question. _ Has Ethics or GIPS ever been tested in the AM? _ Since the CFAI moved to the AM Essay and PM MCQ format, Ethics, to my knowledge, has never been tested in the AM. GIPS was tested in the AM in 2006. _ I’m finishing the old exams in 2 hours. What am I missing? _ I have never seen anyone finish the AM exam early. There’s an X factor on exam day that makes it difficult for most to finish the exam in time. Just keep that in mind. _ Should I start with question 1 in the AM? _ I would not. The first question is likely going to be an individual IPS question. These questions usually carry the highest point value of any question in the AM. It’s very easy to spend a lot of time on the first question. I would flip through the exam and find a question that you can crush to get a confidence boost and get the brain off and running. However, I would not save the IPS question for last. _ I’ve seen posts about templates. What are those? _ Download the 2014 AM exam and you’ll see. For some responses the CFAI provides you with marked templates within the exam booklet to write your answers in. Once again, just follow directions. _ Can I write the AM exam in pencil? _ The CFAI encourages everyone to write in pen, but they’ll still grade the exam if you write in pencil. I would suggest using erasable pens. _ What are BBs/Blue Boxes? _ These are the examples, highlighted in blue, found in the CFAI text. Most of the readings have a handful of them. There are ~300 across all six books. _ What are EOCs? _ End of Chapter questions in the CFAI text.

Excellent stuff.

You deserve a Charter.

Great stuff, thanks!

If you want, you could add Irfanullah’s overview over what’s still relevant. I found that very useful.

For AM: http://irfanullah.co/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Level-III-Essay-Questions-Relevancy-for-2015.pdf

For past MCQ (for 2014, but at least something): http://irfanullah.co/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CFA-Level-III-MCQ-Mocks-Relevancy-for-20141.pdf

One thing to add, regarding grading. For those who are interested how grading the A.M. sessions works, have a look at this PDF, on page 9 there’s a nice description on how they do it: http://www.cfainstitute.org/programs/cfaprogram/Documents/cfa_program_theory_meets_practice.pdf

This will be bumped for year to come. Nice job!!

Really appricate that you can take the time to do this. Great help.

Thanks for adding those links guys.

AF should have “Like” button. Good stuff. Thanks!

Nice work! I think this page is a “must read” as well:



These mocks are property of the CFAI and no one of us here is allowed to distribute them. Especially old ones, that the CFAI doesn’t want people to have.

Not posting them is about conforming with the rules of AF (and Code of Ethics of course ;)), not about being mean.