Level III vs Level I and II

Hi fellow candidates

After going through the level 3 material a first time my gut feeling tells me that the Level 3 exam will be more challenging then Level 1 and 2. I passed Level 1 and 2 on my first attempt using the same study strategy but I feel I have do modify it a bit for Level 3.

Did you do/are you doing anything differently in your level 3 preparations versus Level 1 and 2? any advice?

My current plan is:

  1. Watch video lecture from Schweser - done

  2. Read Schweser Notes and to questions - done

  3. Do CFAI original questions - ongoing

  4. Qbank and Classnotes questions

  5. Practice Exams - CFAI and Schweser + Live mock-up

Thanks for any advice



The only real adjustments I am making so far are adding a third pass through the schweser notes and CFAI EOCs (two passes was enough for L1 and 2 but not enough for me on L3). Also I will spend more time on practice tests given the essay format.

Practice writing, especially in bullet points.

I did all CFAI and Schweser EOC questions on Level I and Level II as I went through each chapter. I’m skipping the Schweser EOC questions and spending more time on CFAI EOC and blue box questions. I’m almost done with my first pass (all Schweser readings and CFAI EOC questions).

Here is my thorough review of Level III

  1. Level III is a different beast. the PM session is nothing new. the essays just seem to f some people up on the AM. you gotta practice these and time yourself. be real with grading your answers. show yourself no mercy because the CFAI graders will show you none. force yourself to review each answer, the ones you got right and the ones you didn’t. there’s often good tidbits of information in the answer keys too

  2. Time is of the essence. This is serious. you can easily lose track of time and you need to be disciplined with your time on exam day. Erasing answers takes too much time for essays, scratch them out. read the question thoroughly the first time. Do not rush the AM session, these are the differentiating points since most people do well in the PM session. practice writing your anwers on sample exams concisely and to the point. seriously practice as many essays as possible. and don’t use erasable pen, it will only smudge. a plain bic is all you need.

  3. Every topic is testable and the minute details will likely be tested. I remember a couple people commenting on this. no concept or piece of information is too small to be tested. know the curriculum inside and out

  4. write in bullet points in as few words as possible. this isn’t english class. there’s no credit for properly structured sentences or correct spelling. pay attention to how many marks the questoin is worth to know the level of detail required and know the different command words (list, describe, etc).

  5. schweser helped me prepare for Level III as well as I did every practice exam I could find. I think I did them all from 2009. practice 2) and 4) with sample exams. you’d be surprised how fast 6 minutes (a common point/time weighting for many of the practice questions) goes when you need to read a question, interpret it and them WRITE the answer.

Agree to what is there above. Just one additional point

  • During exam it will become diffucult to understand where the question is coming from. What you have to do is pratice this with your exams. Try and identify the topic, once you do that your brain automatically wires you to that area and concepts. It has helped me hopefully it will do to you as well.

Thanks a lot for your answers guys. Another question, did you (or do you plan to) study more for hours for Level 3 then the earlier levels?

I spent 250 hours on Level 1 and 350 on Level 2, for Level 3 I am targeting 400-450. Can´t realistically put more hours then this in as I work 7-19 in Bank every day.


I studied a little more for level 3 than the others, not by much though, maybe 20-50hrs or so. Theres extra motivation to finish and get your life back lol