Message to new Level III candidates

Like many on this forum, I found out I passed L3 this year. My parting advice to new L3 candidates: I passed L1 and L2 on my first try. I wish this was true about my experience with L3. I failed the 2009 exam and, looking back, I’m actually not surprised. I did several things wrong. For one, I GROSSLY underestimated the quantitative element of L3. I guess it’s true that it’s not as quantitative as L1 and L2, but I don’t think it’s by much. I took a new approach for 2010 because of it. Instead of buying a complete study program, I zeroed in on the CFAI books (and read every page, did most of the problems). I also purchased Schweser’s QBank and the Secret Sauce book (both helped). As I’m sure many readers would agree, some of the Stalla or Schweser questions are soft-ball pitch style. The CFAI questions are typically more complex and the variety of what to expect on the exam. If I came across a CFAI question that I had difficulty with, I used Excel to mimic the question. All you have to do is hide the answer, change the inputs and…viola’, you have an infinte number of practice problems. This helped me…a lot. Second, I didn’t know Ethics as well as I should have. The only advice I can give is do about 1000 practice problems. That goes without saying though. Just study it…a lot. Third, do as many practice tests as you can. Create them in Qbank and take the ones CFAI offers. On the questions you get wrong, take notes on WHY you got it wrong. Again, this helped me tremendously. Fourth, know GIPS cold. Like Ethics, you just have to do tons of problems in this subject area. That’s how I did it. I can’t tell you how awesome it feels to be done. Good luck to you on the 2011 exam!!!

Papa I am also in Omaha. It is a small circle of charterholders. I am sure I will meet you one day.

CFA Jay, CFA. I was in the Marine Corps once upon a time. It’s the initials of my name in the old-school military alphabet. I’m in Georgia (but love the Huskers!!!).