Order of tackling AM questions

What is the order of topics you’d tackle the exam?

The most commonly quoted strategy is to “pick the low-hanging fruit”.

I tried that during last year’s exam. Frankly, with time pressure, everything looks hard so I just go for it in the order in which the questions are given.

However, if my head goes blank when looking at a particular question, I just skip it. I circle the part number and fold the corner of the page so that I remember to come back to it.

Best to worst.

this may sound weird, but I’m going to tackle ones that are most inconvenient to do (not the hardest) first. I’m talking about questions where the case facts are in one page while the answer space is on the backside of the page.

in a potentially highly stressful environment, inconvenience can be very rage-inducing. so it seems best to get rid of inconvenience first.

Sounds like you’re repairing a washing machine.

My head sure does feel like a washing machine, cleaning out my brain every day so that I don’t remember what I’ve studied the previous day :grin:

@magician do you stand by the popular notion that PWM/IPS questions should be done AFTER all else?

what if the PWM question doesnt have any wrinkles and you think you can rip a 18/20 rather quickly?

Several years ago I was talking to my undergrad finance professor. It must have been in August or September because he said that his son had just learned that he had failed the Level III exam.

More accurately: he had just learned officially that he had failed the exam. On the first Saturday in June, he already knew that he had failed.

The first question was a 30-minute PWM/IPS question with 5 or 6 parts, and he dived right in at the opening bell. He wrote answers, circled answers, wrote calculations, and generally aced every part. Proud of his accomplishment, he looked up and noticed the clock: he had spent 90 minutes on it.

Feel free to formulate your own conclusions.

There are a couple of schools of thought on this.

I always say that you want to go from “best to worst” as S2000magician said. Your goal is to maximize your points, so why not just start with what you know best?

The wrinkle here is that it can be hard to find what you know best of the AM portion. There is a lot of text to read. And it can be complicated to keep track of questions that you haven’t answered yet. For this reason, I know some people who say to go in order. I’m fine with this approach as long as you don’t get hung up on a problem. Obsessing over a question that you don’t know is a huge mistake on the AM portion.

So the moral of the story is that you need to keep going to pick up points, no matter your approach.

I think people should really focus and practice the Individual/Institution sections. These two sections makes up about 4 questions in the AM. They almost always ask the same types of questions (which factors increase or decrease ability to take risk? determine above/below risk tolerance, return requirement, etc). I would emphasize these 2 sections as they likely make up 40% of the AM sections. All the relevant readings are in Book 2.

Don’t even look at the IPS questions until the final 1-1.5 hours. This will force you to be quick and concise in your written response. L3 rookies usually spend way more time on them than they should (S2000magician spelled out a great example), and are stuck in a frantic “catch-up mode” for the rest of the AM Session. Don’t make that same mistake. Pick the low-hanging fruit first and go from there.


THIS times 1000000

i was able to pull my AM score up to low 60s from low 50s solely because i went back and read book two of schweser (PWM and Inst) cover to cover, then pounded out every Qbank question. overall it was a 1.5 day endevour but it was fruitful or so i think because to his point, so much of the AM is that book.

not that number of pages is always a good proxy for the exam weight, but it is funny to me that book 2 is the second skinniest book out of the 5 schweser study notes, and yet…those gosh darn 190 pages or so are easily 30-40% of the AM and another maybe 10% of the PM.

not that anyone would want advice from tommyjohn the “high 50s mock band 9 guy” but i truly beleive that those on the borders of the MPS should drill down on book 2 and prioritize that over getting some dumbarse IR swap calculation perfect. just my .02 as a first time L3er

Most in favor of not beginning with IPS! lol

This sounds very simple but simply spending a minute to write the time on where you should be at each question gives you a huge advantage as to pacing the exam in the AM I also tried to shave 1-2 min off each question to gain an extra 10-15 min at the end to hit anything that needs it… just a suggestion. I failed last year due to time management… left 3 blank and a few empty… will not let that happen again.

I find I can complete most questions with some spare time. I use that spare time at the end to do the IPS questions that sometimes take me a bit longer to complete. So that’s a nice balance overall.