Passing rate only with CFAI books

Hello, Congrats to those who have nailed L1 exam. I am wondering how many of you passed with only CFAI books and sample exams! I would appreciate your inputs. Thadaa

I passed Level1 by only using CFAI textbooks. I only bought one sample exam.

According to Stalla/Schweser the pass rate only using the CFAI textbooks is 11.3%

I only used original books for all 3 levels and passed everything from 1st try. It’s VERY doubtful that those using books instead of Shweser or the like have lower pass rates - study notes will never replace original materials, on which all questions are really based.

Neud, Finally! I started to think that I’m crazy for planning to rely only on CFAI (+maybe Q-bank).

Well, if you’re going to fork out the bux for a course, you’re probably in the more serious half of the test-taking population. A big reason that the pass rates are so much lower at L1 is that a large portion of the candidate pool massively underestimates how intense the test is. They may have gotten the books but they didn’t necessarily put in the same (or similar) level of effort as those who did a course or took classes. Now if you could control for level of effort, I think you’d find statistics that help you make the decision about course vs. books alone. I will tell you what I think the course providers provide that is helpful. It’s certainly possible to pass on books alone, but here’s what a course provider can help with: 1) If you do live classes, you have an external process that helps keep you paced and on track, if you need that sort of thing (I do). 2) If you tend to defocus a little after going through 100s of pages of reading, it can help to have someone talking it to you to keep you focused on the major points. 3) The course providers really help you figure out what parts of the reading are most likely to be tested and give you good examples about how they’ve tested certain materials. This helps you plan your time so that you don’t spend hours studying things with a relatively small (but positive) likelihood of showing up on the exam. 4) They help provide tips on how to approach the questions so that you answer them quickly, and don’t waste time figuring out what they’re trying to ask. They also help point out a lot of the ways that the test words the questions in order to trick/fool a large number of applicants. Personally, I’ve gone with a course provider (I used Stalla) and never regretted it. It’s a bit more expensive than going it alone, but you really don’t want to have to take an extra year or six months to repeat a level, and I think that’s money well spent. Stalla has a guarantee that if you don’t pass, and you’ve done their homework and attended lectures (or watched the CD) and stuff, you can retake their materials for free next time. Even if you don’t meet their high standard for doing all that work, they’ll give you a 50% price break to do the materials again. I don’t know what Schwesser does, but probably something similar.

bchadwick, I agree with everything you wrote, but in my case it is either CFAI books or some study notes. This is not about money; this is about location (Serbia). Also, my approach in gaining CFA is a little bit broader than just passing three exams. I really want to know this stuff, not just to pass it. Call me crazy, but that just the way I do. Cheers,

If money is not a big issue, then try to get ahold of notes from a provider (I thought Stalla did a good job). Start by reading the Stalla notes, then go deeper by reviewing with the CFA materials. You can go the other way around, but I find that having a quick overview helps me get through the many pages of the CFAI originals a lot faster. When I was starting out, I searched the internet to figure out whether to do Stalla or Schwesser. What I found was that Schwesser was better for condensing the material, but Stalla did a better job of explaining the theory and context. For me, coming from a non-finance background, I chose Stalla for that reason and have been happy. I think people who have more of a finance background might find Schwesser to hit the key points faster.

Schweser indeed hits the key points. I read a few months ago common probability distribution from CFAI book: Quantitative investment analysis (quant book for all three levels) and lost my self. Then I read Schweser L1 2007 notes, book 1, and everything became understandable. I don’t need to stress that material was the same, but simply differently presented. Oh, I may have changed my mind about study notes after reading what I just wrote! :slight_smile:

I used only the CFAI books and a dedicated (1-2 hrs/day, every day) starting in January, 2007 until test day. I used 2006 books from a friend until I could save enough money to purchase the 2007 books in May. I spent the last 6 weeks before the test reviewing and taking on-line tests through the CFAI website. Score: >70% in all areas except derivatives and alternative investments. The review is critical to put the materials from the various chapters together in your head and find weak areas. As an aside, I recognized many of the questions on the exam from the CFAI books, especially the ethics, FSA, equities and bonds sections. Many of the questions were almost “word for word” from the CFAI books, it seemed. Spending the additional money for expensive third-party courses is just not an option for me. Perhaps those courses could have saved some time. And learners who are more visual could benefit from CDs, etc. However, I learn more by doing and re-doing problems until I understand them. (My background is in engineering and science.) I’m also far more interested in mastering the material than just passing a test. Passing will come after mastering the material - and I’m in no hurry. I’m in the CFA program for somewhat different reasons. It’s EASY to underestimate the time requirements for this test. Start early and stick to a schedule.

passed 1 and 2 using cfai books only. currently studying for 3 - cfai books only.

personally I think material is material, both study notes and CFAI text will and should provide you with the same material, perhaps the study notes will make more highlights (not necessarily always the right highlights though)… For L1, I used only CFAI to learn the material, but I did a ton of questions with schweser qbank and CFAI online samples, 2 points are worth noting, 1. CFAI text is MUCH lengthier than any study notes, so if you want to go that route you better give yourself enough time to finish all of it, though the extra content sometimes will help you better understand the material 2. doing tons of questions is the key, unless you have photographic memory, its just not possible to digest everything only through reading the material, but doing tons of practice questions will do the trick. schweser has 4000+ questions, its an invaluable tool to help you grasp the concepts, but you have to keep in mind the questions you see in schweser could be quite different from the actual exam questions. the CFAI online samples will fill the gap, both the format and the logic of the questions on these samples are almost the same as the actual exam, its a must do in my opinion. basically, I don’t think not using any study notes or course is that big a deal if you do enough practice and you have time on your side, but if you’re running short on time, perhaps reading the study notes instead will save you a lot more time and hopefully you can fill the gaps with doing tons of questions…just my 2 cents.

I know ppl who have gone both ways. It’s definitely a preferance. Just seems like Schweser or Stall will save you a ton of time. I found the books to be redundant and ramble on too much.

Neud Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > It’s VERY doubtful that those using books instead > of Shweser or the like have lower pass rates it’s the old debate: books are more detailed but take longer to read. notes can be read far more quickly

CFAI books are a waste of time. If you’d rather read them then do something else with your life then so be it…but you certainly don’t need them, except for doing the assigned questions.

drs Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > According to Stalla/Schweser the pass rate only > using the CFAI textbooks is 11.3% How were the footnotes attached to that statement? *Candidates aged 23.75 to 24 years *Candidates who began higher education at a community college *Candidates in the 5 southeastern-most states

guest Wrote: > it’s the old debate: > books are more detailed but take longer to read. > notes can be read far more quickly It doesn’t matter what is longer to read. Most of time is being spent not on reading, but on 1) working on end-of-chapter problems 2) making your own short notes of most important stuff (no prep course provider knows better than yourself what and in which outlay you need 3) repeating everything again prior to the test After all, it’s of course all about the leel of effort you put into this. Of course, one may do well both with Shweser and CFAI books, just it appears to be that some questions are VERY similar to end-of-chapter problems in original books, as well as some qualitative questions are based upon some peculiar details in CFAI books, which might be missed by prep course providers. After all, CFAI specially tries its best to creat such questions which, being based on curriculum, were not well covered by Shweser and the like.

I passed 3 for 3 using only the CFAI books and the CFAI online exams. I agree with a lot of what jot wrote above. The last month of review is critical to passing these exams. In fact, I’m pretty sure I would have failed LII and LIII if I didn’t have the last month to review (particularly the last week). I would also like to echoe that the presentation and wording of the exam questions is very similar to the CFAI books.

Neud Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > guest Wrote: > > > it’s the old debate: > > books are more detailed but take longer to > read. > > notes can be read far more quickly > It doesn’t matter what is longer to read. to some of us, it does