I am a cheapskate, I used only CFAI material to pass Lv II. Anyone who passed Lv III by using only CFAI material? Sounds like everyone has to buy Schweser for supplementary.
I used only CFAI books
The test is designed so someone should be able to pass it with only CFAI material, so I’m sure plenty of people have done it. The main advantage of a provider is that they can help keep you focused on the most important points to remember and maybe give you tips on strategies for answering questions on the exam. I also found it helpful to have an external scheduling mechanism (live weekly classes), to keep me from procrastinating on the stuff.
I only used the CFAI material for Levels 1 and 2…intend to do the same for 3.
I feel more productive when using the Schweser notes, and wouldn’t trade the kind of focus and efficiency that the provider materials provided.
Schweser notes are king. Use CFAI only and risk taking it again.
I used only CFAI texts and passed.
For Level II I used the CFAI materials (which I went through thoroughly more than once), the Schweser flash cards and question bank and the practice exams offered by CFAI. That’s the approach I’d recommend if you want to learn the material and maximize your odds of passing the exam.
I only used CFAI materials and passed the first time round. I would say that (1) if you start early (i.e., now), (2) if you are used to taking exam (i.e., you can determine what’s core, what’s secondary, and what’s not-very-important - even if it is sometimes tricky, but at least you have a pretty acurate track record in this area), (3) if you are disciplined (i.e., you establish a schedule and stick to it) and (4) if you have a minimum level of familiarity with most of the topics covered (in particular derivative instruments and portfolio management), then I think that CFAI materials are good enough. However, if you cannot tick one or several of these conditions, then go with Schweser or Stalla. They will definitely save you time, focus your attention, and minimize (though not eliminate) the risk that you need to come back the following year.
Just out of curiosity, did you find it took you significant more time to read through the CFAI material?
It takes more time to read CfAI material, I think. I also think the material is - for the most part - very good stuff. The providers just have a little more focus on passing the exam, a little more convenience, and thereforee I went with them. If I had more time, I would definitely want to read the original material - it’s good stuff.
I think I am pretty good at keeping my disciplinary schedule, so I will play cheap again. Thanks all for the good advices.
i passed all three with just CFAI books. i highly recommend using that approach, along with practice exams at the end. the thing i really liked about using this approach is that since different authors approach the topics from different perspectives, you really are forced to think about the concepts from all angles, and thus come out understanding the stuff real well. using schweser, you may pass the exam, but i doubt your knowledge will be as thorough. in the end its about using that knowledge on the job, not getting a pass on an exam. anyway, different people have different philosophies on this, so its up to you.
I am totally with you, rohufish. It might take more time by using CFAI material to get the same “pass”, but it should be more thorough in the knowledge-wise. thanks
passed level 1 & 2 with CFAI materials. question bank for speed may come in handy though.
I went with the CFAI material, but did not start early (November would have been ideal for me), so ran out of time to adequately prepare for the exam. As frenchriviera suggested, time is of essence, so in my case Schweser would have been the better choice.
I used only CFAI material for Level 3 and passed at the second attempt. In retrospect, I could have saved 1 year by relying on study notes. On the other hand, I think I have acquired the concept expressed in the body of knowledge quite thoroughly by reading the whole materials intensively for two years. It is up to each candidate’s motive which strategy to take. I also think this versatility is one of the reasons why CFA designation is so popularly followed worldwide.
I probably won’t be buying Schweser notes this year. I did for L2 to help accelerate the process, but there’s no excuse this time. Might buy a review pack from somewhere though, in addition to whatever sample exams CFAI puts on tap. I plan on starting in December. I’ll let you know how it goes…!