Preparing for level 3

During the last few months I’ve been checking the level III forum and haven’t seen much activity. I know it’s kind of early in the game but I thought that if I posted what I’m currently working on it may help to get the CFA-blood flowing through everyone’s veins. I’m not trying to ruin anyone’s holiday season or be a party pooper; I simply would like to share my current experience with everyone to help intensify the focus in the near future. I am currently 2-for-2 and work with several people who have gone 3-for-3, so the pressure is on for me (personal goals). I must say that I put in around 350 hours for level II last June and will probably put in even more than that for level III, which is why I’m starting so early. As the statistics state, only half of the people who took the level III exam last June actually passed; and I’m confident that all who took the exam are far from mediocre as they have successfully completed two preliminary hurdles. Bottom line, this exam is going to be a difficult challenge. I started studying the CR on Oct 1st and am going through the material in a systematic order, completing one SS per week and taking notes with Schweser’s LOS note cards along the way. I’m currently on SS 7 and have found some of the SS to be very dry and full of fluff. After I finish reading and taking notes from the CR I will go through Schweser’s notes and finish with about 1 month to review. As I go through the notes I will be actively reading by highlighting and taking notes in the book; anything to keep me from falling asleep while studying. I will also work the original problems that correspond to the SS I’m currently working on. As many will agree, reading the material isn’t nearly as important as working the original problems and examples, taking tests, and reviewing notes/cards. I also plan on attending Schweser’s Dallas 5-day seminar as I thought it helped me with level II. My goal is to come to the point where I can thoroughly explain and make connections with all the material, as if the information is on the tip of my tongue. I know everyone has their own method of studying and some may even successfully pass the exam with minimal effort, however, I simply wish to help motivate and encourage those who also feel like it will be a relief and great accomplishment to be done with the CFA program. I wish everyone success and hope that you all will strictly adhere to your schedules and do what you must to pass this exam. Good luck!

Thanks for the post Bryant. I really needed this …I started 2 weeks back but I have to be more serious in sticking to my schedule. BTW what do you mean by CR I ? We have books 6 volumes of books from CFAI right ?

I’m happy to help! I actually should have put a comma in between CR and I…sorry for the confusion.

I am starting this weekend. I am going to read as much of the CFAI material as I can so I need more time this go around. I am 2 for 2 and want this to be over next year. My reliance on Schweser predominantly almost cost me a passing grade…not going to let it be an option this year

I’m preparing for Level I in June 08 but bryant, thanks for the encouraging words. These are needed for all levels of this test. I’m tired of talking to people at work who just want to skate by on Level I. They seem to be doing as little as possible to keep from working to hard. Even though this is the first level for me, I’m studying as hard and as much as I can. There’s so much information and in order for me to ensure I have 90-95% of the material mastered by June, I’m putting in some serious hours. I look forward to being able to obtain the status all of you have reached. Be blessed and keep the encouraging words coming.

Starting early, I believe, is definitely a way to go. In fact, I started reading sample notes on the way home after L2 exam last year. Of course, I had a few obstacles to consider…like English as 2nd language, having 4 yr old kid, and late 30s not-so-fresh brain. Heck, I have never been known for intelligence, either. But really, 30 minutes while commuting, 15 minutes at lunch, and 10 minutes bed time reading would be a good start. Those minutes add up and can make a difference. Good luck, guys.

i did 650 hours for LI! bu this stuff was completely new at that time!

Wb bryant. Good job on the encouragement, but I’ve got to warn you about that “full of fluff” thing. CFAI takes that full of fluff stuff really seriously and those hand-wavy imprecise things show up on the exam requiring exact answers. If you check out the posts last year after the pretty devastating pass rate, most of the people (even those who passed) did very poorly on the exam section which was full of fluffy questions. People walked out of that thinking there was no content and then got straight < 50’s. It’s really deceptive and much harder than it seems.

I’m reading the material and there is ALOT of reading it seems compared to the other levels. I mean you hit a reading that’s over 100 pages several times, others that are 50 -60, so there are few shorter ones. Thus far I found the Fixed Income stuff probably the most interesting, equity was ok, but corporate governance (60 Pages and yes CG, AGAIN!!) killed it for me. So far there were only two real parts that required some more extensive calculations so I’m expected to be hammered by ambiguous, subjective and theory based questions. A colleague at work (Lvl 3 Candi.) and I were talking and talking about how L3 isn’t hard and to take off on what Bryant said consider this, recently an average of about 40% people pass level 1 and 2. Thinking they may go 2 for two or just have to retake and write again, you are left with (0.4 * 2) * 0.4 passers (two level 1 streams, decemebr and June and the level 2 passers) the or only approx. 32% of the people (numberwise) who sat in that original hall to take Level 1 are possibly going to write L3. In otherwords, 68% of the people who were in that original exam batch are not there, numerically. Given a 50% passrate, your left with 16%, numerically are getting through. If you were as lucky as Bryant or myself to get through 2 for 2, I wouldn’t count my chickens before they are hatched. L3 seems challenging in it’s scope and content and the demands that are put on us. Having said that you’ve gotten this far. Your downfall now is going to be: 1) Not preparing enough. 2) Not getting a grasp of what is needed by fault or sloth. 3) Failing to get a grasp on the “big picture”. If you pay close attention to what is needed, the problems, the scope and the material and study, you should be OK. If you are not flip a coin and hope it lands on heads.

LIII can kill you. I skated through LI and LII with minimal prep (under 100 hours combined, about 75% CFAI readings and 25% questions and old Schweser). I’m 0-3 with LIII using same method (yeah, I know, I’m an idiot for not figuring out that wasn’t going to work, but job does not make finding time easy, and I have six kids - yeah, not a typo - also sucks because quant was my best section, and it’s gone …) This year, I’m starting now, and doing just CFAI and problems and online tests for now. May supplement with Schweser, but I’m awfully close already (all three times btw. 55-60% using 40-60-80).

It’s certainly not going to be a walk in the park.

Is it required to read the CFAI material? I have gone through one of the books Schweser sent me (two study sessions in PM) and compared it to the CFA material!!. There is a HUGE difference, I find reading Schweser material easy to read and to the point and I am unable to concentrate on the CFA material, i does not look like a book to me but a cut and paste of many material put together and is lacking coherence. Do we HAVE to read the CFA material to get through? Or is reading Schweser notes enough with some supplementing from CFA material… P.S I don’t think I can complete the preparation in time if I start reading CFAI material instead of Schweser…

You are not REQUIRED to read CFAI material and I’m sure there are people here that have passed just with Schweser. But reading it will give you a better chance at passing. Level 3 is a very qualititave exam. So in order to do well you need to know the material well. There are a lot of nuancess with regards to Behaviour finance, IPS for both institutional and individual investor so the more you read the better you understand the material. If you don’t have time to read the CFAI material at least make sure you do all the end of chapter questions.