I’ve now gone through Book 4 and a few readings in Book 5. All the readings seem to be a repetition of L2 and I’m thinking to myself "is this really it?’’.
How would you compare Books 4&5’s difficulty to the rest of the books? Are they a fair presentation of Level 3 difficulty or are the concepts in the other books (Econ, Derivatives etc) much more difficult?
The challenge with L3 is not the material at all…it’s the test itself.
Morning session: crap shoot; Ethics: crap shoot. The only thing you really have control of is the afternoon…and you must be prepared to get 80 +% on afternoon if want to pass. On L1 and L2, 70% will suffice on the multiple choice, not so on L3. 80% must be your goal.
This gist of it is that all 3 exams are essentially graded on a curve. And in L3, every single candidate is smart, pot committed to getting their charter, and knows finance.
passing L3 is difficult…but the material is not. Only solution is study your *** off and hope for a little live on exam day.
I have noticed the same thing. I struggled waaaaay more when studying for lvl1 and lvl2.
I’m halfway through my second book and I keep thinking to myself “can it be this easy…am I missing something”. Even most of the EOC questions are…if not easy, then manageable. If I continue at this speed, I’ll be done with most of the material in January which is about 3 months ahead of schedule for me. Well, at least I’ll have a plenty of time to review
The material for Level 3 is probably the easiest of the 3 levels in terms of difficulty, especially if you’re like me and find memorizing atrocious (I’m looking at you FRA!). As far as learning goes, the real goal at Level 3 should be about synthesizing the material. Effectively they’re trying to teach you how to think like an advisor. That means when a client sits down and describes their situation, you need to understand what their goals are, how to achieve those goals, what risks that client faces, what they can do to address those risks, what is their tolerance for those risks…That’s a degree of depth that isn’t touched by Levels 1 and 2.
So each individual piece is very easy, but you should be learning with the expectation that you’ll need to know how they work together. Granted, a lot of exam takers aren’t great at this, which is why candidates often talk about doing damage control in the AM half of the exam (where this aspect is primarily tested). I never really bought into this, and I gave the AM half a lot of attention during studying because while it’s true you have more variance in terms of the content (whereas in PM you have a much better idea of what questions they will ask), it’s also true that you have way more control over the answers you give, which is a unique opportunity to demonstrate knowledge that Levels 1/2 and Level 3 PM don’t offer you.
This is not to say that Level 3 AM isn’t hard, because it most definitely is the hardest exam section of any of the 3 levels. But I just think that as you’re learning you should be thinking in terms of how things come together so that when you’re studying for AM you can make it into a weapon, and not damage control. That takes a lot of pressure off the PM half.
Just be cautious. The material can lull you to sleep in terms of its difficulty because you’re not going to have as many “wtf?” moments as you did in level 2 reading. When you start going back and reviewing you start realizing how much is there that you need to know back-to-front and it becomes sort of scary. Just be cognizant of that while you prepare.
I agree with everyone else. L3 really makes you lean and sharp in terms of reading and using their language from the curriculum on the AM. That’s why so many candidates do poorly on the AM and it’s not because they don’t know the material but that they didn’t present the information in the way that CFAI wants them to present it.
It’s rather confusing because you really have to condense the CFAI solutions (BB, EOC) and be able to put it in our own words with the same “flavor” (aka keywords) as the curriculum which proves to them that you put in the time and effort and didn’t just use another pre-provider. Although there are prep-providers now that are teaching from the actual curriculum to circumvent in this little phenonmen.
The level 3 readings are incredibly repetitive. It can be hard to not skim because the same information, sometimes the exact same words, get repeated. However, if you read some old exam questions first, it gives you a feel for how they might ask questions from the material. I found that helpful to keep me focused while reading.
I looked at book 4 & 5 and saw them as an opportunity to score full marks. As the answer to questions coming from initial books can be a little subjective, I wasn’t sure whether I can bank on them to pass the exam.
Also in morning exam, questions from book 4 & 5 can help you gain time that you lost in questions from earlier books.
To CFA L3 aspirants, I would advice you all to practice the art of leaving questions so that you don’t end up not solving an easier one on the next page, this will definitely come handy in morning exams
I agree with this. I left one question (8 to 10 marks) after initial thinking as I knew it would take time to think it through and write the answer. I was very nervous about it as I did not get time to come back to that question. In fact I did not even find time to finish the paper and last question was half-complete, but in the end I had good score in morning session. Time I did not spend on that question must have helped me targeting other questions
I can’t prove what I’m about to say because I don’t have the data.
That said, my strong hunch is that a disproportionate number of L3 candidates are either portfolio managers or analysts. That gives them a leg up on the PM portion of the L3 test, esp. over those, including me, who are not PMs. When I passed L3 in 2006, I believe that the MPS (Minimum Passing Score) was notably higher than it was for either L1 or L2. And I believe that’s because relatively more PMs take L3 than take L2 and L1.
For those of you who have not obtained your charter, don’t give up. Being a member of the CFA Institute is a great honor, and the Institute rewards its members by exhibiting a high level of transparency, esp. compared to such organizations as the American Institute of CPAs. AICPA is opaque, which is why, even though I’ve been a CPA since 1992, I refuse to be a member. I hasten to add that the fact that AICPA is opaque is not because CPAs themselves are opaque. It is because AICPA top management is the most opaque and non-transparent cadre of senior people that I’ve seen in any organization anywhere on the planet.