Re-takers Strategy

Just curious what other level 3 re-takers are planning as far as strategy.

When do you plan to start studying again? What material do you plan on using?

I plan to start in late fall (the wound of failing hasn’t quite healed) - will likely move away from schweser and stick to the CFAI material to start, supplement with schweser on areas where I need clarification.

Any Re-takers who passed the 2016, what did you change in your approach (if anything)?

  1. Practiced CFAI topic based tests ,after doing every single EOC and Blue Box again-learnt everything in detail,after the tests.

Anything else I got my hands on was game as well,but probably not as productive.

Had 1 area 51-70 range(I still don’t know what went wrong in that item set!!),all else >70%.

Timing will likely not be an issue for this part of exam.

2.AM mocks-went for as many as possible-again except for the last 3 sets that i

practiced for timing,emphasis was on learning the way the concepts are tested,esp IPM,reviewing

CFAI guideline answers,and figuring out how can i write my answers in the time

I had(after reading the vignette,and formulating what I will eventually write)----without missing

out on what MUST be written.Used broken sentences,and symbols

did write working fromulae (did not explain the symbol meanings-used CFAI notation).

3.Read entire curriculum quickly(I know that’s boring for a retaker),one last time,in the last three weeks

leading upto the exam-either through my own notes/or the underlined pritions of the curriculum.

Third Party SUMMARIES,may save time,but at times omit what is critical for you,and for the exam.

Notes were not just readings summary,they also included learnings from EOC and blue boxes

4.After AM session,tried not to bother about it.Went for PM with a clear head,as a different,equally weighted exam.

I know that’s easier said than done.But i tried my best.And succeeded

Looking back,the changes were.

  • Exclusive emphasis on CFAI material
  • Focus on learning rather than timing in PM
  • Focus on timing AND learning in AM
  • NOT IGNORING PM in the last week before exam-

I found scoring above 80% in PM much easier than scoring above 65% in AM and

weight of the two parts of the exam are the same .On my first,attempt,I overemphasized AM

.Not a good strategy BEYOND A POINT.

Thanks for the insight - did you use CFAI in your first attempt??

When did you start studying second time over?

Right now I am just reading the one changed reading in the 2017 CFAI (very little change year over year which should help)

1.I used CFAI last year as well.But kinda ignored the item set part in the last week.The incremental benefit in the last week

from practicing more AM sets could not outweigh the possible benefit of having a balanced approach(possibly slight tilt towards PM!)

and review of lists/summaries.

2.I started in early April,reviewing my notes(including learnings from EOC questions/Blue Boxes) quickly,from last year, while commuting to office(2 hours every day)

On retake,focus more on practicing questions.Your readings will be enforced anyway.So practice,and read,not read and practice,unlike first time.It will be effective,and less boring!

Was on leave for 18 days in May-June to make up for short fall and to practice AMs and Item sets.

It paid off.Was confident of passing,coming out of the exam.

3.Yes .Finishing the new reading is right thing to do,to get started.After you can start drilling down ,what you already know.

*“After that”,for After,last line

I was a Band 6 fail in 2014 and a Band 9 Fail in 2015, passing in 2016. I sulked a long time after my second fail. I missed the early bird registration because I was so mad costing myself a couple hundred bucks, finally forcing myself to order materials by December. As in the the prior year, I went to the in-person weekly Schweser review and felt like there was a lot missing and the teaching was much weaker than in year’s past. As a result, I signed up for the LevelUp bootcamp in Omaha in May, switched exclusively to CFAI materials from Schweser and drove home blue boxes, old exams, and EOC questions. I started timing essay questions, shortening time allowed to work on speed. I did all of the mock afternoon questions available on the CFA website. Oh and when grading yourself on the morning, do not be lenient. While there are some people that say they scored better than they thought they would in the morning, my experience is that grading seems to favor the house on AM sessions.