# single biggest obstacle?

mine is derivatives. gips would be second, but i can power through that w/ memorization. i simply just can’t comprehend the entire derivatives section very well. at LII, i tried to understand the main points and pretty much punted on all the calcs. i passed LII w/ no problem and i’m hoping to get the same results at LIII. might not be the best plan, but i think i’m better served by really understanding the other 90% of the material than spinning my wheels in derivatives.

BayArea Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > mine is derivatives. gips would be second, but i > can power through that w/ memorization. i simply > just can’t comprehend the entire derivatives > section very well. at LII, i tried to understand > the main points and pretty much punted on all the > calcs. i passed LII w/ no problem and i’m hoping > to get the same results at LIII. might not be the > best plan, but i think i’m better served by really > understanding the other 90% of the material than > spinning my wheels in derivatives. True that. One subject I can never contribute on AF.

Same here…

the currency stuff is pretty nasty or maybe its just time-consuming. I’ve pushed it to the end at this point.

the risk/reward is not there for me… I spent endless time on level II trying to get that swap shit down and I still ended up having a blank stare at half the deriv problems on L II and just guessing. I am focusing on the conceptuals, and spending no excess time on the derivatives. Derivatives section is just obnoxious

markCFAIL Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > the risk/reward is not there for me… I spent > endless time on level II trying to get that swap > shit down and I still ended up having a blank > stare at half the deriv problems on L II and just > guessing. I am focusing on the conceptuals, and > spending no excess time on the derivatives. > > Derivatives section is just obnoxious For LII, I spent an entire week solely on Derivs. I’d approach it like how you practiced math back in HS/college. Once you do enough problems, it will becomes fairly easy. Just memorize the specific procedures and calculations. Its one of the few sections requiring little, if any subjectivity. Meaning once you get the process down, its basically free points.

Still haven’t gotten to derivatives yet. How would you compare it to LII so I know what I’m up against?

i think derivatives are easier at Lv 3. not as much information (not much is new either) and no long calculations like we had at Lv 2. and the EOC questions arent that difficult compared to those in Lv 2

Derivatives are prob not going to be the hardest part on the exam. They will prob show up in the afternoon section, so multiple choice. I am mostly scared of the short essay questions because there is no formula and the material is highly customized by the CFAI. A lot of grey areas.

Derivatives at LII was difficult, and I can see that they would also be difficult in LIII if you never had a strong grasp on the level II stuff. I would have been in that same boat had I passed Level II the first time. However, going back over the material in LII I spent much more time actually leraning the principles behind the equations, ie what each equation was actually calculating. When you break down the level II eqations that way it starts to make more sense and you find that level III is pretty easy at that point. If you don’t understand what LIII is getting at after studying for some time (and you want to understand it) I would go back to the equtions in level II and break those down into forms that are understandable to you. try to find out what those equations are really telling you, then you’ll have an easier time in level III. Just my opinion.

L3 contains too much memory. I am bad in memory work. I prefer maths like derivatives.

I don’t like “pure memory” like some provisions & effective dates in GIPS. I don’t understand why we shall memorize those matters for the exam. I don’t think most candidates/charterholder or even CFAI staff/top management can keep those in their brains.

bell99 Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > L3 contains too much memory. I am bad in memory > work. I prefer maths like derivatives. I disagree, it seems at L3 you’re focusing more on the big concept and the linkages between the different study sessions. I don’t think memorizing will help you formulate an IPS for an 80 year old widow that wants to bequest all her assets to a grandchild.

guys regarding derivatives the questions will most probably be like the examples in the curriculum…i.e the swaps examples (converting floating to fixed or changing duration of bond portfolio) just know those example from the curriculum and i think it will be enough… am a retaker and last year i didnt look those at all cause i was thinking that am not going to find them anyway in the exam but its easy points when you just know one calculation…most of the times its literally a very simple calculation,especially scare stuff like interest rate options and swaps… regarding GIPS they will not ask about the dates…its not the important stuff,i will personally focus on disclosures,return methods (DIETZ,TWRR) their adv/disadv and some real estate and pe GIPS…dont worry so much for stuff like before 2001 or after 2001 but before 2008 questions will probably not ask anything about dates… imho

As a retaker, what parts of the exam surprised you (in negative way) the most? Meaning you though were not going to be on the exam but they actually were.

the tax question in the first question,the economics one and the fixed income one…i remember that most of the guys in my exam room were not able to answer these three…you really cannot answer them and get even half the points by just reading schweser,its impossible…thats the risk you take when you dont go through the curriculum…and the irony is that it can be a very simple question for a candidate that has just flipped through the curriculum pages. but then again who knows…this year am reading curriculum for big subjects but not going to bother with econ,asset allocation or monitoring/rebal…really not worth studying 300 pages for 5% of the exam though i mentioned derivatives cause if you spend the time and lets say you dedicate a week reading the curriculum and the examples in their books you will not miss a single question…but on econ cause its more subjective you are still likely to miss it… I mean come on who studies the economic indicators!!!

Thank you so much for your input. I have always studied the CFAI books and looked over Schweser for parts that were unclear or too wordy. That has worked out well for me in the past two exams. I have not looked at past exams yet as I am still in the process of reading everything for the second time.