After I read Trimonious2’s post on how to pass CFA level III following my first failure on level III last year, it was my determination to write this post if I manage to pass in 2014. Here, I just want to highlight some more points on top of Trimonious2 post that might be useful for you guys.
Trimonious2’s post: http://www.analystforum.com/forums/cfa-forums/cfa-level-iii-forum/91314226
Recap on 2013 exam
To get to the point, I’m a re-taker from 2013 exam. I spent c.300 hours on studying mostly on Scheweser with some practices on EOC and mock exams. Why I failed last year? A very simple answer is I managed my time sooooo badly and left essentially 3-3.5 questions blanked. Leaving 3 questions blank can be a huge different on the exam day given your potentially full score can be ~70-80% at max. Also, my PM scores were not that great to fully offset a weak performance in the AM session. Needless to be told, I ended up at band 6, while all of my friends, who finished the AM session on time, passed the exam.
Update on 2014 exam
1) Focus more on CFA curriculum. As I said earlier, I used Scheweser for 2013 exam and I think the depth of knowledge it provides was not enough and/or not explained clearly in some topics. For 2014 exam, I gave most of my focus on CFA curriculum, especially on those areas Scheweser does not explicitly explain the logic behind. I extensively practiced the EOC questions and tried to shape my AM answers as close as to the curriculum. I personally think indv. & institutional investor questions in the curriculum provide different scenarios and more detailed analysis than what Scheweser did.
2) Practice under time constraint. In 2014, I practiced more on how to tackle the AM answers under time constraint. In the beginning, you don’t have to finish the whole AM questions in one go, but you just have to finish EACH question within the time required in the bracket. This also applies on the exam day. If you cannot finish the question in time, you HAVE TO MOVE FORWARD to the next. Otherwise, you will end up spending too much time on that particular question, and it will impact the following questions until you cannot finish it in time.
3) Use bullet points to shorten your answer. With the bullet points, it will automatically force you to write a short sentence to answer the question. One sub-question might require you to fill only couple of bullet points. Some of them can be answered only within one single sentence.
4) Write with “small” alphabets on the exam day. It may sound stupid, but it can definitely save your time. Writing small alphabets not only save your time to write the essays, but it consumes less energy to write for the long period. The bigger alphabets you write, the more energy it consumes and your hand will get fatigued quite easily (at least to me).
5) Skip those questions you cannot answer at a first glance. I got this trick from one of the seniors who just finished the program couple years ago. As AM session requires you to actively recall the knowledge, you need to know how to tackle the questions right after you see them. When I cannot answer it at the first glance, I skipped them and move forward to the next so that I can use my time efficiently on those questions I think I can nail it.
Hope this can help you a little bit. Good luck to you all!
PS. - Apology if my English is broken as it is not my mother language.
- Also I want to cheer those who did not pass this year exam, but trust me I know how you feel. It hurts for the first couple weeks, but I believe you all can definitely get through and kill this beast next year!!