To those who have attempted level 3 before (passed it or not), which topic did you think was the most difficult/technical? If you failed L3 before, which topic probably caused it?

Fixed income far and away. Though equity was sneaky difficult - kind of like it should have been easier than it was or maybe I just made it harder than it needed to be.

Thanks for the insights! I’ve heard a couple of times that FI is challenging at L3, so it is a good idea to get it out of the way early on and to practice it quite often. I’ve always found equity sneaky, in the sense that it seems easy, no technical concepts, but somehow you get tricked on questions!

FI here, as well. It used to be my best subject in L1-L2. I think I totally botched a couple of FI questions. Caused me to get below 50% on that topic.

I agree with them. For me it was also FI.

Asset Allocation, Equity and some bit of Private Wealth. FI is fun apart from the curve trades from Yield Curve Strategies.

I failed because of Ethics (far less than 10 percentile).

AI, RM, Der., Equity, Trading, Monitoring & Reb., Performance evaluation and GIPS > All very close to or at 70% line.

Beh. Finance, Private &Inst. PM, Eco. & AA > Between 50% and 70%.

FI > less than 50%

Ethics > way less than 10 percentile.

Overall result is very close to MPS. May be band 9 or 10.

I think, even i would have got 50% in ethics i could have chance to pass. After so much of practice of ethics, i got at least 60-70% in mocks consistently. i though 50% was reasonable to achieve in ethics. But now, can even think what went wrong, may i filled in wrong bubbles or could be scanning mistake, cannot get my head around. I am debating whether to request for retab. before i register or just accept that i have failed and move on with preparing for next year.

Fixed Income’s fun.

I heard that Chalk & Board has some excellent Fixed Income videos for Level III.


For a minute there, I thought you were CEO 10k :smiley:

That’s the spirit! I like the members who build others up, I hate those who put others down!

Sometimes ethics can be very tricky! I doubt that there was an error, maybe you just didn’t get them. Believe me when I say that because I am someone whose always found the ethics section to be one of the easiest ones, I’ve always loved it and did very well at it, I’d get the tricky questions and wonder why others are debating the question, yet somehow I ended up getting it below 50, and I am sure that there are others with same story. I don’t think it is likely that the institute is making so many errors around or that we’ve all filled the wrong bubbles… chances are that somehow you didn’t see through the tricks. I say register for the exam again, you will probably make it in 2020/

Wrong side of the camera.

For me it was Fixed Income as well. Equity and Behavioral finance were also pretty tough for me.

I started with the first two readings in FI, I think they are fine, nothing too complicated so far. I agree, even though I still haven’t explored the rest of the topics, I could tell that I will probably find something like currency management challenging. Let’s see.

Behavioral finance seems very interesting to me, plus I think it is mostly theory which is something I am good at, I wonder if I will find it difficult too!

Thanks ! there is no look back now… i believe i had my few weeks of off already now slowly getting back to study.

Thanks ! i agree ethics can be very tricky and unexpected correct/incorrect answers even after a few rounds of practice but getting below 10 percentile (which apparently is only reason for my fail) makes me feel out of multiple topics even one topic, if not done properly, can change result.

I failed this year, but my ethics is 90 percentile. I think the key to master the ethics is read the ethics last month and do all the EOD question to get the feeling of the right answer. With GIPS included ethics section, I guess there will be one vignette for ethics and one for GIPS next year.

The thing with behavioral finance and the different behavioral biases is that the descriptions are often a little ambigious.

As a topic overall, I agree with the majority that FI is the heaviest since it is both mathematical/technical and conceptual while making up a large portion of the exam.

Performance Evaluation/Attribution is also heavy on the formula/technical stuff but only a small part of the test so difficult to prepare with confidence in my opinion. Thinking about a calculation involving implementation shortfall components showing up on the test… still gives me a touch of anxiety.

I also thought Alternatives in LIII is also deceivingly difficult on a more conceptual level. There are so many types of Alternatives, with some that are explained into quite of a bit of detail (hedge fund strategies, qualities of a good HF benchmark) but the whole topic is crammed into one small fraction of the test, making testing well in it difficult.

Behavioral Finance is also very conceptual, but a lot requires just rote memorization. The issue is there are just so many definitions flying around it seems insurmountable at first glance, but the LOSERS mnemonic makes categorizing it in your head easier between cognitive and emotional. Need to dedicate some time to just memorizing the definitions. If you practice writing that graph that plots emotional or cognitive on the X, and level of wealth on the Y, and remembering which quadrants are moderate or adapt and how much deviation from asset allocation is suggested, you should be able to tackle most behavioral finance questions as long as you have memorized the definitions.