UpperMark or Schweser for Level 2– your tips

Hi all, I know that this subject has been already debated but could you please give your opinion about which material’s provider to use for level 2 (between UpperMark or Schweser) before making an order? 1. I used UpperMark for Level 1 and was quite happy with it. However the only concern I have for level 2 it’s their late delivery time what in fact can have a significant impact in studying program (given that Level 2 is more difficult that). For those who will retake the exam in Sept, will you stick with UpperMark or switch to Schweser? 2. For those of you who used UpperMark for Level 2 when exactly did you receive materials last/this year? Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb (beginning-mid-end)? Were you satisfied with the materials? 3. For those of you who used Schweser, did you have the same problem with the delay? 4. I have never used Schweser and been told that UpperMark seems to be more adapted to the real exam. Their Q-bank questions reflect more the reality than Schweser’s. Do you agree with it? Many thanks for your advice. PC

I used Schweser for all 3 CFA levels and it was ok. I used Uppermark for L1 CAIA and thought it did a fine job. Most people here tend to think Uppermark is better, but i cant say one way or the other. I would say though that: 1. Do get test bank as some of the questions seem tomatch almost exactly 2. Delay in UpperMark release for Mar 2010 was annoying but i dont expect it to be the cas for Sep 3. If either of the providers has Audio - i’d choose that provider. Saves a lot of time if you commute to work, plus its mechanical memory - and you’d need it based on some pureley definition questions i saw on my L2 past March My 2 cents - hope it helps

I used Uppermark but would advise against it. There was a huge delay in the materials. You got the last of the three books just a month before the exam period. People might think that that was due to the new curriculum but actually almost half of the material (by page count) was articles that had not changed. Yet it took Uppermark from September to January to produce the new material. I think the problem is that it is a one person company and not even a full-time at that. This means that you have a huge person risk. You can be sure that your payment is processed immediately but what if something similar or even worse happens than this March? That will ruin your preparation as I’m sure it did for many people this time. I have to say that the new CAIA books are a lot better for self studying (e.g. key words in bold, LOs in logical order). Hence, if I had to do L1 again I would not use any study notes at all. Level I is that easy. For L2, I would buy a question bank only (from any vendor). Actually that was basically what I did this time since Uppermark materials came so late that I had already studied the official books very well. In addition, L2 is a lot more difficult, requiring you to really master all the material. Hence, using a study guide will not make your studying any easier, i.e. you cannot shorten the text that much anyway. The official books seem to be written so that there is very little extra to what is required by LOs. I would definitely not take the risk with Uppermark the second time. What if they are suddenly out of business due to the failure in March 2010? For Schweser, the disadvantage is that they force you to buy the bundle what unnecessary components. In L1 materials, they seemed to have more calculations, though (I had an old version that I used along with Uppermark so I can make some comparison there. I did not notice any signicant difference in the texts).

Shootingstar, are you sure you had to buy the bundle? I remember for last September’s exam they didn’t have individual products listed. I wrote them an e-mail and they informed me that it was indeed possible to buy only the study notes a la carte. I think they purposely listed only bundles in hopes of candidates spending more money buying whole packages.

I used Uppermark and I would definitely recommend them. I got my first Level 2 book in mid-December - which was before Schweser sent out their material - so I was able to begin my studying earlier. Because their other books were shipped later, Uppermark gave us free access to their online course. The course was very helpful and I really appreciated this gesture. Both prep providers and CAIA said the curriculum changed a lot from the September exam, that’s why both companies shipped later than usual. Most people don’t expect this to happen for September 2010. I agree that the CAIA books have gotten more focused. But I would still use study books. The way they are organized saves me time. Also, seeing calculations written out and having the calculator keystrokes in the Uppermark books was really helpful – something the CAIA books lacked. I was also impressed with the Uppermark support. Whenever I had questions, their professors were quick to answer them via phone or email – even on a Sunday! Their IT staff was also very helpful with some firewall issues we had. Overall, I had a good experience with Uppermark and would recommend them to anyone preparing for the CAIA exam. Hope this helps with your decision making.

JaRvEy: my information about Schweser dates back to last May. That was when I e-mailed them and asked about the possibility to buy study notes only. They replied that it was not possible => I bought Uppermark’s study notes. In L2, I did not think about asking again so this may have changed.

Shootingstar: that’s so odd because i also made an inquiry at that time and they told me yes. They said it would cost $350 and i ended up going with Upppermark for $308. So i assume you’re a retaker as well. Good luck to you and all the other retakers!

No, I wasn’t a retaker. I passed L1 last September and purchased materials for that last May. I took L2 exam this spring. I checked my e-mail and it was actually at the beginning of June 2009 when Schweser replied that “study notes alone are not available for purchase”. But good for you that you managed to get them :wink:

Thks everyone for your feedback. Just one more question, how many manuals do UpperMark or Schweser provide for level 2? For Level 1 we had 2 books. Many thks, Peter

@peter199 Schweser’s website says L2 is 2 books which are topic notes and 1 book which includes 2 mock exams. You can go check it directly. Not sure about UpperMark.

For the March 10 session, Uppermark had 3 books covering the topic notes. You can print numerous mock exams using their software.