Vital Mistakes..

What are some of the vital mistakes you’ve done which led to failing level 3?

Past experiences are appreciated…

thinking PM would be easy…

5 too many fingers of scotch the night before…thought it would relax the nerves



you people are freaking me out… It’s my first run at L3, but knowing the vast majority on here are repeats… makes me nervous

same here… I heard people wrote on certain papers which weren’t graded because they weren’t allowed to write on them … any ideas? … i mean this is my first time on this and i dont want to go through this again… totally damaging.

  1. too much time on a single question. You have to “let it go”. I would have passed if I wasn’t so ape-shit about one question

  2. knowing the AM format of the exam is vital. Some questions are to be answered in designated areas, others aren’t. It might sound elementary, but before you answer each question note where the answer is supposed to be written. Taking previous AM exams helps reinforce this.

I’m repeating. If I were to give myself advice I’d say do previous AM exams to become accustomed with the format and every CFAI PM mock exam plus every PM Schweser exam plus every CFAI book blue box question plus every CFAI IPS question.

I’ve done damn near everything mentioned and if that doesn’t work I’ll let you know in late August. Do as much CFAI stuff as possible though - straight from the horse’s ass. If I have to do it a 3rd time (God/Allah/Whoever you believe in - forbid I have to) I hope to not have to, I’d do 100% CFAI material. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, but that’s my feedback from somebody who has taken it before.


How did you prepare first time you’ve taken the exam?

Not well. I had a baby born a week prior and sucked at prep. This is my first “true” time at giving it a go. My first trial I more/less wrote notes and worked hardly any questions. This time I focused more on questions while writing notes about stuff I didn’t know. My test scores have improved dramatically. In the end it’s all about passing a test , not knowing stuff. That may sound contradictory, but it’s quite true. I work with a guy who doesn’t know sh*t but is great at passing exams. He’s on L3 but can’t remember L2 material. I’ll bet on him passing L3 this year solely because his short term memory is unreal and he’s amazing at taking exams. In the end, however, he won’t remember a thing. Not kidding one bit. He hardly remembers L1 stuff but will probably pass L3.

One more thing - I’ve focused more on CFAI stuff vs. Schweser. If I fail this year I’m going to rely 100% on CFAI material next year. I had the fortunate (or maybe unfortunate) opportunity to learn about Kaplan Schweser and their limited resources to prepare the notes and exams. It’s sad. I give credit to those guys, but 2 - max 3 - guys devoting their time to a single level and changes in curriculum isn’t enough. After their purchase of Stalla the effort has become less because they have a monopoly on CFA third party prep.

In essence, focus on CFAI material. It’s straight from the horse’s ass and likely similar to what you’ll see exam day. Do every prior AM exam available. Notice how Black Litterman and Res Eff Frontiers are noted on every prior exam. It’s crazy. Know that shit…along with other commonly tested stuff.

I just finished taking schweser vol 1 afternoon and i sucked at it … mid 50s. im completely dropping schweser cause its depressing me. Is it only me or do they use language harder than CFAI books? im sticking to CFAI EOC, CFAI mocks/samples, and blue boxes which will start working on right now. Got loads of studying coming my way these 3 weeks… i hope i make the best of it.

bizval, my goal in the next 3 weeks: do all AM sections from 07-11, the mock for 2012, all CFAI EOC and blue box questions within all the chapters, 3 days final review everything

Do you think this will be enough? Bec I don’t think I’ll have time for more


Man I did all and when i hit schweser, it was a disaster :confused: … this is frustrating… im dumping shweser for now. Or i’ll just read the answers of the exams and take notes of information or weak points I lack… who knows… better than leaving them untouched …

I have a similar plan iteracom. Are you doing it in the order you listed?

Always make sure to answer all the parts of each question, or at least be aware of all parts. Every year, it seems like there is at least 1 question that has several parts and CFAI puts the last part on a separate page. They are very easy to miss it happens to a lot of people.

Always answer the questions in the provided templates. If you have finished reading a question and the next page is blank, turn to the next page to make sure the template is not on the next page. I’ve read conflicting stories about whether or not the CFAI grades answers not in templates. Why take the chance?

yea that’s my order.

My vital mistake was not taking the time to thoroughly read each question. After reviewing last year’s morning session I found several problems where I missed all or a majority of the points because I did not read the question thoroughly. For instance in the asset allocation question about the advantages of the Black litteman, Monte Carlo and resampled EFF, I only listed advantages and didn’t tie them back to the situation presented in the vignette. 5 points down the drain. On the Fixed Income problem I didn’t notice that the data table columns were flipped. T0 was on the far right and T1 was on the far left. 7 points down the drain. There are several other examples as well. I knew the curriculum well, but because I didn’t slow down and catch little things like these I failed.