What to expect

I am a Level 2 Candidate awaiting results.

I was just curious of what Level 3 feels like.

Could some one provide some insight?

Much less content to memorize. Much more about private wealth managment/individuals’ money management. If you can get used to written answers you should be good.

What are the criteria for answering the essay questions?

Do they look at any specific set of attributes in an answer?

Is this disclosed by CFA Institute?

you will get the hang of it don’t worry about that at this stage. Come back mid August, because

a) there is a good chance you failed, as most do at level 2, and then there is really no point in thinking about L3;

b) this forum is still frequented by many, including myself, that might think they have a good chance at passing while actually they did miserably. you might be sent in the direction of failure.

If you absolutely want to know about what the AM portion looks like, then look online for past CFA papers. That might be a good start, as these papers should be prime practice material and they come with model answers which give you an idea of what the institute might be looking for.

Good luck.

I am not confident about the Level 2 results. I have a strong feeling that I wont pass. Dont have the same confidence like Level 1. I just wanted to see what it felt like in Level 3. I made a big mistake of not doing the same thing for Level 2. I couldn’t identify the difficult areas and the exam difficulty in the beginning and that affected my preparations for the worse. Hopefully, if I pass I don’t want to repeat the same mistakes in Level 3

Level 3 *feels* like warm Apple Pie…

Totally agreed with answer a – wait until you get your grades first.

Even failers can help provide you with introductory information. Additionally, these notes are pretty good for preliminary info. Also, as discussed above, the CFA puts out AM exams.

They aren’t really essay questions… They are short written answers (very short, brief bullet points). Oftentimes, the questions that require maths/formulae will be the same process as you would do with multiple choice anyway - solving equations. People on here say that the ‘essay’ (bullet points) section is about damage control and you need to ace the multiple choice section to make up for it. I disagree - some, like myself, find the essay section easier and more enjoyable than the multiple choice - I typically scored higher in the essay section in mocks (marked by third party grader - Kaplan, not myself)

I would say that lvl 3 has way less content, but for some sections it really pays off to have learned your stuff in prior levels, that way you can focus on the new stuff, which is what someone else already mentioned here, wealth management, portfolio managemet, etc.

I found lvl 1 and 2 were more about labor, whereas lvl 3 was slightly more cerebral.

I can’t imagine looking forward without knowing my previous exam results. Even after passing L2, I had no idea what the L3 exam looked like until January of this year. I thought the AM was straight essay in little blue booklets. So that was a nice surprise.

Until exam day and the AM was still wicked hard anyway lol.

I can understand what you feel.

The main reason I asked this question here is to get a feel of the problems rather than studying in a way which is not effective.

I made that mistake for Level 2. I just want to get myself prepared mentally at least.

I am not sure about passing Level 2 but if I fail twice I would really consider my ability to continue with the programme.

That is another reason for putting this post up here.

Thanks for the advice guys smiley

just quit now… its too much stress and not worth it

it was stressful no doubt. But I wouldnt quit because of that.

The difference between someone who passes L2 vs someone who hasn’t is that you know you will eventually pass L3 and its just a matter of hard work and a bit of luck. But there are many L2 candidates that will never be able to climb to this level, simply because they arent cut for this. L2 was a two step approach for me as the first one was a half ass band 7. For the second attempt I studied much harder and ended up passing very comfortably. Had I failed it again and with the efforts that I had put in, I would have given this up altogether.

My first shot at L3 left me feeling like it could go both ways; even though I studied quite hard. But I know what I will have to do different, if I end up failing and I will come back every single year until I nail it. I know how hard I need to work in order to earn the charter. A Level 1 passer doesn’t know that yet imo.


Why don’t you use the CFA Level 3 candidate tag name? Just wonder that.

great, now i don’t just have to worry about my result, but also if whether i’m cut for this or not frown. Nice …

yes, this is how I feel. I dont want to pursue it if I keep failing. I managed to clear Level 1 on my first attempt and I worked hard for it.

I worked hard for Level 2 as well. A lot more harder than I did for Level 1. If I fail now, I will reassess everything and see where I have done poorly.

If I fail twice, I really dont know if I can do it any better. So, I just want to make a reasonable attempt at understanding what lies on the other side of Level 2. If I quit the program, I just to make sure that I make an informed decision without having any regrets.

Just a quick heads up, you’re probably not going to receive a great deal of empathy on AF. And it makes economic sense: the charter’s value is its exclusivity. Encouraging you to continue is in direct conflict to its value.

I wish you luck, because I feel (at this moment!) the CFA needs more charterholders to spread the word about its value. But I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority. My broader point is don’t expect an outpouring of support.

I would say there are 3 main differences between level III vs level II (and level I)

  1. How you answer questions becomes more important, with multiple choice basically if you know your stuff you are good, but with the time pressure short answer you need to make sure it’s structured well.

  2. There is more uncertainty, many of the questions will be less straight forward and you may feel you know a subject very well and still be unsure of an answer. In addition the mocks will have to be self graded, so you can’t really be sure if you are getting the score you think you are (again compared to the easy to grade multiple choice tests).

  3. Burnout, for me (and most people I talked to) by the end of level III I was kinda “done” with the CFA tests, more so than at level I or II. It’s like that scene in shawshank redemption when Morgan Freeman doesn’t care if they let him out or not, “whatever CFAI, pass me, fail me, just stop wasting my time”. Imo this is due not only to it being the end of the process but also the uncertainty in level III, but other people I’m sure will disagree.

Wow, i didnt think of it in that sense. Thanks for that piece of advice.