Wiley vs Kaplan; Insight Appreciated Here

Does anyone have experience using both Wiley and Kaplan study materials? I used Kaplan’s online lectures and qbank for level I. I wasn’t too overly impressed with their materials but passed LI so I guess it helped. This year, Kaplan is only allowing a purchase of a complete package, of which I think is over priced at over $1,000. I’ve heard some decent things about Wiley and it is much more reasonably priced and can be purchased in components. As such, I am interested in purchasing the online lectures and qbank. Any fellow insights will be much appreciated, thank you!

Same boat, would also appreicate any thoughts…

Wiley provides very detailed and more comprehensive lectures compared to Schweser, I got last year’s Schweser videos and there is no way u can understand the concepts using them. Their guy (Andrew Holmes) although he is funny somehow, he is always in a rush, he speaks too fast and the lecture for each reading is quite short compared to Wiley’s.

Wiley provides detailed lectures up to 4 or 5 hours for each reading and the 2 guys explain well the concepts in details, I do recommend their on line lectures, however I must say that there is still about 15 readings not available yet although they say there were to be ready by December, another thing, their on line customer service is the worst, hope this helps…

I used Elan last year, loved their material. Delivery schedule sucks though.

Used Schweser this year because of the delivery fears and regret it. Went back to the curiculum because Schweser is too watered down. Will probably order the Wiley notes when they become available because they are significantly better imo. They follow the curiculum much closer and give much more detailed examples and explanations, especially in accounting which is one of my weakest areas. To me it’s not even close.

As far as the videos, I never found either of much use, but again would give the edge to Wiley. Much better to just work the examples and problems. Videos just eat up too much time

Thank you for your input. Went the route of using Wiley for level II.

You can buy schweser notes dude (5 books + 3 practice exams)

I’ve used both. I highly recommend Schweser amd highly highly recommend not using Wiley. Their customer service was terrible and it was so bad it impacted my studies. I’m talking about phone calls never returned, emailing them every 2 days for weeks without responses, materials late and unavailable, etc. To be fair Wiley’s content was good but the service was unbelievably bad. I Knew Wiley got a bad wrap going into it but I made a decision to use them because I really like Olinto. I didn’t expect it to be as bad as it was.

To those commenting on Wiley’s customer service — we dropped the ball last April/May in the transition from Elan support to Wiley. By June our new support team was live, and although we had some issues with supporting the Elan product (for example with the technology used to encrypt the streaming video files), the phones were being answered.

The phone number issue referenced was from the old Elan “answering service” model, in which customers left messages on a cloud-based voicemail system. For a period of a few weeks, those were not answered, and we apologize for that — it was not up to our standards and we saw in many comments how frustrating it was. In fact it was your comments that alerted us to the issue – but not in time to avoid the headaches caused to many callers.

Since June 2014 Wiley has had a team of reps in the United States (at our office in Sedona, Arizona) who provide live support weekdays from 9 am to 9 pm Eastern Time and Saturday 10 am to 8 pm Eastern Time. We also answer questions via live chat (there’s a link at the top of site) and via email. We are considering adding hours to help cover the many CFA candidates who live outside North American time zones.

So . . . we would like to know if anyone has had more recent issues. Again, we apologize for what happened last spring.

The Wiley customer service might not be as good as Schweser but as far as the notes go I find the Elan notes to be much better than Schweser. I’m a retaker so I guess I am looking at it from a new angle compared to when I learned the material for the first ime but I’m getting alot more out of the Elan notes and videos than I did Schweser. I felt like Schweser was good to give you a solid base of the main concepts but it didn’t dive deep enough into some of the smaller topics which were ultimately tested on the exam. I haven’t had a chance to get into the Elan practice questions yet but I’m hoping to see that they are at exam level difficulty in comparison to the Schweser end of chapter questions which are way too basic and not a realistic view of exam difficulty.

Wiley all the way…!!! Olinto rocks lol! Their study notes are also more closely tied into the CFA curriculum and I feel they provide more comprenhensive examples.

Peter Olinto is an awesome instructor.


Wiley is much better than Schweser for level 2, too bad they dont have anything for level 3 at the moment.

Note: Elan questions are good practice to understand the concept, but they dont have any Vignettes (at least I didnt see any last year). I would ditch Schweser or Elan for level 2, practice all Elan questions to master the concept and then work on as many exams as possible

I used Elan notes and videos and thought they were really really awesome. I noticed nowhere near as much errata as the people on here that used Schweser and fewer people seemed confused from the material.

I would recomend the Secret Sauce and the practice tests since they have 6 vs. Elan’s 2.

Did anyone ever use Elan videos with Schweser notes? Do you need matching notes to go with videos? I didn’t use vidoes for level 1 so I have no idea


Definately need the notes for the lecture videos for Elan…2 out of 3 of the instructors just read straight from the notes 80 percent of the time and then give other small explanations. They also go through the examples from their notes in the video.

i have brought the Wiley Practice book … for a lot of readings it says that the material will be available in February … i m pretty bad with technology … can someone please tell me will my vital book shelf automatically update it … or will i get an email to re-download it … i really need to start practice …

also i need to know when is there mock exam books available… any idea?..

Hi Hina naz, it will be automatically updated as long as you’re connected to wifi /mobile data.

However it will take more minutes (depend on your wifi connection) to open the vital sources rather than usual due to this update.

The Wiley/Elan videos aren’t loading past Reading 25 on the iPad at the moment though and they haven’t given an ETA on when it could be fixed.

That aside, their videos are actually a lot better and I actually understand Quant now versus when I took L2 the first time and just decided to wing that chapter(and a few others) thanks to Schweser. This eventually came back to bite me in the ass (band 10). I’m not blaming Schweser but their dedication to certain sections in their videos was pathetic and very rushed.

With hindsight, I would have not used their videos or notes for tricky topics. When I look back at the amount of time spent watching their videos and then reading their notes over and over, and still discovering gaps in my knowledge, I feel it wasn’t worth it. This might be because of MY level of intelligence or my approach because I’m sure many others used Schweser and passed but whatever, this is just my opinion. Also, the ‘concept checkers’ at the back of the book were also not up to par in L2 although I liked them in L1.

IMO, the key difference between Wiley/Elan and Schweser is that Schweser views the videos as little highlights, while Wiley/Elan view it as a lecture. For that reason, they make sure you understand the reason for a certain concept and also give real world applications so you get a good picture. My view of this might be different because some of the topics are still in my mind so I’m not approaching the material ‘fresh’ so its really up to you to decide.

My current method is Elan videos + CFAI curriculm + CFAI questions + Elan questions. PS - The CFAI curriculem is actually shorter and less verbose than we have been led to believe. The material is actually good and their examples too.

Now Wiley/Elan needs to get all them videos working on the iPad ASAP.

Rant over

THIS. Can’t stress this enough. Even just skimming the CFAI curriculum will help tremendously and fill in tons of gaps from any notes.

I don’t like video lectures and my preparation should only be based on reading materials. Would you prefer Wiley or Schweser?

For L1 I liked the Schweser material, because it was very focused (hope I passed Level 1 :)). Now I’m not quite sure which material I should buy