The Best Way to Study for CFA Level 3

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If you can pass the CFA Level I and Level II exams, passing the CFA Level III is uncertain yet, since the level of difficulty of the exam at Level III is very hard. To pass the CFA Level III exam, you may need to achieve at least the MPS set by the CFA Institute Board of Governors. On average, the CFA Level III pass rate is approximately 56%.

Even though the CFA Level III exam is very difficult, you can still do your best to pass the CFA Level III exam. Through this post, we will show you some tips and tricks that we got from some sources. Of course, you can try to take the following tips and tricks to pass the CFA Level III exam. Here you go!

1)  Take advantage of CFA curriculum more and more

The first thing you can do is to take advantage of CFA Institute Curriculum materials that are highly useful for Level III candidates. Because of the conceptual nature of the exam, the CFA Institute curriculum will give you a flavor of the style of questions and how to answer them.

If you use third party materials, you can utilize the CFA curriculum materials selectively to complement your studies. You can try to do the ‘End-of-Chapter’ and ‘Blue Box’ questions once completing each reading. By doing this, it will give you an initial gauge of your understanding so far.

Aside from that, you can also pay attention to the curriculum materials to clarify any ambiguous areas, particularly for constructed-response practice questions or areas you select to make summary notes. You can also use the Curriculum for Ethics and GIPS to supplement your understanding as GIPS can be a pain.

2) Make sure to prepare your CFA exam Level III early

It’s highly recommended for you to start preparing for your CFA exam level III early. You can begin to prepare six-to-nine months before your CFA exam Level III starts. Throughout the time, you can not only study the materials, but you also have to be able to apply what you learned to scenarios on the exam.

3) Set your study time

At least, you have to plan to devote around 344 total hours to your Level III preparation. If that number seems daunting to you, you may need to consider spreading your studies across nine months instead of six.

Of course, you can only need to devote approximately one hour and 25 minutes each day to your Level III preparation. Make sure to prepare for longer periods on specific days to get yourself an occasional day off from studying.

Additionally, you have to be involved in 80-100 study sessions across your six to nine months preparing for the Level III CFA Exam. Keep in mind, if you were to only involve in 60 study sessions, you may have to average 6 hours per study session to meet the minimum suggestions of 344 total hours studying.

4) Understand the CFA exam Level III curriculum and weights

You should know that Level III is a computer-based exam, 4 hours and 24 minutes that is split into two equal sessions of 2 hours and 12 minutes with an optional break in between. For the first session, the CFA Level III exam consists of 8 to 11 vignettes followed by some questions which require a written response.

Of course, there will be several multiple-choice questions in this session. You may also find some numerical entry questions, in which only a number is required, with no opportunity to show work. Need to know the majority of the questions, even though it will be traditionally essays.

Here’s a list of topics covered with their exam weights:

  • Economics: 5–10%
  • Derivatives: 5–10%
  • Fixed Income: 15–20%
  • Equity Investments: 10–15%
  • Alternative Investments: 5–10%
  • Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning: 35–40%
  • Ethical and Professional Standards: 10–15%

5) Learn the CFA exam Level III question format

The format of questions on the CFA Level III exam is the big difference among all three exam levels. That is mostly all written, but there are also some multiple-choice questions in this session. You may be required to answer a multiple-choice question to choose the portfolio (A, B, or C) which meets a certain objective, followed by an essay question to justify that response.

The format falls into one of the two broad categories, including:

1) Calculation-based answer where the case will show all your working/ methods to ensure you earn all the points you can.

2)  Word-based answers where they are searching for specific answers to the questions.

Need to know, all the questions have different numbers of parts and of course each part will vary in length. The point of this format is to test your ability to apply and also use judgement and also follow a prescribed path.

6) Learn how to take the CFA Level III exam

There will be a difference between learning the material and learning how to take the exam. Of course, you should make sure to practice taking the exam in realistic simulated exam conditions in the last four weeks of studying.

If necessary, you can try to mock exams, since it offers realistic simulated exam conditions which will help you in your last weeks of studying. By doing this, you can train your brain to memorize that this is the kind of mistake which can be made.

7) Try to skip questions to maximize your score

If we talk about the importance of time management since level I, of course, you should hone this technique in level III.

  • For multiple-choice second paper, you may already know how to do this since it is the same as level III. Make sure to give yourself a set time per question to select a correct answer and circle the question and move onto the next.
  • For the constructed-response first paper, you have to learn to memorize when you are about to waste a bunch of time. Aside from that, you also have to achieve the end of the exam with reasonable time.

Okay, those are some tips and tricks you can try to complete the CFA Level III exam.

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