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Did you guys memrize a lot of stuff for L3?

trixtrix philippinesPosts: 9 Sr Associate
how much of the material did you guys memorize? Did it work for you? Is it necessary? (I suck at memorization)


  • Not sure about "working" as I haven't sat for L3 yet, but I definitely have a lot of flash cards with lists of advantages/disadvantages and other ones with similarities/differences etc. There are so many lists to remember in L3 the only way I've found that works is flash cards.

    I use the Anki system if that is helpful at all...there is a PC and iPad app that automatically works out the relevant time between which the same cards should be shown depending on feedback from the user as to how easy they are finding them to remember etc.

    Creating a deck of flash cards is a bit of a pain in the ass, but it's definitely worth it in my opinion. In the exam, I don't want to be sat there trying to make up answers....I want everything to be on the tip of my tongue so I can write it down quickly and move on.
  • Flash Cards have been a huge help for me in passing both Levels I and II. I'm studying for Level III now (so can't comment on efficacy) but certain areas like Behavioral Finance definitely lend themselves well to flash cards, as do most of the plug & chug formulas (although there are less of them in III).

    In general research has shown that just the act of writing something down helps memorization, so flash cards have some value even if you don't wind up using them too often.

    When making the flash cards I try to put a doodle or mnemonic on the front that serves as a "hint". For example, I drew an ice cream cone on the Fundamental Law of Active Management card as the formula is IR = IC*BR^0.5 = IceCream*BaskinRobbins^0.5.
  • trixtrix philippinesPosts: 9 Sr Associate
    Questions like list advantages and disadvantages make me cry inside.
  • JaneDuffyJaneDuffy Posts: 10 Associate
    edited April 2016
    Not sure of whether I am done with it or not but I have flash cards to practice with. They were of huge help in CFA level 1 & level 2 .
    Excluding all this I do a lot of practice questions from PrepSmarter to get a grip of the topic It has got ample amount of questions for practice. My only problem of getting confused among the choices is sorted out .
  • I'm sure everyone has their own way of approaching it, but for me memorisation doesn't work.  The only way I can get information to really stick is to apply/practice it, and even then it's tough getting through the curriculum without new information pushing out old info...

    That said, from a strategic perspective I think it's important to go into the AM exam expecting there to be maybe 15 points or so that are in the "holy crap, I don't remember that" basket, and to leave them and move onto stuff that you can actually pick some points up on.  I know that I need to be conscious of this before going in because I hate to leave stuff unfinished.  

    Looking back over past exams there tends to be the inclusion of some pretty random stuff, stuff that is probably only recallable by those with photographic memories or working in the specific area of question.

    The past is no indication of the future, but bear in mind that on past AM exams, roughly 25% have involved "calculating" an answer, around 40% in "justifying" a statement or solution, and around 25% in explaining a solution or concept (then there are around 10% of questions that fall in other categories).  It's the 25% of "explaining" type questions that require the really deep knowledge of the topic; the 40% can probably be scraped through if you understand the concept and some of the key attributes of a subject but haven't memorised all the pros and cons.  Calculate-type questions are a combination of simple things (easy points!) and tricky stuff designed to break your brain.

    Good luck!
  • Test strategy is huge. Agreed that there are a lot of lists, and "identify" type questions in L3 that lend themselves well to memorization/flashcards (which is why I created a free study app at It's also 100% true that L3 has fewer equations to memorize than L1/L2. For many of them, instead of having just 1 equation on a card I found it helpful to write out full steps to solve for a problem. For example, listing out exactly what you need to do in order to modify a portfolio's duration
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