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CFA Level 3 advice for repeaters

Failed CFA Level 3 (ended at band 8) and getting ready to hit the books again in a month.  I used CFAI materials and Schweser last time but could manage only 3 practice exams for Level 3 (vs the 10 I took for Level 1 and 2 both of which I passed in the first attempt).  I didn't get to use any of the 6 Schweser 2016 practice exams.  Wanted advice on whether I will need to buy the 2017 practice exams?  I heard that most of the questions in these practice exams get repeated year over year.  Given that there is only one reading that has changed in the syllabus I am thinking of just using the 2017 CFAI material and supplementing that with the 2016 Schweser notes and the 2016 Schweser practice exams.


  • Ooof. Sorry to hear that.

    I can see the allure in saving money. The syllabus doesn't seem to have changed too much, so probably safe to do so. Hope you get it next year!

    Syllabus changes here:
  • Don't know about questions getting repeated. But what I know is that practise helps. Start writing AM exams as early as you can. I might have written 10 AM exams, some twice. Was very confident on my actual exam.
    All the best next year!
  • Thanks for your comments.  My plan is to review the detailed notes I had made last year a couple of times and start doing one AM practice exam a week from Oct '16.  I have the last 15 years of CFAI AM exams, plus 5 FinQuiz AM exams.  Will save the full AM+PM exams for Feb-Mar 2017 onwards.
  • Dreamer123Dreamer123 New York, NYPosts: 2 Associate
    Hi gansub,
    I faile CFA level III exam this year and I am feeling very low. Where did you get last 15 years of CFAI AM exam questions? That would be helpful.
  • SwethaSwetha SingaporePosts: 2 Associate
    the above links dont work
  • SwethaSwetha SingaporePosts: 2 Associate
    failed level3
    confused more than anything else as I studies the insitute problems, attempted all past papers and schweser practice exams.
    Still trying to understand what went wrong to fail.
    Was quite confident when I gave the AM session though :( :(
  • Hi Swetha,
    I checked and the link works.  Try copying and pasting in the browser directly instead of clicking.
    I knew after I took the AM that it was going to be very close, so was not shocked at the end result.  Luckily I love the subjects so need to go thru my notes and then start practice exams.
  • The link ( works, but some of the individual links to past exams are broken. Seems that CFAI aren't too keen on us accessing all past exams...
    Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Wait, wait. I'm worried what you just heard was, "Give me a lot of bacon and eggs." What I said was, "Give me all the bacon and eggs you have". Do you understand?
  • Those who thought that they did really well and di not pass should assess their grading methods. Have somebody grade your exams and see if you are being too generous. Graders are fair but strict and do not go for BS answers. Also if you score really well in PM then just doing ok in AM could save you.
    “If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want” - Richard Yates
  • LagartaLagarta Raleigh, NCPosts: 62 Jr Portfolio Manager
    Here's my two cents:
    What (in my measure) helped me "get over the hump" to pass was (1)working curriculum problems while doing the readings, then (2) taking 3 mock exams (use the CFAI mocks), but take them multiple times (so 9 timed attempts total)

    The object is not to "cover content," as there is less content and more nuance. If you have made it to level 3, learning content is not the issue. Taking the mocks multiple times allows you get SOME coverage of topics (notably several IPS problems, some of the more Equity and FI PM problems, performance measurement, behavioral, etc...But you are only "going in blind" the first time you take the exams. Your scores will likely be low. 

    BUT when you take the SAME exams the 2nd (or 3rd!) times, you scores will improve, and you will have practiced the process of extracting and synthesizing the information. Most people at level 3 need to study HOW to take the exam as much as the content. That's why most people fail I believe. If you can isolate the actual exam structure by using the same cases/data (each time trying to gain more and more points- you should be getting 90%+ on the morning section even with hard grading by the 3rd time).

    When I showed up on exam day, I had the frameworks in my head as to what was the required information, exceptions to watch out for, and the DEPTH to which I had to explain responses, and it helped so much. I finished the morning section 45 mins early and crushed it on results day. 

    Note: I graded the following way-If you had a section where partial credit would be awarded, you either got all points or none. Missing one part, or not using the nomenclature of the CFAI material meant 0 points. If you are getting 90s on the mocks with this method, you should be set for exam day.
    "Invest in yourself. Your career is the engine of your wealth." - Paul Clitheroe "Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman

  • Lagarta said:

    Note: I graded the following way-If you had a section where partial credit would be awarded, you either got all points or none. Missing one part, or not using the nomenclature of the CFAI material meant 0 points. If you are getting 90s on the mocks with this method, you should be set for exam day.

    This is CFA!!!
  • calmerstudycalmerstudy Los Angeles, CAPosts: 3 Associate
    Many re-takers -- all levels -- struggle with doubt. Several have come to me for coaching to handle the mental and emotional toll especially taxing for second and third attempts. I recommend you find a coach who will work around your schedule, who has a specific structure to their coaching, who has worked with either CFA's or other professionals prepping for exams (bar, accountancy, etc.), and who will give you a half hour complementary session. A big part of success is if you like the coach as a person -- most important thing. Good luck all!
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