CFA Level III One Week Away

Next Saturday I’ll be taking the CFA Level III for the first time, and hopefully for the last. I think I’ve put in between 150 and 200 hours of studying by now, but I didn’t keep detailed records.

Since I last posted, I’ve taken two in-person practice exams. One was a Boston Securities Analyst Society (BSAS) exam that was sponsored by the CFA Los Angeles Society; the other was a Schweser exam. They were held in classrooms on the USC campus. I’m sorry to say that for both exams, I wound up only taking the morning session in the classrooms, then I just took the answer key and did the rest of exam from home. Both exams were in cramped, uncomfortable conditions and I just didn’t want to hang around. I corrected both exams with their answer key and my results were not great; I scored about 50% correct on both.

As far as the quality of the exams, I thought the BSAS exam had poor quality and asked some bizarre questions that were not representative of actual CFA past exams. The Schweser exam was pretty good and their answer explanations were helpful. The exams cost $100 each. For anyone who is self-studying and wants to take an in-person practice exam, I’d recommend skipping the BSAS exam and only taking the Schweser.

Otherwise, I’ve been concentrating on official CFA Institute material. The 2016 Mock Exam provided by the CFA Institute is 120 questions, all multiple choice. Obviously this is different from the actual exam, which has a morning essay portion instead of multiple choice. On this exam, I scored 58% correct. This should be the most accurate estimate of where my score is currently. The CFA Institute has also posted about 50 “Topic Tests” on their website, which are individual item sets about particular exam topics. I’ve done almost every one of these and they have been very helpful.

Otherwise I have been spending an enormous amount of time doing practice problems, reviewing past exams, and making flash cards. My results have definitely improved and I am feeling more confident about my ability to pass. I believe I’m getting to the point where the sheer amount of time that I’ve spent studying has gained me a very solid understanding the material and the different questions they could ask. Hopefully things will go well next Saturday.

– Matt Kirisits

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