FinQuiz has released its study schedule for the 2013 Level II and III CFA exams, available above in pdf versions. Both schedules include detail on the topic area weights for each exam and time at the end of each topic for revision. I realize that most candidates are more concerned about what they will wear to the office Halloween Party rather than that grueling 6-hour monster in June, but download the schedules and have a look. Even if you do not start studying in November, the schedules can be modified for later dates.
The schedule gets some of the hardest areas out of the way first with Fixed Income and Derivatives in the first seven weeks. I like this because some of the derivatives formulas and valuations were tough for me and seeing the material early would have allowed me to arrange my schedule for more work before the test. If you approach the curriculum in order, you will not see these two topics until late in the plan (study session 14-17) and may not have much time to study them in more detail.
The schedule wraps up early enough for two weeks of revision and two weeks of mock exam work. Readers of the blog will know that I am a big proponent of mock exams to not only test your retention of the material but also train you on the tough 6-hours of intense mental gymnastics.
Again, the schedule hits some of the more difficult sections early with Fixed Income, Equity and Risk Management. Readings 34-38, risk management, seemed especially difficult for me when I took the level III exam.
The schedule does not explicitly plan for working the old essay questions released by the Institute but leaves plenty of time for practice each week and at the end of the schedule. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of working the old essay questions. With enough practice, the morning session can be a breeze and give you a big confidence boost going into the afternoon. As we did last year, we will work through some of the old questions released by the institute.
Both schedules assume that a candidate starts on November 1st, 2012 with about 28 weeks to the exams. I love this kind of schedule and always started around this time or before when I took the exams. Starting this early allows for ‘life’ to get in the way and not throw you too far off your plans. Unfortunately, I think the majority of candidates will always wait for January or February and ‘hope’ that life allows them to stay on schedule. In my opinion, the biggest reason why pass rates are only about 50 percent.
Of course, you will just need to adjust the schedule if you end up starting later than this week. Both plans generally allow for two weeks to study 3-5 readings, including problem sets and other practice.
One general gripe I have with the schedules is that they may be too ‘relaxed’. They allocate 24 weeks to work through the curriculum leaving only another four weeks for review and mock exams. Following the schedules should give you plenty of time working problems each week, so this shouldn’t be an issue. I just prefer to work through the material in about 18 weeks so I’ll have another ten weeks to work through the tough stuff again and devote time to revisions and mock exams.
Hey, It’s Free
The schedules are free to download and don’t come with the commitment to buy any FinQuiz products so you really have nothing to lose by taking a look. If nothing else, they will help to organize your own plan.
Let us know what you think of the plans. We’re always happy to talk to candidates about the exams and how to prepare.
Looking forward to your feedback.
Joseph Hogue, CFA