There are two types of changes to the Learning Outcome Statements within the curriculum that the Institute regularly implements. Candidates retaking the exams or coming back to the exams after a hiatus need to be aware of LOS changes and plan accordingly.
- Wording changes are rarely material or worth too much consideration. These are the most minor changes and usually involve a change from something like “characterize” to “describe” or “explain” to “interpret”. The material does not change and you still need to learn the same ideas.
- Additions and deletions are much more important. Occasionally, these will be from existing readings but more typically it will involve a change to the readings as well. Those retaking an exam may want to spend a little more time on the new sections to bring themselves up where they are in other topic areas. Those returning to the exams after a multi-year hiatus need to be aware of changes across the exams because often the Institute will move curriculum around in the three levels. While there is no official word, many believe that these new readings are especially important and the Institute will try to include some questions in the exam.
I almost got burned on a curriculum change while taking the Level III exam. The new study guides and curriculum were not yet available but I wanted to get a jump on studying. I borrowed some study notes from the previous year from another candidate and started working. I read the entire Economics section and did several sets of problems before realizing that the readings for the topic had changed for the coming exam year. Fortunately, I saw the changes early enough to hit the new readings and passed the test in June.
The material for Level I has seen very few changes over the last year. Really only Fixed Income and Alternative Investments were changed significantly with a few new statements in Economics as well.
Economics has a few new LOS within the existing readings. There are seven new statements with a couple removals but candidates still need to study and understand the same material.
A major change occurred with the addition of the Fundamentals of Credit Analysis (reading 59) in Fixed Income and ten new LOS.
Reading 66 from last year’s Alternative Investments topic has been replaced, resulting in seven new statements and the removal of 18 from the previous reading.
Towards the end of this week, we will cover a couple of general strategies for different study personalities. Next week, we will start our study plan covering each study session within each level exam. Let me know if you have any questions, suggestions or if you are having difficulty with any particular topic.
‘til next time. Happy Studyin’
Joseph Hogue, CFA