On Level III CFA Program exam, a candidate has two sessions, one comprising of 10 item-set questions (afternoon session) and the other comprising of 9-15 essay questions (morning session). The afternoon session is quite similar to Level II CFA Program exam and therefore, should be handled in the same manner as the CFA level 2 questions. However, the format of the morning session is unique to this level. The morning session constitutes 9-15 essay questions, with each composed of 1-5 sub-parts. Following are some tips for preparing and attempting Level III CFA Program examination.
Preparation for Level III CFA Program Exam
- Most candidates believe that Level III CFA Program exam is easy and much less demanding than Level II CFA Program exam. They, therefore, take their preparations slow and easy. This is a grave misconception! Start early and spend at least 10-12 hours a week studying FinQuiz curriculum notes.
- In item sets, a student is provided with three options, one of which is correct. However, in essay questions, the student has to come up with the exact correct answer himself. Hence, it is imperative that you know, and are able to retain and recall, every important concept, formula and relationship.
- Analyze and identify the areas having a higher probability of being tested as essay questions. Examples of such areas would include behavioral finance, individual IPS, institutional IPS, fixed income and equity.
- Portfolio management is an area that carries the largest weight. Make sure you know this area inside out and can attempt questions presented from every angle and perspective.
Reading the material for Level III CFA Program Exam
While reading the material to prepare for such questions, use the following tips:
- After understanding a concept, try to memorize all important points related to it. A helpful way of doing this would be to box the important details while reading. You can also number the points by underlining them and writing superscripts 1, 2, 3 and so on for every topic. This way it will be easier to learn and retain the points.
- Reviewing the material as you progress is especially essential for essay questions. Have a proper review plan in place and follow it religiously.
- Know how one topic relates with the other. Flowcharts and similar graphical depictions can help in understanding relationships and are effective means of retention. FinQuiz Smart Summaries are excellent source for this.
Practice for Level III CFA Program Exam
- A great deal of practice will not only help familiarize you with the format of such questions, but will also illustrate how to approach them.
- Remember to review each practice test carefully after attempting it and determine what information was required and how it is graded. Analyze your mistakes and weaknesses. You would notice that, sometimes, you missed out on writing needed information even though you knew it and instead, wrote something that was not required. As you practice further, you will get better at attempting such questions.
- The only way to avoid leaving points during the final exam is to do practice essay questions under a time constraint over and over and over again. There is no substitute for intense essay practice.
Attempting Level III CFA Program Exam
- When attempting essay questions read the question first and then read the case. Try to keep in mind what is needed when you are going through the vignette.
- Apply your time management skills for this exam. Go through the exam once and answer the questions that come easy to you first. This will prevent you from failing to answer all the questions.
- Answer questions by focusing on key words in the vignette. If you don’t know the complete solution, answer with what you know since CFA Institute grants partial marks.
- Don’t miss easy points by assuming that they must be something the examiner would know. Remember, every point is important.
- Answer each sub-part using clear, precise and relevant statements. Remember, your answers are your only communication with the examiner—try to tell him/her that you know what you are talking about. Be as relevant as possible; writing unnecessary details will leave a bad impression on the examiner and will be a waste of your precious time.
- An appropriate format of attempting essay questions is to use bullet points.
- Space your words and sentences so that they are easy to read.
- Do not write lengthy answers; try to be as concise and accurate as possible and explain the answer in just a few lines or so. Knowing how answers are graded will illustrate how objective you have to be when answering; writing long, unnecessary stories will give you no extra points.
- When answering numerical questions, start by writing the data and the formula. Show your calculations and write the final answer prominently. Remember, there are marks for each important step of the calculation.
- No matter how poorly you have done in the morning session, don’t lose hope. The afternoon session carries equal weightage and is as critical to passing the exam as is the morning session. Try to relax during the mid-break and focus on the item sets in the afternoon. For many candidates, the afternoon session scores have been central to passing the exam.
You should review yesterday’s post Level III CFA Program – How to Pass” href=”http://www.finquiz.com/blog/how-to-pass-the-level-iii-cfa-exam/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Level III CFA Program – How to Pass as well.