Home > CFA L3 > CFA Exam Level 3 2012… after thoughts

CFA Exam Level 3 2012… after thoughts

Last year, I promised to write a summary of Readings while preparing for Level 3, I barely had enough time to go over the material once…

My preparation was at best 3 weeks of total studying time:

  • Schweser notes and videos
  • CFA mock exam
  • 2 Schweser exams which were much more difficult than the mock exam


I think the exam was fair – I can’t say that it was too easy or difficult, well balanced I think.

For me the morning session was easier than afternoon, perhaps because of the different exam format is ‘feels’ easier…

  • With short essays, you write what you think is the best and the correct answer… but because of the subjective nature of answers, you are not sure if your answer is correct… however, I think it does increase your confidence…

I thought the afternoon session was difficult mostly because I wasn’t well prepared…

  • I didn’t expect some material to show up but it did… (especially in Ethics & AI)
  • I don’t think there were many tricky questions (like for Level 2 2011)
  • I don’t know what was new material vs 2011 so not sure if the new material was covered

I don’t think my preparation approach was right besides the obvious insufficient time, I don’t recollect reading some of the exam questions in Schweser notes or videos.

I give my self a slightly more than 50% chance of passing…

What did you think?

  1. June 3, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    My intuition tells me you’re going to pass for sure. How well did you do on the Schweser btw?

  2. June 4, 2012 at 8:01 AM

    i think about 60% or so

  3. Sam
    June 4, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    So what you are saying is, you studied a total of three weeks for the Level 3 exam? Is that time even reasonably sufficient?

  4. Grant
    June 6, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Hi Takloo,

    Sat the Level III exam last Sunday and overall felt the exam was once again fair.

    AM exam had questions that in my opinion seemed a little easy but it seems that this sentiment flows through every year and people’s scores still suck every year (probably because it is so easy to lose marks by silly mistakes!!!). I seemed to make continual silly mistakes in my mock exams and each time seemed to come out with a similar score in the low to mid 70’s. Would expect a score around here, or slightly higher, on the actual exam.

    PM exam I felt was harder but I expected this due to ‘easier’ format of MCQ. I had a great deal of trouble staying focused in the afternoon and despite finishing about 45 mins earlier, I couldn’t be bother checking answers and therefore justed handed in my paper and left. Overall despite the harder questions, I thought there weren’t too many tricks and would expect between 70% and 80% for the afternoon.

    Naturally, based on scores above I would expect to pass but due to the nature of this exam you just don’t know how much you don’t know until you get that dreaded email in August!

    Best of luck to all and that your wishes for a pass come through in August (I’m expecting D-day to be 13th or 14th August depending on where you live)

    Cheers, Grant

  5. Grant
    July 23, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    2 weeks to go and my confidence is still fairly high (considering the naturally confidence attrition that comes with the circa 2 month wait). Won’t be totally shattered if I fail though.

    Takloo, how are the nerves holding up? Are you still 50/50 on passing?

    • July 23, 2012 at 5:24 PM

      I am in the same boat as you…

      Though i haven’t had much time to think about it… I think closer to results time i will probably be a bit anxious…

  6. Grant
    August 7, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    Hi takloo,

    Well results came through a few hours back and thankfully I passed.

    How did you go? Did you defy the laws of nature and pass with 3 weeks study?

    • August 7, 2012 at 12:09 PM

      congratulations! 🙂

      I haven’t got the email yet…

      • Grant
        August 7, 2012 at 12:12 PM

        There seem to be a few on Analyst Forum who were still waiting by about 11:30 am NY time.

        I got mine at about 9:20am. I’m sorry to see your pain of waiting has to continue.

        Best of luck!

  7. Grant
    August 7, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    As a follow to my initial exam review my results were pretty much in line with my views.

    In the AM, I got 3 x under 50; 2 x 51-70 and 4 over 70 and therefore probably did a bit worse than I thought but this was in line with my experience in the mocks;

    In the PM, I got 1 x under 50 and 8 x over 70 so nailed this bit even though it seemed harder than the AM during the actual exam.

    Overall would have got about 70% in the AM and around 80% in the PM – pretty close to my post exam assessment.

    • August 7, 2012 at 12:14 PM

      nice nice!

      do you have the work-ex to apply for the charter?

    • August 7, 2012 at 1:57 PM

      i made it!
      AM & PM – 2 x under 50, 2 x 50-70 & 5 x over 70

      • Grant
        August 7, 2012 at 2:43 PM

        Superhuman effort takloo.

        Congratulations. Do you have all the rest of the boxes ticked to get the charter as well?

      • August 7, 2012 at 2:52 PM

        i honestly don’t know, I work on the software side of wealth mgmt (5+ yrs), designing systems (e.g. make a system GIPS compliant)… there are few folks at my work who have received their charter working in software so I should be able to manage…

  8. Grant
    August 7, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    I think so. I have been a financial adviser in Australia for about 10 years and it would seem to meet their work experience requirements so don’t think this should be an issue.

    My main issue is finding 2 x sponsors as my city has no society and don’t really have any idea how to track 2 down in Sydney (my closest society). Did you have any idea?

  9. Sam
    August 8, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    Congratulations guys!!! And that is truely inspirational Takloo!!! Hope I can re-produce that magic in Level 3 come June 2013.

  10. Emma Tameside
    September 29, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    Thank you for this. I’ve recently enrolled on a CFA program, and I’m the type of person that really needs to be prepared before taking such a big step. Articles like this really calm the nerves, and give some practical advice as to how to prepare for the workload!

    I actually want to become a financial analyst in the future, so this website seems great for me! Count me down as a regular reader, and keep up the good work.

  11. November 24, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    CFA exams are quite difficult. Chance is also involved during the exam. Good luck to all CFA dec level 1 candidates

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