CFA Level III Exam - No motivation

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Anyone else just lacking in the motivation department? Right now should be crunch time and I should be really ratcheting it up but I am having a hard time.

Has anyone taken level III? What do you think about it? Everyone always says it is a harder test than L2 but easier content. I think because the content is so much more subjective I am finding my studying is not as productive as L2.

I Don't Feel Like Studying: Chartered Financial Analyst Edition

Getting through a large amount of uninteresting material can be very challenging. Before the third level of testing of the CFA, your enthusiasm to earn the charter may be waning. The best way to break through this is to create a system of studying and progressively cover all material. The material will seem even more impenetrable if tackled last minute.

  • Be consistent with studying
  • Practice applying knowledge as much as possible
  • Review work from earlier sessions
  • Spend a bit of extra time focused on ethics

Potential charter holders could not make it all the way to the third level while slacking off. However, there is a tedious nature to the material in this section.

Thoughts from the community

from certified hedge fund user @SenhorFinance"

From a charterholder: by all means put in the extra effort, you'll be real glad you're done with it, for whatever it's worth. Now, the single most important piece of advice: L3 is about timing. Practice on being as synthetic as possible. On a synthesis scale, think industry reports as 1, sell-side reports as 3, buy-side pitches as 5, CFAL3 as 10. It's an art that when mastered, dramatically increases your pass probability even if you're not feeling that sharp on the curriculum itself.

from certified investment banking user @duffmt6"

My motivation was that my girlfriend would have killed me if I had to study for another test.

from certified asset management user @kingtut"

I didn't really hit the books hard until the start of April. I'm currently studying 7-8 hours per day. I get into work early and study for an hour, bring my lunch and study for an hour, and then I usually study for 5-6 hours in the evening and leave around 11-12. Fortunately, my boss is very supportive of the CFA and has helped to divert a lot of shit from landing on my plate.

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Comments (106)

 
Best Response
May 9, 2013 - 4:31pm

I'm on LIII as well so trust me when I say I feel you. I signed up for the exam last year, but I didn't sit for it. I started a new job in '12 and got married last fall so I punted. No regrets. I actually had fun in the month of May for the first time in years.

2009: L1 Pass
2010: L2 Fail (Put in about the same effort as L1. ~150 hours, and failed Band 9)
2011: L2 Pass
2012: Registered but didn't sit for L3
2013: Going to crush this shit

In my previous role I wasn't working with anyone pursuing the CFA. My old group did not encourage the CFA so that was a factor as well. I started in a different role a month ago and a lot of people around me are sitting for L1 or L2. I am a competitive person so it has been motivating to have other candidates alongside me all trying to get to the next level. I'll probably apply to bschools this coming fall and I realized that having the CFA on my resume would definitely bolster my application.

Anyway, long story short, all of that lit a fire under my ass. I didn't really hit the books hard until the start of April. I'm currently studying 7-8 hours per day. I get into work early and study for an hour, bring my lunch and study for an hour, and then I usually study for 5-6 hours in the evening and leave around 11-12. Fortunately, my boss is very supportive of the CFA and has helped to divert a lot of shit from landing on my plate. I am doing this while working on a start-up project with two other partners as well. Needless to say, I basically have zero free time for anything. I haven't seen some of my best friends for two months.

There is so much other shit I would rather be doing than studying for the CFA.

 
May 10, 2013 - 2:13am

kingtut:

I'm on LIII as well so trust me when I say I feel you. I signed up for the exam last year, but I didn't sit for it. I started a new job in '12 and got married last fall so I punted. No regrets. I actually had fun in the month of May for the first time in years.

2009: L1 Pass
2010: L2 Fail (Put in about the same effort as L1. ~150 hours, and failed Band 9)
2011: L2 Pass
2012: Registered but didn't sit for L3
2013: Going to crush this shit

In my previous role I wasn't working with anyone pursuing the CFA. My old group did not encourage the CFA so that was a factor as well. I started in a different role a month ago and a lot of people around me are sitting for L1 or L2. I am a competitive person so it has been motivating to have other candidates alongside me all trying to get to the next level. I'll probably apply to bschools this coming fall and I realized that having the CFA on my resume would definitely bolster my application.

Anyway, long story short, all of that lit a fire under my ass. I didn't really hit the books hard until the start of April. I'm currently studying 7-8 hours per day. I get into work early and study for an hour, bring my lunch and study for an hour, and then I usually study for 5-6 hours in the evening and leave around 11-12. Fortunately, my boss is very supportive of the CFA and has helped to divert a lot of shit from landing on my plate. I am doing this while working on a start-up project with two other partners as well. Needless to say, I basically have zero free time for anything. I haven't seen some of my best friends for two months.

There is so much other shit I would rather be doing than studying for the CFA.

didn't you say you were married? Where does the wife fit in?

 
May 10, 2013 - 3:05am

kingtut:

I'm on LIII as well so trust me when I say I feel you. I signed up for the exam last year, but I didn't sit for it. I started a new job in '12 and got married last fall so I punted. No regrets. I actually had fun in the month of May for the first time in years.

2009: L1 Pass
2010: L2 Fail (Put in about the same effort as L1. ~150 hours, and failed Band 9)
2011: L2 Pass
2012: Registered but didn't sit for L3
2013: Going to crush this shit

In my previous role I wasn't working with anyone pursuing the CFA. My old group did not encourage the CFA so that was a factor as well. I started in a different role a month ago and a lot of people around me are sitting for L1 or L2. I am a competitive person so it has been motivating to have other candidates alongside me all trying to get to the next level. I'll probably apply to bschools this coming fall and I realized that having the CFA on my resume would definitely bolster my application.

Anyway, long story short, all of that lit a fire under my ass. I didn't really hit the books hard until the start of April. I'm currently studying 7-8 hours per day. I get into work early and study for an hour, bring my lunch and study for an hour, and then I usually study for 5-6 hours in the evening and leave around 11-12. Fortunately, my boss is very supportive of the CFA and has helped to divert a lot of shit from landing on my plate. I am doing this while working on a start-up project with two other partners as well. Needless to say, I basically have zero free time for anything. I haven't seen some of my best friends for two months.

There is so much other shit I would rather be doing than studying for the CFA.

Does the CFA really help in Biz school applications? everything I have heard is that it doesnt really do much. However, to me I would like that is 'should' matter if you conveyed post-mba goals of AM.

 
May 9, 2013 - 7:07pm

My motivation was that my girlfriend would have killed me if I had to study for another test.

"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."
 
May 9, 2013 - 9:40pm

I have been telling myself it will be worth it for so long, but i'm losing steam and at the exact wrong time.

i wish there was good data saying how much more you can make with the charter or how it will open doors. nobody debates that it is a good thing to have, but there isn't much quantifiable data out there. i think some sort of tangible goal or effect would motivate me more than just "its good to have".

going through L1 & L2 means i kind of have to finish now, but damn i just do not want to.

 
May 9, 2013 - 11:31pm

Glad I'm not the only one like this. I started studying for LI in October 2011 and basically haven't stopped since excluding a small break from last June through October. I'm pretty far behind and usually I would be in panic mode, but I just have no desire to push at this point. I never would have thought 3 weeks before LIII that I could care less, but the material is just so dry and boring that I can't get with it. The most depressing part about taking the exam is that you can't rely on IQ to bail you out. There's just not enough quantitative information they are going to test on. Hopefully I pass so I never have to think about it again!

 
May 9, 2013 - 11:40pm

ilikecreamcheese:

Anyone else just lacking in the motivation department? Right now should be crunch time and I should be really ratcheting it up but I am having a hard time.

Has anyone taken level III? What do you think about it? Everyone always says it is a harder test than L2 but easier content. I think because the content is so much more subjective I am finding my studying is not as productive as L2.

Also, wanted to comment on the format. I really think the format is not as big of a deal as most people think. The only true negative that comes to mind is not having the luxury of guessing via mc questions. This is partially offset by potentially receiving some credit for wrong answers if your work is shown and is comprehensible. Also, I looked at some of the passing scores last year on AF and the morning breakdowns for some were horrific. Way worse than some of the passes I saw for LI and LII.

 
May 10, 2013 - 8:31am

subrosa:
Also, I looked at some of the passing scores last year on AF and the morning breakdowns for some were horrific. Way worse than some of the passes I saw for LI and LII.

I was one of those people. I didn't answer an entire question and a half on the morning session but still ended up passing.

"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."
 
May 10, 2013 - 10:19pm

duffmt6:

subrosa:

Also, I looked at some of the passing scores last year on AF and the morning breakdowns for some were horrific. Way worse than some of the passes I saw for LI and LII.

I was one of those people. I didn't answer an entire question and a half on the morning session but still ended up passing.

Fun fact: I'm a charterholder and during L3 I left the IPS question pretty much entirely blank.

Just goes to show that it's all about point maximization - where those points come from doesn't matter. Have at least a few topics that you know inside and out ie you know them so well that you can answer any question without thinking or having slept.

Pro tip: make sure to crush ethics. The graders love that chit.

 
May 10, 2013 - 4:00am

Beny23:

I am just planning to sign up for Level 1 but I hope the motivation stays strong during the summer.

You gotta be kidding me, you come like that, talking about motivation to sign up for level 1.
In a post full of hard core level 3ers. Go back to the playground! As a tip: if you are young, and just started your career go for the CFA, it cannot hurt you.

 
May 10, 2013 - 8:09am

Disjoint:
In a post full of hard core level 3ers. Go back to the playground! As a tip: if you are young, and just started your career go for the CFA, it cannot hurt you.

Agreed, passing level 2 was important in me getting my current role. As far as the CFA not hurting you, it does ruin your springs for 3 or more years in a row.

 
May 10, 2013 - 3:17pm

floppity:

How are other people doing on practice exams? I'm currently scoring like 67% (L3).
For L1 & L2 I was scoring 77% or so before taking actual exam.


I am getting in the 60%s as well. Realistically, I am getting in the 50%s for the essays though. I have eeked out each level though...I was getting 60%s on practice exams for 1 and 2.
 
May 10, 2013 - 10:29am

From a charterholder: by all means put in the extra effort, you'll be real glad you're done with it, for whatever it's worth. Now, the single most important piece of advice: L3 is about timing. Practice on being as synthetic as possible. On a synthesis scale, think industry reports as 1, sell-side reports as 3, buy-side pitches as 5, CFAL3 as 10. It's an art that when mastered, dramatically increases your pass probability even if you're not feeling that sharp on the curriculum itself.

 
May 10, 2013 - 2:30pm

Passed all three on first attempts (to give you an idea that I'm a credible poster on the topic, not to brag).

Felt the same way to a degree, and that's the most challenging part of L3. As another poster mentioned, you are quite invested in passing but yet oddly, it's quite tough to focus and buckle down. Keep in mind the hours and weeks and months you've put in for L1 and L2, and recognize that if you don't stay focused, it will be for nothing if you fail L3.

Material wise, I didn't think it was too bad - I focused on doing as many practice problems as humanly possible, as well as making my answers VERY succinct. Show works, steps, bullet out reasoning / rationale, and make sure you hit the key points. Basically, make sure you get SOME points on every single question.

In the end, stay calm! There will be questions that stump you at first, but get down SOMETHING so you are going for a few points, move on to the next, and come back at the end to try to polish up answers you are uncertain of. Getting that notification you passed L3 is well worth buckling down for the next three weeks.

Now get off WSO and crack open your books - your life is all about the CFA until that Saturday evening. Don't lose sight of the goal when you're only a mile from the finish line!

 
May 12, 2013 - 6:24pm

It was really nice of her to let you feel like it was a conversation.

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/_KarateBoy_
 
May 13, 2013 - 5:07am

CivilServant:

KarateBoy:

It was really nice of her to let you feel like it was a conversation.

She is giving like that. Girls got a point though. CFA sucks for the gf's too!

I've kicked mine out of the house on the week ends. She is an absolute saint and is ok with it. She just hopes she won't have to put up with this sh.t next year! Her parents are wondering why she moved back with them on the week end :)

 
May 25, 2013 - 11:48pm

Man I've never been this burnt out in my life. It's been affecting my entire life lol. I can't stand this exam and my only motivation is to be done with it for good. It's probably the most anger I've had towards anything in my entire life lol.

 
May 28, 2013 - 11:03pm

Anyone take the 2013 PM Mock?

Just scored a 73% and I've always found the mocks harder than the real thing.

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/_KarateBoy_
 
Jun 1, 2013 - 5:40pm

Just finished. If I don't pass, I can only blame myself. Seemed so easy. I think I even got that hard derivatives PM question right.

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/_KarateBoy_
 
Jun 1, 2013 - 6:59pm

How do the CFA exams compare to the GMAT in terms of analytical difficulty?

“Elections are a futures market for stolen property”
 
Jun 1, 2013 - 8:31pm

Esuric:

How do the CFA exams compare to the GMAT in terms of analytical difficulty?

Depends how smart your are.... after all the difficulty of questions in the GMAT can be quite easy if your dumb ;).... Seriously though I think GMAT questions are going to be more difficult. On the harder GMAT questions you will find a lot of "tricks" that require more thorough analysis. Most of the questions on CFA exams are fairly straight forward. Almost every question will require some analytical thought, but not to the degree of difficulty you will find on some of the more difficult GMAT questions. Out of 100 questions on the CFA exam I think you would likely find just 2 or 3 that were quite tricky. Most of it comes down to either knowing the material or not. I would compare the two this way, every problem on the CFA exam will require a moderate level of analytical difficulty whereas problems on the GMAT will range from hardly no analytical difficult to extreme analytical difficulty. Hoping to crack 700 this winter.

 
Jun 1, 2013 - 8:20pm

I thought AM was overall not that bad. I am frightened to see how PM turned out though. If I had to guess I bet I bombed at least two item sets for sure in the pm and you could probably throw another one or two that I think I did good on as well. Hopefully the morning PM questions will bail me out..... so happy to be done with this for now though!

 
Jun 2, 2013 - 1:29am

He wasn't asking about overall difficulty but analytical difficulty. What's hard about the cfa is the amount of material, not the actual material.

 
Feb 9, 2014 - 10:28am

Bumping this out of hatred for the exam. Wasn't able to sit the exam last year, so bored of this already.

"After you work on Wall Street it’s a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side.” - David Tepper
 
Feb 11, 2014 - 12:41pm

Oreos:

Bumping this out of hatred for the exam. Wasn't able to sit the exam last year, so bored of this already.

I passed it last year, it feels so fucking sweet not to have to study for it this spring. Sucks to be you man.
I'll probably be going out for drinks every evening in those sweet sweet sweet summer days. While the sun is shining and the breeze is breezing; I'll raise my toast for my passed achievement, and throw a drop on the ground for all you poor souls having to waste your precious spring days on it!

 
Feb 11, 2014 - 12:53pm

Disjoint:

Oreos:

Bumping this out of hatred for the exam. Wasn't able to sit the exam last year, so bored of this already.

I passed it last year, it feels so fucking sweet not to have to study for it this spring. Sucks to be you man.

I'll probably be going out for drinks every evening in those sweet sweet sweet summer days. While the sun is shining and the breeze is breezing; I'll raise my toast for my passed achievement, and throw a drop on the ground for all you poor souls having to waste your precious spring days on it!


Haha, you bastard.

A mixed blessing of being in London is that I'm not likely to miss out on a whole lot of nice weather.

"After you work on Wall Street it’s a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side.” - David Tepper
 
Mar 15, 2015 - 9:12pm

I'm sitting for L3 in June and can't stomach even opening up my schweser books. L3 material is soooooo f***** boring I just want to shoot myself in the face everytime I start reading about ALM or Mr.Jones' retirement needs... I fear there's not enough adderall on this planet to keep my eyes from glazing over with this material. Any advice in overcoming L3 malaise from those who have knocked it out? L3 curriculum is so absurdly boring it's like a war crime that should be outlawed by the Geneva convention..

"Go for a business that any idiot can run – because sooner or later, any idiot is probably going to run it." - Peter Lynch
 
Mar 16, 2015 - 8:46am

The lack of motivation after L2 was the hardest part of L3 for me. Every day I struggled with it. I have no advice but to keep the light at the end of the tunnel in sight. You've been through two exams and they suck. You now have one left and it's possible it could be your last. I didn't want to retake L3 under any circumstances so I begrudgingly logged the time and learned what I needed to pass.

You're so close to being able to put the CFA program behind you - don't let lack of motivation be your downfall.

 
May 23, 2017 - 12:22pm

I passed all levels on first attempt and found level 3 to be the easiest level. Took level 3 in 2015. The written portion is the only thing that makes it challenging, but the amount of material to study is much less than level one or two (try stacking your level 3 Schweiser material next to your level one or level two material--level 3 is like 1/2 as high as each of the others). For the written portion just stick to bullet points of a few sentences each and show your work. People I know failed because their answers were them basically just vomiting every piece of information they had memorized onto the page without really answering the question. Wish you all the best of luck.

 
May 23, 2017 - 12:23pm

Anyone Finding CFA L3 More Bullsh*t Than the Previous 2? (Originally Posted: 02/01/2013)

This CFA lark just isn't fun anymore. The brevity and lack of real world application / foundation has really hit a limit on me.

Someone give me strength! Any L3s out there hitting the same wall?

"After you work on Wall Street it’s a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side.” - David Tepper
 
May 23, 2017 - 12:24pm

Oreos:
This CFA lark just isn't fun anymore. The brevity and lack of real world application / foundation has really hit a limit on me.

Someone give me strength! Any L3s out there hitting the same wall?

A lot of level 3 is WM oriented, which sucks. It will give you a good understanding of the major institutional investor types though. I honestly don't even remember what else was on the test, and I just took it last June.

You're almost there, and be thankful that this one isn't nearly as hard as the last one (don't get me wrong though, it's way more challenging than L1).

If you're hitting a wall just try to remember what Memorial Day weekend used to be like before the CFA ruined it (if you're US based, which I seem to recall you aren't, but w/e).

"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."
 
May 23, 2017 - 12:26pm

duffmt6:

A lot of level 3 is WM oriented, which sucks. It will give you a good understanding of the major institutional investor types though. I honestly don't even remember what else was on the test, and I just took it last June.

You're almost there, and be thankful that this one isn't nearly as hard as the last one (don't get me wrong though, it's way more challenging than L1).

If you're hitting a wall just try to remember what Memorial Day weekend used to be like before the CFA ruined it (if you're US based, which I seem to recall you aren't, but w/e).

you're right, the almost there thing has to be my focus of motivation.

i've found the initial pension elements actually quite good. i'm now wading through capital market expectations and forecasting which is unequivocally awful, on every level. one question, who ever thought the Fed model (ie, earning yield over 10yr treasury yield) was good for anything...jezus christ!!!

FrankD'anconia:
I've hit that L2 wall if that helps, lmao.

L2 is useful. keep plugging. and unless you had more than one attempt at L1 you're still quite fresh.
"After you work on Wall Street it’s a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side.” - David Tepper
 
May 23, 2017 - 12:25pm

I've hit that L2 wall if that helps, lmao. Really hard to stay motivated when A) it is unclear if anything good will ever even come out of your completion of the program, and B) you realize you're essentially just force feeding yourself info to pass a test that beyond that, has minimal real world applicability.

All I can suggest is keeping your head down and nose to the grind, and forcing all negative thoughts out of your head. It's way easier to grind when you're completely sold it's gonna be a game changer, lol.

 
May 23, 2017 - 12:27pm

Same situation here. Plodding through L3 and despising it. L2, as tricky as it was, was at least satisfying from a learning and real world application point of view - you come away from it really knowing your accounting shiz (until the moment you step out of the exam hall and your mind auto-deletes it all). L3 is just so wishy washy. It doesn't feel like you're learning anything and the syllabus is just goin over and over common sense statements.

Finished 2nd book this morning and about to set to work on Fixed Income tomorrow. Miserable.

 
May 23, 2017 - 12:31pm

Started studying for L2 a little over a month ago, and there is a lot going on. I'm not feeling great about it to be honest. But, I always figured, "hey, at least after L2 you get to take L3 and, I mean, how bad can it be?"

Apparently, all the "difficult" bullshit is replaced with "annoying" bullshit. Ugh.

"My caddie's chauffeur informs me that a bank is a place where people put money that isn't properly invested."
 
May 23, 2017 - 12:32pm

I completely agree. What I'm reading isn't that difficult, but it's just repetitive common sense shit that takes forever to read, and they will probably ask bullshit questions about it. Though I don't find the program to be the golden ticket I thought it was originally, passing level 2 did help me significantly in getting a good job, so I can't discount that at all.

 
May 23, 2017 - 12:34pm

I hated the portfolio managment shit. BUT... the nice thing about level III is that you're guarenteed a big question on portfolio management in the written section. You know it's there, be ready for it, you should be guarenteed a great score on this question.

Even 18-24 months after, RRTTLLU is still stuck in my head.

 
May 23, 2017 - 12:36pm

sadboy:
I took level 3 last year. Not a lot of people knew this, but the CFA Institute has available past exams and answer key for free on their website for like the last 5 years. So I hammered out each exam twice, especially the portfolio question so formatting and answering came naturally.

sadboy you mean old mocks, or ACTUAL exams that were administered? There's a big difference.
 
May 23, 2017 - 12:39pm

sadboy:
I took level 3 last year. Not a lot of people knew this, but the CFA Institute has available past exams and answer key for free on their website for like the last 5 years. So I hammered out each exam twice, especially the portfolio question so formatting and answering came naturally.

Can you send me the link please? I cant seem to find it.

Thank!

 
May 23, 2017 - 12:43pm

sadboy:
I took level 3 last year. Not a lot of people knew this, but the CFA Institute has available past exams and answer key for free on their website for like the last 5 years. So I hammered out each exam twice, especially the portfolio question so formatting and answering came naturally.

This. I took and passed L3 last year. I did the old morning exams a few times each. It really helps you understand how they go about testing the material. Plus, it also helps you be able to refine your answers to save time for other areas on the exam.

"Give me a fucking beer", Anonymous Genius
 
May 23, 2017 - 12:42pm

ThetaHedge:
Mad burnout at L3 it seems.

Just get it done- no point in half assing anything.


wow, why didn't we think of that before? thank you, truly, thank you for your insight.

no one here is saying they're slacking off, no one is half arsing anything. we're just stating that it's bullshit. that okay?

"After you work on Wall Street it’s a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side.” - David Tepper
 
Jan 4, 2019 - 3:46pm
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