The other day I set a deadline of midnight on 27 March to finish going through the CFA level 3 curriculum. I had a total of 6 study sessions (13 to 18) to go over.  For the most part, I spent my entire weekend at my desk. It was a photo finish but, I made it.

Now that I have gone through all of the material at least once here are some of my thoughts:

  • CFA level 3 appears to be a quantitative light weight compared to levels 1 and 2. There still are some formulas and math, but they are not as prominent nor as difficult as they were at the first two levels. In fact, many of the formulas are carry overs from levels 1 and 2.
  • The CFA level 3 is more integrated. Behavioral finance shows up not only in the study session bearing its name, but it shows up in private wealth and institutional wealth management and a few other times. Investment policy statements are woven throughout the curriculum. The Sharpe Ratio shows up so often it is as natural as taking a breath at level 3.
  • The CFA level 3 material is framework heavy. There are steps and processes everywhere. For the investment policy statement,  it is RRTTLLU: Risk tolerance, Return objective, Time horizon, Taxes, Liquidity, Legal requirements, and Unique circumstances. For a valid benchmark, the geniuses at Schweser came up with SAMURAI. Brilliant!
  • My favorite study sessions at level 3 are Risk Management and Risk and Derivatives. Interesting stuff in there. This makes sense since my favorite subject at levels 1 and 2 was Quantitative Analysis, and risk management is a natural extension of what I learned there.
  • My least favorite study session is GIPS. It is basically a tidal wave of requirements and recommendations that drone on and on. Compliance and standards are supremely important, but they do not get me excited about a career in finance. In the U.S. Army, it is the equivalent of mandatory training. I basically powered through this study session and I am hoping the good folks at Schweser can make it more palatable for me.

While I met my deadline, this is no time to rest on my laurels. My countdown app tells me I have 68 days until exam time. I have 31 days until my Schweser 3-day intensive review begins.

Here’s my plan for the next 31 days:

  • Complete all 18 study sessions in Schweser’s Notes. I need to average 4 study sessions per week.
  • Answer at least 2,000 questions in Schweser’s Q-Bank. That is going to be about 450 questions per week.

Then it is intensive class time and the final preparations for the exam for the last 30 days. So long CFA curriculum, hello Schweser.