Which study material to refer for CFA Level 3 exams

CFA Level 3 exam is to be held two times a year in May and November from 2021 on computer-based exams.

The main difficulty in Level 3 is, unlike Level 2 which is very much quantitative and calculation-based, the more qualitative aspects of questions and half of the paper being a structured-response format (written, not multiple-choices).


Exam Format of CFA Level 3 Exam

The CFA Level 3 test series is composed of 15-22 vignettes (mini case studies) covering a total of 45 questions for multi-choice and a variable number of questions to be answered. The following are divided into:

  • Morning paper, 2 hours 15 minutes review time with questions only constructed;
  • Afternoon paper with 45 multi-choice questions for two hours 15-minute test time.

Q&A are essentially non-multiple choice questions in which you must write succinct answers to questions and, where appropriate, show your calculations. The paper for the afternoon is the same format as the questions asked at level 2.

In the morning and in the afternoon examinations, all 7 Level 3 topics are tested. This being so, a big change is being made in focus between portfolio management and wealth planning (35%-40% weight) from investment tools ( i.e. corporate finance, FRA and quantitative methodologies). Less unforgettable formulae, but it's not simpler.

Level 2 is difficult to learn and compute the pure sum of materials, while Level 3 is built-in answer style and more qualitative questioning. Level 2 is difficult.

However, once you have learned how to respond briefly on balance in the Level 3 format, Level 2 is possibly the hardest paper.


Study Plan for CFA Level 3 Exam

Goal for level 3 training at least 350 hours of study time:

6 months (26 weeks) for training, suggesting that almost 14 hours a study week were more manageable than my level 2 timeline. Like previous levels, my working week lasted a great deal of long hours, and I relied quite a lot on 14 hours to study full days at weeks. Of course, if you can spend 1-2 hours a day on a weekday, my situation is very serious, which might make it simpler for you to handle on weekends according to your life commitments.


Build a custom CFA study plan:

It is important to customise a proper cfa level 3 study schedule to suit your work / life commitments in order to work and be sustainable. I strongly recommend the use of the newly updated 300 Hours Free Research Planner, based on my first study plan version years ago. It not only monitors your progress, recognises weaker subjects, offers benchmarks for test results and even forecasts your CFA examination performance!


Leave Ethics last:

I would suggest following my proposed study order for optimum absorption given the recent changes in weight in the subject. Yeah, don't want to miss Ethics (and GIPS).


Build Yourself :

Leap 3 is another beast, where you can read all you can and where the brain is always foggy as it has learned nothing. Lightning through the read quickly (and do the curricular end of questions of chapter 3). It would not be prudent to keep reading, but the plan here is to quickly get through the readings, leaving a bigger amount of time for practise, analysis and note making.


Save for the last 7-10 weeks to prepare exams and review:

Before attempting to prepare papers, make sure you have covered the cfa level 3 study material about once. Note, if you can help, don't miss themes.


Compose your own review notes for the related sections:

This is not applicable to all chapters of analysis but only those that you find useful to take notes. Not only will it be a helpful practise to write by hand for the constructed morning article, the revision process would also save time on the way. For areas where you need more guidance, refer to the CFA curriculum.


Do a lot of practice :

Do so by means of timely documents, and strictly identify them (for built-up replies). Check parts where you were mistaken, then repeat. It is advisable to do at least 6 workshops, preferably on time.


Control the research and progress in time:

I'm not one with comprehensive studies, but I have spent nine weeks of my 26 weeks for practise and last minute revision to ensure I do not lose track of time. In 17 weeks, I must cover 38 Level 3 readings, i.e. 2,5 readings a week. To support you with this, use our free CFA Study Planner method.


Take the final preparations 1-2 weeks before the exam:

This is the last level, so it's time to ensure that it's the last CFA test to take. Revice all the cfa level 3 study notes. I spent 1.5 weeks on vacation to concentrate completely on the remaining assessments and re-reading content in lesser areas.


CFA Level 3 Topic Area and weights

You have to do cfa level 3 exam prep by doing all the below topics completed.

CFA level 3 topic

Topic weight



Quantitative method




Financial reporting and analysis


Corporate finance


Equity investment


Fixed income




Alternative investments


Portfolio management



Some Important Tips Regarding CFA Level 3 Exam

Crucial to time management

I might look like an old record broken, but it's worth repeating it. Whatever you think you have the experience of a nominee – practise is very different from the real thing. When your Level 3 Morning Paper begins, you first have to see how much time per question you have, since the number of questions varies from annual to annual. As there might be various questions, use the number of minutes and points in each question (which should be displayed in the examination paper) to remind you both of the time you are going to spend on the matter, and of the amount of details you are going to include in your response.


Go through all questions to make your score more effective :

Secondly, you should make sure that you adhere to the 'shoot-and-go' concept by question. If the time is over, select / write a reply and continue. This is the only way to try any question (this feeling could permeate the entire test) even if you're not sure!

It is a bit harder than a multiple decision to fire and move on with the Morning Article. However, if you're stuck, write down your best reply and go ahead. There is no negative ranking, and my experience at Level 3 shows that, even if the final response is wrong, it can help to optimise scores, including displaying the estimates and working performance. There are (many) moments in the built-in answer segment where the answer is not understood at all but unclear possibilities. Please list the potential responses on the side of the pencil (only limited to 2-3) for a reminder, but choose the best answer for now and write them down. If you have extra time later, you can still revisit it, so at least you have your bases covered.


Keep your built-in answer short & simple :

The popular inclination is to start writing a lot if we don't know an answer. Maybe anything will stick! Let's include everything! Unfortunately, this isn't a good idea. CFA examiners suggest that you write briefly, directly to the point without fluff. This means that they are all appropriate and even encouraged by using bullet points, short sentences, shorts for formula noting, etc.

There are two reasons:

  • For more information you are not compensated than needed. Read what you're asking for and respond to exactly. Even if you know a whole lot about the subject, nothing more. Seriously, if this is not relevant, the examiners have no doubts about an epic essay and cheerfully cross out everything.
  • For explanatory purposes, the guide answers in your practical exams are longer and more elaborate. Quick responses in bullet points are appropriate for the actual examinations.

However, DO demonstrate your calculation methods for arriving at your answer to questions that require calculations. Though the final answer is incorrect, you may earn points for the right application or formula and you will be shocked at how many points you can get for it!


Keep yourself calm and carry on :

You're in the test already and there almost. Whatever happens, just chug on and finish it as well as possible. You would be surprised how wise, resilient and resourceful you face these challenges. Your mindset is crucial if shit hits the fan. The result is decided by your choice of reaction. Think always: what can you do to save the present situation for the best result? This place has saved my arse during the built reply portion of the test, where I lost time and 3 whole questions have remained in 15 minutes – all the questions I answered quickly and had written something in them all before the end of the day. This constructive power of mind is often cultivated long before the evaluation. In the month of my thesis I had a variety of amusing and inspiring posters.


Concluding Note

Content learning, self-measuring, test effect. These questions are often answered at the end of modules by the notes or reading instructions in the CFA curricula. In the curriculum book, you at least want to try out the questions that end with each section. It is very, very good and gives a strong basis for you to really count on examinations. Distribute it even on a daily basis and perform QBank issues. Your business feed will prompt you again at the right time.












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