Over the 25 years I have taught CFA® review classes I have found common success factors to passing the exam.
First, an early start to the learning process. Candidates who began their preparations in early Fall tend to perform better than those that begin mid-January.
Second, rigorous use of the CFA® Program curriculum is the key. Details matter and the only way to master how the topics blend, combine and become challenging questions on exam day is to read the CFA® Program curriculum (see first point above…start early).
Third, using a combination of the One & Done® videos that cover the depth and details of the curriculum coupled with a final review at the LevelUp BootCamp helps the candidate become razor sharp for exam testing.
Lastly, repetition of problem sets, previous CFA® morning essay exams, end of chapter questions and CFA® mock exams under time constraint helps the candidate recognize how the material will be asked by the CFA Institute on exam day thus increasing the likelihood of being able to answer the question quickly. Many candidates say that speed is extremely necessary on exam day (see the first point above yet again).
The Core Curriculum Slide Book was diligently and passionately built over several years after 25 years of experience teaching the Level III CFA® Program curriculum. Alternative review provider slides are constructed with many different “contractors” building different slide decks for various topics without regard to continuity or context of the Level III CFA® Program curriculum and are rarely updated from year to year. Details matter and many slide presentations shy away from those details as to reduce seminar time and reduce confusion for instructors. LevelUp Slides are comprehensive and detailed with full regard to details required to solve afternoon item sets. One candidate called them the “Mercedes class” slides.
The LevelUp BootCamp is held over four days with over 43 hours of instruction with one instructor…Marc LeFebvre. This time is required to adequately cover the topics, to go over tough examples and answer candidate questions. Many days last until 9 pm in the evening with the IPS Return Calculation Workshop and Exam Strategies Workshop. Alternative live reviews are held over three days, conduct no evening workshops, end at 5 pm and often change instructors between topics thereby losing the continuity of topics.
The LevelUp BootCamps many different facets that we attack. The first is covering the Level III CFA® Program curriculum. We do this by using the Core Curriculum Slide Book®. The Core Curriculum Slide Book covers in detail the readings and topics in the CFA Program curriculum. The unique approach uses color codes to indicate relative importance and pictures to help with memory recall. Black and white slides with bullet points will put anyone to sleep after the first hour. Educational research shows that associating a concept with color or a picture increases retrievability. That retrievability is critical on exam day.
You will also receive an IPS Return Workshop book. Here we will cover the IPS return calculation and see how to solve “core body of knowledge” required for every Level III candidate wishing to pass the Level III exam. We identify the methods used to solve the return, how to outline the steps for quick input identification, provide the graders with a template for a clear demonstration of how you solved the problem on the exam. The result is candidates solve the IPS return calculation question faster and earn more points without burning up time on exam day. This review takes over two hours and we solve multitudes of questions from many different angles.
The Focus Material book will also be mailed out the first week of November if you have signed up for a LevelUp BootCamp. The Focus Material book is your “road map” to the candidate curriculum. Many find the material too daunting and resort to summary methods. That worked at Level I and Level II. That doesn’t work when the material is integrated and connected as the Level III curriculum. The Focus Material helps you connect information and guides you through that readings emphasizing exhibits (tested in prior years), examples inside the readings that are a “must d” to succeed (also tested). A unique feature of the Focus Material is that exhibits, examples, Blueboxes, and end of reading questions are sorted by topic. If you want to master “cash-flow matching” you will see all the resources to practice and master in a matrix that lists all the ways the topic is covered in the candidate readings.
You will also receive a three-ring binder with past actual essay CFA exams sorted by topic (behavioral, private wealth, institutional, ext…) and sorted by year. Old exam questions where the reading has changed, been deleted or was a confusing question those exam questions have been deleted. There is nothing worse than working an old exam problem and having no idea where the material to support that question is located to only find out hours later that material was deleted. The importance of this workbook is being able to study and practice old essay exams to help you be better prepared on exam day to quickly and effectively answer the “constructed response.”
The LevelUp BootCamp is held over 4 days with nearly 43 hours of instruction as compared to 3 days and 24 hours of instruction with other providers. Also, see the “Agenda” tab at the top of the page with each day’s schedule. Will that extra 50% increase in time make a difference in your succeeding? Ask past LevelUp BootCamp candidates, they will tell you. Why risk the alternative?
Lastly, you get “me!” I answer your email questions generally within 12 hours of receipt. I show you where in the readings the answer lies by volume, study session, reading, section and page. If you want to discuss the idea or the topic troubling you we can always schedule a phone call or video conference. Your question won’t go to some black box. You receive my full attention.
After you purchase access to the weekly on-demand videos, please visit My Account and select Weekly On-Demand Videos to start watching the videos. Study sessions will be listed on the left side of the page where you can tab through to the various topics. The one topic I do not cover is ethics, as I suspect you know that topic by Level III. All the videos for readings prior to the 2019 change (4 new equity readings) are available now. The four new equity videos will be posted mid-November. Early November the Core Curriculum Slide Book will also be mailed to candidates. The color slide book is a bound, hard copy on heavyweight paper stock. Candidates often use these color slides for index cards. The color coding helps immensely with memory recall on exam day.
This is a great question. The video series was a hotly requested feature by candidates over the past five years. The videos will cover each reading in detail highlighting concepts and topics that very well could be part of the CFA exam in June. I will drill down into details that should not be glossed over, I will highlight practice problems, white text and bluebox problems that require your attention. The purpose of the videos is to have you work through the candidate readings, I will have those very readings on the screen as we work through the material via the Vital Source electronic version of the CFA Program curriculum something we don’t have as much time to do in the 40 hours of a LevelUp BootCamp.
The LevelUp BootCamps tie all the material together that is so critical for the exam success within a few weeks before the exam. We will go over the details once again and many tough problems to refresh your memory. But what you learned in November maybe hard to recall as you prepare for the exam in April and May. The LevelUp BootCamp intensively reviews the curriculum front to back and then gives you the strategy as you prepare for the exam the last few weeks to the exam date. The two together, a weekly systematic learning approach to the CFA Program curriculum coupled with an intensive exam focused LevelUp BootCamp will be for many the formula for a “One & Done”.
I actually get this question often and I absolutely love it. I love when candidates are “in their minds totally prepared for the exam” before they come to the LevelUp BootCamps, they know what I’m discussing, they have seen the topics before and they know where the rough spots are in the material. I have yet, however, to find a candidate that meets this profile who didn’t come up to my desk after the first day and say the review was totally worth it, that I covered material they didn’t see when they covered it themselves, they didn’t understand the context of the material and how it might be tested, the topic was too obscure or they thought the topic would never be asked on the exam and then I show them how it is all relevant for examination purposes. These candidates more often than not pass the exam with great scores.