8 Ways to Improve your Writing Skills for the CFA® Level III Exam

8 Ways to Improve your Writing Skills for the CFA® Level III Exam

Do you want to build an outstanding career in finance? To achieve this goal, you should not only become an expert in quantitative analysis and integrated risk management, but you should also improve your writing skills.

Finance students tend to underestimate the importance of writing skills, and that’s a problem. The truth is that if you can’t express your ideas on paper clearly, you have little chance to pass the CFA® level III exam that has essay-type questions. Besides, if you have poor business writing skills, it will be challenging for you to make a good impression on your boss, colleagues, and clients and move up the career ladder.

Do you want to improve your writing skills? Here are eight tips for you.

Express your Ideas in a Short and Concise Manner

Let’s face it. Professionals who work in finance and related fields are busy people. They don’t have time to read lengthy reports and wordy emails. They expect you to present your ideas in a short, concise manner.

So if you want to improve your writing skills, you should change the way you express your ideas first. Don’t try to write down each and every thought that jumps into your mind. Process your ideas, formulate the sentences, and only after that, move to the writing.

What about the CFA level III exam, you should remember that it’s a timed exam. If you want to pass it, you should not only provide correct answers but also do it in a timely manner.

If you learn the skill of expressing your ideas clearly and briefly, you will save lots of time writing. In contrast to other finance students, you will answer each question in a few short sentences, not lengthy paragraphs.

Master the Art of Writing in Bullet Points

Keep in mind that lengthy, unstructured texts do not work effectively. Whether you write a CFA exam or create a finance document, you should consider presenting your ideas using bullet points. Bulleted lists will allow you to add clarity to your writing, improve readability, and draw the reader’s attention to the key concepts.

During the CFA level III exam, the examiner will tell you how many factors (e.g., examples/reasons) you should list in each question. If you write your answers using bullet points, you will help the examiner to check your work faster.

Time your Writing Session

Do you have excellent time management skills? Make sure to apply them to your writing practice.

Some students tend to “get lost” in the writing process. They can work on their essay for hours without noticing it. And that’s an issue. To work productively and pass the level III exam, you should be aware of how much time you spend putting your ideas on paper. You should set timers and check how long it takes you to write down the essay.

If you write slowly, you should find a way to speed up the writing process. You should practice with the timer regularly to get used to a faster pace.

Improve your Proofreading Skills

CFA Institute graders check content only. They don’t grade language, style, grammar, and the length of writing. However, it doesn’t mean that you can skip the proofreading part of the writing process.

You should understand that one typo or spelling mistake can change the meaning of the phrase or even of the whole paragraph. And if the grader will misinterpret your exam answer, you will lose your points.

Make it a habit to proofread everything you write. Try to define your common grammar mistakes and work on them. Your excellent grammar skills will help you pass the level III exam and enhance your business writing for your future career, in which you will have to write to clients on a daily basis.

Be Consistent

Whatever you write, you should make sure your assumptions are consistent. Don’t allow yourself to jump from one topic to another, from one statement to another. Put your ideas in the right order and make sure that every new statement you make supports your previous statement.

Finance students can often fail the CFA level III exam because they provide contradictory statements or make statements with wrong casual relationships. Don’t make such a mistake. Think before you write. If you see that one statement contradicts another one, rewrite it, or provide other supporting arguments.

Spend time on the Internet in a Productive Way

There are lots of tools and online learning sites for students out there. If you want to improve your writing and prepare for the exam, don’t hesitate to use them.

Leverage new technologies to acquire new skills faster. Use the free Grammarly Chrome Add-On to make your writing error-free and utilize readability checkers to make your writing flow smoothly. Also, spend your free time on collaborative writing platforms and other websites where you can practice your skills together with other students.

Read More

If you want to become a more proficient writer, you should spend more time reading. You should read books and magazines that cover finance topics and pay attention to the sentence structure and wording.

If you read on a daily basis, your brain will start working differently. You will notice that it will get easier for you to articulate your ideas. Your professional vocabulary will get bigger, and your documents will have a more clear structure.

Be Ready to Write on any Topic

It may happen that during the level III exam, you will be asked a question on which you don’t know the right answer. And you will have to use your background knowledge and your writing skills to come up with a relevant answer to gain at least a few points.

To get ready for such a situation, you should practice writing on different topics. You should learn to use your creativity and analytic skills to provide answers to any question.

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In Conclusion

Writing skills are important for finance professionals. So if your current writing skills are far from perfect, you should find a way to improve them.

Work hard to turn your flaws into strengths and become an outstanding writer. Use the acquired skills to excel in your finance career and achieve success in life.

Author’s bio. Daniela McVicker is a freelance writer, blogger, and contributor to EssayAssistant. She graduated from Durham University and has an MA in psychological science. Her passion is traveling and finding ways to enrich students’ learning experiences.

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