You’ve invested a lot of hard work, study hours, and your time into passing the level I and level II CFA® exam. You’ve succeeded and now it’s time for the final stage. You can almost see the finish line and now is no time for you to slow down or relax. Once again, you need to give it all you’ve got, study wisely, and prepare for the final exam like a true professional. But what is the best way to do it?
If you want to make sure that you’re doing everything in your preparation process the right way, you should write a well-organized and effective preparation plan. Writing a preparation plan will help to gradually move forward towards passing the Level III exam and becoming the proud CFA charterholder. That’s why we’ve put together a guide for creating the ultimate preparation plan for the CFA Level III exam.
Here’s what you should plan.
1. Divide the Preparation into Stages
Your preparation process is going to take months until you’re ready to finally take the exam. You must plan ahead and decide what steps to take for each of those months.
That’s why you should divide your preparation process into stages. Here what we suggest:
- Stage 1- gathering information
- Stage 2- studying
- Stage 3- revising your knowledge
- Stage 4- pre-exam final steps
Each stage should consist of several different steps that you’ll need to take to pass the exam successfully. Set a time frame for each stage and make sure to always stick to that schedule. Luckily, you already have experience from your Level I and Level II exam, so you’ll know how to do this right.
2. Learning About the Exam
The first stage of your preparation process should be the information gathering stage. To plan this stage properly, you’ll need to do some research and:
- find credible sources of exam information
- learn all the requirements
- know what to expect
This stage should be short but information-packed. You can make a list of the sources you’ll be using to get informed and write them down in your preparation plan. Once the time comes for you to start preparing actively, you’ll know where to start from.
3. Gather Study Materials
Following the previous stage, you should also find and prepare your study materials before your official study process begins. That means you should find:
- study notes
- written lectures
- video lessons
- question banks
You must know what materials you’ll be using before you start studying. So, gather the materials as a part of your preparation plan and have them ready for when you get started.
4. Explore Preparation Classes
If you plan on taking any preparation classes for the exam, which is a great idea, you need to make sure they fit your overall plan and schedule. You want to make sure you’re not among the 50% of people who fail the exam. The best thing to do is to:
- explore different preparation classes
- do thorough research on what each has to offer
- decide on one preparation classes provider
- explore their enrollment options and dates
- plan when to enroll
Your Level III preparation plan needs to clearly define what classes you’ll be taking, when, and for how long. This will help you create a schedule that works for you, not against you.
5. Plan for Practicing Essay Questions
The Level III CFA exam will have you answering questions in both multiple-choice and essay format. Knowing how to give a brilliant essay format question is of utmost importance.
So, make sure your plan leaves you enough time to practice nothing but writing essay format answers to questions. That includes practicing:
- forming arguments
- justifying your calculations
- describing decisions
On top of all, you have to make sure your answers are to the point instead of poetic or overly narrative. They’re not your typical research paper or long-form essays, so be careful. Practicing this deserves a separate stage in your preparation plan.
6. Plan for Mock Exams
Taking mock exams is the final stage of your preparation process. Once you’ve finished your classes and you’ve done all the hard work and studying, you’ll need to assess your knowledge.
You can find different kinds of mock exams and real exam questions online. It’s important that you:
- only use credible mock exams
- take them under time-constraints
- revise your answers objectively
- learn from your mistakes
This is yet another key stage that you have to plan wisely in your preparation plan.
7. Decide When to Start
As you already know, preparing for your CFA exam of any level can be exhausting, challenging, and sometimes even nerve-wracking. There’s a lot of pressure on you and you want to make sure you pass the exam.
But, this doesn’t mean you should put everything else aside and focus on studying for this exam day and night. Instead, you have to decide when’s the best time for you to start actively preparing.
Here’s what to be careful about:
- don’t start too early- you may experience burnout
- don’t start too late- the pressure may be too much for you
From previous candidates’ experience, we can say that 6-5 months of preparation is enough for you to invest 300 study-hours and nail those materials. Naturally, this depends on your previous experience, results in the Level I and II exam, and study habits.
So, put all the preparation steps in your plan, and think about the amount of time you’ll need for each step. Then, set a goal and start working hard on achieving it.
Passing the final part of the CFA exam and reaching the goal you’ve worked hard and long for would be remarkable. And, it all starts with a good preparation plan.
Use the tips we’ve shared above to write the ultimate effective preparation plan for the Level III exam and make the whole process more effective and successful.
Author’s bio. Jessica Fender is a professional writer and educational blogger at GetGoodGrade, an aggregator for useful college resources and websites. Jessica enjoys sharing her ideas to make writing and learning fun.