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When Should I Practice Item Sets?

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I wanted to get started on my preparation for June 2013 Level II and saw you had recommended doing the CFA curriculum readings (with exception to Ethics) post–Labor Day through December. Do you also recommend doing the accompanying problem sets with the readings or saving those for later (i.e. Jan–May) when I would also use the prep provider materials (i.e. Schweser)?

–Alfred M., Level II Candidate

I would recommend doing a few problems at the end of each reading at random, say four or five problems, but not item sets (meaning no questions that have a reading passage followed by six multiple choice questions). Save those item sets for later on in April next year. When you choose the four or five random word problems, first check the solution to ensure that it is not very lengthy as they would never ask that type of question on the exam. If you do well on all questions move on to the next reading. If not, review what you did wrong and then maybe supplement it with some questions from the Schweser Q-bank if you purchased that.

–Nathan Ronen, CFA


Have a CFA prep question? Send it to the editor, and we will ask one of our CFA Prep Instructors. Please include your name and whether or not you are a Level I, II, or III candidate (if applicable). Questions can also be kept anonymous. O. Nathan Ronen is the lead CFA instructor at NYSSA and has helped over 20,000 candidates to pass the CFA exams. He has been teaching CFA Levels I, II, and III for over 16 years and has a unique understanding of each level. Ronen’s knowledge and real-world finance experience helps bring the theory to life. Ronen worked as a supervisory analyst training government regulators, an accounting analyst, and a corporate finance analyst. Ronen has also taught in-house CFA seminars at Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, and many other major financial institutions. He holds an MBA in finance and accounting from the University of Chicago.

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