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Review: 300 Hours CFA Exam Insights 2015 Edition eBook

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Sun Tzu, the famous 6th century Chinese General and author of the timeless masterpiece, The Art of War wrote, “Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight 100 battles without disaster.” 

While every CFA candidate hopes it will only take three battles to earn their charter, the concept is apropos. For the typical, newly enrolled CFA candidate, there is a general understanding about the demanding endeavor upon which they are about to embark.  They know that the test is difficult, that it takes a minimum of 18 months to complete and they’re probably aware of the subjects that will be tested on exam day.  

The majority of the highly relevant information is discovered through the acquired resources during the journey of self-study. There is no shortage of CFA study material providers that claim to deliver an added edge to end up on the right side of that often discussed, ill-defined Minimum Passing Score (MPS). I’m not saying that those claims are false, far from it. In my experience, effort and resources are correlated to CFA success, and the 300 Hours CFA Exam Insights eBook (eBook) is another vital arrow in the quiver of a well-prepared candidate.  

The eBook is a robust guide uniquely designed for the sole purpose of developing a CFA strategy based on analyzing thousands of exam results and past experiences from 2012 to 2014. The relatively short survey time horizon coincides with the launch of the website but also allows the reader to delve into the most recent and relevant exam and candidate trends. 

For those Level II and Level III candidates that think they have the process figured out, ask yourself: Do you know the approximate percentage that separates Band 10 from a passing score across three levels? Do you really know if your previous finance related education will help or hurt (the conclusions may surprise you)? How many practice exams does the average passing and failing candidate take at all three levels? All of these questions and more are answered using the largest sample of exam results collected outside of CFA Institute (CFAI). 

Easing its way in before arriving at actual data, the eBook begins with an easy-to-understand introduction. This includes a description of some pertinent CFAI policy changes throughout the years to help gain context of the exam’s evolution and provide credence to ideas like the ‘Ethics Adjustment’ and the 300 Hours MPS calculation. Following this overview there are seven detailed chapters:

  • What are the topics that matter in each CFA level?
  • How large are the differences between failing bands?
  • What is the estimated MPS?
  • When should I start my CFA study preparation?
  • How many practice exams should I aim for?
  • How important is having a background in Finance?
  • How can candidates better address the Level III essay section?

All of these topics include conclusions deduced from the statistical analysis of real exam results and candidate testimonials. Each chapter addresses the similarities and differences of the subject across all three Levels, except Chapter 7 which focuses only on the dreaded Level III essay section. The eBook closes with a Frequently Asked Questions section to address their methodologies and other miscellaneous exam related areas.  

For a candidate looking for every available advantage, this 70+ page tool is an effective way to better understand your enemy and prepare for the challenge ahead. For additional resources or to get a copy of the 300 hours CFA Exam Insights 2015 Edition, visit www.300hours.com.

–Matthew Clifford works as a Financial Advisor for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.  He is a member of NYSSA and involved in their Private Wealth Management Committee.  Matthew has passed the CFA Level II exam and plans on taking Level III in 2015. 

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