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Top 5 exam tips for the Level III CFA® Program exam

It’s the week before the exams! In this series of posts, we present the top revision tips from Wiley, our AB Maximus CFA® Program exam textbook partner. *This post uses material provided by Darren Degraaf of Wiley, including exam tips by Lisa Chen of CFA Institute.

Every year, many hopefuls end up failing their papers – contributing to the exams' infamous passing rates! With the help of our friends at Wiley, we've compiled 5 key tips for Level III candidates to ace the papers.

Here's what you need to know:

1. Show your calculations. And state your assumptions. You are not graded for language, style, or spelling, only clarity.

2. Answer the question in the right way. To do this, focus on the operative word (eg. describe can mean elaborating on pros and cons, while identify can mean listing names). And Give only what the question asks for: for example, if a question asks for 2 reasons for something, examiners will cross out the text explaining extra reasons.

3. Don't contradict yourself in essays. It could mean a zero for the question. Pick a view and stick to it.

4. Write legibly and in pen if possible. Pencil marks fade and smudge. Answer in the space/template provided, and before you begin writing, plan for a minute so you don't end up cancelling out large sections, thereby confusing the marker.

5. Use this answering technique: first answer all the questions you can do quickly. Then answer the questions you can do but takes a longer time. Last, answer the questions you don't know how to do: just make your best guess, and move on. On average, a question should take you about 1.5 minutes to answer.

Good Luck!

About the Author

Darren Degraaf, CFA, CPA, MBA, MAFM, PRM, is the revision expert in AB Maximus's CFA® Program exam prep course. He is currently adjunct professor of the Sauder School of Business in the University of British Columbia and director of Instructional Management for the Stalla Review for the CFA Exams Division of DeVry University. Before an international career in CFA® Programexam prep, he worked in HSBC for almost 20 years.

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