CFA level 3 study materials

Many CFA® candidates consider the CFA® Level 3 exam to be the toughest session of all.

Why is that?

The questions included on this exam level are more like case studies. Level three exam questions require carefully thought-out responses. Also, they’re more subjective than other question levels.

So, if you’re serious about becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst, you’ll need to really study to pass the CFA® Level 3 exam.

And while there’s no surefire way to guarantee success on the test, having the right CFA® Level III study materials can give you a leg up.

What are the best CFA® Level 3 study materials out there? Here are our top picks:

1. AnalystPrep CFA Level III Study Materials

Analyst Prep

If you’re willing to spend a little bit more on your study materials, AnalystPrep delivers comprehensive learning tools to help you prepare for the CFA® Level 3 exam. The site includes practice questions, video lectures, and personalized learning plans to help you focus your studying.

These CFA® study materials are designed to help you develop a strong understanding of the exam content and build the skills you need to pass the test. What’s more, the practice questions are updated regularly to ensure they’re aligned with the most recent exam content.

Pros & Cons:

  • Comprehensive and Tailored Approach: AnalystPrep’s CFA preparation stands out for its meticulously crafted content, designed to address every facet of the CFA curriculum. Their adaptive learning technology ensures a personalized study experience, pinpointing areas of weakness and adjusting material accordingly, setting students on a direct path to exam success.
  • Their program also has a more personable vibe when it comes to guidance and the way it is presented. They also provide lifetime access to video lessons and a question bank for all three levels.
  • Analyst Prep is one of the most highly rated CFA® prep programs, according to third-party reviews. Their expert instructors are unmatched and loved by students.
  • CFA® Charterholder Brian M. put it this way: “Before I came across this website, I thought I could not manage to take the CFA exam alongside my busy schedule at work. But with the up-to-date study material, there is little to worry about.”

Bottom Line
: AnalystPrep stands as our top choice for Level III CFA® prep. Highly praised by users like CFA® Charterholder Brian M., who credits its up-to-date materials and personal guidance for his success, the program offers lifetime access to video lessons and a question bank for all three levels. For those seeking a comprehensive yet tailored CFA® preparation, AnalystPrep is unmatched.


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2. Kaplan Schweser CFA® Level III Prep Course

The Level III CFA® exam is no joke. It’s notoriously difficult and downright intimidating for many test-takers. That’s why Kaplan Schweser’s offering is such a popular choice among those studying for the Level III exam.

CFA® Level III Exam Updates

These study materials:

  • Are integrated into an online learning platform
  • Help you quickly reference difficult concepts while reviewing practice exam questions
  • Are delivered in bite-sized modules, making it easier to study in shorter segments
  • Include key formulas in an online module and topic quizzes designed to help you retain and practice every concept
  • Are available in print, online, and eBook formats—giving you multiple ways to take in the content

Pros & Cons:

  • These well-organized Schweser Notes™ break down the material in an easily digestible format, making complex concepts much simpler to understand. In addition, they offer solid summaries that make studying for the CFA® Level III manageable. They’re also updated annually to ensure that you study with the most current information.
  • Kaplan Schweser is up-to-date on all things CFA® and likes to keep their candidates up-to-date as well. You’ll never have to worry about outdated material while prepping for the exam.
  • Kaplan’s Level III CFA® prep is endorsed by numerous top-tier names in the finance industry. This widespread recognition often leads employers to sponsor or reimburse the course fees for their employees, attesting to its esteemed reputation and effectiveness.

  • Kaplan has some of the most popular study materials on the market, comes at a pretty penny. However, its widespread recognition and proven track record often justify the investment for many aspiring CFA® candidates.

Bottom Line : Kaplan Schweser’s Level III CFA® prep is renowned for its meticulously organized notes that simplify complex concepts and offer concise summaries. Updated annually, their materials ensure candidates are always equipped with the latest information. With endorsements from top names in finance, many employers even consider sponsoring the course, underscoring its esteemed reputation in the industry.


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3. Salt Solutions CFA® Level 3 Review Course

If you’re looking for a top-notch review course, Bloomberg’s CFA® Level 3 offering is definitely worth considering. The course includes access to over 1,000 practice questions and video lessons taught by actual CFA® instructors. Plus, you’ll get a personalized study plan to help you make the most of your preparation time.

Pros & Cons:

  • Salt Solutions’ exclusive focus on the CFA® exam ensures a deep understanding of the curriculum, leading to resources that are finely tuned to the specific needs of CFA® candidates. This tailored experience puts them ahead of other providers.
  • Talk about cutting-edge! Being a newer entrant, Salt Solutions harnesses the latest in online education technology, offering an interactive and modern learning experience that stands out from traditional platforms.

  • As a relatively new player in the CFA® prep market, Salt Solutions lacks the extensive history and established reputation that some competitors boast. This unproven track record causes some students to decline and study with more seasoned prep providers.
  • While their dedicated focus on the CFA® is commendable, some students might prefer a platform that offers a broader range of financial exam resources, allowing for a more holistic learning experience that isn’t so niche-specific.

Salt Solutions brings a fresh, modern approach to CFA® exam preparation with its tailored resources and cutting-edge platform. However, its relatively short track record and niche specialization might not cater to everyone’s preferences. Those seeking a blend of innovation and dedicated CFA® focus might find it a suitable choice, while others might lean towards more established names in the market.

4. Princeton Review CFA® Level 3 Review Course

The Princeton Review

Princeton Review has one of the most comprehensive learning packages for the CFA® Level 3 exam. It offers detailed study notes, practice questions, and mock exams to help you pass the exam with flying colors.

Key Concepts for the CFA Exam | The Princeton Review

Their learning package includes essential topics such as:

  • Portfolio management
  • Equity investments
  • Fixed income
  • Derivatives
  • Alternative investments
  • Ethics and professionalism

Pros & Cons:

  • Princeton Review’s CFA® Level 3 course offers succinct lecture slides that distill complex topics, making them easily understandable without extensive reading. Coupled with their brief yet insightful explanations for question answers, it provides a streamlined learning experience. The added assurance of a money-back guarantee provided you complete all questions and watch all lectures, showcases their confidence in the course’s effectiveness.
  • Each mock exam perfectly mimics the CFA® institute test, allowing CFA® candidates to feel more comfortable and confident on exam day. In addition, each Level III CFA® exam practice question comes with detailed answers that explain exactly what the exam grader will be looking for.

  • At one point, the Princeton Review only offered CFA® prep for levels 1 and 2. Their CFA® Level III course is much newer, so it has fewer exam questions and resources when compared to other courses
  • While some lectures are concise and engaging, others can be tediously long, stretching up to two hours. The experience varies significantly based on the lecturer, with some having monotonous delivery styles that can be challenging to stay engaged with.
  • The course offers a limited number of end-of-chapter questions, potentially affecting thorough topic review. Moreover, sporadic mistakes in practice questions can divert attention and might confuse students.

Bottom Line : The Princeton Review offers a solid CFA® level 3 prep course backed by their money-back guarantee. Their excellent videos and large test bank of questions make them a top rated pick.


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5. Wiley CFA® Level III Study Materials

While Wiley’s CFA® Level III Prep Course once boasted a unique strategic approach to exam preparation, its recent acquisition by UWorld casts a shadow of uncertainty over its future direction and quality. Despite having dedicated strategy sessions for each exam topic, the potential changes post-merger make it hard for us to wholeheartedly endorse Wiley for CFA preparation at this juncture.

Wiley CFA

The Wiley CFA® Study Guide is another popular choice for those preparing for the CFA® Level III exam. This guide covers all of the core concepts tested on the exam, and it does so in a clear and concise way. It also includes practice questions at the end of each chapter to help you test your knowledge.

CFA Level III: Time Management

Many successful CFA® candidates have used the Wiley Study Guide to help them prepare for Level III of the exam. We think it’s a great choice for those looking for high-quality, complete coverage study materials.

Included in the Wiley Study Guide are superior study aids such as:

  • A diagnostic test to help you assess your strengths and weaknesses
  • Full-length practice exams
  • Flashcards

Pros & Cons:

  • Wiley’s study plans are customizable which is a huge plus for their program. Another great thing about the Wiley option is that you can access the self-study materials until you pass. So, you won’t have to worry about time running out if it takes a while to prepare for the exam.

  • Unfortunately, Wiley doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee like other test prep companies. This can be a big deal for those who are afraid they might not be able to pass, even with test prep.
  • With Wiley’s recent acquisition by UWorld, there’s uncertainty about the future direction and offerings of the CFA® prep material. Prospective students may need to exercise caution and stay informed about any changes to the curriculum or platform.
  • While Wiley updates its materials, there have been instances where some content might not reflect the very latest changes in the CFA® curriculum. This can lead to gaps in preparation and potential surprises on exam day.

Bottom Line: While Wiley has been a reputable name in the CFA® prep arena, recent uncertainties post-acquisition by UWorld, combined with occasional inconsistencies in content updates, make it essential for candidates to exercise caution and ensure they’re receiving the most up-to-date and comprehensive preparation.

Getting It Right on Exam Day

Study materials are an essential part of acing the CFA® exam. Not only do they provide the broad knowledge base you need to know for the test, but they also give you a chance to practice applying that knowledge in a way that simulates the test-taking experience.

When it comes to choosing CFA® Level 3 study materials, you have a few different options. First, you can purchase a review course, which will come with a set of lectures and/or textbooks. Alternatively, you can buy practice tests or individualized coaching.

The key is to find study materials that fit your learning style and budget. Consider how much time you have to prepare for the exam, how much money you’re willing to spend, and whether you prefer learning in a group or on your own.

Once you’ve selected your study materials, it’s important to use them effectively. Make a study schedule and stick to it, take practice tests under timed conditions, and review your results carefully. Then, with hard work and the right resources, you’ll be well on your way to acing the CFA® exam.

CFA® Level 3 FAQs

How difficult is the CFA® Level 3 exam?

The Level 3 exam is notoriously difficult, with a pass rate of around 40%. In comparison, the CFA® Level 2 exam has a 60% pass rate.

What is the best way to study for the CFA® Level 3 exam?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as students will have different learning styles and preferences. However, some general tips on how to study for the CFA® Level 3 exam include creating a study schedule, finding a study group, and using practice exams.

How much does it cost to take the CFA Level 3 exam?

The cost of taking the CFA® Level 3 exam is $1,200. However, there’s an early bird deal that sees the price decrease to $900.

Kenneth W. Boyd is a former Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and the author of several of the popular "For Dummies" books published by John Wiley & Sons including 'CPA Exam for Dummies' and 'Cost Accounting for Dummies'.

Ken has gained a wealth of business experience through his previous employment as a CPA, Auditor, Tax Preparer and College Professor. Today, Ken continues to use those finely tuned skills to educate students as a professional writer and teacher.