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CAIA Study Prep: Official CAIA Study Guide vs Uppermark vs Kaplan Schweser


uppermark vs schweserThe CAIA program is relatively new, and so providers haven’t had time to compile a wide selection of CAIA study prep.  The CAIA Association publishes its own CAIA study prep materials through Wiley, but many candidates use third-party review providers such as Uppermark or Kaplan Schweser.

What is the best choice for you?

CAIA Study Prep Materials: An Overview

First of all, you should know that the CAIA Association is now offering its own study guide for the exam. And it has a lot more coverage when compared to the SchweserNotes. This could be a double-edged sword — if you want to learn more about alternative investment products, this is a great set of books. But if you simply want to pass the exam, it might give you an overdose of material.

Whether you want to stick with the CAIA Association’s study guide or pick another CAIA exam study provider depends on what you want to achieve from your journey.

The Official CAIA Study Guide

This CAIA study guide, which is published by Wiley, is the only guide that is officially endorsed by the CAIA Association. The guide includes one textbook for each part of the exam:

  • CAIA Curriculum 2024: Level I
  • CAIA Curriculum 2024: Level II

Pros of the CAIA Study Guide

1. Comprehensive Textbook on Alternative Investments

The book is substantial and comprehensive, with 896 pages for Level 1 and 716 pages for Level 2. If you have a genuine interest in the industry, it is an excellent reference book that you want to get regardless of the exam.

Specifically, the Level 1 book introduces the different asset classes within alternative investments, such as real estate, private equity, commodities, hedge funds, and structured products, as well as risk and portfolio management.

The Level 2 book covers similar topics but in much greater depth.

2. Content Organized Based on CAIA Curriculum

The book is generally well-organized, and each section of the book matches that of the exam. The authors also discuss the same concepts from different perspectives in different chapters. This helps the reader to grasp difficult concepts more easily.

Cons of the CAIA Association Study Guide

1. Not Enough Practice Questions

The CAIA Association offers Free CAIA sample questions on the website (no need to purchase the study guide to get access), but this is not enough for proper CAIA study prep. Most candidates need to supplement with third-party study materials such as Uppermark and Schweser.

Kaplan Schweser: Pros and Cons

It is logical for Kaplan Schweser to enter the CAIA market after its big success in the CFA exam preparation market. They have been offering CAIA study prep materials for a few years now.

Pros of Kaplan Schweser

  • If you used SchweserNotes for the CFA exam before, you might be more familiar with their style.
  • The notes are well-written and well-liked by candidates. The exam content is well summarized, and you need less time to study when compared to using the CAIA materials.
  • It comes with a great set of notes and practice questions. If you want to study purely for test-taking purposes (vs. learning more about alternative investments), reading the SchweserNotes is a more “efficient” way to get it done.

Cons of Kaplan Schweser

  • The official CAIA study guide is more affordable and comprehensive. In other words, the notes condense the material down to an extent that you may miss some small items.
  • Some candidates find the notes too summarized.

Uppermark: Pros and Cons

Uppermark is one of the leading and most established providers of CAIA study materials. The company prides itself on putting 100% of its efforts into creating review courses only for the CAIA exam.

Pros of Uppermark

  • Uppermark was the first CAIA study guide and has been around since the first CAIA exam.
  • Great reviews from users. The textbook is written in a logical, user-friendly manner (for some candidates, easier to read than the CAIA materials).
  • The test prep software (question bank) is very comprehensive, with 1000+ questions, and is regularly updated.
  • Comes with useful tools like flashcards.

Cons of Uppermark

  • Similar to Schweser, the material is summarized down to an extent that you may miss some small items.
  • Uppermark is neither an official nor a global brand name.

Official CAIA Study Prep Materials: Currently on Sale!

Here are the discounted CAIA Study Guides through Amazon:

Level 1
(3rd edition)
Level 2
(2nd edition)

For Your Further Reading

Any comments, thoughts, or questions on these review course providers? Please drop us a note below.