Wiley is Awesome! [draft]


It’s been a while since I got the Wiley package. I wanted to try for a few weeks before sharing my thoughts on this review provider. So far, I couldn’t be happier.

We get on so much better now after the conversation we had on my CFA journey.

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Wiley more conceptual / qualitative, thus tougher. 90% vs 70-80%.

I am done with Ethics in my study plan and half of Quant I can say that I’m totally happy with their materials. Do it this way:

  1. Watch video. It gives a great start to a topic. Some themes could be learned with videos only.
  2. Read through notes. It depends on how much you know about the topic. You should expect to read most (but probably not all) of the notes.
  3. Solve test problems. Great way to test your understanding and check for weak areas.

Some of the videos done by Basit and Peter Olinto a few years back are still relevant. They are absolutely fantastic for a deeper and broader understanding of some of the material.

Also, some of the study notes readings do a better job teaching some of the readings than the curriculum does (Pensions in FRA is a good example).

Wiley Needs to Improve on?

The #1 improvement they can do (easily) is to increase the number of mocks. Schweser has 6 for Level 1; Wiley has only 3. I know it takes time to create a decent set of mock exam, but isn’t it silly if people are forced to choose Schweser over Wiley simply because they have more practice exams available?

Schweser does a really good job condensing the material however the “practice problems” at the end of each chapter are 10 times easier then the EOL questions in the CFAI material. I usually use Schweser to read the chapter but then do the EOL questions at the end of the CFAI material. In my oppinion you will be much better prepared for the exam by strictly studying from the CFAI material.

you absolutely can still pass this, but you need to do the following:

Other tactic is to choose when to cut your losses. If you cannot crack something highly complex, just make flashcards for the definitions in that section and pray your strengths elsewhere carry you.

  • don’t go to work. find a way to get as much time off as possible – ideally, all of it from now till June 3 (don’t kill your career obviously, but be aggressive about getting away from all distractions and finding 10×9=90 hours of final revision time).
  • audit your mock performance. for each answer explanation, track (excel) whether you have some semblence of what’s going on, or it’s completely foreign to you. if the explanation is not comprehensibe – if you can’t walk into another room and explain it in your own words 30 seconds later – drop it. it’s dead. let it go. there are 100’s of other chances to get your magic 168/240. every question is worth 1 point, so you need to build intimacy with as many questions as possible, not the hardest ones.
  • if you’ve done 2 mocks, you have 480 questions. let’s say you discard 100 that are ”Greek” to you. Among the 380 remaining, go through them until you are 100% perfect at all of them. On your first pass through “380”, as you select an answer, write down whether you’re confident in your choice, making an educated guess, whether you know how to do it but forgot the equation, or it too is Greek. Drop the Greeks (unfunny Black-Scholes pun
  • On your second pass, skip the ones that you both got right and were confident in. Repeat the ones you got right, but guessed at – to drive home the concept. Keep going until you have score a legit confident correct answer in 100% of the 380. Drop any where you realize you don’t understand the answer.
  • Do another mock. Repeat the process above.

hammer-drill the mock questions you have a chance in. Be a machine at it until it is impossible for you to get less than 168.



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Sam H

I was originally from Illinois, now working in New York City as a financial analyst. I am aiming to take (and pass!) the CFA Level 1 exam in June.

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