What’s in the Schweser Box

As the kiddies were dumping out their Halloween bags yesterday to see what goodies they got for free, I was dumping out my box of goods from Schweser, to see what I got for $599. If you’ll recall, I purchased their Essential Prep Package.

And for the record, I don’t have an advertising relationship or anything like that with them.

My wife was the photographer, and it was her good suggestion that I go get the study materials from the CFA Institute and put them alongside, so that you can get a relative feel for what’s provided by both parties.

Main Event: Schweser vs. CFA Institute

So in the picture above, that’s the Schweser box on the left, weighing in at 12 lbs. Official CFA Institute materials are on the right. From memory, I think they were about 18 lbs.

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While I’m unboxing, let me remind you that this isn’t actually the whole collection, for both parties. In addition to the cute sorry I’ve dropped off the face of the earth, I’m in the CFA program postcards and flyer from the CFA Institute, you also get access to some online sample questions and one online exam (more online materials available for purchase).

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Similarly, this package from Schweser is only the first installment of what I’ve paid for. From my understanding there is at least another volume to be sent out in November. And there’s a significant online element too, perhaps already available, including a bank of thousands of multiple choice questions to practice on and faculty office hours (didn’t think I was getting that).

So I open up the box and the first thing I see is a thin pamphlet of a few dozen pages or so. Without even looking at its title, I toss it aside to get to the real meat of the package. This turns out to be – surprise – 6 volumes.

You’re thinking, just as the CFA curriculum is divided up over 6 volumes of “study guides”, so are there 6 volumes of the “SchweserNotes”. But actually one of the volumes contains 3 practice tests. Schweser just combined two of the thinner CFA Institute volumes into one.

You’d imagine that the thick books would have caught my fancy first, but actually I gravitated to this laminated cheat sheet shown below. If you’ve prepared for a CFA exam you probably made your own version of what’s on here. It’s a huge list of all the formulas and rules of thumb you need to know to remember what you’ve studied. Perhaps if you had a photographic memory, this might be all you’d need to pass the exam. Ha! In your dreams…

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So finally we have the box unpacked…

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Or perhaps you’d like to see everything stacked up side by side…

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… and the angle on the above shot isn’t the best, but the Schweser stuff works out to be what I’ll call about 65% the thickness of the materials from the CFA Institute.

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I then remembered that first little "pamphlet" I’d ignored, so I decided to see what it was all about. Is it a brief catalog of further CFA study materials available for purchase?

No! Its actual title is Level I Refresher. Since the Level II material is built upon Level I, Schweser kindly provides a Level I "summary" volume. Are you kidding me? The thousands of pages I studied for Level I?! Can be summarized in a little book barely over 100 pages that I can hold up with two fingers?!

Well I’d love to write more but I haven’t really cracked the first volume yet. Like human beings who can’t fall asleep without a sheet over them, the dog has been crate-trained since birth, and needs something to be up against in order to pass out. She saw an opportunity and seized it. I didn’t have the heart to wake her.

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So, more to come soon. Including interesting developments on the job market front…

And sorry – comments got somehow permanently disabled for this post.