Kaplan Schweser CFA is one of the oldest companies producing study materials for the chartered financial analyst exam. They offer a wide variety of different products including a comprehensive, full length course designed to help candidates pass on the their first try.
You can choose between live classroom courses, live online classes, or a self-study online review course.
Kaplan has been one of the most popular and successful names in the CFA industry for a long time. And for good reason, they make great products. Why did I rate them so low on my list of best CFA study materials then?
Well, popularity doesn’t make the course good or bad. It just means that it’s popular. Windows is popular too. It gets the job done, but no one really likes it. Not to say that Kaplan is like Windows, but it’s a good analogy. The main reason I put Kaplan so low on the list is because it’s way over priced.
Chances are you are paying for your review materials. I think that Kaplan is comparable to Wiley CFA, but it’s almost twice as expensive. That’s too big of a difference in price. I don’t think it’s worth it. I think Wiley is a much better course and is way cheaper. That’s why I had to rate Kaplan so low.
That being said, let’s take a look at what Kaplan has to offer.
Kaplan’s study guide is designed around their trademark prepare, practice, perform learning strategy where candidates listen to the lectures and read the text to prepare, practice the multiple choice questions, and perform on the exam.
Their study guide comes with a comprehensive set of materials.
The SchweserNotes are the written materials. These books are focused and help you learn the important topics without going into too much unnecessary detail. This is nice because the actual CFA curriculum is way too much for someone to go through. Kaplan does that for you. They go through the authorized materials and pick out what is important and include that in the SN.
The SchweserPro QBank is their practice exam software that includes 4,000 multiple-choice questions for you to practice. Each practice question has explanations for each answer to help you learn the topics being tested.
Kaplan offers a variety of different courses that you can choose from. If you are someone who likes to have one-on-one time with an instructor, they offer live in person classes. If you like the idea of having a live lecture, but you don’t want to be forced into going to a class every night, they have live online classes.
No matter what course you choose, they all allow you to have access to the instructors. You can either ask them your questions in person or email them. This is one benefit of Schweser. It’s been around for so long, there are mentors and coaches all over the world who will help you with your study questions.
The also offer a final review course. Most of the other companies don’t offer something like this. Personally, I think it’s a little excessive. If you have done your job studying for 300 hours, you don’t really need to take another review. Many people do like this though. Kaplan offers a 3 or 5-day final review class that you can attend before the big exam day. They vary in price and are available in person and online.
As with all of Kaplan’s materials, they are always up to date. Every year KS revises its courses and materials to reflect the current changes in the exam. If you purchase KS, you will be getting the newest information and resources for what’s going to be on the exam.
Mock Exams and Practice Quizzes
KS offers six full-length mock exams. This is great for preparing yourself for what the exam will actually be like. There’s no better way to prepare yourself to take the exam than taking multiple mock exams.
Kaplan’s test bank also allows you to create custom quizzes based on the topics and information that you need to work on.
Expensive Price and No Guarantee
Kaplan is the most expensive course on the market. Although it is a premium course and has developed a reputation for helping people pass over the last 25 years, it is really expensive.
I don’t think that it would be that big of a deal if they offered a full pass guarantee like other courses do, but they don’t. Kaplan will give you a 50 percent discount toward your second purchase of their product if you fail the exam. So if you fail one level, you will end up paying for it twice. That’s kind of a tough pill to swallow, but that’s just my opinion.
Kaplan is a great course with a long history of success. It’s helped thousands of people pass the CFA exam over the years and will continue to do so. They have something for everyone from traditional in-person lectures to modern online self-study courses. I just feel that they are a little too expensive and not worth the money.
So if you have an employer paying for your study materials, I wouldn’t hesitate to go out and get a Kaplan course. If you are like me and don’t have a generous employer, on the other hand, I would recommend that you look at the other courses that are available and far less expensive.