Wiley CFA Review (formerly Elan Guides) is one of the more popular prep courses available for aspiring Certified Financial Analysts. It offers a fully integrated learning system, with packages at different pricing levels.
Wiley CFA Product Offering
All packages come with the following:
1. Practice questions: 5,000+ questions in Level 1, 3,200+ in Level 2 and 1,000+ in Level 3. They can be accessed via tablet or smartphone.
2. Mock exams: Full-length, timed mock exams with answers and explanations.
3. Study guide: 1,300+ pages of study text in 5 volumes of printable ebooks.
4. Exam planner: Personalized digital exam planner that adapts to your schedule, pace of learning and progress.
5. Formula sheets: 90+ pages for L1, 60+ for L2 and 60+ for L3.
The following is available for selected packages:
1. Videos (platinum, gold, silver): 110+ hours of streaming video lectures by star instructors, broken down into bite-sized lessons.
2. Online mentoring (platinum, gold): Students can post questions and get answers from CFA instructors within 24-48 hours.
3. Weekly virtual classroom (platinum, gold): 14-16 weekly live online classes for each level, which are also recorded for on-demand playback.
4. 11th Hour Guide (platinum only): The 11th Hour guide is a highly-regarded, concise notes that condenses all of the readings to help you study in the final weeks before the exam. The 11th Hour guide can be sold separately.
5. Final review and mock exam seminars (platinum only): Part of the 11th Hour Final Review Course, with 27+ hours of exam review video lectures by top CFA instructors.
Wiley CFA Pros and Cons
1. Wiley CFA Review has Superior Video Instruction
Videos make Wiley stands out from the crowd.
First, the videos are incredibly easy to follow.
Second, the instructors teach from scratch. After watching the videos, reading the study guide is very quick as you have already understood all the stuff. They go through each and every example in the videos as well. Some readers told me they didn’t even read material that much, all they did was watch the videos and take notes.
One of the instructors, Peter Olinto, is a long-time superstar at Becker CPA Review. Peter teaches in such a manner which never makes you lose focus and concentration.
Another well-liked instructor is Basit Shajani, founder and instructor of Elan Guides, and now Editor-in-Chief for CFA Prep Materials at Wiley Global Finance. Basit is very thorough, making sure you know your stuff. He is especially helpful with math intensive materials.
You can watch both of their teaching styles in the following video (Basit from the beginning; Peter from 1:50):
2. Tough and Thorough Practice Questions
If you prefer thought through questions instead of the plug and chug type, Wiley is the choice. Many think they are closer to the real deal than Schweser’s set.
3. The Famous 11th Hour Guide
The 11th Hour Guide is a condensed form of the CFAI curriculum, and is more detailed than Schweser Secret Sauce. Provided you have done all the questions for each reading after reading it and going over them until you get above 70%, the 11th Hour Guide will be all you need as a reference point during your review.
4. The Most Affordable among the Big 3
At $1,245, it isn’t a steal, but you save a couple dollars getting Wiley vs the others. It is a solid $750+ saving for all 3 levels.
5. Free Trial and Until You Pass Guarantee
This is my personal favorite. I always prefer providers who are confident enough to give out free trials and unlimited access, because they have nothing to hide about their excellent product, and they don’t worry about people staying forever and eat up resources because, well, their students do pass and move on.
1. Schweser Notes are Easier to Read?
People have different opinion, but from readers who study from both courses, there is a very slight preference over Schweser’s notes. Schweser is more concise according to these readers.
2. Some Find the Videos Too Long
I have come across readers who find the videos an overkill. These are usually candidates with very good background knowledge. (Having said that, they don’t need the videos anyway, and should have got the self-study course instead at a much lower price of $345.)
3. Some are Just Fine with the CFAI Text Book
The official text book is included in your CFA exam payment, so technically you don’t need third-party providers such as Wiley. There are candidates who rely on CFAI text book alone.
CFAI books are great if you have the time and dedication to swim into the sea of finance. Practically, for most busy professionals, they need a learning system such as videos and tracking tool to dissect each section and efficiently go through the CFA study materials.
Questions from Readers
1. Wiley CFA seem to offer better products, but why the lower pricing? It doesn’t make sense.
To answer this question, we’ll need to go back a bit in history. There used to be two dominant review courses — Kaplan Schweser and Stalla — for the CFA exam prep market. In 2011, Schweser acquired Stalla and virtually became a monopoly. For smaller guys such as Elan and 7City, they had to substantially reduce their price to compensate for their lesser-known brands.
Now that Elan is acquired by Wiley, it makes the best use of its state-of-the-art online platform that has been proven successful across their CPA, CMA and other products. Basit Shajani stays, and Peter Olinto, who used to be the anchor instructor at Stalla, came on board.
Wiley CFA has all the good stuff but for now at least, they still need to lower the price to offset Schweser’s dominant position in the market.
As a customer, I would fully take advantage of that.
Wiley is most suitable for candidates who look for engaging, thorough instruction through videos, together with a solid set of tough questions, so they can properly study and pass on the first try.
Looking at the entire package including the videos, details of instruction, notes, 11th hour guide, interactive online planner and tracking, as well as the pass guarantee, free trial and reasonable price, Wiley CFA review course is my top choice. What do you think?