Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Greater Seattle area
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I don't know about how useful it is, etc. But, my husband is currently studying for level 3. He passed Level 1 in his first try but level 2 took him three tries (although, the first try was a half-hearted attempt as he only had 4 months to study and we were moving countries at the time). Level 3 is quite different as it is not multiple choice like the others.
Let me tell you what the experience has been like for us (we don't have children yet). He works full time, is gone from the house ~11 hours/day on a good day, mon-fri. Level 1 is offered in December and June; 2 and 3 only in June. From about Thanksgiving to the first weekend in June, it feels like he is studying all.the.time. He tries to get in a couple of hours after work each day unless he gets stuck late. He studies hard at the weekend, he gets up around 7.30 and studies until nearly dinnertime. We do usually relax with a movie or something in the evening. One weeknight we also watch an hour of television together. I help him by doing flashcards with him in the 1-2 months before the exam.
He uses review materials (he has used STalla and Schweser) that have DVD lectures which he watches, in addition to reading the material and working lots of problems. He has a pretty strict study schedule that he tries to follow. He's a little behind right now and he might take a vacation day from work soon to catch up.
Overall I find it very stressful and we have agreed that he will finish his exams before we have children; I pick up A LOT of the household slack so that he can study and I cannot imagine doing this with children. BUT, there are a lot of parents who successfully study & pass too, so it can be done.