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Kaplan vs Wiley/UWorld CFA

Determine which CFA prep course is best for you between Kaplan Schweser and Wiley/UWorld

Kaplan Schweser and Wiley are the two most popular options on the market for CFA prep. With test prep giant UWorld’s recent acquisition of Wiley, as well as updates to the Level I exam, both companies have responded by revamping their courses. In this article, we compare and contrast each company’s updated CFA study materials so that you can figure out which course best fits your budget and learning preferences.

  • Price
  • Video Instruction
  • Live Class Hours
  • Practice Questions
  • Practice Tests
  • Money Back Guarantee
  • Kaplan Schweser CFA Premium Sale: 10% OFF Code: TPI-10
    Sale: 10% OFF Code: TPI-10
    Claim Discount
    • $999
    • 80+ Hours
    • 42
    • 4,000+
    • 6
  • UWorld Elite CFA (Level 1) Free Trial Check Current Offers
    Free Trial Check Current Offers
    Visit UWorld
    • $1,399
    • 90+ Hours
    • 48
    • 5,000+
    • 2

Outline: Wiley vs Kaplan CFA

Given that this is a lengthy, detailed comparison, we’ve included jump-to links above for your convenience.

Video Review: Which CFA Course Is Better?

In the above video, team member John breaks down how the review courses from Kaplan Schweser and Wiley/UWorld stack up. Please keep reading for more info.

Kaplan Schweser CFA Premium

Kaplan Schweser CFA

  • Multiple Course Options
  • Money Back Guarantee
  • Multiple Course Options
  • Money Back Guarantee
Our Score


  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • SchweserNotes are incredibly good (best in the industry)
  • Masterclass lecture series is engaging and insightful
  • Realistic practice problems with clear answer solutions and explanations
  • More simulated practice tests than Wiley (6 vs 2)
  • Performance tracker helps you gauge your readiness
  • Effective and intuitive course structure
  • End of chapter video recaps are somewhat boring
  • Heavy-handed reading assignments
Kaplan Schweser CFA Premium
Sale: 10% OFF Code: TPI-10

Why Kaplan CFA Is Better Than Wiley/UWorld

In order to keep this article narrowly focused on directly comparing these CFA prep programs, rather than providing a more general overview of each course and how they work, I am instead going to cover the strengths of each program and the categories where they beat the other (i.e., the wins for each course).

Also, to be clear, this post covers the Level I course for each company (not Levels II or III). However, most everything we’ll discuss also applies to Levels II and III as each company’s teaching methodology, types of study materials, and learning platforms do not change between levels. Anyway, let’s get to it.


The core instructional component of the Kaplan CFA course is their SchweserNotes. By now, almost everyone has heard of SchweserNotes, and they’re probably a big reason why you’re even considering going with Kaplan for your CFA prep.

These notes are the gold standard of written study materials in the CFA world and they’re definitely the highlight of the Kaplan Schweser package. These books are detailed and full of examples, yet they’re extremely easy to read and follow.

SchweserNotes are awesome

They cover every learning outcome statement (LOS) in a very organized, sequenced manner, and they are just hands down the best in the industry. The Kaplan “study” modules, which are the backbone of the Kaplan Schweser curriculum, are based on the SchweserNotes, and they even give you a video lesson summarizing every chapter.

Bottom line, these CFA books are really good, and they’re much better than Wiley’s written materials in our opinion.

Learning Framework

Our team loved the structure and organization of the Kaplan CFA prep program. Kaplan uses a pretty traditional, but effective overarching framework of learn ➡️ practice ➡️ assess.

In other words, you learn about a topic in a module, put what you learned to use with a few practice questions in the next module, and then periodically assess your knowledge with a Qbank assignment or exam.

You’ll find that’s kind of the flow of the Kaplan suggested study plan. The learning modules are stacked in a pretty predictable order, with the occasional class mixed in.

Kaplan Schweser CFA Mock Exam
Mock exam from Kaplan

Moreover, Kaplan accomplishes this through a feature called their Activity Feed, which essentially tells you exactly what to study and in what order, week-by-week. In short, Kaplan has done a great job of integrating all the different facets of the course into a pretty intentionally sequenced and easy to follow schedule.

Masterclass Video Lectures

The third win is Kaplan’s Masterclass series. These are strategy-based classes periodically layered into your study schedule, and they’re intended to drive home what you learn in each unit with an application spin on your learning.

You get your direct, hard content review through the SchweserNotes, and then the Masterclasses recap the highest-yield concepts that you absolutely need to know and teach you how to apply what you learn on the exam.

Kaplan Schweser CFA Masterclass
We love the Kaplan Masterclass videos

The instructors spend a good chunk of time working sample problems and teaching you how to take what you’ve learned in the SchweserNotes and apply it in practice on the test.

There is about 50 hours of total Masterclass content, and each video is worth every minute of watch time in our team’s opinion. The recaps of high-yield subject matter, the focus on application, and the instructor advice is worth its weight in gold.

More Affordable CFA Courses

When you’re looking at the cost of these two prep programs, Kaplan Schweser does have a pricing advantage. Basically, each company offers several different course options and Kaplan is slightly cheaper at every level (except the top-tier package, where the companies are priced the same).

Kaplan’s base package is about $170 cheaper than Wiley’s at $500, the mid-tier package is about $100 cheaper than Wiley’s, and as noted above, both company’s top-tier premium offerings cost the same at $1,400.

Plus, Kaplan is more aggressive with sales and special promotions. You’ll rarely pay full price on their CFA products, so do make sure to check for discounts.

Bottom line, Kaplan is generally a couple hundred dollars cheaper than Wiley/UWorld, giving them a nice pricing advantage.

👉 Read our full Kaplan Schweser CFA Review

UWorld Elite CFA (Level 1)

Wiley/UWorld CFA

  • Three Course Options
  • Free Trial
  • Three Course Options
  • Free Trial
Our Score


  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • Video lessons, while dry, are still very insightful
  • Live classes with CFA instructors are great
  • Flashcards are ideal for quick study sessions
  • Accelerate Bootcamp is great for last minute prep
  • Free extension if you fail first attempt (StudyPass)
  • Video lessons are somewhat dry
  • Written study materials not as good as Kaplan's
  • Practice problem explanations could use more detail
UWorld Elite CFA (Level 1)
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Why UWorld/Wiley CFA Is Better Than Kaplan

Now that we’ve covered the strengths of the Kaplan Schweser CFA program, let’s discuss the advantages of using Wiley to study for the CFA exam.

🚨 Reminder: As noted above, UWorld has acquired Wiley and adopted their CFA prep courses as their own. Therefore, although the branding appears to be UWorld, you can still consider (for now) the courses to be Wiley’s.

Adaptive Software

One of the things we liked most about the Wiley/UWorld CFA review course is how their software adapts the difficulty of practice problems as you progress. All of the questions in the test bank have different assigned difficulty values, and if you’re crushing practice problem sets, they’ll ratchet up the difficulty.

Wiley CFA prep practice question
Example practice question from Wiley

Likewise, if you miss a run of questions, they’ll dial it back so you can work on fundamentals and build some confidence. This adaptability is great for progression.

Stellar Live Classes

Next, we liked how Wiley/UWorld has a structured live class schedule.

Now, to be clear, Kaplan sort of does too. Their Masterclass sessions are available live online and you can attend those if you want in real time, but they’re not as rigid on scheduling.

The Masterclasses are layered into your schedule at different intervals, and we almost always ended up watching them pre-recorded after the fact. However, Wiley’s classes are a bit more structured and scheduled out.

Wiley CFA prep lecture
The Wiley classes are great

To be honest, it’s not even the quality of the classes we give Wiley the win on (we like Kaplan’s Masterclasses just as much); it’s just how the Wiley classes offer a more structured approach with the regular live class schedule.

This is a big benefit to candidates who need the accountability and commitment of week-to-week regularly scheduled live classes. It’s a nice perk if you need to be held to the fire.

Accelerate Bootcamp

Lastly, I want to talk about Wiley’s Accelerate Bootcamp (formerly known as the 11th hour Cram Course). This is a workshop series you take right at the end before exam day.

It offers 30 hours of lectures and it basically tries to prepare you for test day in just a week or two. It’s definitely not meant to be a substitute for the full course, but as a capstone to the program, it offers a lot of value.

The Wiley instructors walk you through all of your need-to-know material, talk about test taking strategy, and even have you sit for a mock exam before going over answers. At the end of the day, think of it as a little bootcamp right before test day.

Again, you should not rely on this mini-review course to fully prepare you at all, but it’s a great feature in the final weeks of studying.

👉 Read our full Wiley CFA Review

Kaplan Schweser CFA Premium
Sale: 10% OFF Code: TPI-10

Verdict: Which CFA Prep Course Is Better?

After purchasing, using, and reviewing both courses, we prefer Kaplan Schweser, and by a pretty good margin.

There are some redeeming features of the Wiley/UWorld program, such as the Accelerate Bootcamp and computer adaptive practice problems, but overall, we found the Kaplan Schweser course to be more comprehensive, practical, and frankly, engaging.

The Kaplan instructors in the Masterclasses were fantastic; their mock exams are more realistic; and you cannot beat the smart, flexible structure of this review course. So in the end, we recommend Kaplan Schweser.

👉 Read Next: Best CFA Study Materials Ranking


How do the CFA prep courses from Kaplan and Wiley compare?

The CFA prep courses from Kaplan and Wiley each have their own strengths and weaknesses. With that said, our team believes Kaplan beats Wiley when it comes to CFA books, realism of practice tests, and quality of instructors.

Are Kaplan's CFA prep books better than Wiley's?

Yes, after reviewing the CFA prep books from both companies, our team found the Kaplan written study materials to be more comprehensive and helpful. The SchweserNotes are simply the best in the CFA prep space.

Which CFA prep course is better - Wiley or Kaplan Schweser?

Our team found the Kaplan Schweser CFA prep course to be better than Wiley’s. We loved the structure of the Kaplan course, their instructors, and the realistic nature of their practice tests. It is a more comprehensive and cost effective prep option.