Title could be "CAG CFA Charterholders?" Teasing about the violation.
Right before I started taking the exams, my work stopped paying for program (financial crisis being what it was). For that reason I considered using the CFAI curriculum, but ultimately got the Schweser study materials as I found the curriculum to be too verbose. I would read the Schweser notes and then drill the CFAI EOC questions. I found the Schweser study videos to be a really valuable tool because I could follow along over meals (I find it hard to study books and eat at the same time). Personal preference thing.
You mentioned the blue box examples and extra material in the readings. I'd definitely adhere to the LOSes. The LOSes represent what you need to know come test time. If it's not in the LOSes, the odds of it being on the exam are nil. Likewise, I found that if something is not covered by the EOC questions, it's unlikely to be emphasized during the exams. If you can score in the mid-80% or better in the EOCs, I'd say you're in decent shape.
All that said, if an LOS is sufficiently vague and you think something might be included, it very well might be. I took the approach that CFAI was out to get me, and I still believe that to this day.
Does CFAI still offer sample exams for a fee? If so, I'd highly recommend purchasing them and taking them under test-like conditions in the month leading up to the exam.
Also: time management. Prioritizing content you think is more likely to be heavily-tested. Try to learn it all, but if time becomes an issue, know that you can't get 100% and you should prioritize areas where you can pick up the most points.
Sorry if all this is too much info, but I know what you're going through and can just really relate! I'd like to know how you make out.
Apologies for the late response - I think I was typing a response way back when, slipped my mind, and totally forgot about it (as well as forgetting just about everything else). I've been living under a rock recently and freaking the heck out constantly. At work, all I can think about is getting out so I can study. Once I actually do get out of work, all I want to do is sleep =/ (but still pushing myself onward). I also started doing the one thing I promised myself I wouldn't do...trying to re-read through the curriculum (Edit: I've only used the CFAI curriculum the whole time).
Given up that fool's errand now - for the last month, I've decided it's all about just doing questions - EOCs, blue boxes, and mocks til the end. Not sure how much of it is subconscious retention versus actual learning, but I'm getting questions right on EOCs that I got wrong before without thinking too much about it.
CFAI offers one free mock which I am currently going through now, as well as several "practice assessments". I wound up biting the bullet and bought 3 Kaplan mocks, while a co-worker bought the other 3, and we have all six of those between us. The one thing that shocked me is that these were a lot less computationally intensive than I expected. So far, through 2.5 Kaplan mocks, I've been scoring roughly in the mid 60s. at this point. Fortunately, I haven't see a question that's looked totally alien and everything tested has been fair, it's just remembering all this stuff is a nightmare (and I have a terrible memory).
CFAI also offers online practice assessments, which I believe are a relatively new tool. From my understanding, the difficulty of these questions is harder than what's on the actual exam for the quantitative questions, on par for the conceptual questions.
Appreciate the advice about prioritizing, and I definitely agree with that. Come hell or high water, the last few days, for review I'll be almost exclusively focusing on Equities, FRA, and Fixed Income. Fortunately, I think I've gotten a solid base on equities (only topic I feel that I should definitely get >70 on). Fortunately for me, I saved vacation time from last year/haven't used any days this year, so I was able to get 2 weeks off before the exam.
I think when all is said and done, I'm gonna have about 500 hours pumped into this thing by test day. Dear God, I hope I pass...