A few weeks ago, the key learnings from the results analytics for CFA June Level I was posted. Here is the Level II follow up. Hope you guys find this useful!
Pass rates for Level II for the sample was 68%. While still higher than the overall 42% quoted by CFA Institute, this was lower than the Level I sample (72%).
The top 5 key learnings drawn from the analysis are as below.
- FRA’s a bitch, and it’s not just you. Financial Reporting & Analysis has been the traditional pain point for most Level II candidates. If you think FRA’s a pain in the ass as well, you’re definitely not alone. There is a performance improvement in passing candidates compared to failed ones, but the difference is not that significant compared to others. Everyone finds it tough.
- Look for arbitrage in Equity Investments, Corp Finance and Derivatives. The other topic heavyweight, Equity Investments, does show a large performance improvement between passing and failed candidates. Corporate Finance and Derivatives also show similar patterns. This may point that these subjects are not difficult to master compared to, say, FRA, and the passing difference is that candidates took the time to concentrate on these. It could pay to give special attention to these topics.
- Focus on Ethics, but don’t go too crazy. Ethics is one of the topics to observe the least amount of performance improvement when comparing passing candidates to failing. This shows that candidates in general take Ethics equally seriously, no doubt at least partially due to the ethics adjustment advice given to candidates. This topic also has been covered and emphasized here in the past. Also, the effect of ethics adjustment can be overestimated As the ethics adjustment only helps borderline cases, this implies that the adjustment can be negated with a single additional mistake elsewhere. For your prep, it would be useful to realize the plateauing point for Ethics - don’t focus too much on Ethics at the expense of other topics.
- The MPS for CFA Level II 2012 is between 58% and 63%. The MPS range for Level II is lower than Level I. However, please don’t use this data to aim for a lower score threshold in your Level II prep - always aim for 70%. Anything lower than that - you really should step it up a notch.
- Band differences are very slight. The percentage differences between failing bands are much smaller compared to Level I. For Level I, the difference between bands was about 8-11 questions whereas the difference between Level II bands is only about 3-5 questions. This means that assuming you were around the mid-point of your band, you were just one or two questions away from reaching the next band.
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