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CFA L1 compared to CAIA L2 difficulty

For those who have taken CFA lvl 1 or above, which one is comparably harder or require more time to study?

since I m thinking over whether to take CFA after CAIA, many thx 

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In my opinion, cfa level 2 is the most difficult one if you are not accounting major and all others are just so so..  

I think they are quite similar in difficulty. Level II is more detailed, perhaps, but you already know the stuff from Level I, so I think, incrementally, it’s the same amount of work. You need to be able to write short answer responses (1 - 2 paragraphs) on Level II, so that is a little different than just doing multiple choice questions, but this is not really a big challenge. My advice, if you’ve passed Level I, is to do Level II immediately afterwards, so that you don’t forget the (Level I) stuff you have learnt.

I used Schweser exclusively for both Level I and Level II. The amount of work (in terms of both effort and time) was similar.

By the way, if you want the Schweser course cheap, I’ll be putting my Level II course on ebay later today for $100 (do a search for “Kaplan Schweser Complete CAIA Level 2 Course”).

Lateral, is your response referring to CFA Level 1 or CAIA Level 1. I’m curious if CAIA is in the ballpark of any of the CFA exams. If it is, would consider giving it a whirl. Do you guys get the sense that it is the content, itself, or the sheer amount that makes the CFA so overwhelming?

it sounds more like CAIA lvl 1 to me, but thanks still!
@alts40, i am interested to know that too. I wonder given that I have completed CAIA lvl2, would 250 hours be enough for CFA lvl 1 ? 

Alts40 wrote:

Lateral, is your response referring to CFA Level 1 or CAIA Level 1. I’m curious if CAIA is in the ballpark of any of the CFA exams. If it is, would consider giving it a whirl. Do you guys get the sense that it is the content, itself, or the sheer amount that makes the CFA so overwhelming?

I’d say the CAIA is much easier than the CFA overall, but a lot of it hinges on one’s experience and background prior to embarking on either designation.  People who have an accounting background - or for that matter are full-fledged CPAs - will have an immediate leg-up on CFA Levels 1 & 2 due to the accounting treatment.

Also, the content on the CAIA is much more focused whereas the CFA curriculum is, for lack of a better term, “all over the place.”  I also think that CFA L1 and L2 have some overlap; I think the overlap between CFA L1/L2/L3 was more minimal.

I just passed CAIA L2 and passed CFA L1 a year ago.  In my opinion, from easiest to most difficult is CAIA L1, CFA L1, CAIA L2.  That being said, a lot of the quant stuff (among other sections) I learned in CFA L1 definitely put me a step ahead for my CAIA studies.

CAIA 2 is harder than CFA 1? I thought it is vice versa?
How did you prepare for that btw?

Any one here has also taken FRM part 2? 

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Ramos4rm, CFA, CAIA

All CFA exams are harder than all CAIA exams.

Ramos4rm, CFA, CAIA

CAIA is a joke…I’ve taken both.

not anymore … CAIA is more difficult now especially L2. Difficulty of these exams are now on increasing trend.

The harder the struggle, the more glorious the triumph.

pakwarrior wrote:

not anymore … CAIA is more difficult now especially L2. Difficulty of these exams are now on increasing trend.

I just took it last year… 

klaudnine wrote:

pakwarrior wrote:

not anymore … CAIA is more difficult now especially L2. Difficulty of these exams are now on increasing trend.

I just took it last year… 

Did you find the program intellectually enriching in any way? How would you compare it your CFA prep experience? 

"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." -Viktor Frankl

Umm, very surface knowledge, but not as boring as the CFA curriculum for the most part. 

How much more time would you say that you spent on CFA Level 1 vs , say, CAIA Level 2? Is it the difficulty of the material or the quantity that makes CFA so much more difficult , in your opinion?

I definitely spent twice as much time on CFA L1 than CAIA L2.

Ramos4rm, CFA, CAIA

CFA is definitely much harder. CFA has more than twice the amount of content. I find there is a small overlap in the content. If you look at the CFA stats, i guess CAIA is on par when the CFA charter started. I think it was easier and will get progressively harder in the future. My 2c.

CAIA Charterholder

@alts40. I don’t think CFA is intrinsically harder than CAIA but there is more material on CFA, so it probably requires more time. Both exams are more memory tests than in any way, shape, or form intellectually challenging. Neither CFA or CAIA dig very deep, so you just have to know a bit across a lot of subjects. But that is more the case for CFA than CAIA.

At the risk of stating the obvious, CFA has three levels, whereas CAIA has only two. So what I think is more significant is if you fail at CFA, you have to wait a year to retake. Hence it’s quite easy to rationalize how, even for a fairly competent candidate, CFA can take the ridiculously long time-frame of four years. With CAIA, in contrast, if you fail you simply retake six months later.

If CFAI had the same approach as GARP/FRM (allowing candidates to take all levels at the same time) a lot of CFA candidates could just turn up over two or three days, do 18 hours of exams in one mammoth session, and put the whole thing behind them in one shot. CFAI could also, easily, offer CFA II and CFA III twice a year, or move to computer based testing with Pearson. But that’s unlikely to happen.

Remember that the CFAI proudly brands itself as the exam that takes 1,000 hours and four years, with seven out of eight candidates failing to complete the program. Also that CFAI currently takes ~$300 million in exam fees each year. So there is not a great deal of incentive for CAIA to change the system as it currently stands while it is happily drowning, as never before, in this annual tsunami of money.

With all that said, I think if you are doing CAIA, you might as well do CFA, and vice versa. CAIA material is more interesting, I would say, which makes it easier to study for. Ethics, which makes for easy marks, is common to CFA and CAIA.

In essence, anyone should, with sufficient study time, be able to pass CFA and CAIA. The biggest difficulty, though, is being able to study while holding down a job, family, and other commitments. For someone with a serious job, finding 100 or 200 hours is always going to be tough.

Both exams are ultimately, however, eminently passable, so I encourage you in your studies and commend you to take both.

I hope these random thoughts are in some way helpful.