Sign up  |  Log in

How do you feel after taking level II exam?

I am sure some of you are done so please provide your feedback so future candidates like me can use this information to prepare themselves for March 2011 - CAIA Level II exam.

Thanks and Good Luck

Kickstart your CAIA exam prep with a Premium Package and save 20%.

I’ll bite on this one.

I just sat for it this morning, and I think this thing was absurdly difficult bordering on impossible to pass. I’ve sat for L II of the CFA, and this thing is much harder. I felt like I just got crushed on both MC and Essays, there is just so much minutiae that they can test that it’s almost impossible to learn everything unless you have an eidetic memory. I studied for 4 solid months for this and still failed miserably. I have no idea about the person who said this exam was so easy. He must have had a different test with different q’s. This also is absurd, this thing should be standardized so we don’t have some people getting easy tests, and some getting impossible ones like the bloodbath I just sat through. /rant

Your feedback was quite similar to my friend’s. Apparently the exam questions are nothing like those in the testbank. Maybe the guy who thought it was easy was being sarcastic, or maybe he is exceptionally good. I am hoping they will use the curve extensively if the exam is too difficult. You will probably still pass! Just can’t imagine they would make this harder than the CFA 2. Would be good to hear more feedback from more people though!

I can believe that the actual exam will be very different from the question bank. Frankly, the errata section of Schweser indicates that some key concepts were missed altogether from the study material, thus they did not make it into the QBank or the book 3 test questions, which is disappointing. My advice - stick to the essay type questions to support the conceptual side of things.

The study material can only prepare you to a certain extent. Im sure that if the CAIA exam turned out to be a replica of the Question bank, the pass rate would be substatially higher.

Note regarding the lack of test standardisation - the idea here is to remove the ‘moral hazard’ problem. Ultimately this may result in some candidates getting questions they are more comfortable with than others.
Arguably, the concept of a ‘curve’ removes the need for it since it becomes detrimental for a candiadate to potentially improve another’s grade.

I haven’t taken the test yet, but I refuse to believe it will be harder than CFA 2. I just passed that test after two tries…and then started studying for CAIA 2 on September 1st. The curriculum is a breeze (for those who have taken CFA must agree, even CFA 1 doesn’t compare in difficulty to this exam), but then again I just read Schweser…and I haven’t studied that hard at all so MOST LIKELY I will fail this exam.

And again the guy who said the test was super easy didn’t use the Q banks- he read the primary materials.

If the real exam is anything like the sample questions that CAIA posted, then I can see why people are saying it’s more difficult because the questions are very dissimilar to the Schweser questions in structure and content (much more detailed…)

I’m hoping that luck+doing well in ethics will get me at least close…

FWIW I read the source materials twice, in addition to doing the Test Bank, and every single thing essay I could get my hands on. I passed CFA Level II my first try, but this was another ball game all together. With Level II you know what’s coming at you for the CFA. This they can just screw you by blowing up one minute point into a whole essay question and bam you’ve got a 0 on 10% of the exam. It’s just so random what they test, huge areas that were covered extensively weren’t even mentioned on the test, while minute points were made into huge sections, this just isn’t done with the CFA Level II.

And if anyone on the CAIA board is reading this, just make the test standardized and get rid of the computer. Honestly it makes the whole grading incredibly unfair. Pick one date like the CFA and have everyone take it then. It’s just a luck of the draw who gets the easy essay q and who gets f’ed with this test.

first of all, congrats on passing your first try for CFA2. i guess you can argue that the test itself is harder (i haven’t taken it - taking it this friday- so i wouldn’t know), but you can’t possibly argue that the content is more difficult than any of the cfa levels. you are the first person i have ever come across who has even remotely implied that CFA was not the most difficult test.

i’m reasonably confident if i was given another month i would have smashed CAIA. I haven’t even read any of the materials… what does FWIW mean?

Im interested to know - was the test structured at all? meaning did it follow a linear progression of sections or was it random, for example - would you receive one question re ethics, then receive another question re ethics further along in the test (excluding essay section)?.
My recollection of CAIA Level I is vague.

FWIW - for what it’s worth

When I took CAIA L1 last September, my test was practically a mirror of the UpperMark testbank, which was almost unsettling. It was as if they had written the test. Sounds like that won’t happen for L2.

I didn’t use UpperMark this time around because they seemed quite incompetant about getting L2 material out on time in March 2010 (I didn’t end up registering for the test). I used Schweser to prepare for L2 and will take the test tomorrow (9/29).

Even without taking the actual test, I’m sure my MC scores could easily range between 55% and 85% depending on the topics and minutiae covered.

And the essays…I think there will be a lot of binary results for people on individual questions (0% or 100%). There are definitely sub-topics that I didn’t spend as much time on because their weight relative to the material was so small that will be tested. There is only so much room for memorizing specific facts that are otherwise non-conceptual. On an essay, there is no right answer in front of you so if these topics are encountered, it will be tough!

My biggest beef about the CAIA testing process is the undue weight on memorizing trivial pieces of information rather than focusing on the big picture and the framework for the major sub-asset classes. The material is great; the tests, not so much.

………………………..
ATH - CFA, CAIA

Gents,

Let’s not get too worked up… the passing rate thus far has been above 50%. There’s no reason to think it’ll suddenly plummet. Because there’s no quant section to the CAIA, I’ll interpret those numbers and say THE ODDS ARE WITH YOU TO PASS.

For those who have not yet taken it, don’t panic. I almost drove home during the lunch break of the CFA L2 in June because I was 100% convinced I failed the exam after the AM bloodbath.

And the kicker? I passed, scoring >70% in all but 2 sections. And yes, it was my first time.

Point is, don’t sweat it until scores are out.

Will there be minutae on the exam? YES. Is there a googol of lists they expect us to memorize? YES. Is it ridiculous? YES. But you’re going for PASS, not PERFECT. Don’t let those stupid questions ruin your mojo; you’ve studied, you know your stuff. Head in the exam room confident you’ll scrap your way to the top half of people taking it.

But if they DO decide to fail those of us who busted our asses and lined the midnight pockets of Starbucks, the answer is yes, I am most definitely in for the class action lawsuit.

I write on Oct. 1 and I’m feeling pretty good going in. I’ve been over the material a few times, done all the q-bank stuff…my weakness will be on the essay but assuming I get 80% on the MC, that leaves me a lot of latitude with the essay stuff.

Good luck all.

My exam seemed to tilt more heavily toward current topics. This is where things got out of hand - very specific details from the readings and inferences about the conclusion of the paper. I felt good about 30-40% of the MC, ok on another 30% (educated guess) with WAG on the remainder. The essays weren’t too bad but I felt like a BSer on about a quarter of the points. I didn’t study the right way for the exam (crammed for a week or so) so the lack of memorizing some “lists” may have hurt. I won’t be surprised if I have to retake but I still feel 50-50 about my chances.

………………………..
ATH - CFA, CAIA

I took a small sabbatical after taking L2. Man that exam felt like a kick in the nuts. I’m glad I’m not alone with how f’ing hard it was and how different it was from the study material used to prepare for the learning outcomes.

Guess we’ll see how the cards fall on 11/1.

I write tomorrow at 9am…reckon I’m at the pub by 2pm.

I feel amazing. No not really. The test was challenging I’m praying the Alts Gods are on my side for this one. I think the CAIA will only get harder as it gets recognized and I would not be surprised if it was three levels in the near future.

RushDog I agree, sad thing is that it’s already getting much harder as evidenced by our reactions. It looks like March 2010 may have been the end of the “easy” CAIA.

Wow…in a word..Brutal.

Not the exam I prepared for.

I was surprised how much longer each question took to complete than any practice test or Q-Bank. I was taking at least a minute per question. Much more to read. And, SO annoying when you had to read each LONG answer to figure out the correct one when they all looked so dang similar.

I finished question #100 with about three seconds to spare. It was unnerving because it was one of the few “gimme” TVM calculator questions that required just punching in some numbers and then compute. I took a planned bathroom break during L1 but just sucked it up for L2 as I saw the time just ticking away. I had planned on having 10-15 minutes at the end to review – ha!

I had plenty of time on the essays, though. I usually kept my answers to the visible box on the page. Who knows how those things will end up being graded, though!

………………………..
ATH - CFA, CAIA

Sircon,

I feel your pain but you seemed to know your stuff. i think you will get through.

Quat, i am sure you will get through as well. you were very very confident you were going to crush it.

Dbfinly, ur right mate, i think this process is strange. i had a bunch of questions from a each chapter and noone from other chapters.

I wrote the exam last week and am disappointed. i got stuck on level 2 of cfa as well. i just hope i do not get stuck on this thing but i am sure i will have to appear for this exam again.

Were did all you guys write the exam?

This test did not even compare to level of difficulty for CFA 1. but that being said I still failed. guessed on 50/100 MC and finished the essay section in 20 minutes. Just didn’t study. Much more calc intensive than schweser prepares you for.

I was helpful that they provided a *few* formulas or didn’t make you do the entire set of calculations from scratch (e.g. the binomials) in several instances…

………………………..
ATH - CFA, CAIA

Feedback is helpful guys. Enrollment starts from today for March 11 exam so I am going to do it before 15th Nov last date.

How about curriculum? Official curriculum just has 2 books. Has anyone studied just from there? Do these books have any practice problems?

When I took level one it was a mirror of the test bank. When I took level two as one poster commented, CAIA took the smallest item and blew it up into a full 10 point essay question. The randomness of the exam makes it extremely difficult to learn every single aspect in detail. I will def have to resit this one in March.

Just wanted to add my two cents worth. I too thought it was quite a tricky exam. But I don’t think it’s a Schweser vs. Uppermark vs. Official curriculum thing. We’ve got people on this forum using all three saying they found it difficult.
Personally I primarily used uppermark but I had also read the core topics curriculum book. I think where I tripped up is thinking that some points were major when they were minor and vice versa, a sentiment shared by others on this topic.

—————–

Official curriculum:

Advantages: The Real Thing. Is offered at the same time as the study guide is published.

Disadvantages: Lack of practice questions.

—————–
3rd Party prep guides:

Advantages: Consolidated notes. Lectures and flashcards (optional). Loads of practice questions (end of chapter, QBank and sample exams). Support from lecturer.

Disadvantages: Can’t read examiners’ minds (who can?), lag time between release of curriculum and publishing of new materials

Well how were your results. What worked? What did you wish you did differently?

No Homo

I’ve always thought that if you simply try to master the material in the actual curriculum (as opposed to a prep course) you’ll get the double benefit of giving yourself a very good shot at passing the exam and also learning the subject.

results will be out in November

Captain Windjammer Wrote:
——————————————————-
> I’ve always thought that if you simply try to
> master the material in the actual curriculum (as
> opposed to a prep course) you’ll get the double
> benefit of giving yourself a very good shot at
> passing the exam and also learning the subject.

I’m not so sure about that. I use the prep material since I learn though application. If I read it, I’ll forget it. I need the variety of questions to challenge me. The variety of questions through the Qbank helps me drill into weak areas and review where I need to. If the official curriculum had something similar, I would be all over it. Until then, I’ll stick with some of the 3rd party materials.

Practice questions certainly can be useful; I was referring more to using prep materials to get the substance in place of the actual curriculum materials, which seems like a silly idea to me absent extenuating circumstances.

I feel you pain friend..

I took level 2 in March 2020 (waived for level 1 under the CFA designation) and failed.

I passed CFA , FRM, CMT and  CFP easily and am employed in a profession that covers multiple CAIA topics.

I used Schwesers top of the line package  and had 325 hours invested in prep for the  exam. 

The exam was more difficult than the test bank schweser provided. There was not enough time to finish the essay portion of the exam.

I am retaking for the spring of 2020 but will not be using schweser as i feel for all the exams shweser provides prep material for the CAIA exam is the weakest.  I will be using uppermark based on the comments on this site and others

I will emphasize more prep for current and integrated topics as i think that was the difference maker.

The exam was not necessarily more difficult than other types of exams but was more cryptic in design and what they were looking for as  far as answers.

Just  Knowing the learning outcomes will not guarantee you passing the exam in my opinion.

It was somwhat humerous  getting the phone call from CAIA person trying to console me on failing the exam and  encouraging me 
to spend more money to retake the exam. My favorite comment was ” you are not alone ,many people fail the exam” LOL :)

 

did you re-sit in September 2019 SeekingAlpha? If you did, how did you find it?