# Level 2 vs. Level 1

Curious to see everyone’s take on this who have passed/taken level 2 as next June will be my first(hopefully only) time taking level 2.

Compared to Level 1, how would you rate the difficulty of Level 2? If you rate Level 1 on a scale 1-10, where would you put Level 2?

My understanding is that Level 2 is less broad, but drills down further and is more complex. I’ve seen some of you write that Level 2 is the hardest of all 3 exams. I’m going to start studying in a month or so and was just curious as to what I should expect.

Thanks, as always.

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If i had to score it 1-10 I guess I’d give lvl 1 around a 6.5 and lvl 2 a 9.. Level 1 was a lot of review of stuff I’ve seen before in undergrad and nothing was too far in depth where I couldn’t understand it.. Level 2 has a lot more calculations and goes in depth in a lot of areas. There are a ton of formulas.. I havent taken level 3 yet so I cant say 2 is the hardest of the 3 but I thought it was very difficult.

Level 1: 3

Level 2: 8

L3 harder than L2 harder than L1. As it should be.

Hey Hamilton, have a holly jolly Christmas.

IsThereAny wrote:
L3 harder than L2 harder than L1. As it should be.

Not everyone agrees that Level III is harder than Level II.

I’ve never heard anyone say that Level II isn’t harder that Level I.

Simplify the complicated side; don't complify the simplicated side.

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http://financialexamhelp123.com/

L3 harder than L1.

L2 harder than L1.

In my opinion, L3 harder than L2. Material is easier in L3 than L2 but the test format and time crunch of L3 made it much harder for me.

Interesting…consensus seems to be that Level 2 is noticably more difficult. I better get started soon!

That’s quite the jump from Level 1.

dwheats wrote:

L3 harder than L1.

L2 harder than L1.

In my opinion, L3 harder than L2. Material is easier in L3 than L2 but the test format and time crunch of L3 made it much harder for me.

It’s clear to me that none of the tests are easy. Gotta get started on L2!

Did you pass L1 and L2 first try?

S2000magician wrote:

IsThereAny wrote:
L3 harder than L2 harder than L1. As it should be.

Not everyone agrees that Level III is harder than Level II.

I’ve never heard anyone say that Level II isn’t harder that Level I.

Yeah, I’ve heard quite a few people say L2 was harder, maybe due to the format and formulas? I don’t know. I’ve always been curious as to what you do for a living, magician. I’m sure you’ve posted it somewhere on here before.

reddyna wrote:
S2000magician wrote:
IsThereAny wrote:
L3 harder than L2 harder than L1. As it should be.

Not everyone agrees that Level III is harder than Level II.

I’ve never heard anyone say that Level II isn’t harder that Level I.

Yeah, I’ve heard quite a few people say L2 was harder, maybe due to the format and formulas? I don’t know. I’ve always been curious as to what you do for a living, magician. I’m sure you’ve posted it somewhere on here before.

This thread has my résumé as of a couple of years ago:

http://www.analystforum.com/forums/cfa-forums/cfa-level-ii-forum/91321651

Since then, I’ve been teaching accounting at CSU Long Beach, and writing review materials for Wiley.

Simplify the complicated side; don't complify the simplicated side.

Financial Exam Help 123: The place to get help for the CFA® exams
http://financialexamhelp123.com/

reddyna wrote:

Did you pass L1 and L2 first try?

Yes

The harder the struggle, the more glorious the triumph.

Level 2 was harder than Level 1. One reason is the different exam format. You don’t have 240 seperate questions but 20 case studies with 6 questions fo reach. That means that a wrong answer has a lot more weight in Level 2 (1/120 compared to 1/240). That also means that you are in much more trouble if you are not good in a specific topic (let’s say you haven’t learned defined benefit plans very well and you have a defined benefit plan case study - this could cost you 5% of the whole exam if can’t answer the questions since each case study has a weight of 5%).

The other thing is that the readings go into more detail and that the questions are often more detailed.

To sum it up: Level 2 is harder due to the more detailed readings and the different exam format which makes it necessary to cover more or less all the contents with a reasonable depth. I would give level 1 a 4-5 on 1-10 scale and level 2 a 7.

Alex74 wrote:

Level 2 was harder than Level 1. One reason is the different exam format. You don’t have 240 seperate questions but 20 case studies with 6 questions fo reach. That means that a wrong answer has a lot more weight in Level 2 (1/120 compared to 1/240). That also means that you are in much more trouble if you are not good in a specific topic (let’s say you haven’t learned defined benefit plans very well and you have a defined benefit plan case study - this could cost you 5% of the whole exam if can’t answer the questions since each case study has a weight of 5%).

The other thing is that the readings go into more detail and that the questions are often more detailed.

To sum it up: Level 2 is harder due to the more detailed readings and the different exam format which makes it necessary to cover more or less all the contents with a reasonable depth. I would give level 1 a 4-5 on 1-10 scale and level 2 a 7.

Thats a good point that I forgot to mention in my post.. The vignette format on level 2 is a pretty big change to the format from level 1.

S2000magician wrote:

reddyna wrote:
S2000magician wrote:
IsThereAny wrote:
L3 harder than L2 harder than L1. As it should be.

Not everyone agrees that Level III is harder than Level II.

I’ve never heard anyone say that Level II isn’t harder that Level I.

Yeah, I’ve heard quite a few people say L2 was harder, maybe due to the format and formulas? I don’t know. I’ve always been curious as to what you do for a living, magician. I’m sure you’ve posted it somewhere on here before.

This thread has my résumé as of a couple of years ago:

http://www.analystforum.com/forums/cfa-forums/cfa-level-ii-forum/91321651

Since then, I’ve been teaching accounting at CSU Long Beach, and writing review materials for Wiley.

That is quite the resume! No wonder you are considered one of the greats on here, if not the best.

waleedhussain wrote:

My passing of Level 1 feels like  less of an accomplishment now :/ haha. Level 2 dragon looks much scarier than L3…

Alex74 wrote:

Level 2 was harder than Level 1. One reason is the different exam format. You don’t have 240 seperate questions but 20 case studies with 6 questions fo reach. That means that a wrong answer has a lot more weight in Level 2 (1/120 compared to 1/240). That also means that you are in much more trouble if you are not good in a specific topic (let’s say you haven’t learned defined benefit plans very well and you have a defined benefit plan case study - this could cost you 5% of the whole exam if can’t answer the questions since each case study has a weight of 5%).

The other thing is that the readings go into more detail and that the questions are often more detailed.

To sum it up: Level 2 is harder due to the more detailed readings and the different exam format which makes it necessary to cover more or less all the contents with a reasonable depth. I would give level 1 a 4-5 on 1-10 scale and level 2 a 7.

Good points. I’m a slow reader as I tend to over-analyze the cfa questions, so I’ll have to practice a lot of mocks to make sure I can stay under the time limit. I only had roughly 5-10 mins of time left on L1 on each section. So, does each case study cover a different section? Such as, you’ll have 6 questions on Ethics, and then 6 on Quant etc.? Or do they mix in multiple sections into each case study?

I hope I can ask this here rather than start a new thread.. I have a question about the case study format that some have mentioned here… are the questions in the vignettes related? for example are there questions where you have to use your answer from question 1 to answer 2 through 6? So basically if you get Q1 wrong you get all the questions wrong?

Thanks

The questions stand alone, just as at Level I.

Simplify the complicated side; don't complify the simplicated side.

Financial Exam Help 123: The place to get help for the CFA® exams
http://financialexamhelp123.com/

L1: 2

L2: 9

L1 is a mile wide and a foot deep. L2 is a mile wide and a mile deep. Very huge leap from L1.

I found it really hard because there are a lot, really a lot of info you have to study.

Thanks for answering!  stress levels have diminished… slightly.

reddyna wrote:

Alex74 wrote:

To sum it up: Level 2 is harder due to the more detailed readings and the different exam format which makes it necessary to cover more or less all the contents with a reasonable depth. I would give level 1 a 4-5 on 1-10 scale and level 2 a 7.

Good points. I’m a slow reader as I tend to over-analyze the cfa questions, so I’ll have to practice a lot of mocks to make sure I can stay under the time limit. I only had roughly 5-10 mins of time left on L1 on each section. So, does each case study cover a different section? Such as, you’ll have 6 questions on Ethics, and then 6 on Quant etc.? Or do they mix in multiple sections into each case study?

Each case study covers a different question, no mix. But as far as I can remember the case studies published by CFA Institute on their homepage (and I strongly recommend to work these through) can cover different readings of the same section/topic.

Given that you are a slow reader I also recommend to develop your own strategy to tackle the case studies. In my opinion there are two ways to handle the vignettes. Since the questions are in chronological order (first question refers to one of the first paragraphs, second question refers to a later paragraph etc.) you could first read the first question, start to read the vignette until the paragraph where you find the relevant information and answer the first question, then read the second question and so on. This worked well for me but has the risk that you might overlook an important detail. The other possibility would be to read the vignette first, then to read the first question and to read the relevant paragraph again. This is more time consuming (and in my opinion less effective), but you will lower the risk to overlook something.

And I forgot to mention another thing: The derivatives section seems to be a problem for many candidates. Since I give lectures in derivatives this section was quite easy for me in level 1 and level 2. If this was a problem for you in level 1 you might also have a problem in level 2 since the derivatives section is more demanding in my opinion.

someone have said:

level 1 is like a walk in the park during a pleasant morning in autumn

leve 2 is like the first 40 minutes of Saving Private Ryan

FRM, CFP®, CFA, CAIA

D**n. I’ll have to go MJ mode on L2.

negra wrote:

someone have said:

level 1 is like a walk in the park during a pleasant morning in autumn

leve 2 is like the first 40 minutes of Saving Private Ryan

Thanks. It seems there is a lot of different ways to tackle level 2 since it’s so much different from level 1 in terms of structure and difficulty. I’m going to start studying soon and then get a gameplan for answering the questions as I get closer to the exam. This is great help though. Derivatives was fairly straight forward but got a 51-70 on the exam….not sure what happened there….maybe low on time and had to rush that section. I figure the earlier I start, (September/October) the more time I will have to revise everything.

“Level 1 is to Level 2

as

a Swedish massage is to castration-by-way-of-cheese-grater”

or

“L1: You are in bed with Nicole Ritchie.

L2: You are in bed with Michael Jackson and are 6 years old.”

and many more, here:

http://www.analystforum.com/forums/cfa-forums/cfa-level-ii-forum/91015512

FRM, CFP®, CFA, CAIA

negra wrote:

“Level 1 is to Level 2

as

a Swedish massage is to castration-by-way-of-cheese-grater”

or

“L1: You are in bed with Nicole Ritchie.

L2: You are in bed with Michael Jackson and are 6 years old.”

and many more, here:

http://www.analystforum.com/forums/cfa-forums/cfa-level-ii-forum/91015512

Neither L1 or L2 sounds pleasant at all!!!

Side question. If you were in bed with Nicole Ritchie, how would you know?

L3 PM (multiple choice) is easier than L1.