CFA level II >70% in all topics
I hope you are doing fine and even if you were not lucky during your previous CFA exams, you will have more luck next time. I was thinking lately whether I shall or shall not post my CFA story and I decided to give it a go.
I passed my LI during December 2016 and I decided to take LII in June 2017. I managed to get >70% in all 10 sub-topics during my June exam and >70% in 9 subtopics during my LI exam. I will be very brief about my background: I studied a BSc in Economics / Finance and I had several internships in the field lately. Here is something that you might want to know and if relevant, maybe benchmark against:
- I started studying for the CFA level I c. 1 month prior to the exam and I did not use CFA books, only Schweser. I studied c. 2 weeks full-time. It is quite possible to finish a book in 2-4 days, if you have previously seen that concepts. For example, it took me 2 days and a bit to go over Economics book and I still got >70% during the exam, but as I mentioned already I had some background about it. So, I think this strategy is very much replicable.
- I did almost all topic tests from the CFA website and in average I got high 70%.
- For the CFA mock exam I got c.73% and it was pretty much during the last days before the exam
- I always wrote down concepts and formulas which I might forget. It is easy afterwards to keep track of the material that I studied.
- I found the real exam to be easier than the mock exam.
- This exam is pass-able in 1 month. I always want to be efficient in terms of how much time I spend in order to get a pass. Anyway, it does not matter how was your points’ distribution as long as you manage to pull a pass.
- I finished both parts of the exam with at least 1 hour to spare.
- I knew a bit of Ethics already, since I passed CAIA LI 3 or 4 months before, therefore I didn’t study it that much, but my advise is to know very well the Ethics part, since you might get an ‘Ethics bump’ if things go wrong.
- I started to read Schweser notes in March. I found quite several new concepts for myself. I did not dedicate too much time to the CFA back then. I started solving topic tests from the CFA website at the beginning of May or so. The average result for all TT was c.70% (lower end)
- My first mock exam was the mock exam from the CFA website at which I got 67% (just on the edge :) ). I finished the exam with at least 1h to spare during both AM and PM sections, since I was not keeping track of the time, so I knew that I have to focus on my accuracy.
- I solved all exams from the Schweser 2’nd book at I got 77%, 76% and 78%. I saw no point in solving the exams from the 1’st book, so I I went over TT again. I found TTs harder comparatively to the real exam.
- At the end I had c. 14 pages (on both sides) of notes
- The exam was easier at topics which I expected to be trickier and harder at the topics at which I was getting almost perfect results, so it is good to be comfortable with all the material
- I was not sure whether I will pass or not, I guess it is due to my character. I am sure about my exams when I do them perfectly, and in this case I knew that I had some mistakes. I was very uncertain about my Ethics, though managed to pull a >70%.
- I finished the morning part with 1 hour to spare and the evening one with c. 30 mins to spare
- Even if you have little time, everything is doable, just don’t lose hope.
- I have never been 100% certain that I will pass. At least for LII I found at least 4 mistakes in my solutions after I checked the textbooks
- Write notes and practice, CFA is not an exam that tests your innate ability of Finance. They just test the concepts that are covered in their program.
- If you use old Schweser notes, make sure that you cover the new topics as well from the CFA books.
- If I were to choose between reading CFA books entirely (c 3k pages) or a summary of them (e.g: Schweser notes), I would go for the latter and I would practice / revise / relax in the spare time. I can always go over the material which I studied in case I need.
- Know even the formulas which seem crazy, CFA is highly likely to test those ones.
- Luck is very important, though the more you work, the more lucky you are.
- Make sure that you are good at Ethics. In case everything goes badly, you might at least get an Ethics bump
Good luck to everyone and hopefully you are as lucky as I was!
P.s: This post was written in a rush! :)