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Going to give it one more try...those who passed let me hear how you studied?

First off congrats to those who passed, unfortunately I was borderline this year.

I know I can pass next year,  so I want to hear how you studied for the exam.

Essentially,

Your schedule

Flashcards

How you prioritized certain sections over other sections

And anything else that you found useful. 

Thanks,

Kick start your CFA® Program prep with Top Instructors you’ll love and a course that offers free updates until you pass – We’ve got you covered.

youll read a lot of advice on this forum on how they passed the exam. check them out - it’s everywhere..

but what worked for me was if i do not understand the topic then i go directly to the practice questions and work from there. also, this year i focused on the high-weighted subjects, but i dont think that’s still applicable next year since they adjusted the weights.

It's a long shot, gotta make it.

Watch videos, do questions through third party but also Blue Box and EOC from the CFAI books. I finished with about 6 weeks to go to do more topic tests and Wiley Q bank then practice exams on the weekend. I had 1.5weeks off work to do mock one day, review the next. 

The most important as mentioned by 125mph and myself who hit 90th percentile was mocks. I did 9ish in total. i think he did similar. Schweser gives you 6, CFA gives you 2, I studied with Wiley as well so they have 1. Highly rec IFT as they have a separate 3 exams for $50 bucks. I found them completely different from the others. Boston Society has 1 exam you can pay at a reasonable price; however, they are prone to mistakes in some questions. 

IMO, most people will not know the creative ways CFAI can ask questions. Take the residual income model for example. You may just remember the two formulas but there are 5 different modes of information CFAI can give you to calculate this on exam day. You need to experience all these different versions. People fail or they are borderline as they get thrown a problem that is formatted differently. My mock scores started at 58% and highest was 85%. I only scored above 70% twice. Obviously on the actual exam, my score was well over 70. Reviewing will take heaps longer when you score 58% but after 4-5 mocks, you will improve and learn. 

CA, FRM

Mark Meldrum’s videos (highly recommend), Wiley books, 450+ hours. There’s no secret, just put in the time e do as many questions (specially CFA TT and blue boxes) and mocks as you can. Also, don’t focus just on core stuff. 

Studying with markmeldrum.com

I did Mark Meldrum regular videos (around 100 hrs) twice, review videos 3-4 times, then 9 mocks (6 schweser, 1 Wiley and 2 CFAI). Haven’t read any CFAI books or notes. 

FLASHCARDS (make your own) - this was the key for me the second time I took Level II.

Name of the formula on one side, actual formula and what its used for on the back. Do this as you go through each lesson. 

I think I had 150-200 by the time I was done. I went through those things all the time. By exam day I only had 5-6 that I hadn’t memorized perfectly. After AM at lunch the day of the exam I went through those last 5-6, and wouldn’t you know it, a question on the PM that needed one of those 5-6 showed up and I nailed it.

When you are confident about your formulas, it’s contagious and gets you confident about the rest of the material.

And I only did Schweser to learn it (along with all EOC questions, etc), CFA books for clarification, all CFA book blue box questions and EOC questions as well (several times). 3-4 full mocks.

GET AFTER IT (but wait until at least late October bro - give your brain a chance to make space!)

I am a first time passer and I threw the kitchen sink at it. I’ve seen first hand and read many stories on AF of smart people who fail because they try to do enough to get by and I figured going hard once was better than half-assing it twice. I started in November but didn’t fully ramp up until January and put in 400+ hours. I read schweser for everything besides FRA, did the qbank for reinforcement and then reviewed the CFAI BB with IFT videos before doing the EOCs. After each section I would then do TTs from schweser (total joke) and CFAI (mostly really hard, especially FRA). I also used s2000’s website, financialexamhelp123.com to tie up loose ends and this made derivatives hit home for me, definitely worth it. IFT videos were a great way to stay routed in the curriculum to get exposure to the level of detail and wording of the CFAI material without actually having to read it page by page. I did this reading by reading and I’ll admit that it took a long time, but it gave me a strong foundation when it came time to review in crunch time. I finished reviewing all the way through about two months to exam day. I didn’t want to jump right in to mocks until I did one more quick review of the material. Others will disagree and say it’s best to start taking mocks as early as possible, but I disagree with taking the mocks until you’re very well prepared. I then spent one month reviewing by watching the IFT videos once more to hit the BBs again and after each video I did EOC’s again. After I was done, I spent the last 4 weeks doing two mocks per week for 8 total (6 Kaplan, 2 CFAI). My average score between the 8 was an 85 and I felt very prepared for the exam. I walked out feeling very confident and my result was 95+ percentile.

I am a slow reader and didn’t move on until I was hitting at least 75% in EOCs on each reading and I was often over 80%. I did the EOCs last and used them as a barometer of my understanding for the material because I was using 3rd party materials. My way of studying was maybe a bit overkill and a bit inefficient, but it got me to where I was very comfortable on exam day and was 100% worth it in my eyes. Could I have passed with ~250 hours by reading schweser alone? Maybe, but I didn’t want to to risk it.

Keep.Running,

I think you you need to dig deep into the text and do more mocks. You posted a gazillion questions that I could answer by looking at the text after 5 minutes. That helped me learn a lot by answering your questions. You should do the same next time, meaning go look for the answer yourself before posting a question on the forums. The retention and quality of doing it yourself will be far better. Your depth of understanding will be much higher.

nofreelunch wrote:

I am a first time passer and I threw the kitchen sink at it. I’ve seen first hand and read many stories on AF of smart people who fail because they try to do enough to get by and I figured going hard once was better than half-assing it twice.

+1

If you're the first out the door, that's not called panicking

nofreelunch wrote:
… I figured going hard once was better than half-assing it twice.

Or thrice.  Or Quarce.  Or … .

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/

Literally just read the books and do questions, that’s really all you can do when you break it down. I made notecards only for formulas but to be honest really didn’t read through them. I also put in an equal amount of time to each section, I didn’t prioritize one over another. Stay motivated and dedicated and you can do it.

When I read the Schweser material I created my own notecards on excel that I could print. I finished the reading maybe 2 months before the test and instead of rereading I went straight to practice problems and relied solely on my excel cards to try and do the problems. If there was something missing, a concept i needed to add, or error I would update them and reprint. Eventually I relied on them less and less and the last month or so just did practice tests. I also am a big fan of Qbank because it makes it very clear what you know and don’t know without having to do long vignettes as well as giving you plenty of practice problems for muscle memory. Would be more than happy to send you my excels if you’d like!

alfonsorod7 wrote:

When I read the Schweser material I created my own notecards on excel that I could print. I finished the reading maybe 2 months before the test and instead of rereading I went straight to practice problems and relied solely on my excel cards to try and do the problems. If there was something missing, a concept i needed to add, or error I would update them and reprint. Eventually I relied on them less and less and the last month or so just did practice tests. I also am a big fan of Qbank because it makes it very clear what you know and don’t know without having to do long vignettes as well as giving you plenty of practice problems for muscle memory. Would be more than happy to send you my excels if you’d like!

Would be grateful to get a copy yo

That sounds like a unique style. Would request you to please share your spreadsheets. Thanks

Also like someone mentioned before, don’t prioritize any sections perceived as more important over those which seem less weighted. Regardless of how you choose to tackle this thing, if A,B,C&D methods are what work for you to learn the heavily weighted sections don’t think that you should only do A&B on the lighter sections and settle for lower scores there. You don’t want to find yourself in a position where some ugly stuff came up in the heavier sections and then you’re under-prepared for the 5-10% parts. I didn’t personally take any notes or flashcards because it takes too much time and rather than reviewing them, I’d want to be practicing vignette-style questions. Do as many vignettes as possible during your final review. Qbank is fine to initially hammer some concepts down, but as you move along you want to get used to pulling info out of vignettes in a time efficient manner.

Good luck and props for going at it again!

Anyone relied solely on CFAI books? I am planning to get the printed curriculum, go through all EOCs, BBs and CFAI Q bank questions. I’ll also buy the the 2 volumes of Schweser mocks. 

cfageist wrote:

Anyone relied solely on CFAI books? I am planning to get the printed curriculum, go through all EOCs, BBs and CFAI Q bank questions. I’ll also buy the the 2 volumes of Schweser mocks. 

I know people who have done only CFAI books and passed with flying colours. The Prep Providers only make the CFAI material more concise and at times simpler I think. So if the study material were to be plotted as a Venn diagram, I think the CFAI materials would form the universe with Prep Providers as sub-sets.

Schweser books, Schweser EOC questions, CFAI end of chapter questions and blue boxes (try do CFAI EOC Q twice before the exam) for all topics

Schweser videos for all topics except derivatives, fixed income and alternative inv

Mark Meldrums videos for derivatives, fixed income and alternative inv

Then do at least 6 exams- i did 5 schweser exams and the 2 CFAI Exams.

For notes i used Microsoft one note so that I could review them at work - highly recommend this

————–

i cleared it quite easily and I will only put it down to hard work.

Shoot me over your email in a private message and I’ll be more than happy to send you all of them!

I passed on the first try with a comfortable margin (above the 90th percentile). I started to study in October and almost relied only on CFAI textbooks. I went through the entire curriculum until end February, making sure that I had a good grasp of the successive readings and doing every EOC and blue box questions. Then I went through the entire curriculum a second time but focusing only on blue box and EOC questions during roughly 6 weeks (til mid april). After that i did all the CFA topics questions + two mocks (the ones that we could print out). Next I reviewed EOCs for the third time and did topics questions a second time. I took two weeks off before the exam and reviewed the blue box questions and EOC questions for the fourth and last time.

Apart from CFAI material, I only used finquizz formulas sheet (during transportation time mostly) which helped me to memorize key concepts and formulas.

Overall I think I studied more than 400 hours.

I hope this will help, good luck.

Did Schweser volume 1 and 2 have 3 exam each like for level 1 for 2018? I just checked their websites and it looks like both volumes only contain 2 mocks each for 2019.

Yeah, I bought the 2018 mocks and it had 3 full morning exams (6 half exams) and 3 full afternoon exams (6 half). You might have to buy the sets separately tho I can’t remember if they came together when I purchased 

Schewser has lots of L2 mocks and they were very useful for my studies!

mheithy wrote:

Yeah, I bought the 2018 mocks and it had 3 full morning exams (6 half exams) and 3 full afternoon exams (6 half). You might have to buy the sets separately tho I can’t remember if they came together when I purchased 

Yeah two separate volumes, but only 2 mocks in each (2 mornings sessions and 2 afternoon sessions). This sucks, they are also the same price as last year.

It’ll probably add more when its time. They like to make edits and re-number the mocks for whatever reason.

As almost all have said, there’s no short cut and it’s pretty obvious that there are many paths that should have read us to the pass line.

I started with videos accompanied by study notes to get a handle on concepts and then the topic. After this, I went through the Blue Box questions and solved CFA EOC questions. Post this I took CFA website practice material (subject-wuse vignettes) which got me to a greater depth.

Completed the first read 9-10 days prior to exam and then went to vignettes again. Couldn’t take practice tests (not even one) due to time constraints. Last read was secret sauce a day prior to the exam.

Overall >350 hours of study, but it paid! 

On schedule, woke early and spent 1.5-2.0 hours prior to office and then almost another hour post work. Weekends 6-8 hours a day. Started mid Jan and slogged till the last day!

Hope this helps & all the best!

Today’s accomplishments were yesterday’s impossibilities...

Make your own notes/flashcards.

Don’t get hung up on difficult quant topics. Focus on qualitative definitions/model characteristics.

Video lectures (I used Arif).

Timed mocks.

Read questions posted on AF and try to solve them. 

I did,
Schweser essential package with videos
Schweser mock
IFT mocks
CFAI topic tests
CFAI mocks
Konvexity mocks
On top of those, I made my own notes which is about 80 pages of A4 paper.

I managed to put in over 600 hours while working fulltime and taking one graduate course. If you put in the work, you’ll be okay. 

Passed L1 in Dec 2017 (first attempt, above 90th percentile) and L2 in June 2018, all while working full time. Here was my method:

Curriculum: Mark Meldrum Videos

Practice: Kaplan & CFAI Q-Banks/EOC Problems 

Mocks: Kaplan & CFAI

Review: Mark Meldrum Review Videos

Dedication Level: High

Sounds like you were really close this time, so its probably just a matter of getting more practice in and maybe firming up your understanding of the major concepts. If I were taking L2 again this year, I would dedicate more time to solving EOC problems (best proxy for exam difficulty), and CFAI q-bank problems (harder than the exam, but great practice nonetheless), and not waste my time/money on the Kaplan Q-Bank & Mocks (too easy, nothing like the exam).

Best of luck!

No law against waiting, people do it all the time.

Mocks, mock, and more mocks. Oh, and do the CFAI EOCs. The EOCs are great for understanding/solidifying the material and the mocks are great for seeing how you’re retaining the material and performing (make sure to do these under test conditions - go to a library or somewhere other than where you typically study, do them under timed conditions, and no “open book” under any circumstances). After each mock, review in detail and review the stuff you got wrong. Do this over and over and over until your eyes bleed. I ended up doing nine full mocks, all of the CFAI topic tests, a bunch of the Schweser q-bank (not as helpful, but still good practice). Wished I would have done the CFAI EOCs as that would have made me feel 100x better on exam day.

I’ve seen literally hundreds of posts saying exactly what I just said, so give it a whirl.

I used Adapt Prep for videos (instead of reading) and I used their formula sheet (which I added to), did the CFAI EOC questions two or three times.  I also took a Kaplan Schweser 3 day review, which was pretty good, did their practice book two or three times and took 7 Kaplan Schweser mocks in addition to all available mocks on the CFAI site.  I didn’t get to the topic tests, though if I had to retake it, I would definitely do that.  

Good of luck to you!  Once you learn the material, mocks are critical.