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Studying for Level II using only CFAI?

Hi all, 

Big lurker, not a big poster. But I do want to thank everyone for all their help and advice as it definitely helped me stay motivated and get through Level I last year. 

I know there are quite a few threads on this topic but I wanted to get some fresh, actionable advice from you all if you would be so kind. 

I’m signed up for the “Early Start” Kaplan-Schweser online class that meets every two weeks from Oct-April with a class every two weeks. I notice that every class a new study session is expected to be read beforehand. 

Looking at the Schweser Level II books, this is perfectly doable. However, just over the past week of starting to read, I’ve noticed the materials seem much more brief and summarized than my Level I materials did and I’m worried that too much might be skipped.

When I look at the CFAI material, there is, of course, quite a bit of fluff… but it also seems like it’s a bit easier to understand the way things are explained. Problem is finishing a study session every two weeks with these books seems to be near impossible with a busy work schedule and a family on the side. 

So I wanted to hear from you all – is there anyone who studied solely from the CFAI materials for Level II? Solely with Schweser? I know a popular approach always seems to be reading Schweser and doing EOC questions from CFAI. 

I’d prefer not to change methods halfway through so just hoping to make a more-educated decision before getting in too deep.

Thanks in advance!

"Using Wiley for my CFA journey was by far the best option… I was able to pass on my first attempt.”– Moe E., Canada

Over 95% from Schweser for all three levels and first time passes. I only went to CFAI text for stuff I was really struggling with a couple of times, for example black scholes (Not that it helped In that case). I personally found it too dry and went into too much detail for concepts that were pretty straight forward. I think in level 2 it will depend on your confidence in corporate finance but as you say pick a horse and stick with it!!!! Good luck

I started mid-September and I am going with the CFAI books. I think I have time to go through them and want to make sure I get a good grasp of of everything. I used Schweser for level 1 and it was great, but I probably knew 90% of the stuff already. It is a bit different for level 2. A lot of the things are new to me. 

Same here - if you really take the time to read up on the material it will explain the concepts in such a way you can build and build.  I like the CFAI material however I know there are people on this forum that have passed in half the time I spend while using Schweser.

Arpeggio5150 wrote:

Hi all, 

Big lurker, not a big poster. But I do want to thank everyone for all their help and advice as it definitely helped me stay motivated and get through Level I last year. 

I know there are quite a few threads on this topic but I wanted to get some fresh, actionable advice from you all if you would be so kind. 

I’m signed up for the “Early Start” Kaplan-Schweser online class that meets every two weeks from Oct-April with a class every two weeks. I notice that every class a new study session is expected to be read beforehand. 

Looking at the Schweser Level II books, this is perfectly doable. However, just over the past week of starting to read, I’ve noticed the materials seem much more brief and summarized than my Level I materials did and I’m worried that too much might be skipped.

When I look at the CFAI material, there is, of course, quite a bit of fluff… but it also seems like it’s a bit easier to understand the way things are explained. Problem is finishing a study session every two weeks with these books seems to be near impossible with a busy work schedule and a family on the side. 

So I wanted to hear from you all – is there anyone who studied solely from the CFAI materials for Level II? Solely with Schweser? I know a popular approach always seems to be reading Schweser and doing EOC questions from CFAI. 

I’d prefer not to change methods halfway through so just hoping to make a more-educated decision before getting in too deep.

Thanks in advance!

id suggest starting ASAP and reading through the CFAI books one time.  Then go through the Schweser material after that.  It will put a lot in perspective.  I didn’t do this the first time with level 2 and failed.  Given that level 2 is heavy in quants and calculations, etc I’d find it cumbersome to study solely from CFAI.  Schweser does a great job of condensing the formulas, topics, etc.  The method that worked for me was this:

1.) read all CFAI books

2.) read Schweser 

3.). Do CFAI EOC and examples…then do this 3-4 more times.  Personally I didn’t do any mocks.  I knew where my weaknesses were so I focused on homing those the last few weeks prior to the exam.

4.) make your own notes and note cards for areas that you feel like you aren’t absorbing.  

5.) handwrite out concepts and formulas over and over again.  This improves memory.  Seriously.  

Thanks for all the replies so far everyone. 

cc_1983 I like your advice quite a bit. I’m thinking theres no way I’m going to be able to keep up with the class reading CFAI instead of the Schweser books but maybe I can read after class instead of before and keep in line that way. Or if I do fall behind…theres always the replay I guess. 

I’ve been reading CFAI for quant this way and it is, in a word, horrible. 

I’m hoping it’s better for the other topics?

Arpeggio5150 wrote:

Thanks for all the replies so far everyone. 

cc_1983 I like your advice quite a bit. I’m thinking theres no way I’m going to be able to keep up with the class reading CFAI instead of the Schweser books but maybe I can read after class instead of before and keep in line that way. Or if I do fall behind…theres always the replay I guess. 

I’ve been reading CFAI for quant this way and it is, in a word, horrible. 

I’m hoping it’s better for the other topics?

quant is definitely a rough read, as is derivatives and PM (at least for me).  But just push through it as hard as it is.  You’ll be better off in the end for it.  Some of the others are pretty straightforward and an easier read.  I think schweser did a good job on most of those with the exception of PM.  I felt like they condensed it too much and I think I focused primarily on CFAI book for PM because of that.  If I can give you one piece of advice is that it’s a grind, so just keep going hard.  Don’t get discouraged.  If you put the time in and take this seriously, you’ll give yourself a great shot.  It’s going to suck but it feels great when you pass.  Good luck 

I personally purchased IFT’s study notes. His notes are similar to the CFAI’s book, just simpler to read and less detailed than the actual book. I would highly recommend his notes.