Level II 2019 - Passed - My strategy
Dear CFA Level II Candidates,
I am writing on this subject line with the hope that after reading the below you will be able to take the level II exam with confidence.
I cleared my Level I in December 2017 and took my Level II in 2019. I couldn’t take Level 2 in 2018 because we had a baby and life just got very busy.
So my strategy for Level II was very similar to Level I and I passed both exams on the first attempt. The key is to prepare an achievable study timeline. I decided that I will complete all 11 topics over a period 5.5 months. Each weekday I would dedicate about 2-3 hours to studying and weekends little bit more. Yes, I crossed over the 300 hours of study, actually I did over 700 hours of study. It may be different for you, may be because you are good with some topics like FRA, Derivatives, etc.
First 4 months was dedicated to studying all the topics using the aforementioned materials. Month 5 is practice problems, revisions and correcting where you are going wrong. The last 14 days is crucial. Do not Panic. Use 14 days to practice what you got wrong and prepare your formula sheet. Don’t try to learn anything new now, unless you are able to memorize the formula and apply it correctly.
11 Topics can be easily completed in 4 months. Go Topic by Topic. I started with Alternate Investments, took Chapter 1, 1st I saw the IFT video and the PPT notes. Then, I read the chapter in the Schweser book and solved the Schweser EOC and all Practice Questions for that Chapter from the QBank. If you have studied finance and investments or are working within this industry, you may complete some chapters quickly and may take time on the others but that is okay. Once I finished Alternate Inv., I prepared a formula sheet and then moved on to the next Topic like Equity. Followed the same routine and moved to the next topic.
Month 5 is all about practice. Start with CFAI EOC questions. Make sure you solve them properly, don’t try to guess or run through them just because you have seen similar types of questions in the past and you are too bored to do it again. You should be able to complete all Topic question in 20 days. If you get something wrong, then take the effort and find out what are your mistakes. Next 10 days, go through the CFAI Online Questions Bank. Don’t panic if you find yourself doing badly on them. If you did well on the CFAI EOC then you are still good to go. CFAI Online Questions Bank can be little tricky but that is just to keep you prepared for the exam.
Now, you are 2 weeks away from the exam. Use this time to go over concepts, formulas and problems that you are not confident about. Do not try to learn something new, instead focus on strengthening what you are half confident about. Prepare your formula sheet, write them down and go through them.
Use the 2 weeks to take atleast 1 paper based mock exam from the CFAI. I did not do the Schweser Practice Exam thats because I wanted to experience the real deal. It would be advisable to go through all the examples of Ethics from the CFAI book. Read them and understand why there was a violation or why there was no violation.
The last 3 days before the exam, stay relaxed, cool down, you are almost done. Do not over burn yourself, as you need to be in a relaxed state to take this exam. I did not do anything 1 day before the exam, I spent 30 mins preparing the stationary, calculator and my bag to take to the center, rest of the day I was chilling.
As a candidate myself, I always was googling what would be the minimum passing grade, or how many topics can you do poorly but still pass the exam. Well CFA grading system is unique. Many will say that you need to get 70%+ in all topics to pass but in my opinion, I do not think its true. I, myself scored between 50% and 70% in 3 topics and over 70% in 8 topics and I passed.
I came across this website and after reading it, a lot of doubts got cleared. http://soleadea.org/cfa-exam/results
I wish all of you the very best for the June 2020 exam and hope that I was able to assist you in your study plan.
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