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Helpful Tip from Someone Who Took L2 3 Times

Hi Everyone,

CFA L2 is a much different exam than L1, which requires a much different study routine in my opinion. I failed L2 2 times, and finally passed on my 3rd try. It was a long and dark period of my life. I am now a charterholder, I passed L3 in 2019, so now I am done. The feeling is amazing, and if you keep working hard you will pass. So here is how I passed level 2:

Products I purchased:
Kaplan Schweser Books & QBank
Chalk & Board - Nathan Ronen’s Video Series
(I am not affiliated or paid by any of these companies.)

How I studied:
In October, get the CFA Institute books and start reading the sections you hate. Don’t kill yourself, just familiarize. First read is just skimming through the pages to see what the chapter covers. Second read is to point out the major areas that link to the LOS. Plan on reviewing all the books between October and January 15th. Save ethics and GIPS for the last month. 

In mid-January start watching Nathan’s videos (or another video series if you prefer) to help hone down the lessons. I benefit a lot from someone explaining the sections and issues to me. I did do Schwesers videos, but hated them because they just re-read the CFA material. Nathan, in my opinion, does the best job explaining how to solve the problem and what to watch out for that will trip you up. Plus he is very responsive to questions you have, at no extra charge. That is invaluable. Don’t start a video until you have read the CFA chapters. And read the CFA books, and use the Kaplan Schweser to fill in areas you are struggling with and use for extra questions. 

By April 1st, you should be almost done with the videos. Starting in April through the test date start doing the QBank questions. The year passed I answered over 1900 QBank questions, averaged about 74%. Plus I did the CFA book questions (not all, but focused on the harder chapters) and did some of the Kaplan end of chapter questions as well. A study was done that said you can recall information better and remember that information for longer time periods if you are tested on it, rather than just reading it. So start the questions even if you aren’t strong in the section and even if you fail all the questions. By taking QBank tests you will remember the information much better after taking a question on it than just reading it. For me, if I fail a question it burns into my memory. The Qbank offers explanations to the answers which is what really helps, and you can retake a questions.  

The last month before the test read ethics and GIPS sections every night before bed. Then spend time doing the CFA questions, and then QBank questoins and Kaplan book questions. Just keep reading the sections and testing and you will pick it up. 

In the last final 3 weeks, just work on areas you are weak and review notes you may have taken. For formulas, I would write them out 30 times on a sheet of paper just to make sure I get it, like standard deviation of a two asset portfolio. 

I hope this helps. It really does take 300 hours, but use the time constructively. I recommend reading and then testing your knowledge as frequently as possible. 

Good luck!

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Nice. Thanks for the input. Congratulations!

Financial Planner
BBA (Finance & International Business) 1998,
MBA (With a Global Perspecytive) 2011,
ChFC® 2018, CLU® 2019
Owns an Independent RIA/Insurance Agency
Series 65, Life, Annuities, Health (Expired 6,63)

Thanks! It feels nice to be done. Good luck to you. 

cstanton wrote:

Hi Everyone,

CFA L2 is a much different exam than L1, which requires a much different study routine in my opinion. I failed L2 2 times, and finally passed on my 3rd try. It was a long and dark period of my life. I am now a charterholder, I passed L3 in 2019, so now I am done. The feeling is amazing, and if you keep working hard you will pass. So here is how I passed level 2:

Products I purchased:
Kaplan Schweser Books & QBank
Chalk & Board - Nathan Ronen’s Video Series
(I am not affiliated or paid by any of these companies.)

How I studied:
In October, get the CFA Institute books and start reading the sections you hate. Don’t kill yourself, just familiarize. First read is just skimming through the pages to see what the chapter covers. Second read is to point out the major areas that link to the LOS. Plan on reviewing all the books between October and January 15th. Save ethics and GIPS for the last month. 

In mid-January start watching Nathan’s videos (or another video series if you prefer) to help hone down the lessons. I benefit a lot from someone explaining the sections and issues to me. I did do Schwesers videos, but hated them because they just re-read the CFA material. Nathan, in my opinion, does the best job explaining how to solve the problem and what to watch out for that will trip you up. Plus he is very responsive to questions you have, at no extra charge. That is invaluable. Don’t start a video until you have read the CFA chapters. And read the CFA books, and use the Kaplan Schweser to fill in areas you are struggling with and use for extra questions. 

By April 1st, you should be almost done with the videos. Starting in April through the test date start doing the QBank questions. The year passed I answered over 1900 QBank questions, averaged about 74%. Plus I did the CFA book questions (not all, but focused on the harder chapters) and did some of the Kaplan end of chapter questions as well. A study was done that said you can recall information better and remember that information for longer time periods if you are tested on it, rather than just reading it. So start the questions even if you aren’t strong in the section and even if you fail all the questions. By taking QBank tests you will remember the information much better after taking a question on it than just reading it. For me, if I fail a question it burns into my memory. The Qbank offers explanations to the answers which is what really helps, and you can retake a questions.  

The last month before the test read ethics and GIPS sections every night before bed. Then spend time doing the CFA questions, and then QBank questoins and Kaplan book questions. Just keep reading the sections and testing and you will pick it up. 

In the last final 3 weeks, just work on areas you are weak and review notes you may have taken. For formulas, I would write them out 30 times on a sheet of paper just to make sure I get it, like standard deviation of a two asset portfolio. 

I hope this helps. It really does take 300 hours, but use the time constructively. I recommend reading and then testing your knowledge as frequently as possible. 

Good luck!

Thank you for sharing your experience! Very helpful.