4 years since passing L1

I passed L1 a few years ago during my senior year of college. Life took a little detour in a different direction but I plan on finishing the exams in the next 2 years. My degree was in finance/economics and I’ll have virtually unlimited free time to study but I’m not sure how to balance refamiliarizing myself with the material and burning out by starting too early. I used Elan for L1 so I think I’ll do Wiley + Schweser QBank in addition to the CFAI text.

Has anyone else taken a big break between levels? Am I screwed for forgetting some L1 stuff? How do you not get burned out by starting a year in advance? Any general advice? Good luck on your results btw!

  1. Level 2 builds on level 1, but you are not screwed for forgetting some L1 stuff (all the more because of your background in finance. You will need less time than others to grasp concepts). Each level is different. I skipped one year, but did not feel at a disadvantage. It takes a bit of time to find your rhythm again, but once you have gotten used to it you will feel as though you have never had a break from CFA.

  2. Burn out -->Given that you seem to have plenty of time at your disposal, I think you should not worry about burning out.

In my opinion, starting 1 year in advance is too early though. You do not seem to have any time constraints, so I`d start in December/January. Carefully read through the material (especially blue boxes, EOC questions from the official curriculum), take notes and then go through your notes before starting with practice questions.

I did not take breaks between levels, but I did have a 2 year lay off between graduating from uni and starting level 1 and work together. The break was due to life taking a wrong turn.

No doubt you will struggle some what given a 4 year lay off is quite lengthy. In my case, I found it quite frustrating when I was studying a topic I was extremely strong in university (e.g. FX and triangular arbitrage) but could not seem to grasp it at the same level whilst studying for the CFA. In saying that, the biggest issue will be self doubt. At least it is in my case, where my mind would come up with negative thoughts when I would hit a wall. As long as you are determined and persistent, that is half the battle done.

If you have unlimited study time as you’ve mentioned, I see no problem in you familiarizing yourself with the CFA material again, even though L2 is substantially much harder then L1 in my experience. I used Wiley/Elan videos along with the study guide and did EOC’s from the CFAI book, I felt that it prepared me well for the exam.

I don’t think you should be worrying about burn out at this stage. As long as you are getting enough exercise and sleep, shouldn’t be a problem.

I passed LI in June 2014 and went for LII this year. And I did remember quite a lot of LI material, there were times that I looked up my LI notes, but you practically don’t need exact formulas from LI only some conceptual things. I had to go back to LI material mostly on FRA (stuff like cash-flow).

There is a booklet from Schweser every year for level 1 refresher for those who write level 2. it’s a pretty small booklet mostly formulas and definitions, you can perhaps use it as a refresher.

I don’t think you need to necessarily use it, i think the CFAI is good at explaining what you need to know for level 2 in the level 2 books. if you have specific definitions/ formulas you can always google or ask us!