Advice for Level 2 Candidate

Hey I’m taking the L2 exam in June '08 and looking for some advice from all of you who made it through L2. Anything that I should focus on … or be aware of. Any study strategies for level 2… Thanks… and good luck on L3 Aj

Pot Luck, bring a fork… FSA was probibly the easiest section for someone who was prepared. Equity, fixed income and derivatives can earn you easier marks for the super prepared. Quant wasn’t bad and corporate finance was more focused on theory. Ethics was tougher than L1 and a bit more abstract.

Advice: Level 2 seems easy at first because there is less material and ethics is virtually the same. However, the actual test was much more challenging than the material leads you to believe it could be. As with all exams, my advice is to do as many problems as possible and expect them to ask questions about the hardest parts of the material. Also, expect them to pick something obscure and leave off other things that you anticipated (TB and FX for 2007 respectively).

For us, the difficult questions were in Equity. All other sections seemed more memorization focused than creative. FSA is a lot of material, but we did not get a difficult question on pensions, M&A or international. Ethics was easy. Econ was actualy trickier than I expected. Quant wasn’t bad either. the others were fairly average relative to expectations.

Take a look and Treynor Black

Don’t guess too much as to what topics will be emphasized. RealWarriors is right: they tested some pretty obscure, seemingly less relevant topics. The vignette structure of the exam really forces you to know every topic. On LI, I skipped several topics, and it only cost me a question here or there (out of 240). On LII, there’s a chance that you could see 8 questions (out of 120) on a topic you neglected. Quant: Most of the questions were focused on detecting and correcting flaws in the tests, rather than actually running the tests themselves. Derivatives: More qualitative than I expected. Knowing when and where and how to use the instruments is just as important as the formulas. FSA: Shooting fish in a barrel. Equity: Harder than I thought. I figured it would be all FCF Valuation. Wrong. They spread the questions fairly evenly over the Equity topics covered by Schweser. Overall, it’s harder than LI, but it’s nothing crazy. Know the LOS’s and you’ll be straight.

i passed L2 in 2007 after having failed L2 in 2006. obviously, i found L2 much more challenging than L1. here is some advise for L2 candidates. 1) do not underestimate the difficulty of L2. taking the exam seriously and putting in the required hours (>250) are the only way (in my opinion) to pass the exam. cutting corners won´t work, especially for L2. 2) start to study early (december, january). L2 covers a lot of material and it is crucial to have a study plan that allows you to cover all the concepts in detail and repeat the information in the weeks prior to the exam. (who remembers the specifics of a FRA concept in may that was studied in the beginning of january? 3) try to do as many practice questions as possible. cfai is known for wording questions in a way that makes a seemingly easy concept difficult. schweser practice exams in book 1 and book 2 will be a good start. (book 2 will put some hair on your chest!) the cfai exams are also helpful. those are the practice exams i worked with. 4) read the ethics material several times. i worked very hard on ethics, but still found the exam questions very tricky. doing as many ethics questions as possible prior to the exam will help. good luck for L2 in june 2008.

Do the concept checkers in Schweser twice! Once after you finished the reading and again all together in May.

  1. Drop everything and sign up for the soonest John Harris two day accounting class. do EXACTLY WHAT HE TELLS YOU TO DO ON FSA and CORP FINANCE. 2) Know ethics inside out. 3) Do every practice question you can, and buy all of the CFAI tests and do them as well. Study at least 250 hours, and you’ll be fine.

read on the go, in the train. i put the scheweser video on my video ipod - used to listen to it at lunch, in traffic etc. it helped a lot. FSA was a lot easier than expected. just read everything over and over again. all the best

I personally felt that level 2 was easier than level 1. The reason might be that I started studying level 1 from scratch with very little knowledge on accounting/ finance (my major is computer science). Come to level 2. I have already got used to all the types of potential questions that can be seen in the actual exam and paid more attention to the sessions. The exam was okie. I scored most of the session above 70% except for portfolio management (<50%) and fixed income (50-70%), which I think Schweser did not do a good job. I passed level 2 in 2007 I only used Schweser notes (as I did for level 1) and read them 3 times. For me, the most difficult part was derivatives.

Dontolouchy and ukw, Are you guys using the same approach for L3?

I changed a bit. Having known that Schweser was not good in enough for Lvl 3 am session last year, I intended to read both CFAI text and Schweser. I tried CFAI text first but gave up right after 1 chapter. The text is too long for me. I am an IT guy and not so fast at reading as English is not my first language, so I prefer the reading to be as consise as possible (the notes should be straight to the key points). My strategy is: 1 Read schweser to understand all of the key concepts as I did for the first 2 levels 2 Try all the problems from the CFAI text as recommended by lots of AFer. 3 Read CFAI text for potential parts in AM exam. 4 Make sure I will have enough time to try all practise exams from schweser and some from CFAI. I did only 1 and 2 practise exams from schweser for the first 2 levels and felt that it helped a lot. What approach do you guys use?

ukw, My approach seems to almost exactly as yours and likely why we made it to L3, thats why I asked. I think I’ll be using q-bank instead of Practise Exams. Still trying to figure which CR I should read. Definitely, Behavioural Finance, Individual PM, Institutional PM, but not sure what else to read. Thanks, keep me posted!

Leave Derivatives to the very last minute and try to cram them in all in the last night or two…right MGG :slight_smile: I still can’t believe I got >70 on derivatives. Someone was looking over me on that section last year.