Band 3.. need encouragement

I just got my results and got a depressing Band 3. I knew I was going to fail but I didn’t expect such a low band and feel totally dejected now… Any words of encouragement from fellow retakers who went through this phase would be highly appreciated. Also when do you think is a best time for me to pass the 2nd time round? Do you think I should start in July itself… cos I am not sure if I will remember everything I study now after a whole year.


I failed band three last year… Was initially thinking of not taking up again… Then I got a bschool admit so filled for L2 just before the deadline and sloggged for two months… Passed this year

congrats implex,

Sruthi, everything is possible. 400h and you will pass it for sure.


my advice would be - definitely start in July but don’t spend too much time, pace yourself, then cram in the last 3 months. And don’t feel dejected - you tried hard, and you deserve props for studying. Now you are already familiar with the concepts so the next time will be easier. You could spend more time on solving problems instead of trying to absorb reams of new knowledge like you did the first time.

Thanks guys! Means a lot :slight_smile:

The reality is that 120 questions does not represent your true knowledge of the material.

I passed the exam after four tries. I think the first year I was band 2 or 3. Band 7 the second time, and 9 last year. I’m positive I could have passed the exam last year, except they seemed to ask about all the topics I hadn’t focused as much time on, and none of the topics that I knew really well. This year was the opposite.

You also have to keep in mind that the average intelligence of people taking level II is very high. Only very smart people make it even this far, and it’s graded on a curve. You’re still very smart… you’re just in a class of people that you’ve likely never competed against before.

I failed real bad and it was really unexpected to me as I had spent good number of hours but its conversion in practicing leading up to exam day and on exam day, I think I got wrong.

Nevertheless, I’m going to pull myself and do it in style next time. buckle up.

Fix quiz had good encouraging blog -

Completely agree. Your body of knowledge can pass one year and fail the next. You have a feel for the exam now so it will likely be easier next year. The one thing I would highly recommend is to do as many practice problems as you can. Knowing the material is one thing but being able to apply it is another.

Band 3, 8, then finally passed.

I am absolutely gutted, devastated. Literally feel like killing myself. Gave L2 last year and failed, got a band 3. I have given it again this year and have gotten band 2 now. I didnt expect to pass but honestly felt that i would do better than my previous attempt but nope.

Right now its a feeling of complete hopelessness, looserish and as if this exam is too good for me. But to sum up my preperations, both the times i have at best done 3 months of readings but no real practice. First time i read Schwazer, the second time i read Elan Guides but on both occasions i ran so short on time that i just didnt have time to do any practice.

Another problem has been in obtaining vignette type questions. The problem with Q bank is that a vast majority of questions are structured in Level 1 style which is just not suitable for practice for Level 2. Its been interesting and insightful reading the forums where people have mentioned other alternative strategies, tips, study sources.

I have identified my really weak areas (:slight_smile: which right now appear to be all the topics) but when i give it again, i am going to give myself an entire year to study the material practicing questions, revising. I would appreciate insights from people with regards to where can i obtain tons of vignette practice questions because that has been the main problem. I am sorry the qbank is just not good enough.

Will also try studying for the CFA Cirriculam and looking at the blue boxes, EOC’s and LOS.

i failed band 6 last year. It can happen sometimes that we don’t take our task seriously / we are not motivated enough. The best thing is that you have one full year. I think you can nail this next year for sure.

Just don’t give up !!

i failed last year with band 4 because of almost same reason you’ve posted. Thought how could i do so poorly. Read Schwazer notes, not too many practice question, not too many questions from CFA book, and or touching the mock exam. This time i read same notes, but did lot more practice questions, and questions form back of each CFA chapter. Only did perhaps 1 mock exam over period of time. And i passed (not with flying colors but still passed).

Other problem you have - 3 month is not enough. allow 6-7 months, pace things out - i think most people need around 300-350 hours. I would say, you need to reread materials at lest 3 times (after each time, you can probably re-read same materials faster and faster). And definitely need to practice with vignette - i read quesiton first, and then go back to vignette to find the details - you need practice doing this and buld your own style (as oppose to qbank which is good to understand the topic & good for level 1 style exam, but not good for what you’ll face in exam).

Don’t count the hours of study, look at how effective your studying is. There is no point of slogging in hours if you are not retaining or unable to apply anything. I actually studied less this time around but I knew my concepts far better and could solve the majority of the problems. Build your confidence and don’t let EOC questions put you down, know that by doing well on those you’re that much closer to passing. I made summary sheets of all the chapters and reviewed equations/theory the two weeks before, then attempted EOC questions. I only did one mock exam and I scored 55% on it.

Most importantly, allocate your time to the heavy weights (EQ/FRA/->- corp/deriv/FI/ethics) There is no point of mastering portfolio management and quants if you don’t have the heavies locked down. Heavies pass you the exam, the rest are just dressing.

Goodluck and go in with balls of steel. Don’t give yourself excuses and keep it positive.

Ok, I’m going to do a full write-up on CFA exam strategy that I hope to share within the next month or so, but I have to comment on this now…what you typed is, IMO, the most fundamental mistake in studying for these exams, especially L2. Every time someone posts this same question, it’s always an either/or: “Should I start early and risk forgetting, OR start later?” In reality, if you start early it can actually help you to NOT forget, despite how far out the exam is. If, of course, you use that extra time to fit in regular review sessions. Starting the learning process in August and fitting in multiple read-throughs of the material, combined with regular/scheduled review of all material after you learn it will allow you to remember FAR more in a year than you would be able to if you learned it three months out (or even two) and weren’t able to thoroughly review until the last couple weeks when you’re trying to review all the material at once AND focus on your weak areas.

Shruti, i passed on my first try. If i can pass anyone can, i consider myself to be below average when it comes to intelligence. I started preparing early, just by reading the CFAI notes, then i took the EOCs and got almost all of them wrong. i knew that i wasn’t understanding the material. Then i stumbled upon Arif Irfanullah’s site and his videos. I got this info. around feb. and used it exclusively and he was a great teacher and motivator. You can see his videos on youtube. See if this time you can change your learning style. He did wonders for me and i am sure its worth a try. Good luck and NEVER GIVE UP!!!

Wow, I am really inspired by you guys, esp JonsConspiracy, prozario, vgmalu and spunboy. Your success stories are really helping me right now, and I hope I can kill this level 2 by next year this time. So I have understoofd that I am going to start my prep as soon as I can, and this time I am going to read the CFA curriculum (which I didn’t do last time), be crystal clear in my concepts and most of all practice, practice and practice MORE!

Is it good enough to just study from the CFA curriculum or should I complement it with Schweser material? If so, in which all subjects?

Also I should order the new set of CFA books yea… cos I am guessing the material will change… don’t want to take any chances this time round.

Thanks a lot guys! :slight_smile:

You should delete QBank. For level 2 it is worthless and far too easy for preparation. Use the Schweser notes for the material and use the CFAI book questions. Do the questions again at the end for review. It also sounds as if you run out of time study wise for which there is a clear solution… make a study plan. I failed level 2 twice without one and passed with one. It keeps you motivated and on song and you can constantly keep a reality check on where you are. It sounds lame and nerdy but a study plan makes the world of difference. I would start earlier as well, like even Aug or Sept. Leave 6 weeks at the end to go back and answer the CFAI questions again, they are key and do Schweser Mock papers, one each week for those last 6 weeks. I wouldn’t use the books. It will make the studying far too overwhelming and if you use study guides and can answer the CFAI questions, then you know it’s working not so? Also, 400 I def recommend…

There, you’re passing already lol

i would agree QBANK stuff is not to prepare for the test. But it could be good to understand the materials a bit better. Best way to prepare is look the example and problems from CFA books, and mock exams - those closely resemble the difficulty of actual exam.

I made the mistake first time of reading 1 year old Sch notes - got killed, as the 1st question was on that FIFO/LIFO stuff, and that was a new material. It all went downhill from there. Plus there was some stuff that i studied well, but those got removed (so essentially wasted time on things that wasn’t even required to read).

Best is to get the latest material - rather than trying to figure out what changed etc from previous year. I don’t think you need to necessarily read the CFA book (except for Ethics where you need to read the CFA materials). I read Sch notes, and then did problems from CFA books - if i needed some further details, I read specific areas from CFA books. Doing the problems from CFA books will idnetify if you have any gap after reading SCH notes or whatever else you’re using.

I also used Stalla vidoes - they were really really good to understand complex concept. But they got bought by Sch - not sure how they’ll do this next year. Sch. notes are better and i found Stalla had best video lecture.

Reading your comments is very encouraging for someone who’s gotten Band 2 twice in Level 2. I plan to do GMAT initially but now thinking about doing CFA as well. GMAT + CFA = one helluva year of studying for me. :open_mouth:

One more thing I wanted to point out for your next attempt - remember the formulas!!! The first year I failed (band 3), I realized that I couldn’t answer a lot of the problems because I didn’t know the formulas. There are so many you need to know for the exam it’s mind blowing. I made it a point to be able to regurgitate all the formulas before my second attempt (band 8). I was able to fill at least 4 sheets of paper with all the formulas I had remembered.

And actually, I probably would have passed in my 2nd attempt but my newborn daughter went into intensive care for seven weeks with heart issues in early May. I stopped studying for 3 weeks until she became stable which left me with one week of studying time before the exam. Only reason I’m bringing this up is that it’s entirely possible to go from a low band to passing within one year. Of course it feels like the stars have to be aligned perfectly but definitely possible.