CAIA L2 Constructed Response Format

Hey all,

I am just wondering how many questions to expect in the Constructed Response exam. From a review of UpperMark Question bank, it seems each question is 10 points (so I am inclined to believe there will be 10 questions with 10 points each, but what do I know!!).

Also, are we expected to do the calculations for constructed response questions on the computer? I imagine it would take a lot of time to enter the formula, numbers, math signs etc.

Somebody, please shed a light.


Three questions overall. One ethics, one CIT, one from anywhere else in the curriculum. They will have multiple sub-parts though. 70% of your overall score for the exam will be from the multiple choice questions and the remaining 30% will come from constructed response (likely 10% ethics, 10% CIT, 10% elsewhere). I’ve seen some questions in mocks that require calculations. It’s going to be a fun time writing the formulas and showing calculations on exam day! Easier to do that by hand, I’d imagine, like on the CFA exam versus typing it out.


How many points in total for the Constructed Response exam? 30 points? 100 points?..if 100 points, then the exam can’t be 3 questions because that would mean that each question (with it’s sub-parts) would be 33 points…33 points would be too much I guess.

Essays are just 30% of the exam. 70% is multiple choice. I alluded to this is another thread here - that I can see myself finishing the essay questions so quickly compared to the multiple choice questions. Doubt I’ll need the whole amount of time given, but who knows? Maybe they’ll be tough questions. But in the mocks I’ve seen, three essay questions overall, but each has multiple parts to them.

Thanks Neil202, I have not done the mocks…I haven’t even finished going through the curriculum for the first time; I have 75% of hedge funds to go. I however did all MCQs for the other topics along the way…every now and then, I redo questions in order to keep some concepts in my mind…Hoping to finish hedge funds by mid-coming-week and then I can start the second round of reading/revision. I will be taking my exam on 27th Sep.

I know Constructed responses make up 30% of the exam…so I am gonna have to focus on everything…I agree, if 3 questions only, then it is very easy to finish the constructed responses exam as compared to the MCQs…

CIT Can have Calculations. Overall, 30% of Questions of comes from calcs. I reccomend going through all ‘Calculate’ Los and memorize/Solve questions/understand the components of the Formulas.

And true, You can be done early if you get the topics you know.


Thanks Adbakr,

Do you think reading with Uppermark books and Question bank is sufficient to take me past Level II…Thanks

3 total essay questions, and each question has about 3-5 sub questions. Similar to CFA format, if includes calcuation, I am not sure how to navigate the keyboard with formulas. :slight_smile:

I am a retake. My first go-around, I had 1 constructed response question with 2 parts that required calcs. @Neil202 and @ws are right about typing out formulas - maybe practice one or two on a keyboard because when I had to do it, it took me a minute to adjust to typing out sign changes, parentheses, etc. And of course, when you write it out yourself you are used to using symbols for things like mean or standard deviation or you are used to using the financial calculator. When you have to show your work, you have to remember how to type it all out. For instance, I can discount fast on a calculator. But typing it out, you’d have to do divide / 1.05 or something. I guess you could say, “discount 5%,” but I didn’t want to take the chance that my test grader would not like that.

Most people will tell you that you will not use the whole 2 hours for CIT and they are right. Really, what ate up my time was typing everything out. I had time left over, which I used to make sure I typed out my calcs correctly. I would say expect to spend 20-30 mins per question (1-1.5 hrs total), depending on the level of calcs.

Hi Jt703, thank you very much for sharing. If not violating any CAIA standard, would you also share which essay question needed cal? CIT and one of the random possible topic?

@ws - it was not CIT. It was the 3rd constructed response question - the one that pulls from anywhere in the curriculum. The question had, I think, 4 parts. Two of those parts required calcs.

Good info, JT - thank you. Follow up question. There are ten CIT readings - manager selection, coinvesting, private equity secondaries, etc. One essay question will be CIT. Will that one question and any sub questions be focused on just one of those ten readings? Ie: Three sub-questions all on private equity secondaries. Or will the one question bring in sub questions from other readings? Ie: One subquestion on private equity secondaries, one on manager selection, then another on Bitcoin? Thanks!

@jt703, thank you very much for the detail insight.

@Neil202 - Honestly, I’m not sure. I did poorly on the CIT question because I did not study the readings enough. I think all the sub-questions were just on one reading. I guess it doesn’t matter - you have to study them all, anyway! My mistake was only focusing on a few readings, thinking they had the greatest chance of appearing on the exam (I thought the same for the 3rd “anywhere in the curriculum” question as well). But, that was wrong! One thing I learned was that ANYTHING in the curriculum is fair game.

My faulty thinking/hedging was why I totally bombed the constructed response. Ethics was ok, no surprises there. But the other two - man, I saw those questions and dread just washed over me because I did not spend a whole lot of time on those topics. So obviously this time around I’m trying to be more well-rounded, reviewing all the topics. Better to know a little about a lot than a lot about a little.

I used UM qbank (50% of Questions), One go of official text (CR was from UM review only and got a lucky (higher) and just knowing the general points). Overall I think mastering the calculations and UM qbanks made me pass.

This is a little tricky but you should have plenty of time for the constructed response portion. I would suggest doing some practice problems where you type out the answers in Word or “show your work” using a blank text box to input your answer into.

Under pressure, things like y=2x+3(15) can be a little tricky to type out.