CFA Level Prep Strategy

Unfortunantly I didn’t pass for the second time; however I did get a higher band than last time. I feel that could be due to the fact that I used Schweser and the CFAI Curriculum (first time around I only used Schweser). Also, quite frankly I don’t really feel that Schweser prepares you for the test format, (though it might’ve helped dumbing down the material). The point is, I think Schweser has taken me as far as it can and I was wondering what everyone else is using? What methods/materials did you feel really helped?

Not the case for me.

I used Schwser extensively but i do use the CFAI EOC questions to test whether i have read everything and in some cases, materials are missed by Schweser (though i also find that these materials did make it on the actual exam as well).

Honestly though, if you read the Schweser and you understand everything 100% from cover to cover, i don’t think you will be at any disadvantage than someone who read the CFAI texts exclusively. But if you have any doubt, of course use the CFAI texts next time and just go at it for one last time. if you switch to Elan for instance and fail, then you will have another excuse to blame.

The key is to do as many questions as possibles (and mocks), and re-do them! at least twice if not more!!!

Best of luck :slight_smile:


You got a point Nana; changing the strategy at this stage is very risky and I could always use it as an excuse for failure later. It might be more worth while to simply stick to the strategy and attack the weaknessess.

Thanks for the advice!

You’re welcome!

And there is always an element of LUCK involved on the exam day, sometimes you just get “easier” questions and pass.


Think of learning the materials like learning cooking… you’ll need to practice (do problems) to make the material stick and it should probably take up the majority of your study time. But you’ll also need theory (reading the material) before you’ll even have a clue how to apply it. Hope that helps.

What goes up must come down. Austin+1 347 647 9001

I was just curious as I started planning my regime for covering the level II material recently, do you guys take notes? I wrote down a bunch of notes for the level I … but it is very time consuming and to be honest … did I go back and read them in full, probably not. Reading the material and then writing briefly about the subject might help consolidate some of the learning.

i’m fully aware level II is a different challenge … obviousyl reading and questions, questions and more questions is the way to the promised land :slight_smile: .

Just curious to know peoples thoughts about note taking etc, I use the actual curriculum for reading.

Rgds, M

I took notes… that doesn’t mean I went back and read all of it.

I use Evernote to organize my notes, creating an individual note for each LOS. It seems I remember things better when I take notes even if I never go back to read them. Also, by taking notes when I watch the Schweser videos and read their notes, I will find that some of my notes are empty. This means the material didn’t appear in Schweser and it’s time to read it in the CFAI texts.

Oh wow - yes! Creating notes is very time consuming, but it drills in the material quite nicely. I wouldn’t think of it as “taking notes” per se, but rather rehashing was you just learned so you can teach someone else. I would scribble - not do formal notes that I could read later, but literally scribble and that helped me retain a lot of information - come May I was surprised at how much I still knew from my studies in January! The mind works in wonderful ways and writing things out is just one form of enhancing one’s memory.

I used the CFA curriculum and Schweser. Concentrate of FRA and Equities. Don’t waste time “note taking” Ethics. You will die of boredom and frustration as it’s a 50/50 chance you’ll get the answer right! (at least for me it was!)

I am also a out-loud-talker learner - I like to pretend I’m teaching someone the material as I’m doing a problem. Obviously if you have a weekly study group, this could also work wonders, but unless you work well with that study group that could actually hinder your progress further confusing what you’ve learned.

Best of luck! You got it - problems problems and more problems!

That’s great … thank you kindly for the feedback, one last question /// I notice many people use both the Schweser material in conjunction with the CFA material. I presume many will read the Schweser books and then check against the LOS to see if they have absorbed the required learning, and should they need further clarity they will revert to the CFA manual. I guess from previous experience I only mildy used the Schweser material for some accounting on LV I … but I found it just didn’t cover FRA in enough detail in some instances, thus gave up and used the CFA material for the remainder of the studies.

I’m just wondering if anyone has used the Schweser material for LV II and what was their thoughts, and in hindsight would you have used the material again, or just simply used the CFA books in conjunction with a QBANK and tutorial videos/ course.

thanks again :0)

I’ve used Elan 11th hour guide and schweser mock exams for L1, I would suggest you to shop around a bit, there are plenty of providers now, like Arif Irfanullah, Elan, Finquiz etc. You’ve got some time till next year so you can always switch to another provider, please don’t tell me you guys started studying already, I’m too exhausted to start until at least december.

I personally vouch for elan 11th hour guide (dunno about their other stuff) and it comes in pretty cheap, half of Schweser secret sauce, plus last time, bionic turtle had some discount code, so Elan came in at a very good price. I’m on a tight budget though, I only bought the strict minimum, not the whole package so you might want to ask around.

i’m UK based, so not sure I get those providers here, and don’t really want to pay on excess postage … I have used Fitchlearning for a nuch of other exams so I tend to use them as I go on the course.

Started reading this week to get a feel for the material, will crank it up other the coming weeks.

I done my Lv I in December last year, then took a break as I felt the February to june run for this year was too short personally for me.

Been chilling ever since :slight_smile:

Definitely take some time off between exams! you need the mental break.

I am sure you can get those external providers over in the UK, i’d say if you like to stay with the curriculum that’s a perfectly fine strategy, but if i may suggest anything, do purchase some mock exams (or if you can get the past years for cheaper). i think mock exams are CRUCIAL!

But other than that, i suggest start reading the WHOLE curriculum (at least just skim through it, topic by topic) before December, just so you have open the mental cabinets in your head and know what to expect.

There are a lot of material in L2, if you don’t know what’s ahead of you, you will get very frustrated and lost 3rd book through…



Thanks for all of the input … just skimming the material now and making brief notes etc/ questions.

Have a great week.

Hocus pocus, Mike

L2 is really challenging. I mean, what we have picked up in L1 literally does not help much in L2 revision. Prepping for L2 s like back to going square one again and relearning all over again.

Is it just me or is there anyone one else who feels the same?

wait til level III

A lot of people will tell you that Level 2 is much more difficult than Level 1 but don’t let this spook you. I think I scored higher on Level 2 and did not put in much more study hours than I did for Level 1.

You passed Level 1, you are capable of committing to a study schedule, you understand some of the intricacies of CFAI tests, you are tapping all your resources to pass this test (evident by you posting on AF). You’ll be fine.