Failed Band 6. Need advice from re-takers who passed

Felt really disappointed with the result. I was working 12+ hrs almost every single day. But still made time to study atleast 2 hrs during weekdays & 8-9 hrs during weekends/public holidays. I did all the TT (with very discouraging scores) but they were more of a let down considering the real exam was easier. Did 1.5 mocks but because of lack of time I couldn’t practice much.

What strategy should I put in place this time around so that I can start early & practice more? Any help would be highly appreciated.


Do not read curriculum again. Start by taking a video provider that follows the curriculum, for example I used IFT. Watch the videos working throUgh the problems as he does them.

then do all EOC questions (including the ones that are Not multiple choice… these are still good concept checkers)

mock until you drop. I’m serious. I did 11 mocks this year and still had more in the tank to go for more. People that tell you it’s quality over quantity I completely disagree. You need as much exposure to as many questions as possible as quick as possible. The only way to see get very variation of a question is through more mocks.

topic tests. Hugely helpful. Do all of them. Even the hard ones (except Erikson in FRA) don’t worry about the scores just make sure you’re understanding answers.

Repetition is key. I spent so much time this year on FRA and equity (the two biggest topics) FRA went from my worst subject to my best. There is so much low hanging fruit. For example pensions should be an easy 6/6 with a little practice.

for what it’s worth this approach took me from band 5 last year to nailing this year with most subjects plus 70.

You can do it! I think IFT was a huge help to me


I would recommend making sure you do all of the EOC chapter questions in both the CFAI and Kaplan material. Also do all the online topic tests on CFAI website. Do the CFAI mock and as many of the Kaplan mocks as you can. If you do some searching online, you can also find some more practice material from past years you can try to leverage as well, just be mindful of any material that’s changed along the way.

If you don’t already, keep a tab of how you are doing on all the practice stuff and I don’t mean just on paper. I have an excel that I setup for all the EOC questions, mocks, etc… which will show percentages and stuff. Usually I will do the EOC questions more than once and it helps to see if you keep getting the same things wrong.

Also recommend repetition, that’s what works for me personally as I take the brute force approach of trying to absorb/pound it into my head. I would just continuously re-read all the material from December to April and then just hone in on anything left that’s still giving you problems in May/June along with just doing as much practice questions/mocks as you can. I did this both times for level 2 and I think had I perhaps started studying earlier the first time I could’ve passed and not have retaken (got band 8 in 2016).

Note: for level 1 and 2, I used Kaplan exclusively and for me, I found it more than adequate to get the job done. You may or may not benefit using additional resources, you need to try to figure that out yourself as we all study differently.

Lastly, make sure the time you do spend studying is quality, meaning don’t study just so you can tell yourself you studied for an hour today, make sure something was learned. Also, to me, it does no good to spend 300+ hours studying at the expense of not sleeping, eating, ignoring family/friends, etc… and then showing up for the exam all stressed out and tired. If need be, start before December to try to spread out the learning a bit more.

Good luck!

do every questions you can find…don’t skip the CFAI online topical questions

I failed my first time around because I didn’t take it seriously. On my second attempt, I read through the Schweser text, supplemented by the CFAI EOC’s and select blue boxes. This time, I forced myself to turn my weaknesses into my strengths. Previously, I had trouble with Fixed Income, Derivatives, Alternaive Investments, and PM. I read over some chapters 3-4 times, constantly did the EOC’s, and wrote out many of the formulas 20 times to memorize them. You have to have a complete understanding for level 2, and that means knowing the ins and outs for every section.

Keep doing mocks as much as possible , then review them.

Good luck

@Nitesh: Sorry to hear that… I can understand your prob… What i can suggest is reading topic which are big at the start so that you time and momentum with you because they are the one which will be tricky… So start with FRA, EQUITY and go on a decreasing manner of weight because as u gef bogged you lose much because the ones at the end u work have low weight… Finally dont forget to make notes

I started with fra and thought not to make notes but after ending it realised i was not able to retain muc… So i have personal notes for each topic…

By the way out of curiosity which sector are u working in…?? 12 hours is brutal…

Definitely doable. Was in Band 6 for Level 2 and then made the jump to pass the following year. Did a similar workload as you. I would say start studying in November and aim to finish by early May. Since the exam is pushed back to 23 June this year it gives you 7 weeks too focus on mocks. Try and take a week off before the exam too so you can stay fresh.

Also failed band 6 and came back to pass this year.

It seems that you have dedicated sufficient time already. Which provider’s materials did you use?

I used schweser mostly supplemented with CFAI . This time around I find that I understand the material better. I would read something and be like, I totally didn’t know this term meant that last year but now I do. Given that you put in enough time and have done a lot of problems, I think it comes down to you not understanding the material thoroughly. So whether it be reading the material multiple times, finding a suitable provider (those free trials should help to make a decision), find a way to understand the readings. Then do EOC in CFAI to see if you actually understand the stuff.

Good luck!

EOC’s, Blue Boxes, Topic Tests on the CFAI website, LOTS of mocks, and make sure to tackle your weaknesses by repeating certain readings and question examples.

I failed Band 7 last year and came back to pass Level 2 in 2017. However, I knew exactly why I failed the first time. I sat for Level 2 in 2016 right after passing Level 1 in December so it was very difficult to study for arguably the most difficult level in just 4 months. I also shot myself in the foot for not studying the smaller topics as much (Econ, Alts, Quant, Corp. Fin.) which screwed me in the end.

I started studying for June 2017 in November which gave me 7 months of study time. I also made sure I studied ALL LOS’s in the curriculum, even the ones nearing the back of each reading cause I know the majority of candidates give up at the point and move on. I can’t tell you how many times i saw practice exam questions that asked about the smallest LOS’s. I mainly used Kaplan Schweser to study and supplemented it with CFAI books for harder topics. Like many have said, DO AS MANY PRACTICE PROBLEMS/MOCKS AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE and you will be prepared for whatever curveballs the exam throws at you (for the most part). I wish you the best of luck in 2018.

Hi Nitesh.

I also failed band 6 on my first attempt last year, and went onto to pass Level II this year with a number of my topics in the 70+ band. Last time I did it, I did one mock, and no topic tests. This time, I made sure to do all of the topic tests twice over and 9 full mock exams. The topic tests are immensely helpful in getting a better understanding of the curriculum. A lot of people say they are too hard and not reflective of the actual exam - I strongly disagree. Secondly, mock exams were vital in my passing this year. It is easy to get confident/complacement after doing EOC questions or Qbank with success and then finding the actual exam to be rock solid! Going through the mock exams gave me exposure to so many different types of questioninig the curriculum which was beneficial because while the exam may not mirror these questions, you begin to think of how you can use the methods you have discovered in the mocks so far to help. Lastly, having a study group was the biggest change I made. I had never used one before and came across one on this very forum. The group would exchange questions/concepts at all hours of the day/night and helped assauge any fears/nerves we had!

Good luck for next time!


I am in the same boat as Nitesh, I failed this past year level 2 with a band 7. I feel my biggest problem was not having a deep understanding of certain topics and really struggling with FRA. The study material I used was the Kaplan books and the CFAI material. Would you all recommend using the Kaplan books from last year or buying all new material? I plan on buying new mocks and the q bank, but just using the 2017 books. Your advice is greatly appreciated!

Do a read through Kaplan’s material by January, then do 6 Kap mocks, and about 3 CFAI mocks… I had failed Band 9 last year using CFAI material only, but a read through Kaplan helped me see the concepts more clearly, and their explanations to the mocks are great to learn and review from… hit FRA, EQ, CF, QM, and FI especially hard-- those are the most and easiest points … Derivs, Alt, and Ethics are wildcards.

Very Helpful Thank You!

I failed band 5 - looking to make a huge come back here. Thank you for taking the time to post.

Hi folks,

I have made concerted efforts to prepare my hand-written notes while preparing for Level II. Inevitably, I believe this would be of much help to you all. It is strictly according to the curriculum. The notes contain very important points as in:

1. Mock appeared topics/lines

2. Lifeline (any sentence/formulae) which forms the foundation of any topic; the triggering part.

For brevity, it is the crux of curriculum, so don’t consider it to be a substitute of curriculum. For deep digging and best understanding, would recommend you to read curriculum or schweser whichever you want.

You can share your mail id over here. Will mail you the files thereon.

All the best.

@keroppi3785 I primarily used Schweser for my studies except for Derivatives for which i used the curriculum. Problem with me was towards April-May, I wasn’t able to retain the stuffs I had learnt say in Dec - Jan. Maybe this time around, I need to focus more on the review side & practice as much as I can.

@Muzaffark2 yea I’m gonna try that. Thanks :slight_smile:

I’m working in the finance sector but its nothing related to CFA. Trying to break into research/valuation but companies don’t take u in unless I’ve completed CFA or maybe MBA.

@rexthedog Thanks for the tips. Could u list down the 11 mocks that u practiced?

@rexthedog @THE_REAL_Black_Knight @big_h @keroppi3785 @nycet824 @ProspectiveDreamer Thanks u so much. Hope to have a strong comeback like u guys in June 2018 :slight_smile: