Hello all! Excited to be here! 2 questions please!

Hi guys,

So a little background on me: I failed level 1 in June 2013 on band 9 because I did not really take it seriously enough, then passed level 1 December 2013 with very much room to spare (>70% in 12/13 topics)

Why did I pass level 1 so easily the second time around? One reason: I OVER-STUDIED. I was soooooo afraid of failing twice that I made sure to just pound away at the material until I was getting 90/120s on my Kaplan Schweiser practice exams. Full speed ahead.

In the almost two years since passing level 1…I moved into a sales role that is less quantitative/analysty, so I completely sat on the sidelines in 2014, and 2015 with regards to level 2. did not study, or register at all.

Now, I am realizing how valuable a CFA could be on your resume in the right fields, especially when youre young (Im 26). So I have every intention of taking the exam in June 2016. Where am I going with this? Below please find my 2 questions:

  1. I am planning on using my friend’s ELAN books from 2014. I heard that ELAN is more comprehensive than Kaplan many times on this forum, and the books are more challanging. that seems like a good thing to me. Question: Am I taking a HUGE risk studying with books that are 2 whole years outdated???

  2. When I tell people finance people/CFA Charterholders that I inteded on starting to study on 9/1/2015 for the June exams…they all said the same thing: that I will not retain anything from the earlier months of study (september-november) and I will “burn myself out” by June. To be honest, I am not sure I buy this. As I said above, the reason I passed in 2013 was that I OVER STUDIED. I think starting now, and being diligent about it will give me the opportunity to over-study again. Is starting to study NOW a bad idea?

As far as aptitude, I’m not a genius, but I certainly think I am capable of getting it done; I majored in finance from a “target” school (top 10 undergrad Business) .

As far as capability and schedule: pretty friendly, I work only 55ish hours/week and do not have any kids or real world responsibilties.

Any color you guys can provide would be much appreciated, thanks…


In regards to your 1st question, i would not use the Elan books from 2 years ago. Although most of the material doesnt change from year to year, there were some significant changes from 2014 to 2015, especially in fixed income. You can get by by using the 2015 books for 2016, because there were not too many changes, but 2014 and 2016 are quite different in my opinion.

In regards to when you should start studying ( and how many hours you should put in), my opinion has always been to do what YOU feel is best. I started studying right after Thanksgiving for level 2, mainly because i knew with how i study and retain information, that 6 months would be enough. That being said, if you think you need 9 months, go for the 9 months. Regarding getting burned out, I truly think we all get burned out after studying for something for 6+ months, especially while working.

I failed L2 in June 2015 after passing L1 in dec 2014. So I studied 4 months only. It was not enough at all. I support you idea to start earlier. I don’t believe in burning out. In my opinion it’s much better to spend 9 months once and pass than spend 6 months two times. :slight_smile:

With respect to burning out I really do belive that starting too soon can be a problem… I think the best study strategy is to time your peak as close to exam date as possible… if you start now it just means you cant get complacent during the last 3 or 4 months. Ive slowly started studying too and my plan is get a first reading done by January and then basically restart and drive home all the topics that i need the most work on. My rational is that by January none of the material should be new in thesense that I will be learning new concepts or formulas for the first time... that and Im registered so I can help but take a peak at my books that stare at me all night…

If you really want to pass, you won’t burn out.

I started in November for L1 and I like that it allowed me to take time off when I started feeling burned out. In mid feb & again in April I was able to take a week off to reboot, and also didn’t have to cram much the final week and take it easy which I thought really helped.

There were times where I was feeling hot and would crush material and when I was on a streak like that I would keep going, but once you start struggling to get through material due to burn out, if you start early enough by all menas take a break. I think riding the waves of motivation is just part of the process and leaving yourself ample time allows for that.

Obviously everyone has their own study habits and what works best for them, and hopefully being through college and L1 a candidate has learned how to make the program work for them. Completely agree with the goal of “Peaking” at exam date. Let me tell you something. I haven’t even begun to peak. And when I peak, you’ll know. Because I’m gonna peak so hard that everybody in Philadelphia’s gonna feel it.

  1. CFAI material is the most comprehensive, so why not use that?

  2. Everyone is different - if you’re 26, you should know what works for you in studying. I agree with Tukka that 9 months once is better than 6 months twice. People that memorize stuff just to spit it out are probably going to have a difficult time remembering things they looked at 9 months ago. However, if you actually learn the material over the course of 9 months, you’ll be fine.

If you have a finance major you can definitely get through Level II. Good luck.