How long to read CFAI Level 2 Books?

Might as well as you L3 guys, since you’ve all passed L2.

I just started studying from the CFAI books yeserday. Started in Quant, and the reading is painfully slow. Does the average Joe with a full-time job honestly have time to get through the acutal CFAI curriculum and have time for a month of review? I feel like at this pace (though its only been two days), it isn’t possible to do.

I’ve ordered the Schweser stuff, but it’s obviousy not out yet, so I’m stuck with the CFAI books at least for a couple more weeks.

Thanks for feedback.

Not all sections are as difficult or obscure as quant. Still, the average Joe doesn’t get the charter.

Only thing you can do is make a plan (x pages per day) and stick to it…

Also, carry a cfa textbook with you everywhere. 10 extra pages per day adds up pretty quickly…

if u start now , u need 10-15 pages per day, could be done in 1.5 - 2 hours . the key thing is to stick to this plan.

my strategy was do read my daily pages the first thing i do in the morning before work . good luck: )

Working full time, I studied 15 to 20 hours per week for three years almost continuously. I estimated studying about 1100 hours for level 2 in total (took it twice). So, while the average Joe may not be able to complete the curriculum, the average test taker can expect to spend a lot of time with their nose in the book. hope that is helpful

I read CFAI material while holding a full time job. I tried to follow the study session progression (18 sessions @ 1 per week). Some study sessions are obviously easier to get through than others, but on average, it is doable.

I would assume a good percentage of CFA takers have a full time job… It’s definately doable you just need to really set aside about 2-3 hours weekday, 5-8 hours on weekends to get through the book and be in the shape to pass the exam.

As others have said… some topics are easier than others… don’t worry so much about “i have this much, i have that much left” but just focus on how much time you’re putting in. and if you do that, before you know it you’ll be through the book

I worked full time and spent many nights with only 4 or 5 hours of sleep because of studying 2-3 hours per day and 4-6 hours/day on the weekend. Social life took a huge hit. If you want it bad enough then you’ll put up with the sacrifices. For what it’s worth, you’re already on the right path by starting early. Create a schedule, set goals, do what you need to do to get it done.

The sheer volume of those books (and some of the readings) can make you feel overwhelmed. Good to break it down into little pieces. I found the following two things helped me get through it much faster.

  1. a sheet with little boxes on it (each representing 5 pages) that I could tick off as I read through each reading. Basically rewarding yourself every 10-15 minutes.

  2. using a stop watch to time how long it takes to read each page - trying to keep it under 2 or 3 minutes per page.

I know this might seem like a distraction but it is really easy to get bogged down and waste time if you dont keep pushing yourself forward.

Don’t let having a full-time job be your crutch. We all have excuses. There are many reasons NOT to study–and they are all probably really good reasons. That’s why the exam is so difficult–because the CFA exam “ain’t your ordinary test”.

Let me tell you my story.

I took Level 2 twice. Between the two, I probably studied 600 hours. Not kidding.

I passed Level 1 in December 2010. The next week, In fact, I started a new job, moved to a new city, and bought a new house. Then I found out my wife was pregnant.

On January 25, I found out I passed Level 1, and then started studying for Level 2 In March 2010, I quit my job and started a new one.

For two months, studied every day and every day on the weekends. My pregnant wife was not happy with me. I took Level 2 in June 2011 and failed it with a score band of 10. (Shtty. Yes–I did cry. I was very upset.)

In August, my baby girl was born. And in October, I began studying for Level 2 again. Yes–I studied for about 400 hours, missing my wife and my baby girl (who was growing up without me) very terribly. Then I took Level 2 in June 2012 and aced it.

So now, my 14-month old baby girl loves to see her daddy, and daddy studies every M-W-F from 5-9:30, and gets home after baby is gone to bed. In fact, I’m usually so tired I just want to go straight to bed, but I can’t because I’m so wired from studying. And I like to get up at 5:00 to work out, but I can’t, because I’m so damn tired from the night before. So my family life suffers, my physical health suffers, and my mental health suffers.

Yes, we all have our excuses–and not seing your children is the best of them all. But I give some of it up because I want to finish the test to provide a better life for my family.

BTW–to answer your question about how to get through the material: I made this mistake when I took Level 2. If you get stuck on something, and just can’t get your brain around it–move on. You can’t afford to spend 50 hours on Quant, when it’s only 5% of the exam. Same is true with Econ. Also, don’t waste your time trying to learn the formulas to calculate correlation/beta/regression. I took the exam twice, memorized the formulas twice, and used them zero. They are much more likely to give you the regression equation if you need it.

Here’s how to study for Level 2:

First, think about ethics. We know for a fact that it will be exactly 10% of the exam.

Remember–accounting, corporate finance, and equity are like one little “family”. In fact, it’s difficult sometimes to see where one ends and the other begins. And this “family” constitutes 50% of the exam. So maybe you should spend at least 50% of your time there.

Alternative investments borrows heavily from Equity. Maybe it’s worth 10% of your time.

Fixed Income/derivates makes up another “family”. It’s worth about 20%, but I would invest about 30% of your time there. (Don’t skimp on your swaps–they suck, but they WILL be on the exam. This is a lot of why I failed Level 2 once.)

Portfolio Management borrows heavily from Quant and Econ. But I wouldn’t spend more than 10-15% of your time on all three of these put together, because they are relatively lightly tested.

I never read a single CFAI book cover to cover for 1 & 2. I think it is a waste of time. You are much better off using schweser study notes, answering their questions, then doing CFAI EOC and Blue Box questions. On the occasion where you feel you might need more info go to the CFAI books.

I did this twice in level 2 that I can remember.

  1. Had to the do with wanting to see how they talking about covered/uncovered Interest Rate Parity in ECON

  2. Was for the formular for how to value a forward contract on day g

I give the above two examples just to give you an idea of what I mean by “on occasion.” Little stuff that Schweser doesn’t necessarily full explain.

Otherwise those books are just absurd and bad for your health.

4 months.

4 months, too, but it was really grueling experience… Better to plan it for at least 5 months + 2-4 weeks of revision… So half a year is optimal IMHO :-]