how to study for level 2, strategy, study plan, tips, etc

I’m considering to start studying for level 2 during first week of september. could anyone guide me and provide a complete outlook of how to prepare from scratch as I know it is a paradigm shift from level 1. Please do provide suggestions.

Thanks in advance,

I will answer your question on wednesday.

Although I’m sort of with Rahul on this one, here are some ideas I posted elsewhere. Perfect world (IMHO):

Phase 1:** August - End of October/November:**

Read CFAI text books (consider skipping derivatives as the variable labels are not intuitive). This read through is meant to be a once through, non-intensive exposure to the entire curriculum.

Phase 2: Beginning of November/December - End of March:

  1. Thoroughly read all Schweser Notes.

  2. Watch all Schweser video lecures (I tried to watch one before work each day, for example). Start these as soon as they become available. Consider starting to chip away at this task in September if possible (note that video lectures for new topics tend to come later in October).

  3. Make flashcards for all end of Schweser Notes formulas.

  4. Complete all end of reading Schweser Notes concept checkers.

  5. Devote some time each study day to completing a few Schweser QBank questions from topics you’ve covered to keep them fresh.

  6. Identify topics/concepts as you go through that don’t seem to be sinking in or are critical and make summary pages for your final review.

Phase 3: Beginning of April - End of May:

  1. Re-watch all Schweser lectures.

  2. Complete fully simulated practice exam each Saturday. FULL, TIMED exams. Part exams are a waste, might as well do practice problems for days you don’t want to do a full exam rather than wasting a practice one, there are plenty of practice problems at your fingertips. Review that day spilling into Sunday if necessary. This review must include each and every problem. Tests include all Schweser practice exams, live Schweser mock exam, CFAI practice exam(s) etc…

  3. Read end of chapter CFAI reading summaries and work some of each practice problems.

  4. Read Schweser Secret Sauce two times through.

  5. RELAX day before exam day.

A couple other things to note:

Remember that we all learn differently and it’s important to genuinely identify and lean on these modes of learning that our our individual strengths (i.e. reading, listening, doing). However, no matter who you are, the more you practice, the better you get. Doing practice problems throughout your course of study is absolutely imperative. The more times you get burned, the fewer mistakes on exam day. Additionally, there is a concept of state-dependent memory , it is likely that you will not be studying in a rushed/stressful state (although some of your practice exams likely may be). Therefore, in addition to the benefit of clear thinking that a relaxed state can bring, it also helps align your study-“state” to exam-day-“state” as closely as possible. Lots of practice and relaxing the day prior to exam (maybe even a run to help ensure you’re able to sleep) all will pay big dividends on exam day. OBVIOUSLY there’s no way to eliminate the stress of this monster - by any stretch of the imagination. This process is a beast and should be recognized and treated as such.

FINALLY, AVOID BURNOUT AT ALL COSTS! Starting earlier will help avoid this, when you are feeling overwhelmed (and you have been putting in the time) - TAKE A BREAK. A day or two off and having a life will keep you moving through this grueling possible.

I hope this helps a little. Best of luck!

in a perfect world, indeed.

True story. I was able to do a bunch of the above though. I started in September, but took October off before restarting in November. I was only able to read Quant and Alternative Investments out of the CFAI books. Was the second go at L2 (band 9 2013), I had read Ethics out of CFAI the year before and chose to focus on questions for that topic…

The major difference for me this year was that I did so many more full practice exams. Last year I only did one, and I think I even split it up in between two days. My wife and I had planned to go out to dinner to celebrate and I remember feeling so exhausted it was a complete waste! I think there’s something to be said for building up endurance for exam day because this year I felt completely fine afterwards and didn’t blow the PM session due to exhaustion. I agree with all of GothanSenator’s points, and if you can get in the habit of getting through 3-4-5 hour straight study sessions, I think you should be in good shape.

Does anyone remember the guy who had done up an awesome whiteboard for all the formulas he had to know and posted a picture online? I’d like to do that myself, just need to find the time - and a whiteboard!

I will give some tips after I get the results.

They will be more convincing at that time.

What I did was watch the schweser videos and do their practice questions to try and understand the main topics, then after watching all the videos I went back and tried to refine each area by reading CFAI and schweser books and doing all the CFAI practice Q’s. You should be able to do that in 300 hours, then leave two months before the exam for mocks, CFAI practice Q’s and blue boxes. Do the practice Q’s and blue boxes at least twice. For me I found this to be a very effective strategy

Since L2 content is both wide and deep hit the CFAI material, blue boxes, EOCs, formulaes multiple times. do as many mocks as possible under time constraints. revise, and more revise until you are comfortable with all the stuff. Leave nothing untouched even light weight sections. Thats what i did and passed!

I know of a few other things that are also wide and deep

I still haven’t started on L2.

Is it really that difficult as people make it out to be? I know it will be tough and will take several hundred hours of study, but I don’t think nothing a good preperation can’t overcome. I found L1 quite difficult coming from an econ major, I can’t imagine this will take more effort tbh. The whole L1 vs L2 is overblown by those who had a good background on finance already, then they compare that to the relatively new material of L2.

I hope this is the case at least.

It’s just harder in the sense that you need to memorize more formulas. Quant and economics sections are actually much easier because they are more concentrated in certain areas which make them easier to study for. Accounting and Equity valuation were also easier for me for the same reasons I mentioned before particularly equity valuations as you just need to memorize some formulas. Spend some time on FRA and derivatives to understand those topics well and you should pass.

Believing you can pass is half the battle, there’s no reason you can’t pass this exam. We are all given the same study materials or have access to buy the same materials so it all comes down to effort and studying smart.