If I Pass L2, should I go straight for L3 next year?

So I sat for L2 in June and felt okay about the test. Don’t know if I passed or failed (obviously), but wanted to hear some people’s opinions on if its worth going straight to L3 if I were to pass.

I’m 23 years old and started L1 my senior year of undergrad and sat for itlast June. After finding out that I passed L1, I took about a month off before starting L2. It’s been a constant grind of work and studying (that most people on here know all too well) since I’ve graduated, and I really haven’t been able to fully appreciate my time as a person in their 20s post graduating. Is it crazy to consider taking a year off of CFA studying if I pass L2? Will I be at a disadvantage for knowledge the material if I take a year to “live a little”? (Personally, I didn’t think the overlap between L1 and L2 was meaningful) I just don’t want to regret studying my youth away to get a job where I have even less free time.

Does anybody think about the exams like this as well or is evrybody 100% motivated to get through the tests ASAP? I’m all ears to any suggestions or prior experiences…




It’s like your feet in your boots on a long march/hike (people who had to do some form of military service will prob. appreciate this analogy more): Once you take off the boots, it’s very hard to put them on again.

I have met a good number of candidates who intended to take a break after L1 or L2 and then never got back into it again.

You need 4 years of relevant work experience to get the charter, if you just graduated from school, isn’t it an unnecessary rush? I see that you are not very excited about getting a more-than-a-full-time job, so whats the problem? Do whatever you want, have your own plan; don’t follow what others do or think is right.

It depends so much on every person. I will get the charter, but not in 1.5 years…

Line them up and knock them down. Between deployment, grad school, and living overseas for a number of years, time really creep up on me. Best to ‘keep your boots on’

Short answer: yes

What do you mean by this line? What is it you expect to be doing in your 20s after graduation?

It’s ironic that I read this post now because I just finished reading ‘The Defining Decade’ by Meg Jay. She talks about how 20s are one of our most important times in our lives and that the habits (good or bad) we create now will determine success or failure in the future.

I would take it because the responsibilities that come later in life will only start to pile on.

“You have to live like no one else so that later you can live and give like no one else.” -Dave Ramsey

Full steam ahead bro. Do it.

I would keep going while you have the momentum and get it done. I wish I had pursued the charter in my 20s. It was hard to get back into studying after being away from college for a number of years.

It’s not that I’m not excited about working, I just can’t say that wake up every morning as a 23 year old and feel like “I can’t wait to go to work all day and then come home to study until I go to sleep!” I’m not looking to just do what everybody else does, just wanted to hear if people wished they had taken a break or not. Like you said, it’s three more years before I can even get the charter. But if taking a year off means a considerably more difficult time studying for L3 down the road, I’d probably just want to keep on studying.

By that, I just meant that my social life has been almost non-existent since I started studying for CFA. I’d like to be able to spend time hanging with frineds, meeting new people, traveling, etc. Am I missing out on those opportunities by studying now? Sure, but the question is whether its worth getting the tests out of the way. I’m afraid that I may a decent chunk of my mid 20s studying, and then if I get my charter, I will be at a point in my career where I won’t have time to do the things I really want to. I know its the same for everyone in terms of a time commitment, but its more of an opportunity cost type question- Is my time more valuable than my time a few years down the road.

It seems like the concensus so far has been to jsut keep taking the tests. It would be interesting to hear from somebody who took a year off and if they regretted it.

If you’re only 23 and have already sat for Levels 1 & 2, no wonder you’re fried.

I took several years off between finishing my master’s degree and starting the CFA program. Buckling down and studying isn’t hard when you’re engaged in what you’re learning and can study at a somewhat leisurely pace. (It’s never that fun though.)

I took a 2 years off between Levels 1 & 2. I could have probably covered Level 2 more efficiently if I hadn’t had to “relearn” the basics. Level 3 is a beast of its own, but there’s got to be some overlap. That said, I absolutely don’t regret taking time off.


Here’s why.

Studying gets tougher and tougher each and every year.

If you consider doing this CFA thing learning, then I can see some sense in taking a year or two for many different reasons (that I’m not going to cite because I don’t consider getting the charter is learning).

Getting the charter is about setting aside a portion of your life for studying, and because you’ll take on more responsibilities in your life year by year, I think getting it doen asap is your best option.

I’m thinking my life would’ve been a little easier had I started a year earlier (right after started working); I got married last summer and sat in for L1 in December and L2 this June - I can’t imagine doing this with a kid or kids…hats off to those have offsprings and stuyding. Maybe getting married in a year or two is not your plan, but you will assume more responsibilities year by year.

But…if you don’t see yourself getting excited about passing all three exams, taking a year off wouldn’t be too bad. Like you said, I don’t think the overlap between L2 and L3 is significant enough to force yourself into another year of socially undesirable life. You have plenty of time either way, have some fun!

You see CFA in age 23 as a worry, I see it as a BLESSING! Appreciate the fact and the opportunity that you can finish CFA earlier in life. If at 23 your doubtful then you will be even more so when you reach 28 29 when you are married and have a new born, managing studies studies with tough jobs like investments and family is far more challenging.

I would kill to be in your position, and I am 25. Finish it off, then never worry about it again.

Yeah I totally sympathize with OP, and also understand why everyone else is trying to get you to do level 3 right away. Honestly though, I think that you might want to take a year off and get situated at work / have some semblence of a social life.

I don’t want to assume anything, but by virtue of you asking this question, it feels like you’re not totally 100% sold on the CFA right now in your life. If that’s the case, then studying for level 3 (or restudying level 2) is going to be absolute hell. When you’re not sold, your mind and body are going to be in two different places. That misalignment is incredibly taxing, and you’re not going to have fun and the probability of failing increases.

I think this forum and big chunks of society are all about getting XYZ done and going from one stepping stone to another, but that’s a shitty life if you aren’t sold on that path. What are you aching to do right now? If that’s building connections and getting out there and enjoying yourself then great! I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who regretted investing time and building a close network of friends.

The CFA is much more valuable to your career in mid 20s… No one is impressed by a guy just getting the charter in their 40s…

Good to know.

I was 40 when I got my charter.

Thanks S2000magician for the balanced insight. I feel in many cases some commenters here on Analyst Forum are quite myopic in terms of their outlook. Which is kind of funny because the analyst community needs more diverse representation (in both viewpoints, race, sex, and, yes, age). Studies have shown the more diverse the team, the better it can access risks by drawing from its varied experiences. Age shouldn’t be discriminated against, it should be celebrated – passing the charter is hard, regardless of one’s age. To people doing this in their 40s, I salute you!

Dislcosure: I’m not in my 40s.

I wish you would have told me this earlier so I could have quit the process.

I received the charter at 40yo.