Is 4 months enough time to prepare for Level II? Well, it depends on...

Many candidates who just passed the Level I exam have been asking me whether there is enough time to prepare for the Level II exam in June 2013… and if so, what is the best study strategy. Before I respond to these questions I’ll make some high level points related to the Level II exam.

  1. Level II is significantly more quantitatively intense relative to the Level I. Specifically there is an emphasis on pricing and valuation across multiple topics.

  2. Some candidates might have cleared Level I by slogging in the last few weeks… this strategy is much less likely to work at Level II.

  3. Working through curriculum questions at Level I was important. At Level II, I’d say it is critical.

I made the above points to emphasize the fact that preparing for Level II will take more time and effort compared to Level I. Let us now come to the first major question: do you we have enough time to prepare for the June 2013 attempt? My response is that it depends on the following factors:

  1. Will you have enough time to dedicate to your studies

  2. How easy or difficult did you find Level I

  3. Have you seen some of the Level II material before (either at work or in university)

  4. Are you good with numbers

If you have sufficient time to study (at least 15 hrs/week initially and lot more in the last 6 weeks), found Level I relatively easy, have seen at least some of the Level II material before and are good with numbers then you have a good shot at passing the exam in June 2013.

To make things a little more concrete, see if you can cover the Level II Corporate Finance material in 10 days (and this includes doing the practice problems at end of the reading). If so then you can be ready for the June 2013 exam.

Assuming you decide to take the exam in June 2013 you should define a reasonable schedule and stick to it. I’d strongly encourage you to cover all subjects by end April so the month of May can be spent on revision and practice exams.

At Level I some topics had to be done early (like Quant)… but you don’t have this constraint at Level II. Hence it is easier to define a schedule that suits you. Consider the relative weight of a subject and your prior knowledge in defining how much time to allocate to that subject. In any case I’ll suggest the following sequence:

  1. Corporate Finance

  2. Equity

  3. FRA

  4. Alt

  5. Fixed Income

  6. Derivatives

  7. PM

  8. Econ

  9. Quant

  10. Ethics

I suggest starting with CF because it connects well with Level I. Econ and Quant are relatively difficult and low weight so I’ve put them at the end. There is nothing sacrosanct about this sequence. You can change it around as you see fit. Just don’t get hung up on any one subject and make sure you are done with at least one round by end April. Focus on the main points. Do the examples and practice problems from the curriculum. If you try to learn every detail you’ll not complete on time.

That’s it for now. Good luck with whatever you decide.

Thank You Arif… I was also planning on going like this. Let’s hipe that I stick to my schedule now and then FINGERS CROSSED.

…And even more less likely to work at Level 3.

I joined your level 2 course!!! lets rock level 2 together!!!

Thanks, Arif.

I used your free videos for level 1 and they were helpful.

Thanks. This was extremely helpful.

Failing after trying is better than not trying at all

Will give it my best shot

I’m taking the plunge.Your videos helped in L1, looking forward to L2 videos!

Hi Arif… would it be apprpriate to ask as question on Derivatives on this blog…

Level 2 is much harder than level I and slightly harder than level III.

Good luck and study hard.

thanks for the wishes…would need some help with doubts…

Well, 4 months should be enough if you get serious and put the volume. However, I don’t believe 300 hours to be enough time for preparation. The CFA curriculum is roughly 3,000 pages and I need at least 400 hours just to get through the stuff. And it’s not the Grim Brothers’stories, it is serious stuff you need to understand. Thereafter I have to put at least 100 hours more in review and crashing mock exams. I believe 500 hours are a decent amount of time and anything below is that is just an overestimation. 300 hours could be true for a tiny field, but that’s not the bell-shaped distribution; that’s the ouliers.

I have just resumed my preparation. I put about 100 hours in August, September and Ostober 2012 and get a detailed look at the FRA and Equity. I think I could make another 350+ hours til 1st of June and hope to get Level II cleared form the first time.

Edit: 400 hours, not 4,000

Where are OP’s videos some of you are talking about?

Thanks for the insight.

I wasn’t able to do it after passing the Dec. L1 test. I simply underestimated the true level of understanding of the material needed to pass L2. Didn’t make the same mistake twice however, and didn’t fail a test after that.

Thanks Arif it was really usefu l!!

Hi Sir,

Currently I am still doing my first pass, only have completed corporate finance and FRA, and planning to complete Equity by this weekend. What is your advice for me?

Here is my plan, for some context:

Planning to complete first pass by end of March, going through all EOCs and Schweser QBank by end of April, then planning to hit all practice exams and CFAI mock exams in May (I also have two weeks off before the exam from work)

Is this a plausible strategy, given there are only 91 days left?

Thanks much

I am also using your L2 videos, and I really appreciate them- thanks a bunch

CFA_shareholder is Arif in disguise. Promoting your stuff haha

LOL!!! am not cheeky