I came across many posts by people who managed to pass level 1 on their first attempt, but its their 3rd or 4th attempt on Level 2. Many claim they had started studying from November, December, and have put well above the recommended 300 hours study time and still failed the exam with band 5, band 6.
This is terrifying me. I am currently a finance master’s degree student, who obtained the 2nd highest grades in the course. At the same time, whilst doing my degree I sat the CFA level 1 in December and FRM part 1 in May and passed both exams. All this led me into thinking that I may have a competitive advantage as I have been doing pretty well so far. However my worries exponentially increased when I came across this post:
ITT: people who complained the exam was very difficult in June now saying it is easy after getting their bare minimum pass matrix.
I found it very difficult compared to level 1 which I took last dec. I didn’t solve enough mocks. solved the L2 exam like L1 by skipping leaving questions that I wasn’t sure until the end. Had to go back and re read the vignette to solve the questions and ran out of time. Blindly filled out b and c for about 5 questions.
Take some time to do at least a few mocks. Depending how you did in level 1, you should be fine with the time left
You should be fine as long as you put the time in. 43% of candidates passed this year so it is obviously quite achievable. You also probably have a better background than the majority of candidates. I think passing the exam is a function of intelligence + hard work + some luck so just take care of 2/3 and you should be fine.
I’m probably the exception… I took multiple attempts to pass L1 but passed L2 on the first try. Then again, I put in about 3x the effort for L2. I also have a masters in Finance. One thing I did differently for L2 is I put a ton of time into doing practice problems rather than reading… I only read after I found weaknesses when doing problems.
It’s really not that difficult. I did it in 10 weeks working full time after doing L1 in Dec and taking a break.
I have never taken an accounting or economics class in my life but I did take classes in PM theory, Equity valuation, corporate finance and a lot of derivatives as part of my masters degree.
From reading these forums I think that the number one mistake unsuccessful candidates make is that they spend too much time reading and not enough time practicing. Each chapter has probably five or so main testable concepts, focus on those and do not get bogged down in detail. You don’t need to write an essay on each topic, its a multiple choice test with 3 answers. Make sure you know the basics of everything before getting into the detail of concepts, the basic processes/terminology used in each chapter/concept are probably 70% of what you need to know. Your goal here is not to get an A+, 65% (Est MPS) is around a C+ at most schools.
I put ~260 hrs and I did CAIA L2 in March so right in prime CFA L2 study time. I did about 4 CFA readings in January of Schweser mixing in CAIA L2 practice (I had completed CAIA L2 readings in December). Then from February to March 9th it was all CAIA, no CFA. I didn’t get back to CFA until March 11th and I went HAM, had just moved to a new city, didn’t know many ppl…it was just work, study, and workout. Worked well, as you can see I didn’t have much time hence only the ~260 hrs but I passed and pretty well I think. I didnt get below 50% on any sections, got 5 sections >70% (the highest weights) and 5 sections 51%-70% (the lower and middle weighted ones). I put a rough study plan in another thread entitled June 2014 Retakers or something like that. The gist of it is read through schweser once, do as many EOC’s as you can (doing your worse sections twice), use qbank to drill concepts into your head, and take many mocks and go through them in detail (I took 8). I agree with the above that some people spend too much time reading and not enough time practicing…for example what is with this “second pass-through” of readings…once is enough then just practice as many questions as you can find and learn from those.
Can you start in December and pass? It’s certainly doable in six months (December to May). A lot of people have done it in only four (February to May). But it is certainly difficult, and will take considerably more effort than Level 1.
I find it hard to believe that a person who has never taken an accounting class (much less an econ class) can pass Level 2 with only 10 weeks of study while working full time. Maybe this is true, but it’s certainly not the norm.
Nevertheless, I agree with his last paragraph. CFA (especially at the higher levels) is NOT a spectator sport. You have to actually put in some effort and work the practice problems. (It’s kinda like running or lifting weights–it helps the most when it hurts the most.)
And he’s also correct when he advises to see the “big picture” before sweating out the details. Don’t misunderstand me–the details are what will make or break you. But if you can’t see the big picture, then you certainly won’t understand the detail.
FWIW, Greenman’s posts inspired me so much so that I was able to clear L2 by putting in only 5.5 weeks of studying. That’s with a 60-hour job, a wife, two kids, and hitting the gym every morning. Nothing impossible… you just have to have the conviction and the motivation. Like MGrun, I also have zero accounting and econ background.
does it have a high fail rate? you can look at it as 40% of 40% of 50% = 8% pass rate all 3 exams (estimate)
It’s all about how you study and the time you put in. if you have a great study method no problem you’ll be fine. Many people like myself don’t have finance backgrounds and pass because we have study methods that work for us and we put the needed time in. no point worrying about what others are doing, just focus on what works for you. and take advice from someone who passed (that’s always a plus).
I think with your backgroud as long as you put in enough hours, it shouldn’t be hard for you. I do find the materials more in dept comparing to Level I. However, the focus is never on the actual calculation but the concepts. You have an edge of understanding the concepts. You just have to do as many practice questions as possible to ace the exam. Just keep in mind that acing school doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll ace the exam. Being humble is key. Good luck
I passed level 1 the first time around and got nearly perfect scores. I studied the exact same way for level 2 and got band 6. I redoubled my efforts and studied twice as hard the next year and passed. Takes 2-3x the effort. No joke. No background in finance here.