At Level I, you were tested on basic concepts. Level II, however, “emphasizes the application of investment tools and concepts with a focus on the valuation of all types of assets”. Most candidates find Level II significantly harder than Level I and hence requires more preparation time.
In terms of exam format, we have two three-hour sessions. The questions are in MCQ format, but based on case studies (vignettes). A case study generally spans one or two readings from a particular topic. Each three-hour session has ten case studies with six questions which means a total of 60 questions. You’ll have an average of 18 minutes per case study and 3 minutes per question. This is twice the time you had at Level I but now you have to read and understand the case which takes time; in addition, some questions involve a fair amount of calculation.
Coming now to study advice. I’ve already pointed out that Level II is generally considered harder than Level I and hence requires more study time. I’d therefor suggest that you start your studies as soon as possible The best topic to start with is Financial Reporting and Analysis (FRA) followed by Equity. These topics are relatively easy and represent a significant percentage of the Level II curriculum.
I used Arif Irfanullah video tutorials for all three levels and in my opinion its super useful (and probably the best series out there in the market) for covering all the essential concepts tested during the exam. I highly recommend everyone to purchase the same from IFT website as it will serve both the purpose of saving time and exhaustively covering the key takeaways needed for the exam. Its turned out to be exceptionally helpful to me! I passed all three levels at one go only due to his video series.
Tried starting with FRA (using Schweser) but its mentally draining and demotivating to have them start every reading saying “This is a complicated topic” “This is a very hard reading” “You have several significant tasks to master” etc…It made me procrastinate continuing, especially after the bunch of GAAP vs IFRS differences I made notes on for Intercorporate Investments. Had me thinking how much worse/more detailed can it get? lol… So I decided to start with Equity instead to build some momentum (and confidence).
I honestly can’t focus on the CFA while waiting for my score… so I’m going to relax until new years and try to start on FRA or equity in January. I am just glad there is less quantitative method for lvl II
The topic order is not as important as you think. I thought it would be before I started, but now that I’m halfway through the readings for level II, I don’t believe it matters. I’m bouncing between Kaplan and CFAI readings, using the Kaplan suggested order. You end up covering FRA and Equity in the first half of your study plan, which seems to match the consensus suggestion for “big topics first.” Plus, they throw in Corporate Finance between FRA and Equity, which comes as a relief because FRA is not easy.
Let me know if you have any questions, happy to help.
Thanks for the feedback everybody! I am starting on Monday, I will let you know if I have any questions. I am planning on going through shweser only in details for the next 3 months then practice exams for the last month and a half. Good luck to all of you!