L2 advice for a newbie

Ok so I passed and finally by tomorow ill be able to call myself a L2 candidate. I wanted some advice on how to approach this new beast. I know that compared to L1 this time is the real deal. Ok so I was thinking reading the CFAI notes and EOC until October slowly with no rush. When I receive the Schweser notes read them again while doing practice questions everyday from the qbank. So by January have already read the material twice. So from January on doing practice problems like there is no tomorow and at the same time reading the CFAI notes one last time but this time really slowly. I felt like for L1 the reason I passed was because of all the practice problems and reviewing them everysingle one. I want to do the EOC from the CFAI books more than 2 times. I have also heard that blue box problems are very important so I want to learn them by heart. Basically I will put 65% emphasis on problem making and 35% on the notes and note taking. It kinda worked well for me at L1. Do you guys think its a good idea or the heavier weighting on problems is a little too much?

Having an elaborate study plan is one thing, sticking to it (despite life’s curveballs and emergencies) is another. Having said that, if you can stick to what you’ve described here, you’ll safely pass for sure. There are two main gotchas at L2 (don’t say nobody warned you): 1. Vignette-style questions are harder to parse than individual direct questions. Reading comprehension is a core skill that the materials don’t prepare you well for. 2. Ethics seems to be the dealbreaker if you look at the score matrices for band 10’s on this forum. You can know your sh*t inside out scoring >70% on the heaviest areas and trip up on Ethics and fail. These are the only two things I see missing from your plan. (I passed L1, L2 on my first attempt.)


Any suggestions regarding Prep materials … thanks

Just passed L2 personally.

Dont rely just on schweser, read CFAI to get a better understanding of the material (I started with this Oct-Dec), I would recomend doing the EOC questions (although personally I didnt), Do mocks relatively early (I did 7 all up, but left 3 til last week which I felt was a mistake as it takes so long to do them and review properly) so you have time to do them a second time (the q you got wrong 1st time around), and most importantly do as many problem questions as you can (I got most of mine from Q bank). While there are a load of concepts to learn, none of them are so hard that without practice you will never get your head around them.

Guess they would be my top tips. All the best

Just to clarify, I still think Schweser is good - I used it quite a bit. I am not one for taking notes so I did 0% notes and 100% reading/problem solving. Whatever works for you…

Depends on what you are asking. If you’re asking about which provider is the best, well, I’ve only used Schweser so I can’t do a full comparison, but most people have used Schweser with positive results at L2. If you’re asking about how to use them, then it’s basically what iacchus said. While they are good, the CFAI curriculum should have the final say about things. For me personally, I didn’t really use the notes much, but I watched all of the videos and did all their practice questions, and two of their practice tests.

hamada…I’m thinking of following a very similiar study plan but will probably put a little more emphasis on looking at a Schweser section first to get the general concept and follow it up with the CFAI book. Of course, I will do as many Qs as possible, and review all answers etc. I also have a huge whiteboard that I used in L1 to write out concepts when I was tired of sitting (one of those ideas that was stupid if you failed or genius if you passed haha).

What did you guys use for practice problems? What about any videos? I have seen that some threas about Ifta videos but it created controversy, so should I use schweser vids for supplement or any others you guys recomend?

Sorry mate, I dont want to talk about videos part as it has already created issues…

I used finquiz study notes along with CFAI books. I am not a big fan of schweser, but was a big big big fan of Stalla after I used them for level 1. But they are no more available :frowning: I found finquiz notes good for me and concise. Its ONLY A SUPPLEMENT to CFAI books. I used their practise problems, but they have this irritating habit of cramming useles questions to show they have given you 5000 questions and stuffs. But I found their itemsets pretty decent - unfortunately you dont get to buy just itemset separately from them!

If EOCS dont suffice you, you can have a look at Finquiz. I used to solve lot of old mock exams as well.

All the very best friend!

Note: Please dont laugh at me, I dont like the font in which Schweser is notes are written and thats one of the major reasons I didnt use them :slight_smile: Also my friend had Schweser and he need to share with me his notes on anything he found useful (and vice versa, so he never bought finquiz).

+1 for finquiz material

Does focussing purely on Schweser notes help? I’ve seen a couple of people who studied purely from schweser and cleared L2 in one go after l1 in December?

Whats your take? By when would schewser notes be available?

@Saurabh - I would never purely concentrate on only schweser. It worked for some doesnt mean it would work for you. Its like saying somebody got a lottery, but lot of people wouldnt have got. There is a selection bias there :slight_smile:

Use it as a supplement. Dont wait for Schweser to come up with materials. Start at your leisure with CFAI books, it helps friend. There will be more people who agree to this than the plan of using schweser alone.

I think starting early, repetition and trying different learning approaches are the keys.

I used Schweser exclusively but that’s not right for everyone. My work paid for prep materials so I got the whole package with videos, flashcards, online qbank, etc. I never would have paid for some of it myself, but after using it I think I probably would. When you can’t possibly read another word, watch a video. When you are sick of paper EOC, do some online qbank. When you have just 10 min on the bus, go through some flashcards.

Ask anyone who failed-- looking back would they have spent an additional few hundred dollars on additional prep materials if it gave them a better chance of passing? My guess is most would say yes. Get started early, get everything you can to help you, and put everything into it. You want to come out of the test knowing that even if you fail there’s nothing else you could have done to prepare.

i used just sch notes and stall videos. But i think you would need to do the questions from end of CFA books, and those examples in blue boxes. If you do those, if sch notes didn’t get into too much details, it becomes obvious.

I find CFA books just too verbose, but some seems to do fine with reading them.

Wonder what they’ll do with Stall stuff. Stall vidoes are amazing good - you go through their video on Quant, and you’ll understnad it very well, and then do a followup reading the books. Didn’t really care much about Schweser videos. Now that Schweser bought them, wonder which video set will be kept.

For me: CFAI EOC, Schweser practice problems, CFAI mock, Schweser practice mocks x 2.

I warched all of the Schweser videos. Many people including me have found Dr. Andrew Holmes to be a excellent teacher.

I didn’t do any reading up-front. I just did all the Schweser QBank in March/April and when I didn’t know the answer already, I looked it up in the Schweser Notes. There were a few random things in the QBank that weren’t covered in the Schweser Notes (some obscure pension accounting terminology), but overall I didn’t spend much time reading, probably only about 1/5th of the Notes except for derivatives which I read all the way through. I pretty much ignored the CFAI texts completely as it’s ridiculous overkill, easily twice as much reading as Schweser with little added benefit.

I scored >70 in everything except derivatives/ethics (50-70). It was my first try and I passed L1 in December (also first try, >70 everything except Econ <50). For L1 I used Stalla but in that case I read their stuff cover-to-cover. For L2, there is so much rehash of L1 (eg, LIFO/FIFO, Gordon Growth, accounting treatment of trading/available-for-sale/held-to-maturity, etc) that it’s not remotely necessary to read everything

I would however advise reading the CFAI on soft dollars and research objectivity standards, as you’ll need to know the differences between required and recommended compliance procedures, which Schweser doesn’t spend much time on.

Caveat, I have been working in fixed income research (MBS focused) for quite a few years now so alot of this stuff is pretty intuitive for me. It’s mostly the random shit like Pastor Stambaugh and the H-model and emerging market build-up methods that take plenty of repetition to remember (for me anyways).

I also did about half the Schweser mocks, the CFAI 2012 mock, and the CFAI sample tests. Was scoring mostly high 70’s to low 80’s in the last few weeks.

PS… I did NOT feel very confident after I took the test (AM was brutal, although PM felt much easier) and during my studies I often felt the QBank was too easy, but I guess the results speak for themselves. I could have passed everything >70, but 8/10 is plenty fine by me. The main problem with QBank is they don’t have enough item sets, and they also don’t tend to test multiple concepts in 1 question, which the CFAI text *does* do (and they also do this on the real exam).

  1. 1st Review - Thoroughly understand all the material, make sure to solve all EOC and as bonus other prep provider problems.

1.1 Take through notes if you are not using scheweser or Stalla.

1.2 Make note of difficult problems that you want to solve again on your 2nd pass

1.3 If possible refresh the past material every other week

  1. 2nd Review - Go through everything concept thoroughly and solve the difficult challenging probs. You may not have time to solve every problem.

2.1 Develop your summary notes. Use Stalla or Scheweser, secret sauce.

2.2 Review your summary notes, daily if possible

  1. Give practice exams under actual conditions. Do not do open book.

3.1 Practice exam 1

3.2 Practice exam 2

3.3 Stalla/Scheswer mock

3.4 CFAI mock

Above is the process. This could take anywhere 300-500 hrs depending on your background. The time you spend does not matter as much as your ability to thoroughly understand concepts, ability to apply those concepts and solve problems and be able to take exams in timely fashion.

I just ordered Scweser notes package and it seems books wont be available till late October. However, website says flipbooks are available by August. Not sure what the diff is between flipbooks and the actual notes books (and if they’ll be shipped ahead of everything else since they’re already available in Aug).


Very true Prozario. Peter Olinto, I am a big big fan of that man and his videos plus his way of teaching. I tried reaching him through facebook and other network pages but he never replied :frowning: Even if they charge me 200$ more, I would be a stalla student again. Amazing videos for sure! I just hope Schweser substitutes its videos with Stalla one, but will honestly admit never went for schweser videos - so I agree its a very biased old stalla student view :slight_smile: