Level 1 vs Level 2

I just passed the CAIA Level 1 and really enjoyed the material. I found the test to be harder than I expected but still got great marks on the exam. Relative to the Level 1 exam, how much more complex is the Level 2 material and exam? I’m aware of the slight style difference in the Level 2 exam and the change in topic weights.

I am in the same boat as you and dared to purchase Level II official books before the result was out. It looks like the dual nature of the curriculum will add a new challenge, in that the Core and Integrated Topics book has academic journals and recent articles on the subject. I think when you put the three books together (Ethics, Level II and articles) it is a lot of material to digest. At this stage, it seems to me the challenge lies in navigating material which lies in the deep recesses and (in the exam) is put to you in the form of questions about empirical properties or returns of an asset class. I have been casually reading the articles and find them very interesting as someone who has exclusively worked in equities for ten years. From other members’ posts here, it seems to me the ‘essay’ questions require descriptive, short answers on most topics.

Good luck to both of us.


That does sound fun! I’m excited to see how it plays out. I’ve been very impressed with the CAIA so far. Definitely think, at least intellectually, it’s been worth my time and effort.

Have you already decided about prep provider?

Also, I have checked on CAIA webpage that for level 2 there are 2 books: do you have any idea how to prioritize it?

How many hours are you going to devote for studing level 2?

Aliandr, As far as I am concerned, when I study for any exam I give it my all. I expect to spend every last free moment studying for the CAIA Level 2 (currently studying for the GMAT until December). I’d probably settle at around 250 hours if necessary. From what DeadDog says, it seems that one book contains articles with a more “practical,” real-world applications perspective while the main book is on the theory of the alternatives. I would likely blend the two books together as I study with the most focus on the theory. As far as prep provider, I really liked the Uppermark books and question bank. I was not impressed with the videos. The teacher was obviously very intelligent but I did not like the way she presented things, the audio seemed off, and I wasn’t thrilled about how it seemed that some important things where skimmed and some unimportant topics were heavily reviewed. I will probably only buy the books and the qbank this time if I can do that. It’s really all I used since I paid for the videos and never used them.

This time around I’m going to take a full year for study. I work 55-60hrs a week, so all my free time went to studying for level 1. I plan on spending about 50 hours more for level 2 just to be on the safe side.

I started studying for Level 1 only using Kaplan. Towards the end of my studyies, I looked at the original CAIA books and realized that there are a lot of holes in the Kaplan material. I think I would have been better off just going withthe CAIA books and getting some practice exams. My company doesn’t reimburse the full cost of any of the study programs, so I go with used materials to save money. I think this time I will try UpperMark.

I am going to take the same route as I did for Level 1, i.e. study from the original books and invest in the Uppermark question bank. I think the second book with articles and latest developments will pose challenges in the exam. Every article comes with its own learning outcome statements and there are a total of twenty pieces in there with titles like:

A Perspective on Liquidity Risk and Horizon Uncertainty Hedge Fund Investing: A Quantitative Approach to Hedge Fund Manager Selection and De-Selection The Economies of Structured Finance Insurance-Linked Securities: A Niche Market Expanding - You get the idea. The average article/academic piece is about 25 pages long including the bibliography in the original book. I understand I am in the minority here, in that I am using the official books however my advice is to ask around for how many holes the other providers leave out. I think this deserves to be flagged. On a different note, the books will be expensive for most people; CAIA needs to go easy on fees. Dog