Level 2 Textbooks

Hi all,

Could somebody explain to me the go with the Level 2 textbooks. Why are there 2 textbooks? Does one have the core curriculum and the other book has other additional readings?

If you are to purchase the Schweser or uppermark notes do they aggregate these 2 offcial books???

Below please find a response from UpperMark faculty.

"The CAIA Association lists three reference texts for the Level II exam: the “CFA Standards of Practice Handbook”, “Advanced Core Topics in Alternative Investments”, and “Core and Integrated Topics 2012”. The curriculum (and exam) is based on all three books. The “Advanced Core Topics” is made up of chapters that cover the core material in each subject matter (e.g., Private Equity, Commodities, etc.) and the “Core and Integrated Topics 2012” provides the articles/readings included in the curriculum. The articles are a combination of academic and practitioner papers and are intended to supplement and complete the coverage in the chapters.

UpperMark Study Handbooks cover the material in all three CAIA reference texts. The majority of our clients solely use our study materials to prepare for their CAIA exams. We develop our study materials to thoroughly cover all of the material in the curriculum."

Please feel free to contact our office if you have further questions.

Kind Regards,

UpperMark Client Services

With regards to the articles, are they tested on the exam? From what I was told, the essay questions are based on the article readings.

The articles are available online through different websites legally.


Core and Integrated Topics 2012 are “academic articles” that can mostly be found online for free. try searching google for a particular artilce. i recommend getting the textbook because the collection is complete (obviously).

the articles are important because not only do they make up a large portion of the learning objective statements but they also introduce formulas and testable quantitavie methods.

Meazza, below please find the response from UpperMark faculty.

“Yes, the articles are tested on the CAIA exam. Several years ago, the essay questions were based solely on the article readings. In the past few years, essay questions have included material from the article readings and the chapters in the Core book. The articles are considered as much part of the curriculum as the other material, so it is imperative to cover them in your studies.”

Please feel free to contact our office if you have further questions.

Kind Regards,

UpperMark Client Services


I have questions on the L2 exam:

  • will formulas be provided as in L1 (I have in mind that the answer is no)
  • will the learning objectives of L1 be tested in L2 again?

For example, a calculation of the sample curtosis was part of the L1 curriculum, so will it pop up in the L2 exam as well?

I am aware that “Candidates must apply the skills and knowledge from Level I to gain a deeper understanding of issues involved in each of the areas of alternative investments”. Is the abundant material for L2 more than enough for the exam or do I need to learn again all of L1?

From the posts here I get the idea that L2 is calculation (and therefore) time intensive. Am I right on this one?

What were your impressions on part 2 (essays)?

thanks, xk

My Friend and I, found the Upper Mark study handbook very good and usful. We also used the CAIA Level 2 book as reference and for sure you will want to read all the “article”.

My friend and I, studied from older version of Upper mark and CAIA books. We found it ok. Try searching Amazon or EBAY. I am sure they have it there. Since all the result are out now, people that pass for sure will post the books for seller. All the best to everyone that plan to write the MARCH 2013 exam.

Just to counter Joseph’s advice. Normally this would be sound advice as the CAIA course is not updated on a regular basis like the CFA, however March will be the first run-out of the all new and shiny L2 curriculum, so you might be better served by a new set of books.

that’s not to say that I would expect the course to radically change, many people use older books for CFA or FRM, however you’re almost certain to lose a couple of points with new material in the exam that you wouldn’t have worked on.

I have the latest edition of Advanced Core Topics in Alternative Investments for March 2013 exam. I am selling it for USD 80, let me know if you want to buy. The book is brand new with not even a single scratch or mark.

just got my Schweser L2 notes yesterday - study guide as recommended by Schweser starts in the week of November 26th, so I am already 2 weeks behind?

I love it when a plan comes together…