Level I vs. Level 2.

Quick question for you Level III-ers. From your experience…how did Level I compare to Level II in the following: 1. difficulty 2. study time 3. usefulness of third-party prep (Schweser, Stalla, etc.) Also, any miscellaneous advice about Level II compared to Level I would be greatly appreciated. Thanks very much!

Bad year to ask this question… Last year level 2 was supposed to be easy, but had several tricky questions in economics + portfolio management, very hard to know unless you had studied the official curriculum. Plenty of posts about this last year… I would say that level 2 is more difficult than level 1 overall because you have to get the whole picture of each question (texts, tables, etc) before starting answering, while in level 1 each question was independent Given what I said about official curriculum and schweser (or any other guide)… just study one of both + at least read the other one to check you don´t miss anything. If possible, try to do exercises both from schweser and CFA official texts salu2

Thanks salu2, your comments are greatly appreciated.

Being a finance major, I already knew a lot of LI from undergrad. I didn’t have to study that hard. In fact, I pretty much half-a**ed and passed. LII introduced a lot of new (to me) topics. So, LII took much longer to prepare for. I guess it depends on your background.

Level 2 was a lot harder than level 1… there is less material, but CFA asks all sorts of questions that you do not expect. It is less straightforward. I only used Schweser for both- I killed level 1, but was closer to the cut off for 2. Level 2 is very doable, but expect questions that you did not expect, and in ways you did not expect them.

L1 and L2 are easy to memorize and relatively easy if you had good undergrad background in finance, econ, accounting. L3 different ballgame, especially if don’t have day-to-day PM experience.

L1 is about demonstrating that you know basic finance tools and concepts. The exam is a speed test to demonstrate enough familiarity that you can get through 240 questions without having to spend too long on any one of them. L2 is about asset valuation. This is about applying financial tools to value different securities with different characteristics, embedded options, etc… You have 1/2 the problems of L1 and need to understand the context of the valuation decisions and how to adjust financial statements to reflect value. L3 is about putting together assets in portfolios and understanding how it connects with investor needs and feelings about risk. Half of the exam is an essay, where you have to show that you remember stuff that you read without just picking the right answers from a list.

Thanks! I have a very long road ahead…I envy your status at Level III.

That’s funny. I envy your LII status. You’ll know why when you get to LIII.