Level II 2019 - Passed - My strategy

Dear CFA Level II Candidates,

I am writing on this subject line with the hope that after reading the below you will be able to take the level II exam with confidence.

I cleared my Level I in December 2017 and took my Level II in 2019. I couldn’t take Level 2 in 2018 because we had a baby and life just got very busy.

So my strategy for Level II was very similar to Level I and I passed both exams on the first attempt. The key is to prepare an achievable study timeline. I decided that I will complete all 11 topics over a period 5.5 months. Each weekday I would dedicate about 2-3 hours to studying and weekends little bit more. Yes, I crossed over the 300 hours of study, actually I did over 700 hours of study. It may be different for you, may be because you are good with some topics like FRA, Derivatives, etc.

I used IFT, Schweser and CFAI materials to study.

First 4 months was dedicated to studying all the topics using the aforementioned materials. Month 5 is practice problems, revisions and correcting where you are going wrong. The last 14 days is crucial. Do not Panic. Use 14 days to practice what you got wrong and prepare your formula sheet. Don’t try to learn anything new now, unless you are able to memorize the formula and apply it correctly.

11 Topics can be easily completed in 4 months. Go Topic by Topic. I started with Alternate Investments, took Chapter 1, 1st I saw the IFT video and the PPT notes. Then, I read the chapter in the Schweser book and solved the Schweser EOC and all Practice Questions for that Chapter from the QBank. If you have studied finance and investments or are working within this industry, you may complete some chapters quickly and may take time on the others but that is okay. Once I finished Alternate Inv., I prepared a formula sheet and then moved on to the next Topic like Equity. Followed the same routine and moved to the next topic.

Month 5 is all about practice. Start with CFAI EOC questions. Make sure you solve them properly, don’t try to guess or run through them just because you have seen similar types of questions in the past and you are too bored to do it again. You should be able to complete all Topic question in 20 days. If you get something wrong, then take the effort and find out what are your mistakes. Next 10 days, go through the CFAI Online Questions Bank. Don’t panic if you find yourself doing badly on them. If you did well on the CFAI EOC then you are still good to go. CFAI Online Questions Bank can be little tricky but that is just to keep you prepared for the exam.

Now, you are 2 weeks away from the exam. Use this time to go over concepts, formulas and problems that you are not confident about. Do not try to learn something new, instead focus on strengthening what you are half confident about. Prepare your formula sheet, write them down and go through them.

Use the 2 weeks to take atleast 1 paper based mock exam from the CFAI. I did not do the Schweser Practice Exam thats because I wanted to experience the real deal. It would be advisable to go through all the examples of Ethics from the CFAI book. Read them and understand why there was a violation or why there was no violation.

The last 3 days before the exam, stay relaxed, cool down, you are almost done. Do not over burn yourself, as you need to be in a relaxed state to take this exam. I did not do anything 1 day before the exam, I spent 30 mins preparing the stationary, calculator and my bag to take to the center, rest of the day I was chilling.

As a candidate myself, I always was googling what would be the minimum passing grade, or how many topics can you do poorly but still pass the exam. Well CFA grading system is unique. Many will say that you need to get 70%+ in all topics to pass but in my opinion, I do not think its true. I, myself scored between 50% and 70% in 3 topics and over 70% in 8 topics and I passed.

I came across this website and after reading it, a lot of doubts got cleared. http://soleadea.org/cfa-exam/results

I wish all of you the very best for the June 2020 exam and hope that I was able to assist you in your study plan.

Honestly not that serious. just read kaplan notes and do 7-8 mocks and you SHOULD be good

It is just not that deep. Learn the material, and practise loads of questions (EOC/TT/Mocks)

were you on adderall when you wrote that ? :slight_smile:

he/she is just on a high from passing and will get knocked down shortly once level 3 hits

Or maybe not. :wink:

If you are in investment field, you might have more advantage compared to other candidates. Per my colleague as Senior Investment Analyst, he said Level 3 is the easiest exam for him as many topics in L3 are very similar to his routine task. But it is difficult to me.

Good luck to the L2 candidates.

Not really. I just wanted to share how I went through the process of taking the L2. Many candidates want to know the experience and be prepared ahead of time. I know that some candidates may not require a lot of time to cover all topics of L2 as they may be good with certain LOS and can easily breeze through them. In short, prepare in advance, prepare your time table and follow it. Good Luck!

can you please provide tips on how you studied for fra? Honestly, Im struggling like crazy with this topic especially with the pension portions. It seems it doesnt stick on mind the same with the intercorporate investments.

FRA is slowing me down?

Which topic do you think requires most of the time?

You’re not the only one, FRA is also slowing be down. Last night I just finished Reading 14, the reading on pension plans. I read the Schweser Notes, but will go through blue box examples in the CFAI text now. After blue box I will do a few QBanks and then EOC questions. Not going to let it slow me down, too much material to go rhough so don’t overthink it. Going to give it my best shot now and then move on. I’m hoping that once I make it through all the readings and when I focus just on practice questions, things come together. The pension questions aren’t bad honestly, I think just need practice doing them. But man, when I’m reading through the notes, ouch!

Thank you for the guide