It was my first attempt to take the L2 exam and I passed the exam (I am mentioning it to establish some crecibility for this post). I just wanted to make a few points about the L2 exam. About the Curriculum and Guides: It is long and covers diverse topics. You have the option to use the CFAI material or any other guides. Now a lot of people have hard time making a selection between the two. The former is detailed but lengthy whereas the later is usually succinct and may not have detailed treatment of each topic. Personally, I used a blend of these available resources. I started with the CFAI material about ten times and the magnitude of the material in these texts was a psychological barrier for me regardless of the topic I started. In addition, some of the “required” material in the texts may not necessarily address the LOS in the beginning of that section. So I just put the CFAI material aside and focused exclusively on the Schweser material. I essentially took the top-down approach here to have some sense of the material before getting bogged down in any nitty-gritty details. Unfortunately, I started working on the material without committing any of it to memory or practicing a lot of problem thinking to save the problems for later-on mastering. BIG MISTAKE! I forgot most of the material when I came back to review it. I ended up re-learning almost each study session but this time I did all of the Schweser problems and kept track of the ones where I had hard time. A lot of people will tell you that those problems are “garbage”. Although they are correct in an absolute world, these problem, in my opinion, are very helpful. They are easy and help you commit concepts to memory. There is not point worrying about vignettes if you don’t know small simple concepts. Once you have a good grasp of the material, you can decide if you want to read certain topics in more detail. The CFAI material is long and punishing so pick your poison carefully. There are topics that you will find very interesting and there are other topics which are very helpful in helping you sleep when the insomnia kicks in. I really like the last study session in L2 material and it made a great reading on June 10, 2010 (or a date around that). The material is so long that you will not necessarily remember everything so this may be a good place to part with the idea of achieving computer like memory and accept your humanity. A person who scored 80% passed as good as the one who scored 99% (obviously you never know your percentile or any other detailed information). A little dose of rationality goes a long way. About Preparing: Depending on your background, the study time required to pass the exam will vary form person to person. Personally, I don’t like the statement that it should take approximately 300 hours to prepare (and hopefully pass) the exam. It may take an individual only 100 hours and another may need 600 hours. Personally, I like to err on the side of caution. In the worst case scenario, one has to log in additional time so I might as well invest this time upfront and save myself the agony of failing and studying the same material again (and I speak out of experience because I have failed another professional exam previously and it was miserable studying for it again and again and again). Another common question is about the optimal time to start studying. Again, it varies. Some people study better under stress and then there are some like me who have constant distractions. I started studying early. If you know something well, revise it. The more you revise, the better it will sit on your brain and easier it will be on the exam day to retrieve it. Make formulae sheets. For an exam like this, you don’t want to miss a question because you couldn’t remember the formula. There are a few plug and chug questions that are easy points. I usually fold a regular (letter-sized) paper and fold it vertically in half. Write one side of equality on the left of the crease and the the other side of the equality on the right side of the crease. Once you have the formuale written down, you can cover the “answer” side of the formulae with another sheet and write down the answer. I cannot emphasize writing enough. You will be writing this exam by pencil and paper so condition yourself as early as possible (in my opinion). I find it difficult to translate my computer screen on paper. Once you get the material down, don’t forget the end of chapter (EOC) questions in the CFAI material. Make sure to hit those questions and hit them hard. Keep copies of your previous attempts. Make notes and do whatever is necessary to master these questions (I ignored the essay-type EOC questions and focused on vignettes). About Ethics I think it will be good idea to print a copy of the original text and read it. Once you are done reading it, revise it. Once you are done revising it, re-read it and re-revise it. And continue this sequence until this material become second-nature to you. Actually, I will recommend preparing for this part of the exam from the CFAI material exclusively. I had hard time justifying some of the answers in Schweser case studies. I eventually gave up on Schweser case studies and studied the hell out of the CFAI material. It is tricky material and you get it down by revising it after N number of times (you can define N for yourself). About Practice Exams: Do as many as possible but remember to keep track of your mistakes. In short: So start early(start at the material and define that for yourself), and revise a lot. About Analyst Forum: It is a great source and discussion are (mostly) productive. Occasionally, people go on tangents and I actually enjoy that. It sort of keeps us sane during the insane preparation of this exam. Use the search function on this forum. It helps to find multiple perspectives on general issues and, at the same time, keeps new threads to a manageable level because many of the questions have been previously discussed (including this post of mine).
very helpful, much appreciated.
Let’s keep this post at the top. Very refreshing, realistic and encouraging.
great! the big mistake! leaving the EOC till you are done going through all the material!! big mistake indeed! i made it and paid darely!! Thanks!!
Jats Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > great! the big mistake! leaving the EOC till you > are done going through all the material!! big > mistake indeed! i made it and paid darely!! > > Thanks!! I ended up reading all fo the material first then going over the EOC after and thought it was fine. I think you have to leave yourself enough time though (finish reading in mid april) so you can do EOC and reread where needed.
Great post! thanks!
very helpful. My plan is 2 finish CFAI text and EOCs by Dec. Jan to March is review time with Schweser and their EOCs plus the CFAI EOC again if time allows. April n May hopefully jus 4 practice exams, sample exams and mocks.
travel_cfa Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > > Personally, I like to err on the side of caution. > In the worst case scenario, one has to log in > additional time so I might as well invest this > time upfront and save myself the agony of failing > and studying the same material again (and I speak > out of experience because I have failed another > professional exam previously and it was miserable > studying for it again and again and again). > Great post. Very useful advice. I wish you can pass L3 next June, and no more CFA exams. BTW, what other professional exam were you taking / did you take ?
very good practical advice, something that really worked for me on level 1. Thanks,
Response to WHUI: I have taken actuarial exams previously.
@travel_cfa: Wonderful for you to study SOA/CAS beside CFA. You are now done with all 3 VEE requirements with L1 and L2 passed. How many exams have you passed already? Which exam(s) are you studying now?
nice! Really inspiring piece! Do you mind me asking what is your background?
Asian maybe??? stanchartdude Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > nice! Really inspiring piece! Do you mind me > asking what is your background?
Thanks for the post, really helpful.
You can ask whatever you guys want. I have the right to be selective in my response. I am almost done with my ASA requirements and I think I will stop the pursuit of actuarial credentials (but then again, I like the FSA credentials so I might opt to make my life more miserable). Get the damn books and start studying (or put together a study plan for later) rather worrying about useless details.
This is a great post, and it is highly appreciated. thanks.