No nonsense guide to passing CAIA L2

Hey Guys,

Thought I’d write a follow up guide on passing LII following some demand after writing a LI summary;

Updated background - So since i wrote the LI summary, I’ve passed CAIA LII having written it in September 2019, 1 year after passing LI (passing both comfortably on my first attempt). I’ve also passed CFA LII in June 2019 and am now working in investment research. Similar to LI, i started studying around mid-July giving me two months to prep for CAIA LII studying around 80 - 100 hours.

I won’t rehash what i’ve written before as much of LI strategy also applies to LII (regarding depth and multiple choice question strategy), so take a read of my previous post if you’d like - i’m only going to focus on the written component.

LII Format Strategy;

70% Multiple choice

30% Written (10% ethics, 10% CIT & 10% something else)

The multiple choice strategy is the same as before - just learn the content and practice via a Qbank (i used Uppermark). In terms of the written component, i personally found it quite daunting initially but fortunately, greatly overestimated the level of difficulty. This was largely due to the description and lack of context provided by CAIA Association about how the written component will be tested. So it’s described as an ‘essay format’ which implies you need to both memorise a significant amount of information and write a considerable amount, however this is completely false. The extended response questions in the real exam mirror the mock exam, such that they can be sufficiently answered between 1 - 4 sentences (in contrast to CFA LIII which requires paragraphs of writing). There is absolutely no time crunch whatsoever, so there’s no need to stress about it.

10% Ethics;

#1 You do NOT need to memorise the Code of Ethics and Professional Standards of Professional Conduct - you need to understand them and know how to apply them but DO NOT need to commit to memory that Standard I) A) refers to Knowledge of Law etc. If there’s anything relating to specific standards, the questions themselves will provide this information for you. I didn’t know this until a week before the exam until i did the official mock and they just provide you with all the standards willy nilly - i wasted many hours committing all of the standards to memory when it was wholly uneccesary.

#2 Interpretation of Ethics;

Ethics is intentionally created as to not be black and white. This inherently sounds ridiculous for a test but it’s analogous to the principles of law. Killing someone isn’t automatically considered to be murder just as much as receiving a gift isn’t tantamount to an ethics violation. Context is king

Regarding interpretation - think of the situation as an external informed impartial observer, look at a situation and think about whether or not you would most likely see it a situation as an ethics violation or not. It doesn’t have to be a straight out ethics violation to be considered as one, it just needs to be likely. e.g accepting an agreement to beat the S&P500 by 500 points results in an around the world trip - this is most likely an ethics violation as this specific portfolio will likely receive greater attention relative to others (it may not of course, but the perception that it will is there - hence violation). The natural follow-up question is how does one develop the right interpretation method? Candidates/students are unusually harsh when applying ethical based judgements - so just take your current stance and scale it back, need to remember it’s (theoretically) someones life and ruining it over a bottle of wine is ridiculous.

#3 Final note on Ethics - If you had to allocate resources for guaranteed marks then i would suggest Ethics is an easy place to pick them up - just practice writing responses using your preferred Qbank and try to hit stronger on this. The format of questions is very simple, is this a violation, why/why not? (that said, i’m unusually gifted at Ethics, so i’m cognisant that what i’m saying might just be nonsense).

10% CIT;

This section is straight up free marks, you should spend a considerable amount of time here to guarantee you get these. The exam, like the mock only tests you on 1 of the 9 CIT texts (i also didn’t know this until the week before the exam) so make sure you know all of them very well. CIT’s don’t require interpretation like Ethics so it’s just a pure memory test - aim to get 100 on this. Write summaries paying attention to key %'s and do practice responses via Qbank.

10% something else;

Punt it - don’t commit any mental resources to this at all and assume you’ll get 0 for it. It’s 10% on one specific sub-topic across 6 larger topics… How the hell are you meant to prep for this??? You can’t, so don’t.

Best of luck everyone


Thanks Eddyble!

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Thanks Eddyble! Really appreciate it. I failed L2 in September and signed up to take it again in March… Hoping for the best!

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Thanks for the great intel here! I am enroute to my L2 in March and i’m getting a little nervous.

On the comment on 10% CIT, just wondering if the memory work that you are referring to here, do i need to memorise the full articles or do i just need to memorise the abstracts?

Thanks for the help!

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Glad you found it useful - Best of luck

Regarding the CIT - I would say that memorising the abstracts is inadequate, however, memorising the entire article verbatim is overkill. The best guide you can get is to do the CAIA Mock exam, the real exam is very similar (as it should be) - so use the questions the mock asks as a guide to determine what level of knowledge you require.

I have my notes that detail what i thought was important to know for the CIT’s (2019 however, unsure if CIT’s have changed) - PM me and i can send em’ over to you if you like. Although i would suggest everyone makes their own notes to ensure good understanding/retention.


Thanks a lot. That makes a lot of sense. I am hopeful the Schweser give a good representation of the actualy exam. the quizzes i find a little of the easy side, but i am curious about the written component.

thanks for the tips!

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Hi Eddyble. Congrats on passing CAIA II. Please share your CI notes on Is Schweiser notes enough to prepare fo CAIA level 2?

A few have pm’ed me asking for notes. Here they are (the link will expire at some time in the future, if link is dead just ask me again). Note i didn’t intend to disseminate these widely so it’s very much short hand and some of it is quite crass. I also didn’t bother with the ESG reading as… well i couldn’t be bothered.

“Is Schweiser notes enough to prepare fo CAIA level 2?” - i get this question a lot and i have absolutely no idea why. If you’ve read my guide(s) you’ll note i’ve never used Schweser for CAIA so i have absolutely no idea if it’s enough, though i know others have had success with Schweser - stop asking me this lol.

Hi eddyble,

Hope that all is well with you, given the circumstances. I attempted to access the link in your post above but, as you mentioned could be the case, the content is no longer accessible. Any chance you could share your notes via a PM or to re-upload the information into the referenced site?

I find myself having some difficulty in cramming the information within the CITs. Uppermark’s calendar has me going through 1-2 topics a day, which I don’t believe gives enough time to read, annotate, flash card, and get through relevant practice problems. Especially since I am, at this time, using the abstracts provided within UMs books…

Thanks again for your help!

Here you go mate;

Regarding the CIT’s - i don’t think it’s worthwhile getting a strong and deep understanding of the content, there’s next to no applicability in the real world so you only need to remember it for exam purposes. Just spam questions.

For reference, here’s how i scored - not phenomenal but a comfortable pass (i think). I believe CIT’s fall under the ‘other CRI’ category.

Hi eddyble,

Hope that all is well with you.
Any chance you could re-upload your notes? The link which you previously provided is no longer accessible.

Thanks for your help!

Any chance you can re-post the link to your notes? Looks like the old link no longer works.



Any chance you could repost those notes? It would be greatly appreciated!

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i second that!

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This should be live for 6 months (hopefully)



Hey, thanks for the guide. Mega doesnt seem to work, dont suppose you can do this one more time please? Thanks