I keep hearing from people around me that I’ve waited too long to start studying for Level 2. Is that correct? I’ve seen people study 4 months (after getting Level 1 results) and pass, but I’ve also seen people start studying in Aug of the previous year (9 months) and not pass. Experienced candidates please comment with your thoughts.
As a side note I will say its not that I’ve been lazy and put off studying. I feel down the stretch for Level 1 I got burned out and barely felt like studying and I didnt want that to happen again so I was giving myself til Jan 1st to officially start the process again for Level 2.
300 hours is supposed to be the magic number with each level. What I learned from my first attempt at L2 is that my personal number should have been closer to 400 hours, and that the extra 100 hours should have been spent working EOC questions, Blue Boxes, and Mock Exam questions. It is almost impossible to comprehend the volume of material in Level II; it is probably 50% greater than L1, and exponentially more challenging.
Having said all of that: You should look at your schedule and figure out if you can realistically put in a minimum of 350 optimal hours. I say “optimal” because I may plan on studying for 18 hours on a Saturday, but how many hours am I really going to have pencil to paper? You can probably squeeze this in if you start on Jan. 1, but I can assure you that on June 6th, you will utter this exact phrase:
“If I only had X more week(s)…”
Do yourself a favor - Start now. Today. Actively. Review prior topics as you go and take quizzes to keep those topics sharp. If you try to read and take notes without continuously reviewing what you’ve already covered, you will not pass. There is just too much material to recall at the end; you must internalize it as you go. Finally, spend the last 5 weeks (at minimum) doing nothing but questions. If you haven’t read something by then, you must learn by doing.
I agree with the above points made here. You just have to take the plunge and grind it out. I think you have enough time.
I can understand your concern about burn out. This journey is definitely a marathon. I tend to start earlier, to try to limit being burned out at the end. Plus, the mind works better when it has time to absorb the information. Giving yourself more time (with adequate review throughout) is going to make it easier for you to understand the concepts (assuming you don’t study a ton of hours too soon in the process of course).
For me waiting until January, is not ideal… I would feel rushed. When I first start, I like to ease into the material, while starting in January I would probably have to start studying around 15 hours a week from day 1. Too much of a sudden change for me.
Other things I would consider, be efficient. Guys who study in August and don’t pass, were probably either very inconsistent with their studying frequency, aren’t very good test takers, or probably had very inefficient study habits. Its not about the amount of hours you study, but what you learn during the time you are in the chair.
Other things to consider; eat clean and get some sleep. Too many sweets, fast foods and alcohol can destroy a study session. Not getting enough sleep can do the same. After awhile you are just reading words and not comprehending anything. Its not talked about much on these boards, but my diet is usually cleaner and I got to bed earlier when I am studying for exams. Your mind will thank you for it.
Create a schedule for yourself. It is what I did. There are 171 days left until the exam. If you average 3 hours a day studying each week you will be hitting around 513 hours. So there is plenty of time.
Something not talked about that frequently on these boards is the role that work experience plays in how much you have to study. Older candidates who have an MBA and have worked in finance have a huge advantage in taking the CFA. If you are 30 and have an MBA and 5+ years in finance, you def don’t need to study as much as the undergrad kid who’s just coming out of a bachelors program.