Question on CFAI books for L2

Seeing as how you have all passed L2 in this forum, this is where I hope to get some feedback.

Basically, I am considering gonig cover to cover on CFAI books for L2 since I hear everyone say it’s a beast of an exam. My question is for those of you who have actually covered and read the CFAI books in their entirety and dedicates about 15 hours per week or so.

How long did it take you to get through the books & EOC questions?. 3 months, 6 months, etc. ???

I am inquiring for someone who reads at a normal pace, not one of you freaks that speed reads.

Thanks for any feedback, and if anyone thinks I’m way off base with this strategy, please opine. Didn’t touch the L1 curriculum at all, but am just going off of what I have heard from others for L2.

I went end to end.

Start early (like Nov, Dec, depending how fast you read, start early enough that you have everything read, highlighted, noted by late feb). There are so many holidays inbetween that you really want to give yourself a good amount of leeway.

Personally, I gave it 3-4 months and started in Nov. I tend to read at a normal pace but get derailed easily early on. I also made end of chapter notes/chapter summaries for myself based on the LOS’, so that took a long time too. I did not attempt any EOCs until March. My strategy was to have waves of learning, whereby I read everything once, made notes, then went through each chapter and chapter summary in March, doing the EOCs and boxes, target heavy weights, then weak areas, then mocks, all the while reviewing summaries for theory before bed.

Don’t focus on hours, focus on getting through everything, making good notes, and make repeated passes at the material until it’s in your head for good.

Hours makes it a chore, not learning.

I went mostly end-to-end, skipping minor sections that were optional or trivial once I understood what was happening.

I concur with what mk17 said, but I will take it slightly further and say don’t be obsessed with covering it end-to-end literally, but focus on getting a good understanding of all the major concepts and LOS’es. “A good understanding of all the major concepts and LOS’es” means you are able to complete EOC’s comfortably.

If you’re hitting the books cold, they will be quite difficult to digest. What I did was watch the Schweser videos for that chapter, get a good overview, then drill down into the text. The videos help set the general context and outline of the chapter, and tell you which sections are more important and which are less so. Keeping this holistic view in mind while reading the chapter made me a lot more efficient at it. It actually makes you feel like you’re following a well-defined learning plan instead of doing a page grind. This is incredibly important for efficiency and mental health reasons.

Honestly speaking, I passed all my exams without even reading the curriculum. I only read curriculum only when I did not understand Schweser or needed further explanation.

Schweser is complete if you ask me but people saying is missing major components is because every word in schweser is important and us being humans we have a tendency to miss out little things on each of the page. Hence I read schweser again and again and at least have read it 5 times minimum. Then this is the key part of it. I did over 6 sample exams question and redo it till I get it all right and I did the textbook question as well. Thats where you can link the missing pieces between schweser and the curriculum.

This is what I did and how I passed my cfa exams. By all means it is better to read the curriculum, but for someone like me whom have a short attention span and reading uncessary explanation bores the hell out of me, this might suit you.

End to end, make notes, do all of the blue box questions and all of the EOC questions.

I couldn’t agree more of the importance of practice exams, do as many as you can

I also didn’t touch curriculum for L1, then tried L2 twice with an external materials provider and both times failed. Third time I switched to CFAI, passed, and stayed with curriculum for L3 which I passed on my 1st attempt.

So no surprise I would recommend CFAI materials. I went mostly from A to Z (skipped optional parts and covered ‘portfolio management’ rather roughly - why? see the following sentence - which, of course, I discourage anyone from!). Started mid February (as I had some knowledge retained from the previous two tries…), which turned out to be too late (!!!). If I was to take L2 with curriculum again, I would start in beginning of January at the latest. However, take into account that despite having CAE Cambridge certificate I am still non-English speaking person, and basically read rather slowly. I studied after work (c.a. 2-3 hours daily) and on weekends (c.a. 5-8 hours per day), which gives min. of 20h weekly (considerably more than 15h you have mentioned…). I also took 2 weeks off work, one at the break of April/May and the other just before the exam. On the other hand, my retention capability is above average, I assume (I read the materials only once, then did tests for c.a. one week).

I will not be very innovative if I advise you to focus on FRA, Equity, FI, and Ethics. However, it is woth repeating as I think people care too much about understanding (and even mastering) ALL areas, which is hardly possible with such amounts of material, work, personal life etc. Don’t bother about Quants, Alt. Investments, or Economics. While surely every 3 points count, you must realize those three topics mentioned together are worth 75% of FRA or Equity alone.

To summarize, stick to CFAI books, pray to God, and don’t give up if you don’t succeed on 1st try! Remember: “WE WILL NEVER SURRENDER!!!” :slight_smile:

Hey guys,

Thanks for all the feedback. No magic fromula for success other than to just study, but I am leaning towards just gutting it out and studying from the curriculum this time. Worst case, I fall behind and just bail to the Schweser books to catch up on time.

My two cents:

  1. Save time by reading the study guides opposed to CFAI books.

  2. Devote time saved to practice problems and tests.

  3. Re-read the study guides and take notes. At the very least re-read and take notes on the sections you struggled with most on the practice problems.

  4. Do more practice problems / tests and re-read your notes.

I might be biased, but I did not once crack the CFAI books and this approach helped me pass all 3 levels on first attempt. I think most of us here can agree that on a standalone basis none of the topics are overly complicated. However, the AMOUNT of material makes the test difficult. In my opinion when faced with a LOT of material, being successful comes down to REPETITION, and the approach I outlined provides plenty of it. Hope this helps!