Retaker - L2 Preparation Log

Dear Fellow Re-Takers/Candidates/Wise members,

I am new to this forum. I have been passively reading some good posts for quite some time now. For so long I did not become member because I thought that it will be a waste of time. However, I realized that it is not a total waste of time and in fact may help me stay on track. So I plan to spend around 15-20 minutes every day on analystforum.

Here’s my story……

I failed band – 9 in CFA Level II June 2013 exam. My scores were as below:

Corporate Finance, FRA, Fixed Income - >70%

Alternative Investments, Derivatives, Economics, Equity Investment, Quantitative Methods - 51%-70%

Ethics, P.M - <=50%

Coming out of the exam hall I thought I would pass. However, I was not very much surprised /shocked when I received the email from CFAI. When I analyzed my situation, I realized that the major reason for not passing was that I could not give sufficient time. So, this time I wanted to start early and decided to start preparation around November. But last night I had a dreadful dream. In the dream, it was only 2 days from the exam date and I hadn’t prepared for the exam and I was talking to my friend that I hadn’t read ethics at all. While giving exam itself I knew that if I fail it would be because of Ethics & P.M. The same was reflected in my results. Today morning as soon as I woke up I said to myself “sooner the better”

My strong areas are: FRA, Corporate Finance, Equity, Alternative Investments

Moderate Difficulty: Fixed Income, Portfolio Management

Weak Areas: Ethics, Economics, Derivatives, Quants.

Looking at my scores I understood that my weakest area is probably the “ethics” and this time I have to get it in >70 bracket. (In level I I scored >70 in ethics).

I want to use this thread as my log to update my progress on a daily basis. I would be happy to see others update their study progress too. I am hoping that this activity will keep me on track towards studies and solicit good advice from the experts here on the forum.

I am aware that there are very smart and wise people on this forum judging by their posts and I would be glad if they could advice me as I make my way through this arduous journey. I respect them a lot.



I am not sure if others can also update in the same file by adding new sheets. If it is possible, it would be great to see how different people approach the exam and prioritize different topics.

Study Material : I am planning to study only from CFAI texts as there is a lot of time for the exam. I do not want to spend money and buy uncertainty. Nevertheless going forward if I feel the need I will buy third party study tools. I hope the question bank that will be provided by CFAI will help too. I have last year’s finquiz material which my boss purchased (I don’t know the quality of the material. FYI he too failed the exam). I may use it only if I have time and need to do more questions.

My Opinion: This exam is not very difficult. It only needs more time for preparation. Concepts are not too difficult but memorizing so many formulae and being able to relate to different topics, calculating, and arriving at correct answer in a small period of time is the key. Only practice can lead to that level of mastery which entails a lot of time.

I will start my studies today and start updating my spread sheet and this thread with my daily progress. All the good advice is solicited. I am starting with ethics only once I feel confident in ethics I will go to the next topic. I know it’s not a good idea and I may forget almost everything by the time I finish other material. But I do not want to take chances with Ethics this time around as I underestimated it the last time. So, I am starting with Ethics. Ethics here I come……

Happy Learning ………

Edit: The spreadsheet has been corrected with regard to dates.

First, it’s good you’re creating a spreadsheet to track your progress. I created a detailed reading schedule, tracked hours read, and also tracked my performance. My spreadsheet also has a flash card system I wrote using VBA, quite sexy I might add. Anyway, I recommend you buy schwesernotes & the Qbank, use CFAI for the EOC questions, and do all schweser mock exams, plus any live exams offered plus the CFAI mock exam.

CFAI is too much to digest even if you start now…which also seems like a bad idea because you will just forget what you read. The main thing will be do to as many questions and exams as possible and go over them in detail…even the ones you got right. With respect to formulas, there is a free Elan Guides L2 formula sheet online but I would also recommend that as you read, write down every formula you come across. You’ll have a pretty sweet list at the end. Even the formula sheet in the back of the schweser books is incomplete, i.e. it does not include every formula it presents in the text. Plus, there is benefit from writing it out.

nice spreadsheet. but the time could be spent studying, no?

That is a fantastic spreadsheet.

Thanks, I think I’ll use this rather than the ghetto tracker I had.

FYI, I was reading the ‘About File’ tab and noticed that “[You] have considered June 30 as [your] last date of preparation after which [you] may not be able to enter any data in this file. That time will be exclusively for revision and some practice questions.” You may, or may not, want to revise that to an earlier period because the 2014 L2 exam will be on June 7… Almost a full month of studying you had accidentally accounted for, unless I read your sheet incorrectly which is very possible.

I just checked. Your right. Have to change the invisible ink in cell k10 on the analysis tab and then just delete the extra rows in the daily data tab. Pretty sure that’s it.

Thank you Ramos. I have started with Ethics and I suppose Ethics has to be learned from CFAI material. Moreover I have been contaminated by a disease called “Ethicophobia”. So, I will finish Ethics from CFAI. Let me see how far I can go with CFAI text. I had considered the formula sheet from Elan Guides already. But I think they have yet come out with formula sheet for 2014 exam. I have downloaded their 2013 formula sheet.

Yes you are right. I have changed it now. By mistake I considered till 30th June while it should be 31/05.

Hi Jact, you observed it correctly and the required change has been made. Anyways, did you start studying. How much did you study? what is the subject you are starting with?

Thank you. I hope it helps.

Today as it was a week-end and holiday I studied for 5 hours total. I completed the reading 1 which was very small and I am not sure if any question will be asked related to that. In the second reading I have completed Standard -1 Professionalism. 47 pages out of 260 pages related to Ethics Material.

My Updated Sheet:

Mr. Brain, I just skimmed the first couple of readings of Equity. I failed last year after very inadequate hours and am just easing back into it and trying to make sure I give myself enough time. With work, kids, etc…it is difficult to allocate as much time as I see some people putting in per week. I haven’t really started though. Just had an hour the other day and decided to read through a little bit.

I’m going to start with Equity just because it has the biggest practical application for me right now with work. I skipped a couple of sections last year because of time so will probably hit those too. I want to make sure I do a lot of practice questions this year…last year I was trying to just fly through the material because I was always behind schedule.

Guys, I failed 2012 level II and passed 2013. I really put tons of time in 2012 and got band 9. Sad story. As I re-taker the only thing I changed was practice questions. This is the key. Do as many as you can. My 40/60/80 score 2013 is 76%.

What sources did you use for the questions?

Interesting spreadsheet.

I am getting a circular reference error as soon as I open the file once I download it though. Any idea why this is Brainiac?

Could just be because I have opened it with Excel for Mac. I will try it when I next open my Windows partition on the superior version of Excel for Windows.

And FYI it isn’t telling me which cell the circular reference is in in the status bar along the bottom like it should do. This is why I think it may just be a Mac related issue.

EDIT: Never mind. I found the circular reference in Excel for Windows with ease and fixed it. This will be a useful study too for monitoring progress. Cheers

Hi Gamagama, Thanks for your advice. I am planning to finish reading my first reading by the month of November. After that I will do as many questions as possible.

For 2013 I used only CFAI books. I have not purchased anything yet. I will finish my first reading/revision by November and will find out the best sources. This year also I am planning to do CFAI questions as my primary source of practice questions. However, what I understood from all the posts and comments on AF is below 1. Videos - Elan Guides 2. Practice Questions - Schweser 3. Notes - Schweser. 4. CFAI blue box questions 5. CFAI EOCs

Hey, thanks for the feedback. I am updating my preparation here on this thread. I am hoping that this will create positive peer pressure on me. I suggest you also to do the same. We can see how we are doing compared to our peers and suggest each other on our exam preparation.

Hi All, For the past 4 days I was not able to study mainly because of working for extended period of time in office. Today I was able to put in 3 hours and I have completed Standards II & III in reading 2. My updated sheet: I hope in the coming days I will be able to study more.