Scored greater than 70% in all categories. Studied only with Schweser Essential Package.

Hi all,

1.5 year lurker, first time poster. Just got my results for L2 yesterday, and wanted to share some info.

In summary: I achieved greater than 70% in all categories, and studied only with the Schweser Essential Package.

Details: I started studying at the end of December, read through the Schweser books only once (took notes along the way), did CFAI Mock, Schweser live Mock, 5 Practice Mocks (didn’t get to the last one), about 100 Qbank Q’s (ie not many), and about 6 CFAI topic tests. I’d estimate that I studied around 300 hours and my breakdown was probably 65% reading/taking notes/reviewing quicksheet, and 35% doing practice problems. Out of the time spent on practice problems, I’d say 50% was spent actually taking the mocks, 40% spent reviewing mock answers, and only 10% on Qbank problems and CFAI topic tests.

Random info to consider: I “passed” (ie total score greater than 70%) on each of seven mocks that I attempted (timed all of them like real test conditions). On a couple am or pm sections I scored less than 70%, and on a couple am or pm sections I scored in the high 80%'s (highest score was a 92% on one pm section). On average, I was scoring around 76% on my mock exams (weakest areas where FI and Derivatives ; strongest areas quant, equity, PM). I put a lot of time and effort into reviewing my answers (even the correct ones) because often you will get a correct answer through process of elimination, but if the answer options were different, you very well might not be able to identify the correct answer. For this reason, I always go over every question (including each of the three answer choices), to know exactly why the answer choice was correct, and to ensure I know the reasons why a particular aspect of each of the answer choices was correct or incorrect. This to me is the most critical and valuable part of the whole study process (same was true for L1). Another thing to consider, going into the test I knew ~90% of the quicksheet by heart (I knew 100% of the formulas). I also made sure that I knew ~95% of all of the formulas listed at the end of each of the Schweser books.

Other: I thought the test went well during and immediately after taking it. As the days started to go by I became less sure of how I did (as I looked up a lot of questions i was kind of 50/50 about (~15 Qs), I realized I missed more than half of them)… and I became quite unsure whether or not I passed. I figured I probably passed, but if I did, I expected to see a few 50-70% ranges (possibly in Ethics, FRA, Econ, or Derivatives). Thus, when I saw that I got over 70% in all sections I was pleasantly surprised.

In closing: This post is oriented towards letting candidates know that it is DEFINITELY POSSIBLE TO PASS L2 using only Schweser materials. I never even looked at any of the CFAI books, and hardly any of the CFAI topic tests (although I ran out of time studying, and if I had more time, I definitely would’ve spent more time doing the topic tests. I originally intended to do all of them for econ, FI, FRA, and derivatives, but that clearly did not even come close to happening…and apparently didn’t matter anyways :smiley: ).

Good luck to those of you taking L2 next June!


This is exactly what I want to advice my friends who ask me how I can pass this exam. They don’t believe me at all. I believe the test is all about how much you can remember and understand the material, not how long you can read. For me, the CFA book is way too long for anybody to remember and Scheweser did a gread job on condensing the material, and that is more than enough for anybody.

same here. I have never touched the CFAI books (neither for Level 1 or Level 2). Schweser is enough. But Schweser is enough only for those who have a solid finance background and don’t need the nitty gritty stuff to get the gist of the topics. So we can’t pass a blanket statement that Schweser is enough for everyone. It depends on candidate to candidate. I didn’t even do the Topic Tests provided by CFAI although I should’ve. They’re a real help.

My advice to anyone preparing for CFA Level 1 or 2 is to just go with whatever suits you. If you’re comfortable with CFAI books, just go with that and don’t worry about the other stuff or if you’re comfortable with only 1 of any third party providers, go with that. There’s no hard and fast rule. What is super important is doing maximum practice tests. Don’t just read the material over and over and over and think you know everything. You have to do questions to pass these exams.

Hi Camp, I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts including your clear action plan for those who will be taking CFA level 2 again next year. I found value in the laser focused approach you described. I’ve been in a bit of a fog the last couple days after failing this exam more times than I can bring myself to admit publicly. The past two years I’ve been at band 5 and 6. Oddly over the last two years I’ve gotten above 70% in nearly all 10 subject areas just not on the same exam… this year my strong subjects were nearly the inverse of last year’s. Anyway it’s been hard at times this week to talk in anything above a whisper as I come to grips with continued failure after years of effort far beyond anything I could have envisioned putting forth for any reason a few years ago. I breezed through an MS and CFP several years ago and have already put in more effort in the CFA Program (and fortunately learned more) than those programs combined by a factor of 3. The sacrifices made by others I care about as they patiently wait for me weighs heavily… the thought of them losing faith in me after working as hard as I possibly could toward this goal and still failing has me soul searching… Anyway your post has helped me to refocus and begin mapping out my strategy and I still believe… which is why I’ve asked my fiance to stand by my side this one last time. Thanks again.

Hi guys,

similar story here. I studied only 270 hours for the CFA Level II exam and scored >70% in all topics (surprisingly a better result than last year at the Level I exam where I studied approximately the same duration). I used the Schweser Essential Package for most of the time.

How I studied in detail:

  • I read all the Schweser Books without EOC tests (ca. 80 hours)
  • I prepared approximately 700 digital flashcards with screenshots from the Schweser Books using the app “Flashcards Deluxe” (ca. 30 hours)
  • I studied the flashcards and looked some things up I couldn’t grasp in the CFAI books (ca. 110 hours)
  • I did some EOC problems from the CFAI original material and some topic tests on the website (ca. 50h)
  • I completed the CFAI mock exam and reviewed all wrong answers (ca. 10h)

I have a bachelor’s degree in Economics and approximately 1 year of qualified professional experience. I passed Level I in June 2015.

My personal advice for those planning to write Level II next year is:

  • Leave your comfort zone and focus on topics you are not familiar with. For me, flashcards are the best instrument for that. Additionally, flashcards allow me to learn things very fast.
  • Take as many weeks off before the exam as you can. The last days and weeks before the exam are the most effective. E.g., I probably wouldn’t have passed the mock exam I completed 5 days before the exam. The last days of studying helped me to achieve >70% in all topic areas.

Good luck everyone!


Each exam is different

for level 1 schweser was realy sufficient

but for level 2 ONLY REFERENCE CFAI BOOKS and more importantly TOPIC TESTS and recent years mocks


DO NOT DECEIVED BY OTHER VENDORS for level 2 they are just supportive documents not the core ones

Everyone will have a different opinion as to which study method is best, and what works well for them. My assumption is that Schweser will not work for everyone, but it certainly does work for certain candidates. Around this time last year, when I was researching on AF which method would be best for L2, I found a lot of people criticizing Schwesher as not being enough, and the only reliable way to pass was to read the CFAI books, including all blue boxes, and EOCs. This post is just to let candidates know that you can pass in other ways. Seeing this post last year would have made my decision to go with Kaplan seem like less of a “risk”. Hopefully future candidates can see this and feel comforted knowing that it is possible to pass using only Kaplan, especially if they used Kaplan for L1 and enjoyed the experience and wanted to repeat for L2 (which is what happened to me).

To Standbymyside… sounds like a grueling joruney you’re going through. I wish you the best of luck this time around. Try doing as many mocks as possible, and spend extra time reviewing the answers you missed (and take note of what problems were especially difficult (i.e. you had no clue had to do), and try to do them one or two extra times throughout your study process). Good luck, and hey, you already have an MS and CFP, so that’s pretty boss already!

Thanks again CampSeaFA. Your willingness to share your experience may not make sense to some since there’s nothing in it for you. But I believe that one’s character is revealed in how they treat those who can do nothing for them… and it will all come back to you. This Program has forced me to stop letting the perfect be the enemy of the good… I’ve sort of felt that unless I truly explored every nuance of the CFAI curriculum then I was being intellectually dishonest and simply “training to the test” and that I shouldn’t try to pass that way. However I’ve slowly come to the conclusion that, by design, the Program presents far more information than can be fully absorbed in 6-9 months - at least to the degree that one might feel totally comfortable with. One could make a career out of each of the 10 textbooks - can anyone truly master every detail of all 10 in less than a year? Therefore, it’s not only okay but smart to allow yourself to train to the test using a clear, precise, and comprehensive strategy centered on “doing” the test (i.e. training with as many sample questions and mocks as possible) even if you feel like you might be missing things by reading less. The curriculum simply provides endless opportunities to slide down wormholes or to chase ancillary concepts that may be interesting but will not help you pass the exam. I think that’s part of the point of the Program; it forces you to sift through enormous amounts of information to see if you can stay focused on what’s most important. Unfortunately, like a computer programmer who knows everything “about” coding but struggles at actual coding, I’ve yet to focus with all my might on “doing coding” i.e. doing the test. As I learned as a former army infantry officer, “there’s the right way, the wrong way, and the army way.” The army way is essentially whatever it takes to accomplish the mission - and unfortunately you don’t always have the luxury of doing things exactly as you would prefer in a perfect world. Similarly I believe the CFA Program comes at you the way that it does in part because that’s the way the world - and particularly the world of finance - comes at you: fast, hard, and continuously - and somehow we need to make sense of it. Anyway thanks again for your insight and encouragement. Since you cleared level 2 you certainly know you can crush level 3 in short order by applying the same kind of mission-focused precision. Best, S “We have achieved our position through poise, precision, and audacity. To this we must now add resolve.” - General Hummel, The Rock

don’t give up chief. The pain will be worth it in the end.

CampSeaFA, I just wanted to say thanks heaps for your post. With most people on this forum suggesting that Schweser isn’t enough, I’m inclined to disagree. I know another mate who passed all three exams only using Scheweser - he never even looked at the CFA books themself.

In my view, when I did L1, and used Schweser, there was only one question that I didn’t even have a clue about. I studied for four months and passed. I believe, if you do the time using Schweser for L2, you can pass. I’m going to go about this exam differently- doing a lot more mocks. last time, I only did the CFA mocks to pass. This time, I’m going to try and get through the curriculum with three months left to go into exam, so I can just do mocks. That means, if I can get through all content from Sept-March 2017, I’ll have April/May to smash exams and rope learn formulas. I’ll also take a week off work before the exam to smash more exams and double down on notes and end of chapter questions. That’s my plan anyway.

Schweser all the way! If you do the work, you deserve to pass. If you can’t pass using Schweser, they don’t deserve to be around.


With all fairness, i think its rather possible to pass just using Schweser, but my opinion is that there’s some or more luck factor involved if Schweser is only used.

For instance, under the MM topic, the elaboration on the all-equity company/ financing by Kaplan was poor. I found myself having to cross-reference Wiley’s reference book to gain a better understanding. I got a rude shock when I was practising the EOC questions in CFAI materials.

However, I concur with many people’s views that depending only on CFAI materials will give you a much tougher time. There’re certain inconsistencies throughout book, eg, the definition of total invested capital ( was not really consistent. The FRA pension topics will frustrate many people if you simply rely on the CFAI material.

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