September 2018 CAIA Level II - How is everybody doing? Share Ideas, report progress and share your EXAM RESULTS !!!

Hey Folks,

Just wanted to start this group for a general discussion for those, who are like me, writing L II in September 2018. I am studying with Kaplan Schweser (They do not have any either their e-books nor the printed books ready yet, which is frustrating).

Please share how do you plan to tackle L II since it is a bit different from L I given the structured response makes 30% of the total exam.

How Long are you planning to allocate for reading the books/materials before starting practicing questions? Are you going to start in the same order the books are written or have a different order in mind? After reading a topic, are you planning to do your Kaplan/UpperMark practice exam questions or planning to leave it to the end? And most importantly, what is best way to study for and get as much points for the Constructive Response questions? I have not taken any test in the past with essay-type questions, so I am hoping to see some of your techniques to best deal with these types of questions.

I hope that this thread would be an ongoing group chat through our journey where we all share our best practices and struggles until we PASS CAIA LEVEL II.

Best of luck everyone and I hope to see your feedbacks.


Currently up to Private Equity - Chapter 7. I’ve also read the articles while waiting for the Uppermark guides to come through. Skipped Ethics for now, but will come back to it last. The study notes are great to read. Just doing the practise questions at the end of each chapter for now.

This is the rough timetable I’m working towards:

  • Finish readings by mid June.
  • Review and practise questions and CAIA workbook July.
  • Mock exams August.
  • Holiday for two weeks in early September (light revision).
  • Mid September to exam day, crank more mocks and practise questions.

Not sure about the constructed response, I’ll probably do detailed bullet points.

Kaplan books should be coming soon. Their Qbank just became available to me today. Over 1000 questions in there. Probably 700 of them are too easy and a waste of time! I’ll probably supplement with the UpperMark QBank, but we’ll see. Can’t wait to hit the books again!

Already started. Read first three of the articles but skipped over ethics. Not doing the breakneck BS I did last time.

Not sure what you mean by breakneck BS but having ethics in short essay form is entirely different than multiple choice. I found it to be much more difficult.

I screwed around too much when I should have been studying and had to go full tilt mid-January till test time.

Got my Kaplan books in the mail today.

Nice! I just placed my order so when I get back home … I can have something to look forward to! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Just went printed versions this time, never used my digital copies for L1

I must say, these Current and Integrated Topics in the Kaplan book are boring! Hopefully the questions on the exam are relatively straight forward. So many lists!

I’m through ethics and the first three sections of Current and Integrated Topics. It’s tough getting back into the swing of things.

Looks like most people got started cracking the books. I have been on and off but I need to be discipline. it is tough to dive in with summer, kids’ activity, and how the curriculum starts with these dry CIT section.

I looked at Kaplan study plan and it looks like they suggest going directly to Topic 3 after Ethics. They are leaving the CIT section for last. I like that and I think I will follow that plan. I have skipped Ethics and read the first 3 CITs but I will stop and start with Topic 3.

I feel that L II will take more time to prepare and I am a little concerned because I feel I am behind…

I really don’t think you’re behind, Gogo. We have a long time until the exam. Don’t be worried yet! I agree that these CIT’s are dry as anything. The third one, which you stopped at, really took a toll on me. It was brutal. I can see why Schweser recommends skipping them until closer to exam day. These CIT’s are going to be tough come exam day. Hopefully the multiple choice evens it all out though. But either way, this will require more time than Level 1 for sure.


Glad to hear that it was not only me whi felt that CIT # 3 was taking forever. Thanks for the encouragement and i am planning to start seriously this weekend. Happy studying.

How’s everyone doing with level 2 studying? I just started real assets, but skipped CIT. At about 35 hours between reading and QBank. Level 2 certainly is much harder than level 1! I feel like I have to read then re-read the material to understand it better. Fortunately we have a long way to go! But it will get tougher with summer coming around.

I’d say that your best bet would be to attack main curriculum first, then move to CIT once complete. Intermittently sprinkle ethics in there across the way. Look to be able to reproduce all list-type questions across both CIT and curriculum. For those that are not well versed in ethics, make sure you are able to explain the in’s & out’s of each Standard as well as be able to apply to hypothetical situations. CIT short answers should be straight forward and directly related to topics. You’ll either remember it or you won’t; just try to know each case at a high level and be able to deploy specifics for testable lists/definitions. The curriculum short answer can literally be anything, so hold on to your butts! But in all seriousness, if you know the topic covered in a general sense, you should be able to garner a fair amount of points allotted. Always fun to have to type out formulas and show calculations, so tread lightly. Good luck!

I’ve just finished the second Uppermark book, so another 400 pages to go. Starting commodities tonight, which is by far my worst subject (it killed me throughout the CFA). At my current rate I’m right on track to finish the readings by mid-June.

Well just finished my first read through and starting to work on answering questions. Running about a week behind schedule but apart from that going okay.

I cringe thinking about the constructed response section. Think I’m still scarred from the CFA Level 3 version of it. Is CAIA as bad?

finished my 1st round of reading all the Schweser Notes and QBank…getting ready for 2nd round of fine reading and understanding.

i would say that CFA prepares you for the absolute worst case scenarios across constructed response questions. CAIA’s versions are very straightforward and to the point; 3 topic sections (CIT, Ethics, & random curriculum area) with multiple sub-questions and sub-sub-questions. Thinking back to the exam, there were probably, in total, 25-30 individual questions asked in the short response section. Most were very to the point, i.e. “list” type responses or “calculate” X, etc. Some others were a bit more involved and required some explaining, but brevity is usually key here. Kinda weird typing out formulas and calculations in order to show work, but overall, much nicer to have to type responses out, given the ease of editing.

Just finished section 5.8. I started June 1 and will finish material one month ahead of the exam allowing for review. I do all Schweser questions at the end of the chapter and qBank questions as I progress.

As a Schweser QBank user I have always been curious as to how many people have taken a full subsection. I backed into it tonight. For subsection 5.9 it looks like 22 people have completed the QBank questions*. Far fewer than I would have guessed. Of course we are still early (and this is about 40% through the material), not everyone reads in the order the material is laid out and some save QBank for after they have read through material the first time.

*For those unfamiliar with Schweser QBank, it allows you to compare your score for subsections (e.g. 3.1) whole sections (e.g. 3) and all questions relative to the total population of question takers.

Looks like I mistakenly commented on the March exam thread. Started yesterday, as I was writing CFA. Looks like my social life for 2018 will only start in November.