Testing Strategies - How to Approach Level 2 Vignettes???

I understand that people may have different opinions and skill sets that may alter the way they will individually approach the format on Level II (e.g. vignettes). However, I still wanted to get people’s opinions on how they attack each individual vignette (first timers and past experiences).

For Example:

  • Read the entire vignette first and then proceed to questions
  • Read the 6 Q’s first and then proceed to reading the entire vignette
  • Skip directly to the Q’s and read the vignette as you proceed through the 6 Q
  • Other methods??

In my preparatIon thus far, I have been reading the entire vignette first and then proceeding to attempt each question. During my initial reading, I try to mark things I feel may be important and potentail Qs that could pertain to this. What I have noticed though, is that the Qs seem to be in chronilogical order with the reading. Is this something you can always expect or is the CFA going to pull a cruel joke and randomize the Qs location within the reading??

Also, anyone that has taken the CFA II previously, did you have any time issues??? I haven’t exactly timed myself through an entire practice exam yet (this weekend I’m going to binge on a few), but I had little to no difficulty with the time parameter in Level 1 (yes I know that this exam is supposed to be way more in depth/harder although half the # of Qs at 120 total).

Any guidance and insight is much appreciated!!! GOOD LUCK!!!

My strategy is

Before every item set, close your eyes and take a deep breath.

For Ethics, read the entire thing first…underline/circle statements that you think are violations.

For all other topics, read the first question, go look for the answer in vignette then move on to the next question and repeat. It’s a bit more trickier with FRA because they could potentially hide relevant data in the financial statements so make sure you look at all the numbers (and assumptions given in the questions).

Before moving on to the next item set, double check your answers on the scantrons (did you select the answer you intended to, and are the answers in the right order)

I would also recommend you to leave your weak topic(s) and that one item set with heavy calculations toward the end.

I have done 10+ mocks and can finish comfortably with a 45~60 mins left on the clock with this strategy.

I wrote an article that covers this and some other items as well: http://financialexamhelp123.com/how-to-approach-the-level-ii-cfa-exam/.

Thank you both!!!

S2000magician you are a life saver as always!!! You don’t happen to live in Houston and would be able to help land me job in the industry after I pass Level II (hopefully)??? laugh

Somewhat agree with cgy except I ALWAYS read the first question before I start reading the vignette. Generally, it gives me an idea of where the important information starts.

I also underline/highlight important phrases and bits of information.

I know that you probably know this but DON’T use highlighter on day of Exam…

For Ethics we must definately read the whole vignette first. For the other topics I try to pass fast by the distractors. Usually the first paragraph is worthless.

I never look at the questions first. I just go from the beginning till the end and dont get stuck in a question. If I read it and I know that Ive forgotten the formula or I simply don`t know it, I try to cancel one of the options and use my best judgement to risk for the right answer. I try not to spend more than 1,5 min thinking in one single question.

Time management is our best asset during the test !

It’s right up there.


I’ve started with vignette solving approach described above by cgy5478 and S2000 and overall answering performance has been improved immediately. Maybe, this strategy would also help to others.

That’s great to hear!

If I pass L2 by the first attempt, I will start collecting funds to build a monument to you … :slight_smile:

Don’t you feel the exam rules are overly strict? Is there a practical reason as to why a highlighter might harm the exam?