When to start Level 2 studying

Hi all,

Just passed the level 1 exam. Looking ahead to level 2 now, obviously it’s a year away so when is a good time to begin studying? Should I get on it right now or is that overkill? Will I be OK if I wait till January to start as I did for my level 1 exam?

What does everyone think?


January is fine. But you really need to look at your own schedule…because life just happens sometimes…and maybe it’s better for you to start earlier…

but yah starting January is a safe bet just know you’ll have to triple your efforts for however you studied for level 1. And be looking to jump into the topic tests and mock exams 2 months before the exam date just to play it safe.

I plan on starting it soon because with January comes 60-70 hour work weeks and the phase extends till April end. So i think I will need to start as soon as I get the material basically!

I plan on starting soon. I come from a finance/accounting work background (but liberal arts college), and I only studied 100-150 hours for L1, so I think I’m going to need the extra time on L2. So grateful I made it to this round!

Dude it’s only 10 months away, remember we spend a couple months waiting for results. laugh

Anyway, I think it’s better start early as you can, around November will be perfect I guess. I did start by January for L1, and as the guys said “life started happening every time”, it wasn’t that cool finally.

Assuming they don’t come after me and kick me out for sharing wisdom, my instructor last year recommended I start reading CFAI books from August-November, then Schweser from there til Apr/May, then just mocks.

but I failed because I didn’t honestly touch a book until March.

Started in mid january this past year and was a Band 9 fail. Having said that, my start time was not the issue, i just studied wrong (only two mocks/too much reading and no practice Qs)

This year I thought about starting 11/1, but I think 12/1 would be more than enough time. I suggest starting 12/1 but realistically 1/1 after you recover from New Years is more than plenty of time.

Started in October, was able to work through all the material at a leisurely pace, finishing at the end of March, leaving April and May to do review, problems and practice exams.

I’m a big fan of the earlier the better. The more material you can get through before your competition starts (January), the better your result will be.

While I was studying for L1 I had a bunch of unexpected things crop up that ate up a bunch of my study time & meant I had to cram like a mofo for the last couple of months… I really don’t want that for L2…

I bought the Wiley 2016 L2 11th hour guide online yesterday ($45) so I can lightly read through that for next couple of months to get a feel for the info & familiarise myself with it. I plan to start on the actual 2017 books around Oct/Nov. Usual story: 3rd party books for reading/taking notes & CFA books for BB/EOC (plus any concepts I need further clarification on). I want to leave plenty of time to hammer out practice questions/mocks/topic test, rise repeat etc… until I see the answers rain man style.

I wish I had been jules18. Starting in January for L2 really does depend on you - if you are thinking that your study schedule will be equal to L1, you might be in for a surprise. I found that the L2 reading and EOCs took a lot longer than my L1 experience which automatically got me off on the wrong foot. And like everybody says, “life happens.” The January timeline works fine when everything goes well and no surprises come up at work. But to get in the amount of practice questions and mocks that you need to do for L2, that beginning-to-mid-April deadline for starting your review needs to be etched in stone.

I passed L2 on first try but it was definitely at a breakneck speed by the end (which I had ironically sworn I would avoid after having such a tough study schedule for L1).

I only spend 3 months for studying level II and I realize I made a terrible mistake. You always fool yourself that it is easier to study in a short amount of time and totally commit to it than spending a longer period while you can both study and enjoy your life. The thing is level II is difficult and you need enough time for your brain to memorize the material and familiarize with the concept. Don’t force your brain because it only makes the situation worse. I am lucky to pass the level II on the first attempt but I can tell you that I am right on the edge of failing. If I can go back in time, I would slap the younger me on my face and tell him to spend at least 6 month for the level II.

I started at the end of January but wish I was able to start 2-3 months earlier because it was overkill for me. Spent about 500 hours. I work and have the family duties as well.

Starting in December means you can loose “momentum” going into the festive period which is what happened to me in level 1. I started studying for level 2 end of January (first attempt pass). Start in January and get your routine going.

The best advise I can give to level 2 candidates is try get into a position where you are starting the topic tests around mid March. These tests are nothing like what you had in level 1 and will take some time to complete them.

If you didn’t start yesterday, you’re already behind.


It is never too early, as you don’t know what life will throw at you in future. I have faced this issue. I am a band 10 fail this year, and trust me it sucks. It is a much better option to do BBs,EOCs,Mocks for multiple times than waiting like me to wait for one more year to wave the pain off. The pain is deep, and it really takes time to heal. My advice would be to start early, move slowly, and keep practising till you get everything. atb!!

I am always behind since many things I should start “yesterday”. wink

I would recommend doing some reading in the fall and buckling down full time on Jan 1. That should give you enough time to do everything you need to do and take a few breaks along the way.

Depends on a number of factors, probably most importantly your schedule and competency (i.e. are you a quick learner of this type of material).

I started in March and intended to study 200 hours. Predictably, particularly in April and May when the nice weather came, 200 well intentioned hours turned into about 120 hours. I passed by a thin margin. Lesson: give yourself more time than you actually want to study for, because inevitably unless you are a motivated machine, there will be nights you just say “**** it, I’m not studying” and there goes two or three hours. Those add up quick, even more so if it’s a weekend day that you planned on studying for 5-10 hours. A handful of those and you’re already short 50 hours of what you planned.

Studying sooner does also give you the added advantage of keeping content fresh in your mind. By the time I started studying for L2, I had forgotten virtually everything except some very basic, high level themes from L1.

I don’t have the motivation or perseverance to start studying more than three or four months before the exam, though. Kudos to those who can.

Now, right now.

I’m retaking, I’ve received my books and getting stuck in. January or Feb is too late, there’s just too much information, and your brain can only process so much in a short period of time.

When I read of folks putting in 15 hour days for a month and passing, I realize these people are superhuman information sponges. For a regular Joe (or Jane), start now, or join me in the retaker’s club.

There’s a thread 2 pages long of folks that passed on the 4th attempt. Cumulatively, that’s a lot of studying.

October best and reasonable imho