In this post, the focus shifts to the Level II 2012 results. Again, the response to the results analysis tool was great! This analysis would not have been possible without your participation, so many thanks to the readers.
Pass rates for Level II for the sample, while still higher than the overall 42% quoted by CFA Institute, is lower than the Level I sample (72%). It’s better for the analysis, actually – the crucial data to be analyzed is around the pass/fail border, and between failing bands. But still interesting that the sample pass rate trends down from Level I to II, whereas the overall pass rates trend up.
CFA Level II 2012 Sample Breakdown by Grade
FRA is A Pain.
From candidate feedback and questions, Financial Reporting & Analysis has been the traditional pain point for most Level II candidates. Its difficulty seems to apply across all candidates here, as the performance improvement in FRA from failing to passing candidates is definitely there, but as significant compared to other heavy topics (see next point). This does not detract from the importance of FRA in Level II though – at 20% weighting you simply can’t afford to ignore this topic.
Pay Attention to Equity Investments.
Performance for the other 20% heavy-weight, Equity Investments, is a whole other story. The difference in performance between passing and failing candidates in Equity Investments is remarkable. And as one of the heaviest-weighted topics, this screams one conclusion – folks, when prepping for Level II, bang on Equity Investments like a snare drum.
Other Topics to Exploit.
Similar patterns also occur with Corporate Finance and Derivatives – a significant difference comparing passing and failing candidates. One possibly explanation is that the subjects are not that hard to master, and the difference between passing and failing candidates is that passing candidates took the time to cover it throughly. It’s likely. Be sure to cover these subjects thoroughly in Level II!
A note on Ethics.
Ethics is one of the topics to observe the least amount of performance improvement when comparing passing candidates to failing. This shows that candidates in general take Ethics equally seriously, no doubt at least partially due to the ethics adjustment advice given to candidates. This topic also has been covered and emphasized here in the past. But given the observations here and some preliminary further analysis (will be posted soon), perhaps Ethics as a topic, especially in Level II where it’s not as heavily weighted, can be focused on too much by candidates.
What are your thoughts?
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