CFA CFA Level 2 Going from Level I to Level II

Going from Level I to Level II

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  • ralu14
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    Hi All, 

    I was wondering if anyone has any advice on studying for Level II and how it is different from studying for Level I. Also, is there a connection between the score for Level I and the ability to pass Level II? Thank you.

    500Hours
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    My advice for level 2 is to hammer the heavily weighted sections.  I failed 3 topic areas this past June but still managed a pass because I performed well on the big topics.  Remind yourself often where the marks are and when push comes to shove with your study plan in tatters and precious few weeks remaining before game day, you’ll hopefully remember that Accounting and Equity are really what you should be looking at.  Portfolio Management, while not the biggest topic is an area where many level 2 takers have historically struggled.  It’s the last topic in the curriculum and to my detriment, like many before me, I hurried my study effort in order to move on to review.  It’s things like this last point that can make all the difference.  Good luck!

    ralu14
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    @500Hours‌ Thank you! This is very good advice that makes a lot of sense! 


    Sophie Macon
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    Hey @ralu14, congrats on the recent pass! We’re so proud of you 🙂

    On that, L2 in my opinion is the hardest, due to sheer amount of material and concepts to grasp. Always plan to have sufficient time to do tons of practice questions – leave 1 month before exams to exclusively do this. 

    I wrote about my L1 and L2 experiences before in the blog, I hope this helps.

    tacheman
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    @ralu14‌ The major difference is that L2 is a lot harder, and therefore a lot more effort is needed. I doubt the score for L1 matters, but how well you’ve invested in ‘core’ topics like Ethics, Quants and FRA will help in L2.

    edulima
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    Agree with @tacheman here… it’s definitely a build-up, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll do ok in L2. Of course, if you had very high scores in L1 that is a signal that you got it pretty well how to study for these things (and understand the basics!); it really just means that you’ll have to do it similarly but put a lot more effort!

    mattyc
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    I know many people descibe L2 as significantly more difficult but to me it just seemed more in depth, similar to @sophie’s description.  Focus on FRA, Equities and Ethics but do not skip anything!  Becuase L2 has flexible topic weightings you never know if PM or Alts or Deriviatives could kill you.  What worked best for me was making my own notes after reading, then drilling down further by making my own note cards, and mock til you drop!

    Sophie Macon
    Keymaster
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    I love the phrase “mock till you drop” @mattyc‌! Couldn’t have said it better :smiley: 

    ralu14
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    Thank you @Sophie, @mattyc, @edulima @tacheman‌ for your great advice! It is very helpful. :smiley: 

    BobBarkerPlaysPlinko
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    When going through L2, is there any advantage to going in the order CFAI issues the material?  (Ethics, Quants, Econ, FRA, CF, Eq, Alts, FixInc, Deriv, PM)  Does the material at the tail end of that list at all depend on an understanding of the front end?

    edulima
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    @BobBarkerPlaysPlinko, I don’t think the order matters much. I don’t think the material at the back end depends on the front end. Any cross-reference can be done both ways, I think. In other words, irrespective of the order you choose, certain things will make more sense once you have gone through all the material.

    In my case, I did deviate a bit from the CFAI order (left Economics and Alternatives to the end), and did not feel any impact.

    kungpow9960
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    First piece of advice is become comfortable with the item set format. It takes practice to get good at them.

    Another piece of advice I’d say is worth noting is something other posts have touched on as well and that’s focusing on the biggest sections by exam weight. But I’d add that you should do an honest assessment of what topics you’re best at, what you’re not so great at, and which ones interest you the most. Then create a study plan where you focus on your strength areas and the big topics like FSA and Equity, so you’re putting the most effort towards areas where you have the best chance to get the correct answer. Better to get >70% on FSA and Equity than <50% in those and >70% in Econ, for example.

    In my case, I left derivatives until the very end of my studying because I knew that a.) they’re not interesting to me and b.) it was tough for me to wrap my head around them. Why spend a lot of time studying a topic that would likely be 10% of the exam when I can hammer pension accounting, which I know will be there? I put that time towards FSA. It worked out in that derivatives my year was only a small percentage and covered topics I was relatively OK with. And the FSA section was something like 35-40% (can’t remember exactly) and I crushed it because I had focused on FSA a lot. The combination of luck (derivatives) and preparation (FSA) meant I didn’t have to take Level II again.

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