CFA CFA Level 2 That’s How I Pass Level II !!

That’s How I Pass Level II !!

  • This topic has 15 replies, 10 voices, and was last updated Sep-17 by Zee Tan.
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    • SpyAli
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      Hi everyone! I have recently joined this forum and I figured i should break the ice by sharing my Level II story with you all. Alright, so here it goes:

      This June 2013 was my second attempt at Level II exam. I got a band 10 last year but have passed this time. Thank God!

      Now to what went wrong in my first attempt. Umm.. I started pretty late last year (in March). For the most part, I just concentrated on reading and revising the chapters and devoted less time to practice. I solved CFAI EOC questions but only once and just skimmed them for the second time. Didn’t buy any third party practice questions and solved only two mock exams. I also took two subjects for granted i.e. Ethics and Equity. Ethics because I had gotten greater than 70 in Level I, so I was quite confident of nailing it again, and equity because I was somehow finding it easier so didn’t practice it enough. Ahh, the fail was inevitable for me. It however taught me four important lessons:

      1. Start early! (If you are a re-taker then February is your safest bet. If it’s your first attempt then start in January.)

      2. Aim to absolutely crush the big three subjects i.e. Ethics, FRA and Equity! (Some of you will find equity to be a lot easy, but trust me that is a big illusion in disguise. You have to understand equity extremely well in order to avoid traps in the exam.)

      3. Practice as much as you can! (Do CFAI EOCs twice, do blue box examples and do PQs of 3rd party providers. More than half of your preparation time should be devoted to practice instead of reading the chapters.)

      4. Solve at least 5 mocks! (The past CFA mocks and sample exams are a must. They are the closest deal you will get in the exam, except for that shitty 2013 CFAI mock.)

      I had learned my lessons the hard way, so i was determined to give the exam another shot. I registered again! We had only 56 readings this year compared to 64 readings in 2012, so that was a BIG relief for me. This time, I did the following things that I believe made all the difference:

      1. Started in Feb. I subscribed to one of the Elan packages with a 40% retake discount.

      2. By March, I had finished the first read-through of all the readings. I used Elan guides extensively and just referred to the CFAI curriculum for solving EOC questions and blue box examples. (BB examples for Level II are a must, especially for Equity and FRA). I also made it a point to solve them right after finishing each reading and I also marked the important ones down for later review.

      3. By end April, I had finished my second read-through but skipped economics altogether. There was a lot to study in econ and I was just not willing to waste any more time on this least-weighted subject. I also solved all the Elan practice questions RIGHT AFTER reviewing each chapter.

      4. During May, I devoted all my time to solve the mock exams, review the answers (both right and wrong ones) and brush up my weaker areas. I was lucky in that I got a full month study leave for my preparation. Thanks to my awesome boss! I also perfected the currency exchange rate and parity problems, but other than that I skipped everything else in economics. In total, I solved seven and half mocks. (3 past CFAI mocks, 2 past CFAI sample exams, 2 Elan mocks, and half of 2013 CFAI mock.)

      5. In last 2 days, I revised the whole syllabus one more time. (Yes! Thanks to the adrenaline rush I got from this year’s CFAI mock.)

      The paper this year was a bit of shocker for many because CFAI had changed weightage of AI and FI. But I was able to sail through them because I had studied everything well. The paper was a breeze and I was confident that I would nail it this time. What, however, I didn’t expect till July 23rd was to get greater than 70% score in each subject. I guess I got lucky with some of my flukes in Ethics and Econ.

      So that’s how I nail the Level II exam! 🙂

    • Sophie Macon
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      Thanks for sharing and contributing right from the start @SpyAli! Solid advice 🙂

    • Sarah
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      Yup, thanks for the awesome advice!

    • AngelB
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      Hey @SpyAli. Your post is very inspirational. I’m giving Level I in December and will hopefully be sitting for Level II in June 2014. I’ll keep your suggestions in mind for Level II. Thanks again man!

    • christine
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      Have a promote @spyali! 😉

    • SpyAli
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      Cheers guys! Happy to contribute! 🙂

    • SpyAli
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      You’re welcome @AngelB. Some of the above advices can even work for your Level I exam 🙂

    • Zee Tan
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      Awesome stuff @spyali!

    • abra9595
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      I would add doing the John Harris FRA class to this list. I found that by doing the class I was able to identify the most efficient way to attack the FRA questions. Not only did it help guide me to the right answer but also allowed me to finish the FRA questions in around 10 mins.

    • SpyAli
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      Thanks @Zee.
      Yes @abra9595. Good advise! I have heard a lot good about his classes. Can you tell how much do they cost?

    • sethneha
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      @SpyAli, thanks for sharing the experience. it’s great!

      i want to know how did you nail Ethics ? that’s my weak point that i flunked twice in level 2 🙁 both time <50%. one nemesis that now i am scared to even think of giving the exam again just cause of ethics..

    • Mr_Excel
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      nice debrief, thanks

    • SpyAli
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      @sethneha, no problem!

      As far as ethics is concerned, i’m afraid there are really no shortcuts. Each time, I had to study ethics all the way and directly from the CFAI curriculum. Ethics tends to get harder at Level II. This is because of the item set format, so only those who go the extra mile nail it.

      I’d suggest you do plenty of mocks for your next attempt. If there comes a point when you have mocks at your disposal but you don’t feel like doing them, then just solve the ethics item sets. Practice is the only way by which you can get good at ethics.

      Btw, ethics alone, can not make you fail the exam. You must have done a less-than-good-job on few other areas as well.

    • SpyAli
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      Thanks @Mr_Excel. Nice nick you have got there! 🙂

    • bciney
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      How can I get 2012 and 2013 CFAI mocks and sample exams??? and also the Elan mocks??

    • Zee Tan
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      @bciney you won’t get past years legally. a helpful member did post them here some time ago but we got a remove notice from CFAI soon after 🙁

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