After completing the CFA level one exam last December, this is my first post about Level two of the CFA which I am taking on the 7th of June 2009. Click here to see my update 1 day before the exam about the CFAI sample and mock exams.
I have just finished my first run through of the material for the exam – 40 hours of videos, some audio tapes and a bit of reading here and there. I now have 14 days to revise it, practise it and somehow remember the increased amount of formulas required when compared to the level one exam (something i didn’t previously think possible).
At this stage, I feel very comfortable about my understanding of almost every concept in the course. There was very little that simply didn’t make sense to me when I went through each study session. Regardless of this, more so than in the level one exam, passing will require much more practise and memorisation of intricate formulas – something i unfortunately do not have alot of time for.
In terms of comparing level one and level two of the CFA exam, so far I have found level two to be:
- Much more focused on understanding and applying concepts rather than rote learning or memorisation (although there is still a mountain to memorise),
- A much more useful course in terms of valuing assets and understanding the impacts of the industry and the economy that a company operates in,
- Much longer and more difficult to master. The question format change – 20 vignettes of information followed by 6 questions each rather than 240 individual multiple choice questions – means much more practice is required to succeed in the exam.
With 14 days left, I don’t rate my chances of passing above about 30-40%. Whilst I feel I understand the material, whether i can get it all to stick in 14 days and have it ready to assault the demands of time pressure, crazily confusing CFA questions, and exam day stress is another question.
That said, my approach to the next 14 days is below (or it will be once I’ve thought about it – which is why i am writing this):
Things that need to be done – My ideal preparation for the CFA level 2 exam
- Revise all material using either the notes i made watching the videos or the secret sauce by Schweser. I will probably go for the later due to time pressure but I may do both if time permits.
- Start doing some practice questions. It is far too late for this really but If i can do 1000+ questions spread well across the different areas, I will be happy. I should note here that i typically spend more time learning than doing practice questions and this usually works for me (who knows what will happen with level two though)
- Do the 3 CFAI level two sample tests and the CFAI level two mock exam and then spend plenty of time revising answers and analysing weak spots (I used a spreadsheet for this is level one and it was particularly helpful in finding commonly tested item sets and in revising).
- Go over weak areas and make a formula sheet / level two summary sheet. My version of this for level one was 2 pages in tiny writing.
- Make sure I read a little about each area of the course every day. This is something i didn’t do for level one that i believe will help. Even if it is just a skim over the material, the repetition will help me.
Good luck to all others doing the course and I’ll write more about my experiences as I get closer to exam day.