After all the hard work you have cleared level I of CFA® Program. But guess what, that was just the beginning. Now is the time to gear up for Level II. Well, just to let you know that level II is very different from the previous one and is considered the toughest of all levels. Level I focused more on testing your knowledge. On the other hand, the Level II the program along with testing your know-how on the concepts tests whether you can apply the concepts in real – life scenarios. To clear level II of the program, one must understand the institute’s angle. Here are few thumb rules for preparations: Learn:
- Start early
- If you are a full-time student – learning time will be 3 months
- If you are in a full-time job –learning time will be 6 months
- If you have a full-time job along with a family –learning time will be 8-9 months
- Leave the last month before the exam for last minute revisions and solving practice papers
- If possible, aim to go through the notes twice before the last month
- Or, at least cover your weaker sections
You can use study materials and videos of an expert / reputed training institute for Level II of CFA® Program topics, but make sure that you stick to one. Following different study materials may confuse you. You may refer to E-books of different institutes. However, if you have any doubt about the current one you are following, do not hesitate to ask someone for help. Time is the most crucial part of clearing Level II of the exam. You must be dedicated enough to give your 500 hours for Level II study plan. And now that you have committed to it, here is the plan.
Plan to succeed in Level II
Divide your time into 2 phases Go through the study materials (e.g. Kaplan Schweser Books and Videos) as early as possible. Starting from the first week of January is recommended. In case you are awaiting the results, start from the second day of the results.
Preparing for Level II study plan is like running a marathon, you need the enthusiasm and the energy till the end.
- Start with subjects such as derivatives, fixed income or alternative investments.
- Once you ’re done with these subjects, you can move to the core of the curriculum i.e. Corporate Finance, Financial Reporting & Analysis and Equities.
- The third section can include Quantitative Techniques, Portfolio Management & Economics and end up with the subject Ethics.
A tough subject may bring your moral down in the start itself. Your initial focus should only be in building the rhythm. So, even studying for 1-2 hours a day at the start is enough.
Completing a reading
- Revise Level I important subjects to get started on a sound foot.
- Topics in Level II are divided into readings, and under reading, you will find LOS (Learning Outcome Statements). Select one reading at a time, finish watching its video first and then look at the LOS. Make sure that you understand the reading LOS, if not, go through the video again.
- At the end of each reading, problems are given. Solve them! However, do not judge yourself based on the score as these problems are only a test about the concept you just read. Low score only signifies that you need to go through the reading again.
- Many candidates focus only on the written material and ignore LOS. It is vital for you to know that the institute is going to test you on LOS. So, focus on them.
- Then there are formulas. Are you someone who mugs up the equations? Don’t! Do it. Understand them and understand how it works. There are too many formulas in level II topics to give you a headache.
Completing all the subjects
Ten subjects – each one is different in weight and difficulty. It may confuse to select the order of subjects. Institute gives you a prescribed method, but it is not advisable to follow that. It is just an order not based on its level of difficulty. The list specifically designed in a way for you to not lose the rhythm.
Level II practice exams
Remember, practice makes a man perfect. It is imperative to take practice exams as much as possible because many smart candidates failed the exams only for the reason that they didn’t practice well. Once you have completed all your readings, keep your books aside and start solving the first set of test papers. And do this before revising the readings. The practice test must have given you the idea of how the test questions are going to be. Following are a few points:
- The test consists of case studies
- Read the questions before reading the case study
- Read it fast
Final Level II Study Plan
Go through all the books and written material again and make sure it doesn’t take you more than 5 days to do so. Focus more on the subjects that you are weak on. Now that all the revisions and practice exams are done and its only last 15-18 days left for the exam. Make sure that you keep yourself healthy. Drink enough water and eat healthy food as you do not want to fall ill just before the exam. We hope this article helps you in preparing for Level II topics in the best possible way. All the best and give your best!