CFA Level 2 Topic Weights

CFA level 2 / Topics / Weights



The table shows the weights of all CFA level 2 topics for your June 2019 exam:

Minimum Topic Weight Maximum Topic Weight
Ethics 10% 15%
Quantitative Methods 5% 10%
Economics 5% 10%
Financial Reporting and Analysis 10% 15%
Corporate Finance 5% 10%
Equity Investments 10% 15%
Fixed Income Investments 10% 15%
Derivative Investments 5% 10%
Alternative Investments 5% 10%
Portfolio Management 5% 15%

As you can see, among the most important topics are:

  • Equity Investments (EI),
  • Financial Reporting and Analysis (FRA),
  • Fixed Income (FI), and
  • Ethical and Professional Standards (Eth).

You should devote even up to 60% of your study time to these four topics.


See what else you need to know about CFA level 2 topics


Also – among the topics with the highest number of questions in the exam – you can expect to find Porfolio Management (PM).


Number of Item Sets for Each CFA Level 2 Topic

MIN no. of item sets MAX no. of item sets Predicted no. of item sets
Ethics 2 3 2
Quantitative Methods 1 2 2
Economics 1 2 1
Financial Reporting and Analysis 2 3 3
Corporate Finance 1 2 1
Equity Investments 2 3 3
Fixed Income Investments 2 3 3
Derivative Investments 1 2 2
Alternative Investments 1 2 1
Portfolio Management 1 3 2
SUM 14 25 20

Remember! CFA level 2 exam questions are arranged into item sets. There are 20 item sets altogether, meaning 10 per exam session. Each item set includes 6 questions. Generally, one item set is devoted to one topic. Do not be surprised, however, if you see an item set with questions from various topics. That's also possible.


June 2019 CFA Level 2 Topic Weights

CFA level 2 topic weights given in ranges aren’t very helpful, are they? Whether presented as a percentage or as the number of item sets, you cannot tell exactly how all 20 item sets get distributed among the topics in your exam.

If we wanted to present current level 2 topic weights as single values (like for level 1 topics), we could use the arithmetic mean. This is what we'd get:


 

However, this measure is far from ideal. It doesn’t sum up to 100% because of the disproportion between the minimum and maximum topic weights. If you add the numbers in the first column of the table above, you’ll get 14 item sets. If you add the numbers in the second column, you’ll get 25 item sets. In the CFA level 2 exam, there are 20 item sets – so the arithmetic means all summed up will be slightly lower than 100%. Sorry. Guess it’s not that easy to arrive at a plausible question distribution among topics in the CFA level 2 exam.

But in the third column of the table above, we give you our prediction. It’s based on both the new and the old level 2 topic weights.

Before June 2019, CFA level 2 topic weights were different with the highest values of 15-25% for Equity. Other level 2 topics weights were as follows: FRA (15-20%), FI (10-20%), Ethics (10-15%), CF (5-15%), DI (5-15%), QM (5-10%), PM (5-10%), ECO (5-10%), and AI (5-10%).

Although the weights are changed now, the difficulty of the topics stays pretty much the same. This allows us to arrive at the most probable number of item sets for your June 2019 level 2 exam. Before we explain the numbers proposed, we analyze two rather extreme scenarios:

Scenario 1:

Take the 4 most important topics first and assume each will get as many as 3 item sets in your exam. You already end up with 12 item sets. Now add 3 more item sets for Portfolio Management – that’s already 15. You are left with 5 item sets – 1 for each of the 5 remaining topics.

Scenario 2:

Now consider the other extreme scenario where each of the 4 most important topics is given 2 item sets. This time, you are left with 12 item sets to distribute among the other 6 topics. On average, this gives you 2 item sets per topic. Then, you end up with equal topic weights for all CFA level 2 topics, which is undesirable.

Neither of these two extreme scenarios is what CFA Institute surely aims at. Of course, the number of questions per each topic may vary from exam to exam (also, some mixed item sets are possible!). But we think our estimation is good enough to serve as a credible benchmark that finally translates the opaque CFA level 2 topic weights into a more transparent system.


Scenario 3 (our educated guess explained):

As shown in the table above, in your June 2019 level 2 exam we think you can most likely expect:

  • 3 Equity item sets – it used to be up to 5 item sets and no readings have been taken away from the curriculum
  • 3 FRA item sets – it used to be up to 4 item sets and a new reading has been added to the curriculum
  • 3 Fixed Income item sets – it used to be up to 4 item sets and no readings have been taken away from the level 2 curriculum
  • 2 Ethics item sets – CFA Institute promotes ethics but you are tested on the same Code and Standards for the second time (3 whole item sets are not necessary)
  • 2 Derivatives item sets – it used to be up to 3 item sets and no readings have been taken away from the curriculum
  • 2 Portfolio Management item sets – it used to be up to 2 item sets, now it’s 3 (but the readings stay the same)
  • 2 Quantitative Methods item sets – a new reading has been added to the curriculum + 1 of the readings has been extended by the subject of machine learning
  • 1 Corporate Finance item set – we go for 1 here ‘cos we believe that all the above topics are indeed more important and this topic is most likely to be left with just 1
  • 1 Alternatives item set – as above (plus note we’re slowly reaching the total of 20 item sets)
  • 1 Economics item set – as above (plus it’s now 20 item sets total )


CFA Exam: Difficulty of Level 2 Topics

As we’ve already said, although the weights changed, the difficulty of the topics stays pretty much the same. Of course, topic difficulty is a subjective criterion but you’ll surely agree that EI with its current weight of 10-15% and still more than 500 pages in your CFA curriculum seems both important and difficult. In our free CFA study planner, you get lots of extra time scheduled to study Equity and other important topics, i.e. Ethics, FRA, and Fixed Income.

While creating your personalized CFA study schedule, you can choose the topic sequence you like:

  • Soleadea topic sequence based on CFA topic length, difficulty, and importance (highly recommended ):
    ETH, EI, FI, DI, FRA, CF, QM, PM, ECO, AI, ETH,
  • CFA curriculum topic sequence: ETH, QM, ECO, FRA, CF, EI, FI, DI, AI, PM, or
  • CFA curriculum topic sequence but with Ethics at the end: QM, ECO, FRA, CF, EI, FI, DI, AI, PM, ETH.

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