Last updated: April 06, 2021

CFA exam / Level 2


Level 2 exam is the second of the three levels of CFA exam, a prestigious financial certification introduced and held worldwide by CFA Institute. With the CFA exam moving to computer-based testing, in 2021 the level 2 exam will be organized in May, August, and November. To take your level 2 exam, first you need to pass your level 1 exam.



2021 Level 2 CFA Exam Dates

25 May - 1 June*


10 days until the exam

25 May - 1 June*


10 days until the exam

31 Aug - 4 Sept*


108 days until the exam

31 Aug - 4 Sept*


108 days until the exam

26-30 Nov*


195 days until the exam

26-30 Nov*


195 days until the exam



IMPORTANT!

* The dates indicate the exam window when you can self-schedule your level 2 exam. You can read here about computer-based exams.

The registration fees and deadlines given below, do not apply to any postponed level 2 candidates. New level 2 candidates need to make the relevant payments.


2021 Level 2
CFA Exam Fees
& Registration Deadlines

Each time you register to take and retake your level 2 exam, you'll have to pay a specific exam registration fee. The amount of the fee depends on when you choose to register for the exam. Before you register, check if you're eligible for any of CFA Institute scholarships. They can reduce your exam cost substantially.

May 2021 FEES
$700
early
fee

begins: 20 Aug | ends:
3
NOVEMBER 2020
$1,000
standard
fee

begins: 4 Nov | ends:
23
FEBRUARY 2021

Read more about May level 2 exam

August 2021 FEES
$700
early
fee

begins: 20 Aug | ends:
2
FEBRUARY 2021
$1,000
standard
fee

begins: 3 Feb | ends:
4
MAY 2021

Read more about August level 2 exam

November 2021 FEES
$700
early
fee

begins: 19 Jan | ends:
4
MAY 2021
$1,000
standard
fee

begins: 5 May | ends:
10
AUG 2021

Read more about November level 2 exam

Note: The deadlines end at 11:59 p.m. ET.


Higher Level 2 CFA Exam
Pass Rates?

It is safe to say that level 2 pass rates are fixed at around 45%, which is higher than for the level 1 exam with the average pass rate of 43% over the last years. The higher 2020 pass rate is an effect of longer exam prep that level 2 candidates had due to their June 2020 exam postponement.

Level 2 PASS RATES
2020 55%
2019 44%
2018 45%
2017 47%

Level 2 CFA Exam Topics
& Their Weights

Level 2 CFA exam topics = level 1 topics but with different exam weights and exam focus, which moves from the general knowledge of investment tools to asset valuation.

In other words, level 2 candidates are tested in the same 10 topics they studied during their level 1 exam. However, you need to be prepared to apply the knowledge more deeply. In your CFA exam curriculum, you will find 48 readings and the topics will be covered in more detail compared to level 1 curriculum.

All 10 level 2 topics are as shown in the table below, with their exam weights given in ranges:


LEVEL 2 CFA EXAM TOPIC WEIGHTS

Min Topic Weight Max 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 10% 15%


Is Level 2 CFA Exam Day Different?

Beginning in 2021, the length of the level 2 exam will get reduced to approx. 4.5 hours. Your exam will be divided into two sessions, approx. 135 minutes each, with an optional break meanwhile. The overall exam day will also be shorter:

2020 CFA Exam Day 2021 CFA Exam Day
30 minutes of announcements 30 minutes allotted to pledge, tutorial, and survey
MORNING SESSION: 180 min SESSION 1: ca. 135 min
BREAK: 120 min OPTIONAL BREAK: 30 min
AFTERNOON SESSION: 180 min SESSION 2: ca. 135 min
TOTAL TESTING TIME: 6 hrs TOTAL TESTING TIME: MAX. 4.5 hrs
WHOLE EXAM DAY: 8.5 hrs WHOLE EXAM DAY: MAX. 5.5 hrs

What we know about 2021 level 2 CFA exam is that:

  • there will be a total of 88 multiple-choice questions,
  • each exam session will have 44 multiple-choice questions, each worth 3 points,
  • multiple-choice questions will be formed into item sets topped by vignettes, i.e. case description to which the questions refer,
  • there will be six or four multiple-choice questions per an item set,
  • a four-question item set will have two-thirds of the number of points as a six-question item set,
  • we predict there will be approx. 18 item sets altogether.

Level 2 CFA Exam Study Plan

The majority of level 2 candidates start their CFA exam prep 5 or 4 months before the exam. That's why we prepared sample study schedules for level 2 candidates. You'll find there both level 2 topic deadlines timetabled and recommended study blocks presented. Here are the two most popular level 2 study plans:


5-month Level 2 CFA Exam Study Plan


4-month Level 2 CFA Exam Study Plan


Want to create your personalized level 2 study plan straight away? Here:


Free Level 2 CFA Exam Study Questions & Videos

If you're looking for some free level 2 questions to help you prepare for your CFA exam, we've got some item set samples for you. Check them out and practice the characteristic level 2 exam format:

Also, try our free videos. We suggest you use them twice. First – to get familiar with the most important concepts before you dive into your books. Then, after you study your books – to revise & make sure you finally know everything there is to know for the topic:


CFA Exam Rules

CFA Program policies are the same for level 1 and level 2 exams. However, as of 2021, there are many new rules due to the computer-based testing and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That's why we've prepared a summary of the most important exam rules.


Level 2 CFA Exam Results

As a rule, level 2 results are released on the same day as the results for level 1 exam. Below, you can find our prediction for the level 2 CFA exam held in December for postponed June 2020 candidates:


DEC 2020 L2 CFA EXAM
results expected on:
28* January 2021

2021 L2 CFA EXAMS
results expected on:

* This is our educated guess based on how CFA Institute released exam results in the past. The usual pattern: your exam date + 7.5 weeks + it’s always Tuesday or Thursday.

For computer-based exams – results could be available sooner than 7.5 weeks post-exam. Still, the exact date is not yet known even to CFA Institute emphasizing that the same MPS procedure will still be in place.

As always, you’ll get your PASSED or DID NOT PASS result to your e-mail. For more detailed information, you should visit your CFA Institute website account. And if you want to read more about CFA exam format or what to do after you get your exam scores, go here





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