5-Month Level 2 CFA Exam Study Plan: Intro
New Year is the time of new beginning. So, if you’re about to take your level 2 CFA exam in May 2021, it’s a perfect time to take up your preparation. Tempted to wait just a little bit longer, a week or a month perhaps? Naaah... Better pull up your sleeves and start right away. Especially that the level 2 exam can be a real tough one.
Below, you will find how to prepare for the level 2 exam using a reliable 5-month level 2 CFA exam study plan. Our preparation is divided into 5 Study Blocks, each ending with some topics revision. Spaced revision sessions allow to overcome the forgetting curve, which can be quite steep for such a voluminous study content.
Before you go to the details of this study plan, however, take your time to learn a few key issues about the level 2 preparation.
Looking for a specific study schedule?
Choose your 2021 CFA Exam Study Plan:
Looking for a specific study schedule? Choose your 2021 CFA Exam Study Plan:
- 2-month L1 Study Plan
- 3-month L1 Study Plan
- 4-month L2 Study Plan
- 4-month L1 Study Plan
- 4.5-month L1 Study+Review Plan
- 5-month L1 Study Plan
- 5-month L2 Study Plan
- 6-month L1 Study Plan
- 7-month L1 Study Plan
- 8-month L1 Study Plan
What Should I Know About Level 2 CFA Exam?
First of all – as of 2021 – level 2 CFA exam is transitioned to computer-based testing. It means that the exam will be delivered on computers in proctored test centers around the world.
Secondly, in some aspects the level 2 exam is more difficult compared to the level 1 exam. The level 2 CFA exam pays great attention to detail and requires analytical skills. Additionally, the format of the exam changes. For level 2, traditional multiple-choice questions are composed into the so-called item sets.
An item set consists of a vignette (approximately one-page long description) + 4 to 6 multiple-choice questions (related to the vignette). In the past, every exam session contained 10-15 item sets. Now, we're still waiting for more details from CFA Institute as regards e.g. the number of item sets in the level 2 exam. However, it's rather safe to say that you should still have around 12-18 minutes per one item set. It’s not much when you think of quite lengthy vignettes you must read in order to answer the questions. The vignettes will include tons of data, some of which may prove totally irrelevant.
Another unique thing about level 2 CFA exam prep is topics. There are still 10 topics for level 2 (like for level 1) but the topic weights ranges change. Equity, Fixed Income, Financial Reporting & Analysis, Portfolio Management, and Ethics have the greatest weight. For all level 2 topic weights, see the table further below.
What study materials should I use to prepare
for my level 2 CFA exam?
Because of the detailed nature of level 2 exam, it is believed that the CFA Program Curriculum is the best source of knowledge for level 2 candidates.
We also believe so, and this is why we encourage you to use your CFA Program Curriculum as much as possible, especially since you’re a 5-month study plan user and still have much preparation time at your disposal.
Still: Though the curriculum is the best source of knowledge, it doesn’t mean it’s best for knowledge retention. Particularly during the revision sessions, you should also depend on reliable complementary materials. Choose those presenting the curriculum in the most digestive and user-friendly way.
Will I find any interesting
level 2 study materials at Soleadea?
Sure you will, both free and paid.
First, check our CFA Exam Study Planner. Inside you will find some free level 2 videos and item sets.
If you like them, you’ll be able to purchase as many as 40+ hours of to-the-point L2 videos and 50 item sets.
Our videos are short but exhaustive and let the knowledge sink in. The item sets, which are constructed like exam-type questions (vignette + multiple-choice questions), make a perfect practice tool. We strongly believe that doing exam-type questions is a key to success. That’s why it’s important for the tests you do to have the right format.
How To Use CFA Program Curriculum?
CFA Program Curriculum presents the study material in diversified ways. Apart from the plain subject-related text, after most of the readings you will also find the so-called end-of-reading questions. Moreover, you can find numerous examples throughout the readings. These are perfect for practice and they should be duly analyzed.
Pay attention particularly to those questions that are constructed into item sets to get used to the exam format from the very beginning.
Learn formulas systematically. You can write down the CFA Program Curriculum formulas and repeat them often. You can also use the shortcut way and get the ready-made level 2 CFA exam formulas e-book. Also inside our CFA Exam Study Planner, you will find a special Formulas App to practice the formulas on an everyday basis.
Like for level 1, follow the LOSes enumerated before every chapter. Also, make use of the bolded terms and concepts that indicate what you should know after each reading.
L1 vs L2:Exam preparation hints
You had your way of preparing for the level 1 CFA exam. If you feel it worked, follow the route.
First, however, apply some constructive criticism to your level 1 preparation. If after thorough analysis you find things you could do better, improve your studying strategy.
Level 2 CFA Exam Topic Characteristics
Level 2 CFA exam topic weights are given in ranges. The most important topics in the level 2 exam are Equity, FRA, and Fixed Income (plus, of course, Ethics). For these 4 topics, you can expect even up to 60% questions.
The table below presents the most crucial information on level 2 topics:
|Number of pages in Curriculum||Minimum topic weight||Maximum topic weight||Estimated average number of questions per topic*||Topic efficiency|
|Financial Reporting and Analysis||400||10%||15%||16||4.0|
|Fixed Income Investments||309||10%||15%||15||4.9|
*as estimated per topic for 2020 level 2 exams (we're still waiting for updated details about 2021 level 2 exams)
The first four columns need no explanation. The last column concerns topic efficiency, which is defined as the number of questions in the exam per 100 pages of the CFA Program Curriculum:
- E – topic efficiency,
- Q – estimated average number of questions for a topic,
- N – number of pages on a topic in the CFA Program Curriculum.
For example, if the efficiency for FRA is 4, it means that in the exam you will find about 4 questions per every 100 pages on FRA in the Curriculum.
Taking this criterion into consideration, we can divide the topics into 3 groups:
- High topic efficiency: DI, ETH, FI
- Moderate topic efficiency: ECO, FRA, AI, PM
- Low topic efficiency: CF, EI, QM
The topic efficiency criterion may come in handy if you run out of time and need to reconsider how much you’re going to spend on each topic. Of course, some other variables, like e.g. topic weights, need to be accounted for then as well.
How to Prepare for Level 2 Exam?
5-Month Study Plan Detailed
We begin this 5-month level 2 CFA exam preparation on Monday, 4 January 2021, and end on Friday, 21 May 2021. Meanwhile, there's a weekly pause in studying which you can personalize if you opt for a short holiday. The whole preparation period is divided into 5 Study Blocks, each ending with some topic review sessions:
5-Month Level 2 CFA Exam Study Plan STARTS on 4 January 2021
1st Study Block (4 Jan – 26 Jan)
1st Study Block (4 Jan – 26 Jan)
- Equity Investments
- EI Review
2nd Study Block (27 Jan – 15 Feb)
- Fixed Income
- Derivative Investments
- FI+DI Review
- EI Review
3rd Study Block (16 Feb – 14 March)
- Financial Reporting & Analysis
- Corporate Finance
- FRA+CF Review
- EI+FI+DI Review
suggested dates: 15 – 21 March
4th Study Block (22 March – 16 Apr)
- Quantitative Methods
- Portfolio Management
- QM+PM Review
- EI+FI+DI+FRA+CF Review
5th Study Block (17 Apr – 2 May)
- Alternative Investments
- ECO+AI Review
- Ethics Review
FINAL REVIEW (3 – 21 May)
END: 21 May 2021
NOTE: May 2021 level 2 exam window is from 25 May to 1 June. If you manage to finish everything as planned on 21 May, you'll still have some time to relax before your exam, as well as to do some final touches and reviews. Also, read more about May 2021 level 2 exam here .
Equity Investments and Ethics are treated exceptionally. You get to revise EI after 4 out of 5 Study Blocks and you read Ethics as the first topic and review it as the last one. Moreover, our Study Planner urges you to review Ethics regularly, which is definitely a good idea with the ethics adjustment being in force.
With 5 months to your exam, we think you can surely afford 1 week off studying (when exactly is your choice!). Such a break has 2 functions. On the one hand, it allows you to recharge batteries in the middle of your exam preparation. On the other hand, it motivates you to work hard on the first 6 topics. It’s like an award for those who follow the plan!
We wrap up with 3 weeks of Final Revision to let you really prepare for your CFA exam. This should be an intensive month of filling in knowledge gaps and doing lots of mock exams!
5-Month Level 2 CFA Exam Study Schedule: Topic Deadlines
Your level 2 CFA exam study schedule + 1 week off studying has been timetabled below. Deadlines are given for all 10 level 2 topics and your topic review sessions:
|Level 2 Topics||May 2021 Exam Deadlines|
|Ethics||6 Jan 2021|
|Equity Investments||24 Jan 2021|
|EI Review 1||26 Jan 2021|
|Fixed Income||5 Feb 2021|
|Derivative Investments||10 Feb 2021|
|FI Review||15 Feb 2021|
|DI Review||15 Feb 2021|
|EI Review 2||15 Feb 2021|
|Financial Reporting and Analysis||28 Feb 2021|
|Corporate Finance||8 March 2021|
|FRA+CF Review||14 March 2021|
|EI+FI+DI Review||14 March 2021|
|*HOLIDAYS*||21 March 2021|
|Quantitative Methods||30 March 2021|
|Portfolio Management||11 Apr 2021|
|QM+PM Review||16 Apr 2021|
|EI+FI+DI+FRA+CF Review||16 Apr 2021|
|Economics||23 Apr 2021|
|Alternative Investments||30 Apr 2021|
|ECO+AI Review||2 May 2021|
|Ethics Summary||2 May 2021|
|Final Review||21 May 2021|
If you set up your personalized study plan,
the deadlines will get adjusted.
Here’s a sample 5-month level 2 CFA exam study schedule as displayed in our Study Planner:
You will find your Study Plan in the PLAN tab View all the weeks of your CFA exam prep, see how much you’ve done and how much is still ahead of you, as well as customize your plan using the DRAG & DROP feature.
Updated: Jan 5, 2021