Dec 2020 Level 2 CFA® Exam in 5 Months with Reliable Study Plan

CFA exam / Study plans / Level 2 Dec 2020, 5-month


5-Month Level 2 CFA Exam Study Plan: Intro

As a rule, the level 2 CFA exam is held once a year, in June. This year – owing to the June 2020 exams postponement due to the COVID-19 outbreak – June 2020 level 2 candidates may sit their exam in December.

So, if you’re about to take your level 2 CFA exam this December, 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.

What Should I Know About Level 2 CFA Exam?

First of all, in some aspects level 2 preparation is more difficult compared to level 1. The level 2 CFA exam pays great attention to detail and requires analytical skills. Additionally, the format of the exam changes. Now, 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). Every exam session contains 10-15 item sets, which means you have on average 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 weights of the topics change and are given in ranges. Equity, Fixed Income, Financial Reporting & Analysis, 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 Free 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

For level 2 CFA exam topics, weights are given in ranges. The most important topics in the 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
Ethics 231 10% 15% 15 6.5
Quantitative Methods 375 5% 10% 9 2.4
Economics 195 5% 10% 9 4.6
Financial Reporting and Analysis 400 10% 15% 16 4.0
Corporate Finance 287 5% 10% 9 3.1
Equity Investments 605 10% 15% 16 2.6
Fixed Income Investments 309 10% 15% 15 4.9
Derivative Investments 140 5% 10% 10 7.1
Alternative Investments 245 5% 10% 9 3.7
Portfolio Management 342 10% 15% 12 3.5

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:

\(\text{E}=\frac{\text{Q}}{\text{N}}\times\text{100 pages}\)


  • 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, 6 July 2020, and end on Friday, 4 December 2020, i.e. the day before the exam. Meanwhile, there's a weekly pause in studying for you to a take 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 6 July 2020

1st Study Block (6 July – 31 July)

1st Study Block (6 July – 31 July)

  • Ethics
  • Equity Investments
  • EI Review

2nd Study Block (1 Aug – 20 Aug)

  • Fixed Income
  • Derivative Investments
  • FI+DI Review
  • EI Review

3rd Study Block (21 Aug – 20 Sept)

  • Financial Reporting & Analysis
  • Corporate Finance
  • FRA+CF Review
  • EI+FI+DI Review

suggested dates: 21 – 27 Sept

4th Study Block (28 Sept – 22 Oct)

  • Quantitative Methods
  • Portfolio Management
  • QM+PM Review
  • EI+FI+DI+FRA+CF Review

5th Study Block (23 Oct – 8 Nov)

  • Economics
  • Alternative Investments
  • ECO+AI Review
  • Ethics Review

FINAL REVIEW (9 Nov – 4 Dec)

END: 4 December 2020

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 4 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 Dec 2020 Exam Deadlines
Ethics 9 July 2020
Equity Investments 27 July 2020
EI Review 1 31 July 2020
Fixed Income 9 Aug 2020
Derivative Investments 16 Aug 2020
FI Review 20 Aug 2020
DI Review 20 Aug 2020
EI Review 2 20 Aug 2020
Financial Reporting and Analysis 2 Sept 2020
Corporate Finance 11 Sept 2020
FRA+CF Review 20 Sept 2020
EI+FI+DI Review 20 Sept 2020
*HOLIDAYS* 27 Sept 2020
Quantitative Methods 6 Oct 2020
Portfolio Management 15 Oct 2020
QM+PM Review 22 Oct 2020
EI+FI+DI+FRA+CF Review 22 Oct 2020
Economics 29 Oct 2020
Alternative Investments 5 Nov 2020
ECO+AI Review 8 Nov 2020
Ethics Summary 8 Nov 2020
Final Review 4 Dec 2020

*suggested dates*

NOTE: If you set up your personalized study plan,
the deadlines will get adjusted.

Below you can see both ALL WEEKS and CURRENT WEEK views of the 5-month level 2 CFA exam study schedule:

CFA Exam Study Plan: All Weeks View

CFA Exam Study Plan: All Weeks View That’s where you can view all the weeks of your CFA exam prep to see how much you’ve done and how much is still ahead of you.

Also, here you can customize the plan to your needs using the DRAG & DROP feature (the icon) to move the readings around.

CFA Exam Study Plan: Current Week View

CFA Exam Study Plan: Current Week View You will be asked to focus on your current week of studying. Each week you will find some useful practice tools & compact study materials. At the end of the week, your hard work will be evaluated (hit the SUM UP button).

Updated: June 26, 2020

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