Level 2 CFA® Exam Study Plan for Dec 2020 Candidates

CFA exam / Study plans / Level 2 Dec 2020, 4-month


Congrats on your passed level 1 exam! For all level 2 candidates who start their CFA exam prep in August, here's our advice on the optimal 4-month level 2 CFA exam study plan and preparation.

CFA Exam: Level 2 is Different than Level 1


Before we proceed with the CFA exam study plan for level 2 candidates, first let us name 3 key issues that distinguish level 2 CFA exam from level 1 CFA exam:


The format of level 2 CFA exam is different compared to level 1 exam. No longer will you get a standard multiple-choice test. Level 2 exam consists of the so-called item sets (mini-cases). An item set includes a case statement called vignette (it's like a short story description) and from 6 to 4 multiple-choice questions to match the description. What stays the same is that for every multiple-choice question 3 answers are provided and only one is correct.

What's the consequence of such a change in level 2 compared to level 1 exam format?

It's more difficult owing to the item set format but you have more time per question.

Approximately, it's 3 minutes to cope with one multiple-choice question (it was 1.5 minutes in L1 exam) it's about 12 to 18 minutes per one item set you can expect from 10 to 15 vignettes in one exam session, i.e. 20-30 vignettes in total (recall: one vignette supports from 4 to 6 multiple-choice questions).

Have a look at sample level 2 questions here .


Even though you will be tested in the same 10 topics you studied during your level 1 exam, you need to be prepared to apply your knowledge more deeply this time.

The problems you will have to solve when taking your level 2 CFA exam are highly detailed problems. Based on the opinions of those who took the exam, you can expect practically anything from your level 2 Curriculum.

It means that you need to be more analytical while studying and pay more attention to detail.


In comparison with the level 1 exam, level 2 CFA exam topics have different weights. The topics with the highest weights are Equity, FRA, Fixed Income, Ethics, and Portfolio Management: all with the topic weight of 10-15%. The other 5 topics, namely Derivatives, Corporate Finance, Quantitative Methods, Economics, and Alternative Investments, are given a weight of 5-10%.

As you can see, all the topic weights for level 2 are given in ranges, which means that the exact number of questions per topic is less predictable and may vary from exam to exam (to see our prediction, go here >>).

Also, as of June 2019 exam, there's a change in topic weights. In the past, Equity was the most important topic with a weight of 15-25%, which had to be taken into account when planning the CFA exam prep. Now, as many as 5 topics are given the same importance ranging from 10 to 15%. This means you should devote a similar effort to all these topics because you may expect a similar number of questions for these 5 topics.

Managing Level 2 CFA Exam Prep

Because of the crucial differences in both the FORMAT and the CONTENTS of level 2 vs level 1 exam, you should arrange your level 2 exam preparation accordingly.

First of all, you have to solve as many mini-cases as possible to get thoroughly familiar with the form of the exam.

Secondly, to get acquainted with all the required study content, we recommend that you generally use your level 2 Curriculum. To facilitate your studying process, however, you might want to use some complementary study materials like video lectures, tests, or formulas app. They can definitely be helpful in getting the big picture, revising the study content, and getting the necessary practice.

Thirdly, our advice is that you take the 4 most important level 2 topics seriously. We think that's the right way to go when you know you can expect the greatest number of questions on these 4 topics.

That's why we allowed for lots of Equity, Ethics, FRA, and FI in our free CFA Exam Study Planner for level 2 candidates:

If you go for the paid version, you will also get access to 50 exam-type item sets and tons of videos, tests, and formulas!

Level 2 CFA Exam Study Plan: Assumptions & Timing

We begin our 4-month level 2 CFA exam study plan on 3 August and end it on 4 December. The last three weeks are devoted to Final Revision when you should try to do as many mock exams as possible.

The study plan is divided into topics (5 Study Blocks) and we believe that the sequence is just optimal as it focuses on Ethics, Equity, Fixed Income, and FRA first. The time scheduled for each topic depends on its difficulty, the number of pages in the Curriculum and the number of questions devoted to the topic on the exam (for possible number of level 2 questions, go here >>).

START on 3 August 2020

1st Study Block (3 Aug – 25 Aug)

1st Study Block (3 Aug – 25 Aug)

  • Ethics
  • Equity Investments
  • EI Review

2nd Study Block (26 Aug – 11 Sept)

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

3rd Study Block (12 Sept – 6 Oct)

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

4th Study Block (7 Oct – 1 Nov)

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

5th Study Block (2 Nov – 15 Nov)

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

FINAL REVIEW (16 Nov – 4 Dec)

END on 4 December 2020

Level 2 CFA Exam Study Schedule in 4 Months

Level 2 Topics Dec 2020 Exam Deadlines
Ethics 6 Aug 2020
Equity Investments 23 Aug 2020
EI Review 1 25 Aug 2020
Fixed Income 2 Sept 2020
Derivative Investments 8 Sept 2020
FI Review 11 Sept 2020
DI Review 11 Sept 2020
EI Review 2 11 Sept 2020
Financial Reporting and Analysis 22 Sept 2020
Corporate Finance 2 Oct 2020
FRA+CF Review 6 Oct 2020
EI+FI+DI Review 6 Oct 2020
Quantitative Methods 16 Oct 2020
Portfolio Management 26 Oct 2020
QM+PM Review 1 Nov 2020
EI+FI+DI+FRA+CF Review 1 Nov 2020
Economics 6 Nov 2020
Alternative Investments 11 Nov 2020
ECO+AI Review 15 Nov 2020
Ethics Summary 15 Nov 2020
Final Review 4 Dec 2020

This is a sample 4-month level 2 CFA exam study plan. But you can have your own personalized study schedule, available in both free and paid version:

Below you can see both All Weeks and Current Week views of your 4-month level 2 study plan:

CFA Level 2 Study Plan: All Weeks View

Level 2 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.

Level 2 CFA Exam Study Plan: Current Week View

Level 2 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).

Last Update: July 1, 2020

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