As January draws to an end, December level 1 exam results are always being published.
Many of you are waiting for the exam score with bated breath. Because it tells you whether you need to retake your level 1 exam or if it's the CFA level 2 examination that's ahead of you. For all those starting their CFA level 2 exam prep, here comes our advice on the optimal 4-month L2 study plan.
Interested in a different study plan? See:
CFA Level 2 Exam – Why Is It Different
& What Are The Consequences?
Before we proceed with the study plan itself, first let us name 3 key issues that distinguish level 2 from level 1 examination:
1. FORM OF THE EXAM
The form of CFA level 2 exam is different compared to CFA 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 (like a short story description) and 6 multiple choice questions to match the description. What stays the same is that for every question 3 answers are provided and only one is correct.
What's the consequence of the change in level 2 exam form?
You get more time per question.
Approximately, it's 3 minutes to cope with one multiple choice question i.e. about 18 minutes per one item set which leads us to 10 item sets for each of the two exam sessions.
2. CONTENTS OF THE EXAM
The problems you will have to solve when taking your CFA level 2 exam are highly detailed problems. Based on the opinions of those who took the exam, you can expect practically anything from your CFA Curriculum.
It means that you need to be more scrupulous and analytical while studying.
3. TOPIC WEIGHTS
In comparison with level 1 exam, CFA level 2 topics are given different weights. The most important topics for CFA level 2 candidates are Equity, FRA, Fixed Income, and Ethics (all with the topic weight of 10-15%). Then, there's Portfolio Management with the weight of 5-15%. All other topics, namely Derivatives, Corporate Finance, Quantitative Methods, Economics, and Alternative Investments, are given the 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 the weight of 15-25%, which had to be taken into account when planning the CFA exam prep. Now, as many as 4 topics are given the same importance ranging from 10 to 15%. This means you should devote similar effort to all these topics because you may expect similar number of questions for these 4 topics.
Managing CFA Level 2 Exam Prep
Because of the crucial differences in both the FORM 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 the CFA 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 revising the study content and gaining the necessary practice.
Thirdly, our advice is that you take the 4 most important CFA 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 topic.
That's why we allowed for lots of Equity, Ethics, FRA, and FI in our CFA 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:
CFA Level 2 Study Plan: Assumptions & Timing
We begin our 4-month level 2 study plan on 3 February and end it on 5 June, i.e. the day before the exam. 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.
START on 3 February 2020
1st Study Block (3 Feb – 25 Feb)
1st Study Block (3 Feb – 25 Feb)
- Equity Investments
- EI Review
2nd Study Block (26 Feb – 13 March)
- Fixed Income
- Derivative Investments
- FI+DI Review
- EI Review
3rd Study Block (14 March – 6 Apr)
- Financial Reporting & Analysis
- Corporate Finance
- FRA+CF Review
- EI+FI+DI Review
4th Study Block (7 Apr – 3 May)
- Quantitative Methods
- Portfolio Management
- QM+PM Review
- EI+FI+DI+FRA+CF Review
5th Study Block (4 May – 17 May)
- Alternative Investments
- ECO+AI Review
- Ethics Review
FINAL REVIEW (18 May – 5 June)
END on 5 June 2020
CFA Level 2 Schedule in 4 Months
|Level 2 Topics||June 2020 Exam Deadlines|
|Ethics||7 Feb 2020|
|Equity Investments||23 Feb 2020|
|EI Review 1||25 Feb 2020|
|Fixed Income||6 March 2020|
|Derivative Investments||10 March 2020|
|FI Review||13 March 2020|
|DI Review||13 March 2020|
|EI Review 2||13 March 2020|
|Financial Reporting and Analysis||23 March 2020|
|Corporate Finance||3 Apr 2020|
|FRA+CF Review||6 Apr 2020|
|EI+FI+DI Review||6 Apr 2020|
|Quantitative Methods||17 Apr 2020|
|Portfolio Management||27 Apr 2020|
|QM+PM Review||3 May 2020|
|EI+FI+DI+FRA+CF Review||3 May 2020|
|Economics||9 May 2020|
|Alternative Investments||15 May 2020|
|ECO+AI Review||17 May 2020|
|Ethics Summary||17 May 2020|
|Final Review||5 June 2020|
This is a sample 4-month level 2 study plan. But you can have your own personalized study schedule, available in both free and paid version:
Below you can see both calendar and weekly view of your 4-month L2 study plan:
Study Plan: Calendar 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.
Your Current Week View You will be asked to focus on your current week of studying. You will know what to study, when to study, and how much to study. At the end of the week, your hard work will be evaluated (hit the ‘Sum Up Current Week’ button).