Congrats on your passed level 1 exam! For all level 2 candidates who start their CFA exam prep in late April/early May 2021, here's our advice on the optimal 4-month level 2 CFA exam study plan and 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
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:
1. LEVEL 2 CFA EXAM FORMAT
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 a 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 your level 1 exam) it's about 12 to 18 minutes per one item set (recall: one vignette supports from 4 to 6 multiple-choice questions) you can expect 44 multiple-choice per exam session, i.e. 88 multiple-choice choice questions overall (here, you can find our prediction about the number of item sets in the level 2 exam).
Have a look at sample level 2 questions here
2. CONTENTS OF THE EXAM & LEVEL 2 CURRICULUM
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.
3. LEVEL 2 CFA EXAM TOPIC WEIGHTS
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. However, the Equity topic in your level 2 Curriculum hasn't changed much, which makes it still quite lengthy and important.
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 May 2021 and end it on 29 August 2021. The last two 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 (here possible number of level 2 questions ).
START: 3 May 2021
1st Study Block (3 May – 23 May)
1st Study Block (3 May – 23 May)
- Equity Investments
- EI Review
2nd Study Block (24 May – 10 June)
- Fixed Income
- Derivative Investments
- FI+DI Review
- EI Review
3rd Study Block (11 June – 7 July)
- Financial Reporting & Analysis
- Corporate Finance
- FRA+CF Review
- EI+FI+DI Review
4th Study Block (8 July – 1 Aug)
- Quantitative Methods
- Portfolio Management
- QM+PM Review
- EI+FI+DI+FRA+CF Review
5th Study Block (2 Aug – 15 Aug)
- Alternative Investments
- ECO+AI Review
- Ethics Review
FINAL REVIEW (16 – 29 Aug)
END: 29 August 2021
NOTE: August 2021 level 2 exam window is from 31 August to 4 September. If you manage to finish everything as planned on 29 August, 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 August 2021 level 2 exam here .
Level 2 CFA Exam Study Schedule in 4 Months
|Level 2 Topics||Aug 2021 Exam Deadlines|
|Ethics||6 May 2021|
|Equity Investments||21 May 2021|
|EI Review 1||23 May 2021|
|Fixed Income||2 June 2021|
|Derivative Investments||6 June 2021|
|FI+DI Review||10 June 2021|
|EI Review 2||10 June 2021|
|Financial Reporting and Analysis||23 June 2021|
|Corporate Finance||29 June 2021|
|FRA+CF Review||7 July 2021|
|EI+FI+DI Review||7 July 2021|
|Quantitative Methods||16 July 2021|
|Portfolio Management||25 July 2021|
|QM+PM Review||1 Aug 2021|
|EI+FI+DI+FRA+CF Review||1 Aug 2021|
|Economics||7 Aug 2021|
|Alternative Investments||13 Aug 2021|
|ECO+AI Review||15 Aug 2021|
|Ethics Summary||15 Aug 2021|
|Final Review||29 Aug 2021|
This is a sample 4-month level 2 CFA exam study plan. But you can have your own personalized study schedule, available at pay-what-you-can prices:
Here’s a sample CFA exam study schedule as displayed in our new Study Planner 4.0:
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 both your Study Plan personalization options and the DRAG & DROP feature.
CFA Exam Study Planner: STUDY View You will be asked to focus on your current week of studying. You will know what to study (left-hand menu) and how much to study (benchmark study times). At the end of the week, your hard work will be evaluated (hit the SUM UP button).
Last Update: March 10, 2021