How to Pass the CFA Level II Exam

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      Now that you have passed the CFA Level I exam, it is time to get started with the Level II exam. Level II exam is considered to be more difficult compared to the Level I exam.

      According to the CFA Institute, only 39% of the students passed the Level II exam. Therefore, it is imperative that you plan your studies well. Below is an outline of how to prepare yourself to pass the exam.

      1. Get started early: The exam requires you to study extensively. So, it is a good idea to start early. Considering that you should put in at least 250 hours to studies, starting 6 months ahead is a good idea. Unlike the Level I exam which is conducted in June and December, the Level II exam is conducted only in June. Starting your preparation in January or February is a good idea.

      2. Get familiar with study material: Once you register for the exam you will receive the official CFAI curriculum books, which are divided into 18 sessions. Briefly look at the 18 sessions to gauge your understanding of the topics.

      3. Prepare a study plan: Once you know what you need to study you need a study schedule. A study schedule will help you plan the next few months for studying, note-taking, practice questions, and practice examinations. You can get started with the free CFA Level II 21 week study plan from Finance Train.

      4. Buy study notes: Using 3rd party study notes can be effective and can speed up your exam preparation. However, you must carefully decide what you are looking for from a provider. Companies like Schweser and Stalla provide extensive study material to prepare for the exam. They offer an alternative to the official study books. However, many students, to some degree, wish to use the official material (for one reason its cost is included in the exam registration fee). However, many of these students find the official material cumbersome and would like some form of low-cost, high value supplement. Finance Train provides CFA Level II Study Supplement which does exactly that. Presented over 21 weeks these weekly modules help encapsulate the most critical elements of the exam that candidates cannot afford to miss. Studied in tandem with CFAI’s official 2011 curriculum, practice problems, and practice examinations, this supplement will help candidates reinforce concepts and formulas to obtain a passing score.

      5. Create flash cards: While you are studying prepare flash cards for important formulas and key concepts. You can also prepare flash cards for step lists and techniques.

      6. Practice questions: For each study session you should allocate enough time to practice as many questions as possible. The CFA level II exam consists of 20 item sets, each item set consisting of 6 questions about a specific scenario or series of events. The exam taker is recommended to study as many item sets as possible. You need not pressure yourself for practicing. First start with open book, that is, try to solve the problems with the help of books, then as you gain confidence, you can gradually more to solving the problems all by yourself.

      7. Use the approved calculator. During your entire studies and practice sessions, you must use the official calculator. This will improve your efficiency with using the calculator.

      Last but not the least, you must stay motivated at all times and stay fit as both these factors contribute to better learning:

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