Comments (184)

Mar 4, 2008

I have the Schweser notes for Level 2 right now, they are a huge help compared to the lengthy CFA Institute notes.

I say stick with what worked.

Mar 4, 2008

Is taking a prep course a waste of money if preparing for CFA 1? Is preparing with the schweser notes sufficient?

Mar 4, 2008

You won't need a prep course. You've already got the CFA books and the Schweser notes, so I would advise against it. Stick w/ the notes and do the practice exams and Qbank included by Schweser.

Mar 4, 2008

I took Level II last year. Schweser skimped on the portfolio management section so make sure you read the curriculum especially in this area...for the other areas, I thought the exam was fine, but do practice a lot and review the CFAI documents for ethics and PM. It's obvious that CFAI is trying to make the exam more "proprietary" as evidenced by the requirement to now bundle the curriculum with the exam.

Mar 4, 2008

Thanks numi, much appreciated. How'd you find Level II compared to Level I in terms of difficulty and study time needed?

Mar 5, 2008
nystateofmind:

Thanks numi, much appreciated. How'd you find Level II compared to Level I in terms of difficulty and study time needed?

Don't underestimate the amount of time needed to pass Level II - it is quite a bit more challenging than Level I. A lot of the stuff in Level I, I either learned in college or during my experience in BB equity research. Best advice I can give you is to take a lot of practice tests, do not procrastinate, and understand how all the key concepts relate to one another (rather than getting too caught up in the little minutia). I put in about 125 hours of study time for Level I and probably around 200 hours for Level II. You seem to be pretty on top of stuff so maybe it would take you about this much time too, but just don't let anyone tell you that you can "get by" doing a certain amount of hours...you have to figure out what's right for yourself.

Also, I second an aforementioned poster's suggestion to read AnalystForum.com. Actually, this is where I've posted most frequently, since given my experience in equity research, I've generally had more to contribute there (and in a similar fashion as WS Oasis where most people don't work in IB/PE, most people on AnalystForum also don't work in ER/HF and are trying to learn). However, you'll see me more on these boards now that I'm working in PE.

By the way, thanks again for your advice on the PE stuff that I asked you about a while back. I ended up taking a job at a large middle-market buyout shop and just started recently. I'm sure I'll be seeking your advice again once I get settled in, as far as what I need to do as a new PE analyst in order to (1) move up the learning curve quickly and (2) be seen as a leader and contributor rather than someone who just does what they're told, and I think a lot of this has to do with understanding what is important to deal teams, which is something I don't really understand yet. I'll make a separate post about this in the PE forum when I have a chance to collect my thoughts a little.

Mar 9, 2008

Analystforum.com is a better site to post/search CFA exam questions. A few thoughts:

  1. The questions are coming out of the readings so make sure you do the end of section of questions and review the examples in the actual books.
  2. Schweser is fine but expect to put in more time to prepare. It's also good to put in the time early in the event sh!t hits the fan at work and you're crunched for time later.
  3. There is always a chance the exam will test you on something Schweser glosses over. Happened last year.

Edit: Don't want to encourage bad study habits.

Mar 5, 2008

you CAN NOT pass level one on 1-2 weeks prep. That is the dumbest shit ever. There's a 39% pass rate playa, and underpreperation is the one of the reasons for people not passing this shit.

Mar 9, 2008

Edit: Don't want to encourage bad study habits.

Mar 5, 2008

Wingman - I agree w/ Ratul. 1-2 weeks prep for Level I is absurd, no matter how familiar you are with the material. The knowledge base is so broad that there's almost no way you've seen most of it in classes and can familiarize yourself with it in such a short period of time. Hopefully you mean 1-2 months prep. You've got to have enough time to absorb the material.

That being said, Ratul - the 39% pass rate is a little misleading, as nearly have of the people 61% who "fail" are no shows for the test because they're underprepared and don't show up for the test.

Mar 5, 2008

That being said, Ratul - the 39% pass rate is a little misleading, as nearly have of the people 61% who "fail" are no shows for the test because they're underprepared and don't show up for the test.
....................................
nystateofmind, where did u get this info? thanks!

Mar 5, 2008

nystateofmind, i think you might be wrong? chech this out. page 13 far right column...it says they only include those who showed up in the stat

http://www.cfainstitute.org/cfaprog/overview/pdf/I...
but maybe they do include those individuals who give up after ten minutes...who technically "sat" for the exam?

Mar 5, 2008

Fair enough - you and Ratul are right. Was a stat I saw somewhere back in November, although I clearly misread.

Mar 5, 2008

If i'm not mistaken, that statistic does not include those who fail to come in and take the exam. That would mean that the pass rate is actually significantly lower than that which has been reported.

Or am i mistaken?

Mar 5, 2008

Much appreciated - great advice. Best of luck in the new job - you'll have to let us know how it's coming along.

Mar 6, 2008

Guys, please help! I am studying CFA and wonder if there is any kind of score report for each level you pass? I think this might help in many cases. Thanks alot!

Mar 6, 2008

Yes there's a score report indicating areas in which you scored over 70%, b/w 50-70% or below 50%.
The specific grades DO NOT MATTER, you only need to pass the exam.

Mar 8, 2008

Generally true, although you cannot pass the exam without passing the ethics portion. Know a girl who thought she could blow off the ethics section. She ended up passing every section except for ethics, causing her to fail the entire exam.

May 29, 2008

The need to pass ethics to pass the exam is a common misconception. A former exam grader told me that failing ethics will not cause you to fail the exam. However, anyone who is slightly below the pass/fail threshold that does really well on ethics generally passes. I know several people who have failed ethics on every exam and now have their charters.

Feb 3, 2014

This is simply not true - I passed the level 1 exam and did not pass the ethics section

Mar 9, 2008

I hope no one considering the CFA program takes the war stories of Wingman and his coworker that seriously. I passed Level I in December given 4 months of study (Schweser) and an undergrad Finance degree and by no means was it easy. I worked with people who passed Level II and III last summer, both of whom recommended doing the full CFA curriculum rather than Schweser for anything above Level I.

Schweser was great, but Level I, as comprehensive as it is, can be passed with a very good superficial review of the material such as Schweser, but I'm not banking on that to pass Level II and will take my sweet ass time.

Lame as it sounds, the CFA isn't designed as a program for people cramming to pass a test (here's looking at you CPAs), but rather for people who want to expand on their Finance background to gain professional credibility and refine their knowledge base.

May 29, 2008

Can any one send me 2008 CFA Level 1 ebook link or advice me from where to buy? Earlier i bought from www.elitebook.net but never got the schweser books link. The seller has simply disappeared after withdrawing my money from western union.

I am in NY. If any one want to form study group, they are welcome. I am appearing in december exam

May 29, 2008
Yeothebest:

Can any one send me 2008 CFA Level 1 ebook link or advice me from where to buy? Earlier i bought from www.elitebook.net but never got the schweser books link. The seller has simply disappeared after withdrawing my money from western union.

I am in NY. If any one want to form study group, they are welcome. I am appearing in december exam

PM'd you

Feb 15, 2011

Anyone who wants to form a study group for CFA Level 2 and lives in the Philadelphia area let me know. I am trying to form/join one. I also want to ask anyone who has passed level 2 if Stalla is a good way to go for review. Thanks!

Feb 3, 2014

I did CFA between 2006 - 2008 on Schweser notes + mp3s. The mp3s were just someone reading the notes, but I listened to them traveling to work, jogging, walking the dog and pretending to listen to my wife tell me about her day at work. CFA I - III is 80% memorisation and constant mp3 indoctrination helps.

Feb 3, 2014

do you need CFA 2012 study package 1,2,3
contact [email protected]

Feb 3, 2014

do you need CFA 2012 study package 1,2,3
contact [email protected]

Feb 3, 2014

I passed Level I this June. I'd say if you are up to reading heavily without loss of attention, the bulky CFA books are enough.

I didn't buy any of the other super-expensive guides, but did plop for the Elan 11th Hour Guide as a handy summary to read in the last few weeks and browse during the break on D-day.

IMHO the reading is important, but it'll really boil down to you cranking out large numbers of mock exams in the final run-up to the exam. Best of luck!

PS - I don't think you have the option to use '09 books, they'll make you buy the '10 books during registration.

Feb 3, 2014

Hey,

Thanks for the info. I do have the whole 2011 set of CFA books, but since Schweser supposedly is really easy to read, I was thinking to buy 2009 or 2010 used set of Schweser books as a supplement material. I was just wondering if the content really changes much from year to year...

Feb 3, 2014

The material doesn't differ that much from year to year and you can look up the changes on the internet.

Feb 3, 2014

Use Schweser for L1 and the CFAI books for L2 & L3.

Feb 3, 2014

I did CFAi books the whole way through.

Give me rampant intellectualism as a coping mechanism.

Feb 3, 2014

People always refer to the CFA books as the ultimate source, the thing is they are actually pretty bulky and make for a pretty tough reading. If you can make your own summaries and outlines with the CFAI books and at the same time be able to link all of the material together you should be set.

In the other hand the study guides help a lot, personally I used them and have been successful in level I & II in my first attempts. My strategy was to read the CFA texts to get a grasp of the material and then focus on the guides por practice and mastery of the material (its a lot of material).

Like PBFsaid the most important part of the exam is practice for level two I did approximately 2,000 practice questions so when I went in to the exam I knew I was ready.

You should check out "analystforum.com" the whole site is composed of charter holders or candidates and there you'll find a lot of useful info and study tips

Best of luck on your endeavor, I'm sure you'll nail it.

Feb 3, 2014

Just curious, for those who read the CFAI books, particularly the one on Financial Analysis and Reporting for the 2010 edition, did you guys find the chapter on Tax very poorly written? There are numerous sentences that look like they came straight out of a tax rulebook: eg. page 490, first sentence on Unused Tax Losses and Tax Credits: "IAS 12 allows the recognition of unused tax losses and tax credits only to the extent that it is probable that in the future there will be taxable income against which the unused tax losses and credits can be applied." Even the Q&A section at the end was poorly done, especially when compared to previous chapters. Whereas in previous chapters they would explain, in addition to why a particular answer is correct, the common mistakes made in the incorrect choices, the answers to quite a few questions are simple repetitions of the correct answer.

Feb 3, 2014

Download the Schwesers off bit torrent. Don't touch the CFA Institute textbooks - they're a waste of time. What the CFA books say in 10 pages are summed up nicely in about 2 pages. I do have an undergrad degree in finance but if you're a business background you'll be fine.

I just worked off the Schwesers and passed in June. My buddy did the exact same. My other friend used the 2008 Schwesers to write in Dec 2009 and passed.

Feb 3, 2014

BTW if you go on torrentz dot com you will find all the study materials for free.....

Feb 3, 2014
MrFuture:

BTW if you go on torrentz dot com you will find all the study materials for free.....

or ebay if u wanna shell out 10 bucks

Feb 3, 2014

L2 builds on a lot of the knowledge learned in L1 and digs deeper in some subjects. L2 is the most difficult level to pass. good luck.

Feb 3, 2014

Thanks, that makes sense but let me clarify my question through an example.

Will L2 simply ask for the name of a method to calculate market concentration or will they go deeper and ask you to calculate the Herfindahl Index? I guess what I want to know is, how much will they scrutinize the L1 material? Another example would bootstrapping - are they going to us ask how to calculate this again or just know the basics of term structure?

The reason I'm asking is that I don't (and didn't) use the majority of the info from L1 in equity research so I've forgotten some tidbits.

Feb 3, 2014

I took L2 last summer. You need to know the general concepts behind all of the material that were in L1. If a specific formula was covered in L1 but, not in L2, i.e. Herfindahl Index, then you do not need to know it. Like Dibbs said, all of the L2 material builds on the L1 material. If you crammed for L1 you will most likely have to relearn a lot of the material. Unfortunately I can't recall a single lay up question from L2 where it asked you to "name the method". L1 wasn't too difficult because the material really isn't that challenging if you come from a finance/acct/econ backgroun, there's just so much of it. In L2 they take the same volume of material and increase the difficulty three fold. FRA, Equity, & Derivatives are all a huge bitch.

There were quite a few questions on the L2 exam that asked for precise calculations using some random formulas that were mentioned in a single paragraph of the CFAI text i.e. Ibbotson-Chen Equation (Everyone missed this one)

PM me if you have questions about L2. I would check out analyst forum if you want in depth CFA discussion.

Feb 3, 2014

SamSung, you'd rather not compare L1 and L2 - these are materially different in terms of difficulty. Materially. L1 is like a first filter, nothing more than an easy screening test. L2 is a real stuff

Feb 3, 2014

Shiz! What can I say? You guys are right.

I went through the material before I started studying and it did look complicated (but things normally do when you just flip through the book without reading the material) so I didn't think too much of it...until... I actually started started studying. I've gone through the time series analysis and went up to Interest Rate derivatives in the Econ section, and this is definitely harder than L1. But the material is more interesting too.

Thanks all.

Feb 3, 2014

Everyone says that level II is the hardest, but imo, level iii is the hardest because sometimes you just don't know WTF the CFAI is looking for.

As for your question - each level is self contained. If it's not in the text for level 2, then it's not going to be on the test. The derivatives section of level II always trips people up so spend time there. Spend less time memorizing the formulas, but more time on conceptual questions like.. if x changes up, how does y change.

Good luck! I always feel bad for people going through the CFA.

Also, learn to manage your time better. There's less questions in level II, but they will take longer.

Feb 3, 2014

LIII is by far, without question, undeniably, much more difficult than LII.

Feb 3, 2014

I wouldn't agree with mossy695. My personal opinion was that in terms of difficulty, L2 and L3 where approximately the same.

Feb 3, 2014

there is no way to enlarge that fyi

Feb 3, 2014
trailmix8:

there is no way to enlarge that fyi

Yea there is.

And it's incorrect.

Feb 3, 2014

Seems correct. I'm not sure though.
Reasoning: Since the Net profit is very high, it could be a recognition of a one time gain(or liquidation). The -ve BS accrual ratio suggests a decrease in the operating assets big time(I'm assuming the buggers sold of inventories without replenishing, hence the accrual CF ratio is highly positive too).

PS - Hate the accounting portion of the CFA.

Feb 3, 2014

operating cash flow is cash accounting number, earnings and operating income are accrual accounting based.

I don't recognize those ratios but I assume with those numbers you can calculation CF, EBIT, and NI

Feb 3, 2014

This just made me realize how little i remember from Level 2 after only a year.

Sorry I can't help, but good luck on Saturday.

Feb 3, 2014

duffmt6-- I barely remember anything I read a week ago.

The answer is that his comment is not correct. The company experienced more cash earnings than accounting earnings. I am quite slow with accounting, and not sure what's going on here.

Feb 3, 2014

This question doesn't seem to make much sense.

To me, "the comparison you have made between operating cash flow and operating earnings is biased upward when comparing to accrual based operating income."

The comparison is the operating cash/operating earnings which is 0.4 This means that 40% of the operating earnings are actually converted to cash. I don't understand where the "biased upward" comes from though. The question refers to Chapter 26 which covers accruals. Accrual based earnings are not persistent and have to eventually revert. Could this mean biased upward?

I'm taking the practice test tomorrow morning. We'll see if I am right haha

Feb 3, 2014

I am so confused by this.

Oreos, can you help us understand better.....seems like you got the right answer....

Gray Fox- i think accounting questions in mock are much harder than those in the book.

Feb 3, 2014

This question was bullshit. I'm not sure if it was in the thumbnail, but the BS accrual ratio for 2010 was negative indicating that cash earnings were greater than accounting earnings.

Also, the questions before this was bullshit. The revenue recognition practices were fine, but if they changed the useful life for depreciation assumptions from 10 years to 8 years that means depreciation was understated in previous years. The classifying 4.5mm of voluntary early retirement expenses as non-recurring seems much less significant.

Frustration.

Feb 3, 2014

I dont think you should classify retirement expense as non-recurring because its normal operating expenses. But I agree, the accounting part is overly tricky, just ridiculous.

Feb 3, 2014

How many months did it take you to prepare?
~4

What resources did you use to study?
Primarily Schweser, with the occasional Wikipedia/Fabozzi/Damodaran

How much harder is it than level 1?
~2.5x - Same areas are covered but it is much, much more in depth.

Was there an increase in interviews once you listed that you passed level 2 on your cv?
N/A, not interviewing at the moment but I've actually had headhunters tell me to leave it off of my resume for various reasons.

Feb 3, 2014

wow, could you indicate the reasons why to leave it off?

If the glove don't fit, you must acquit!

Feb 3, 2014

Because it has no relevance for a lot of jobs and could signal that you're not really focusing on your career goals. The CFA is obsolete in PE, VC, M&A, consultancy, and I guess wide parts of "AM".

Feb 3, 2014
m2:

Because it has no relevance for a lot of jobs and could signal that you're not really focusing on your career goals. The CFA is obsolete in PE, VC, M&A, consultancy, and I guess wide parts of "AM".

Interesting. Everyone in Asset Management under 35 has one and many much older from what I have seen in ER and AM. Many in PE etc seem to really respect it, although not require it. I go by the job description and if it's not in there as preferred, then tend to leave it out unless a technical position.

If the glove don't fit, you must acquit!

Feb 3, 2014
m2:

Because it has no relevance for a lot of jobs and could signal that you're not really focusing on your career goals. The CFA is obsolete in PE, VC, M&A, consultancy, and I guess wide parts of "AM".

What if you don't want any of those jobs? If you're taking the CFA you most likely are set on a career in AM.

Feb 3, 2014

I probably said that wrong, but at the time that I was job hunting I had just taken level 1 and 1) did not know if I had passed yet, but probably more likely 2) didn't want to seem like I was "looking past" the jobs I was applying for (middle office/trade support).

I frankly didn't really agree with him but he had a point that people often take the CFA to get their foot in the door at a company and very quickly try to move to another position. It depends on the job you are applying for, I guess.

Feb 3, 2014

Just took it so I don't know yet if I passed.

I studied for 284 hours.

The material is more broad and deep than level 1. Furthermore, there are only 20 item sets of 6 questions each, and each item set usually testes one particular section. For example, they might go deep in options derivatives, meaning that if you skim that section you will probably only know 2/6 answers.

As for interviews, I don;t know, but I assume so as I'm trying to move into either sell-side or buyside research and every posting you see says 'completion or enrollment in the CFA program'

Feb 3, 2014

Agree. I think it's perfect if you got your eyes set on AM. I think it's not really useful though if you're trying to switch into the fields I mentioned, and I think that people looking for such roles who get their CFA could use their time in better ways.

Feb 3, 2014

Probably more than 300 hours, depends on how smart you are. Level 2 is a beast. At least 2X harder IMO.

Feb 3, 2014

I'll tell you in 2 weeks when results come out how much you should need. I'm guessing 10 more hours than I put in.

Feb 3, 2014
FutureBanker09:

I'll tell you in 2 weeks when results come out how much you should need. I'm guessing 10 more hours than I put in.

Just curious, how come you're taking the CFA if you want to get into banking?

Feb 3, 2014

Two things stood out for me for Level II:

  1. It's not that the material is hard or difficult to understand. There's just too damn much of it. Trying to get all of it at once is like trying to pile too many books onto a table - once you try and pile on books on one end, a ton fall off the other side. That was the majority of the time spent for me on Level II - trying to memorize everything.
  2. Accounting. God, the bloody accounting.

I would say start earlier, and you can always take it easier later on.

Feb 3, 2014
300 Hours:

Two things stood out for me for Level II:

  1. It's not that the material is hard or difficult to understand. There's just too damn much of it. Trying to get all of it at once is like trying to pile too many books onto a table - once you try and pile on books on one end, a ton fall off the other side. That was the majority of the time spent for me on Level II - trying to memorize everything.
  2. Accounting. God, the bloody accounting.

I would say start earlier, and you can always take it easier later on.

Can it really be that much more material than Level I? The total amount of pages for the 6 books comes out to around 3500 pages. I can't see the readings being that much more, I'd imagine it's just the difficulty of the questions.

Feb 3, 2014

Has anyone done a CFA / MBA partner program? Recommended?

Feb 3, 2014

January if all goes as planned (dec L1).

GBS

Feb 3, 2014

Passed L2 in June. I recommend you start as soon as you are done celebrating GMAT completion. I am still procrastinating ahead of L3 at my peril.

Feb 3, 2014

Yeah that's enough time, prob more than enough time. I would spend December reviewing level 1 material.

Feb 3, 2014
shark-monkey:

Yeah that's enough time, prob more than enough time. I would spend December reviewing level 1 material.

Don't bother reviewing Level 1. There is very little overlap and the basics will come back quicker than you would think. Hard to give any guidance on a timeline, as it completely depends on how much studying you will be doing. I personally preferred the ~3 months of very intense prep vs. 6 months of casual studying.

Feb 3, 2014

I'm taking the Level 2 in June. Is Schweser enough to get me by or do I need to go through those boring ass CFA Institute study guides?

Feb 3, 2014

Start studying in early January, read the actual books if you can. The test is pretty tough and the amount of material is staggering (wait til you get to the derivatives book). At the very least, do the end-of-chapter problems in the CFAI books (do each section MULTIPLE times) and take as many mock exams you can get your hands on in late April/early May. Good luck, and godspeed.

Feb 3, 2014

I started in March 1st and cleared it comfortably. Check out my blog post about it:

http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/blog/my-cfa-study-t...

Feb 4, 2014

I used Stalla for my first try at Level 1 and had Peter Olinto was my instructor. He's pretty good, but I think he's at 7 City now. Check Analystforum.com. His new company advertises with a pic of him by the banner.

Feb 4, 2014

Which prep notes did you use for L1?

The HBS guys have MAD SWAGGER. They frequently wear their class jackets to boston bars, strutting and acting like they own the joint. They just ooze success, confidence, swagger, basically attributes of alpha males.

Feb 4, 2014
SonnyZH:

Which prep notes did you use for L1?

I used Schweser for Level 1 and took the 16 week NYSSA class taught by Andrew Spieler. He is teaching level 2 and 3 not at Kaplan and Nathan is teaching level 2 at nyssa

Feb 4, 2014

I had Nathan at NYSSA for L2 and would recommend. He was def knowledgeable, had good advice, and took my call for a question on the problem sets during the weekend (don't abuse that, though). I also studied my arse off and work in finance, but I passed by a solid margin on the first try.

Feb 4, 2014
RiskyBizness:

I had Nathan at NYSSA for L2 and would recommend. He was def knowledgeable, had good advice, and took my call for a question on the problem sets during the weekend (don't abuse that, though). I also studied my arse off and work in finance, but I passed by a solid margin on the first try.

did you have Spieler for level 1? if so who did you like better? (nathan vs spieler)

Feb 4, 2014

Come on, you can learn it by yourself. It is not that hard.

All we need is just a little patience

Feb 4, 2014

My thoughts exactly. Im just gonna grind out some mocks for the remaining 2 weeks - then hope for the best.

I'm currently pulling in solid 65-70%s on mocks and practice exams. Hoping to get that over the 70 mark during the next 2 weeks.

Feb 4, 2014

I am just signing up for Level 1 but good luck and keep WSO posted.

Feb 4, 2014

Studying for Level I myself, but agreed - odd that I have been cramming and still have over two weeks. Best of luck to the level one goers as well (level three too, all gotta get through this somehow)

"I am not sure who this 'Anonymous' person is - one thing is for certain, they have been one hell of a prolific writer" - Anonymous

Feb 4, 2014
frgna:

Please pardon my relative absence from the boards in the meantime.

Who are you again?

But in all honesty, I'm in the same boat as you, minus 60 or so hours. I figure I'll finish the last book (Schweser) and start mocking and doing questions. Going to be a long two weeks, but I have banking hours to finish as well so it's going to be tight (that's what he/she said).

Feb 4, 2014

Can't wait till I'm done with this shit...

Feb 4, 2014

I'm in the same boat, two more weeks until freedom!

Give me a kid whose smart, poor, and hungry...............

Feb 4, 2014
frgna:

To everyone tackling this giant menacing bear of an exam with me in a few weeks, a sincere wish of the best of luck.

I'm roughly 120 hours behind my planned study hour target at this point, so it's back to banking style days until the finish. Please pardon my relative absence from the boards in the meantime.

Sidebar, funny how you can be two weeks out from a test and still feel like you are "cramming." Anyway, if I somehow manage to pass this little f**ker, I'll do a writeup on how it's done.

Go get it!

Thoughts?

I thought it was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay easier than the mocks. Pleasantly surprised.

Feb 4, 2014
Cries:
frgna:

To everyone tackling this giant menacing bear of an exam with me in a few weeks, a sincere wish of the best of luck.
I'm roughly 120 hours behind my planned study hour target at this point, so it's back to banking style days until the finish. Please pardon my relative absence from the boards in the meantime.
Sidebar, funny how you can be two weeks out from a test and still feel like you are "cramming." Anyway, if I somehow manage to pass this little f**ker, I'll do a writeup on how it's done.
Go get it!

Thoughts?

I thought it was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay easier than the mocks. Pleasantly surprised.

Definitely easier than the 2013 CFAI mock (only one I took).

Some tough sections but overall pretty fair. I think I have a 50-75% chance of passing.

You?

if you like it then you shoulda put a banana on it

Feb 4, 2014
frgna:
Cries:

frgna:
To everyone tackling this giant menacing bear of an exam with me in a few weeks, a sincere wish of the best of luck.
I'm roughly 120 hours behind my planned study hour target at this point, so it's back to banking style days until the finish. Please pardon my relative absence from the boards in the meantime.
Sidebar, funny how you can be two weeks out from a test and still feel like you are "cramming." Anyway, if I somehow manage to pass this little f**ker, I'll do a writeup on how it's done.
Go get it!

Thoughts?
I thought it was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay easier than the mocks. Pleasantly surprised.

Definitely easier than the 2013 CFAI mock (only one I took).

Some tough sections but overall pretty fair. I think I have a 50-75% chance of passing.

You?

I put myself at an even 50/50. Got crushed pretty hard on some of the IFRS and portfolio management stuff. Fairly sure I went 0/6 with regard to both portfolio management in the PM & the FRA translation stuff.

Feb 4, 2014
Cries:
frgna:

Cries:

frgna:
To everyone tackling this giant menacing bear of an exam with me in a few weeks, a sincere wish of the best of luck.
I'm roughly 120 hours behind my planned study hour target at this point, so it's back to banking style days until the finish. Please pardon my relative absence from the boards in the meantime.
Sidebar, funny how you can be two weeks out from a test and still feel like you are "cramming." Anyway, if I somehow manage to pass this little f**ker, I'll do a writeup on how it's done.
Go get it!
Thoughts?
I thought it was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay easier than the mocks. Pleasantly surprised.

Definitely easier than the 2013 CFAI mock (only one I took).
Some tough sections but overall pretty fair. I think I have a 50-75% chance of passing.
You?

I put myself at an even 50/50. Got crushed pretty hard on some of the IFRS and portfolio management stuff. Fairly sure I went 0/6 with regard to both portfolio management in the PM & the FRA translation stuff.

Odds are you went 2/6! Pretty unlucky if you really got none correct :)

I could never properly motivate myself for Econ/Quant/Portfolio, and sure enough, they still test them every year.

if you like it then you shoulda put a banana on it

Feb 4, 2014
Cries:
frgna:

Cries:

frgna:
To everyone tackling this giant menacing bear of an exam with me in a few weeks, a sincere wish of the best of luck.
I'm roughly 120 hours behind my planned study hour target at this point, so it's back to banking style days until the finish. Please pardon my relative absence from the boards in the meantime.
Sidebar, funny how you can be two weeks out from a test and still feel like you are "cramming." Anyway, if I somehow manage to pass this little f**ker, I'll do a writeup on how it's done.
Go get it!
Thoughts?
I thought it was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay easier than the mocks. Pleasantly surprised.

Definitely easier than the 2013 CFAI mock (only one I took).
Some tough sections but overall pretty fair. I think I have a 50-75% chance of passing.
You?

I put myself at an even 50/50. Got crushed pretty hard on some of the IFRS and portfolio management stuff. Fairly sure I went 0/6 with regard to both portfolio management in the PM & the FRA translation stuff.

This. I got screwed on every derivatives question, so I would say I have a 25% chance at best of passing.

Feb 4, 2014

OP did you end up passing? I'm at about 105 hours of study now and need to crush it for the next 6-7 weeks to hit 250 hours let alone anywhere near 300. Not feeling totally fucked yet but I'm spending too much time reading and haven't done practice questions yet.

My name is Nicky, but you can call me Dre.

Feb 4, 2014

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but 300 hours is reco for level 1. Level 2 is generally more like 500 hours, and having been there...double the level 1 time sounds about righ

Feb 4, 2014

I just laughed my way through Fixed Income: Structured Securities and Swaps

Feb 4, 2014

Doing L3 here. Definitely enjoyed L2 more. Too much memorization for L3.

Feb 4, 2014

Took L1 in June 2007 and passed it. Decided a month or two ago that I'm going to sit for L2 in June 2015 (8 years later!). I looked at the material and it didn't look that hard--got about 50% of questions right on 15 or so questions that I looked at. I think work experience/context help a lot, but I guess I'll see.

Planning on studying for about 340 hours beginning in mid-November of this year.

Feb 4, 2014

500 hours is definitely overkill and probably not feasible unless you are unemployed. I'm currently at 270 hours (taking the level II in June) and am feeling very prepared. I think I would probably pass if I took it today. I'm guessing that I will end up with a total of 330-350 hours.

Feb 4, 2014

I think 3 months would be enough.

Feb 4, 2014

If you search google long enough you can find the Schweser guides. Most eventually get taken down though BC copywrite infringements, hence why I'm not posting a link

Feb 4, 2014

Or you could not be a jackass and actually pay for it.
You kind of have to appreciate the irony of stealing study materials for a test with an entire section devoted to ethics.

Array

Feb 4, 2014

Band 9 last year...I made a bags of it in hindsight.

The key is to know all the formulas and do question after question.

I got bogged down in reading the text...questions for the CFA are short....reading reams of text for the CFA exam is like training for a marathon when you plan to run the 100 metres.

This year I am reading the text but taking notes using flashcard...CFA is essentially all just formula and lists...no real meaty theories or deep concepts...my plan is to keep glancing at the Flash cards and get Qbank.

I have heard people say Qbank is not good for level 2...this is BULLSHIT!!!! I listened to this advice last year and I regret it...get Qbank and do questions until you are sick of them.

Only other advice is finish up studying by mid may and focus on Mocks Q's...you do not want to be covering material the days before the exam...

CFA material is not difficult but the questions are...much more practice is need on answering the questions rather than learning the material.

With good exam technique, a solid plan and the requisite dedication and work ethic this exam is crushable!

My 2 cents.

Feb 4, 2014

I bought my Level II books about a month ago. I'm trying to push through the CFA readings as quickly as possible, not doing any end of chapter questions this time. Once I finish the material, I'll go back and review, solving in-chapter and end of chapter questions. I'm not sure which supplementary materials I'll use, but I'll definitely do as many questions as possible before the exam.

Feb 4, 2014

Coming from someone who passed L II last year, write everything down, then re write, then re re write, then re re re write. You need to to know how to price fixed for floating swaps in your sleep, you need to konw everyway to caclulate FCF from EBIT or NI, you need to know anova tables, you need to know the structure of mortgages and how gets paid based off of prepayment speeds. You need to know the residual income, DDM, H Model, cold. You need to know how to account for full/ partial goodwill, what happens if a FI securitiy is HFT vs. HTM. You need to know the difference between temporal and current methods. If all of this sounds unfamiliar I would honestly read through Schweser first to get a big picture. Some of it will come easy, some will be a bear. Focus on your weak points and go from there.

Feb 4, 2014
FutureBanker09:

Some of it will come easy, some will be a bear. Focus on your weak points and go from there.

You're a poet and you don't even know it :).

"My caddie's chauffeur informs me that a bank is a place where people put money that isn't properly invested."

Feb 4, 2014
FutureBanker09:

Coming from someone who passed L II last year, write everything down, then re write, then re re write, then re re re write. You need to to know how to price fixed for floating swaps in your sleep, you need to konw everyway to caclulate FCF from EBIT or NI, you need to know anova tables, you need to know the structure of mortgages and how gets paid based off of prepayment speeds. You need to know the residual income, DDM, H Model, cold. You need to know how to account for full/ partial goodwill, what happens if a FI securitiy is HFT vs. HTM. You need to know the difference between temporal and current methods. If all of this sounds unfamiliar I would honestly read through Schweser first to get a big picture. Some of it will come easy, some will be a bear. Focus on your weak points and go from there.

I can't believe that at one point in time I knew all of these things.

    • 1
Feb 4, 2014

Something I wish I had done better (and more often) last year was to THOROUGHLY review the answers to all practice problems whether they be Qbank questions or practice exam questions. I got better at this as time went on and saw some real benefits, but I wish I had been better earlier in the process.

One thing I will say about the Qbank is that it is not useless by any stretch of the imagination. However, for level 1, the Qbank was invaluable, and could serve as a useful facsimile for practice exams. I did not find this to be the case for level 2. While the Qbank was useful in the early stages of learning the material, I did not find it to be as useful as the practice exams.

"My caddie's chauffeur informs me that a bank is a place where people put money that isn't properly invested."

Feb 4, 2014

Also just signed up for L2 on Wednesday. Hope I'll get enough time to study. Planing to have the notes lying on my desk at work and study while waiting for markups etc.

Feb 4, 2014

I signed up. Waiting until December to start studying.

Feb 4, 2014

Level 2 is an exercise in brute force. My understanding is that they significantly cut down on the pension accounting which is blessing but I think the key is to just do a ton of practice tests. After awhile you realize that the item sets all follow a particular flow or try to trip you in certain ways.

For L1 and L2 I never did any kind of schweser books, classes etc, just bought the practice tests. For L3 I did a 3 day review class and found it very useful, but maybe because L3 was such a different format with the essays. If you feel like you are on the cusp I would definitely recommend the 3 day review class.

Feb 4, 2014

I used schweser exclusively for Level 2 as well, it worked pretty well. They are weak in Econ but enough to get you through the tests. Be sure to do Schweser's Practice Tests. They help a lot in figuring out the material.

Feb 4, 2014

Schweser worked fine for me on L2. I would suggest leaning on the CFA books a bit more than you might have for L1. EOC and blue box questions definitely help.

Feb 4, 2014

I used Schweser exclusively for L1 and L2 and am 2/2. I thought they were a little weak in econ and pm. It definitely seemed like CFAI read the S materials because there was some stuff on the exam that was not in S.

Feb 4, 2014

If you don't have a background in statistics, then Quant is a btch. I've always struggled with Econ, but like the L2 since there's a lot less material and more of a focus on calculations (ccy's and arb).

The thing that's killing me is the plethora of formulas you need to memorize for the less weighted sections (alt inv, dervs, FI). If you don't remember how to calculate the optimal residual risk or AFFO for a REIT, then you could easily flush away easy points. I've got a huge stack of notecards I spend at least an hour going thru everyday to constantly refresh myself on topics I'm not comfortable with and just about every important equation. Hate it because it takes away time from the heavily weighted sections.

I'm working my way thru the Kaplan practice exams on the weekends before I start hitting the old CFAI mocks. Will try to work my way thru all the CFAI end of section questions during the weekdays. Just ready for this damn exam to be over.

Good luck!

Feb 4, 2014
HFer_wannabe:

If you don't have a background in statistics, then Quant is a btch. I've always struggled with Econ, but like the L2 since there's a lot less material and more of a focus on calculations (ccy's and arb).

The thing that's killing me is the plethora of formulas you need to memorize for the less weighted sections (alt inv, dervs, FI). If you don't remember how to calculate the optimal residual risk or AFFO for a REIT, then you could easily flush away easy points. I've got a huge stack of notecards I spend at least an hour going thru everyday to constantly refresh myself on topics I'm not comfortable with and just about every important equation. Hate it because it takes away time from the heavily weighted sections.

I'm working my way thru the Kaplan practice exams on the weekends before I start hitting the old CFAI mocks. Will try to work my way thru all the CFAI end of section questions during the weekdays. Just ready for this damn exam to be over.

Good luck!

Yea good luck to you too.

And I completely agree about all the formulas for the small sections, simple stuff but can easily be forgotten and forfeit easy points.

Don't listen to anyone, everybody is scared.

Feb 4, 2014

So far I've only used CFAI materials. I completed all the readings earlier this month and have started doing EOC questions, focusing on the more highly-weighted topics. I need to review all the LOS and make some flash cards. Planning on taking 3-4 mocks this next month, then taking some time off work the week of the test. I'm a little worried about this one as it has a reputation as a widowmaker.

Feb 4, 2014

Sounds like you guys are getting there.

I've reviewed the material twice, except deriv (which I'm doing now) and quant. There's an unreal amount of info. However, I've heard the same thing; this is no easy feat.

Nonetheless, learned a lot- will resit next year if I have to.

Feb 4, 2014

If you haven't got them, I'd recommend the schweser books. I used those and never opened the official books and did fine. You can buy an old set for cheap online (material is the same).

Good luck, the exam isn't easy.

    • 1
Feb 4, 2014

Do not use old materials - they are NOT the same. You can pick up a full updated package on eBay for $40. Use rlemos as the seller.

Feb 4, 2014

What's the general perception of CFA in general? Is it really as painful even if you have a finance back ground?

Feb 4, 2014

It's still a lot of work, regardless. The amount of material is daunting; plus most monkeys don't know the asset classes, etc. at the level they test for

Feb 4, 2014

It's a ballache. Finance background will help when you're totally lost in the exam, but you still have to learn how the CFAI think investing / economics works.

Feb 4, 2014

these are still for sale my apes.

Feb 4, 2014
Feb 4, 2014

Would also be interested in this. Has anyone used Analyst Success L2?

I would rather be disappointed than full of regrets.

Feb 4, 2014

I am taking the June 2015 exam and would love to see more responses on this matter.

Feb 4, 2014

I am taking the June 2015 exam and would love to see more responses on this matter.

Feb 4, 2014

I am taking as well. Would be interested to know

Feb 4, 2014

Schweser is fine. But feel free to trawl through and supplement with the CFAI books just to make sure you've done "everything"!

Feb 4, 2014

deleted

Feb 4, 2014

I used only official materials for L2 because I'd heard Schweser sucked for it and passed first try. I used only Schweser for L1.

Focus on getting through the readings as fast as you can, do the end of chapter questions, then at the end do practice tests, and redo the EOCs again until you understand vast majority (I thought this last point was the key as these were closest to the actual exam questions - there are only so many ways they can test the material so getting reps in here helps a lot). There is a ton of shit to cover so don't fall behind. Making a formula sheet / LOS study guide is probably a good idea too if you have the time.

I don't really have an informed opinion of Schweser for L2 since I didn't use it, but it did seem a little light on content the few times I skimmed through it.

Feb 4, 2014

I used primarily Schweser when I took L2 and supplemented with CFAI blue boxes and EOCs. I passed easily in my first attempt.

Feb 4, 2014
RagingClue:

I used primarily Schweser when I took L2 and supplemented with CFAI blue boxes and EOCs. I passed easily in my first attempt.

Seconded. I found Schweser only to be adequate to pass L2. If you want to play it safe and have the time, the official curriculum would be best. I'm an idiot and didn't sign up to take the exam until March of last year so my choice to use Schweser was more due to time-constraint/desperation than choice.

Feb 4, 2014

Passed L1 and L2 on first attempts using Schweser, and would recommend it (though I'm biased since I didn't have to pay for it). For L2 I read CFAI curriculum only for ethics to not skip any details. For me the biggest part was obtaining as many practice tests as possible and focusing on what I didn't know (questions I got incorrect). Best of luck

Feb 4, 2014

Since I find the CFAI curriculum too dry and detailed I have relied on Schweser for Level 1+2 with good success.An important part from my point of view is that you do all Schweser and CFAI EoC questions plus many practice exams, note down where you are underperforming and read up on those topics in the curriculum.

Feb 4, 2014

I really only used schweser and passed 1 and 2 with them. I used CFA curriculum end of reading questions to reinforce accounting areas (I failed level II once) not really fault of schweser notes lacking detail, I think they're fine, but lack of tiem committed to preparing. Agree with @guesswho commenting above.

Feb 4, 2014

Level 1 = Breadth
Level 2 = Depth

The test is the Devil.

Feb 4, 2014

Studying for L3 at the moment and really think it is the hardest.

I found with level 2 there is huge depth and breadth but with enough time it really boiled down to knowing formula. Drilled flashcards hard (formula and concepts) and felt confident on the day.

L3 looks much shorter but I find I am spending even more time on each topic and at the end still messing up on questions.

L2 is a bull...massive and fierce but you can grab a hold of it....L3 is a ghost, just cannot get my arms around the fvcker.

Feb 4, 2014
Maherj1:

Studying for L3 at the moment and really think it is the hardest.

I found with level 2 there is huge depth and breadth but with enough time it really boiled down to knowing formula. Drilled flashcards hard (formula and concepts) and felt confident on the day.

L3 looks much shorter but I find I am spending even more time on each topic and at the end still messing up on questions.

L2 is a bull...massive and fierce but you can grab a hold of it....L3 is a ghost, just cannot get my arms around the fvcker.

+1
L3 is the hardest; however, given you've struggled through 1 and 2 you will put a fuckload more effort into passing it, so the pass rate is higher just because your motivation is stronger as well as your study experience.
I loved L3, I actually learned stuff and enjoyed prepping for it, can't say the same about L2...
L2 is learning shit by heart, L3 unless you actually understand the concepts you won't really learn much.

Maherj1 good luck!!! I remember finishing that shit a few years back and the relief I got when I got my test scores. Absolute gold.

Feb 4, 2014

Studying for L2 right now. The fixed income section is ugly. Hoping to have about 3 weeks to go through the most heavily weighted topics for the second time before starting practice exams.

Feb 4, 2014

Level 2 was certainly difficult but I think Level 3 is difficult because it's non-linear. With L2, you know that all questions have an answer based on formulas given. With L3, you have to interpolate relevant information and give "3 reasons" as an answer. It's even more dynamic than L2 in my opinion.

Feb 4, 2014

Just passed LII so here are my two cents:

Ethics doesn't change much from test to test. Go over Quant and PM, but those aren't heavily weighted, so a basic grasp should be good enough. Really study equities, corporate finance and FR&A (your IB internship should help with these to some degree, especially corporate). If you're comfortable with Economics then I would just skim the chapters and make sure you grasp the core concepts. Alternatives and Derivatives can be tricky (especially derivatives). They changed the Fixed Income section since 2014, so go over that and make sure you know their new bond pricing models.

My strategy was to know Ethics, Corporate, Equity Investments and FR&A cold since those put together make up a majority of the exam. I put a lot of time in towards the end on Fixed Income once I figured out they had changed the curriculum (studying w/ 2014 Schweser materials) and that really paid off. I had a passable grasp on the other sections and figured as long as I knew the big topics really well I would pass.

As far as studying goes, the Schweser materials are great to get up to speed and a lot better than the CFA materials. That said, definitely do the CFA materials end of chapter questions. They are more difficult than Schweser and will point out sections of the material that Schweser didn't cover. This was probably the most useful thing I did, especially for fixed income. Writing a whole exam is good every once in a while to expose weak spots. Lastly, I wouldn't just sit down and use flash cards to memorize the formulas, but really try to understand why these formulas are useful.

Hope this helps.

Feb 4, 2014
TeslaSBL:

Just passed LII so here are my two cents:

Ethics doesn't change much from test to test. Go over Quant and PM, but those aren't heavily weighted, so a basic grasp should be good enough. Really study equities, corporate finance and FR&A (your IB internship should help with these to some degree, especially corporate). If you're comfortable with Economics then I would just skim the chapters and make sure you grasp the core concepts. Alternatives and Derivatives can be tricky (especially derivatives. They changed the Fixed Income section since 2014, so go over that and make sure you know their new bond pricing models.

My strategy was to know Ethics, Corporate, Equity Investments and FR&A cold since those put together make up a majority of the exam. I put a lot of time in towards the end on Fixed Income once I figured out they had changed the curriculum (studying w/ 2014 Schweser materials) and that really paid off. I had a passable grasp on the other sections and figured as long as I knew the big topics really well I would pass.

As far as studying goes, the Schweser materials are great to get up to speed and a lot better than the CFA materials. That said, definitely do the CFA materials end of chapter questions. They are more difficult than Schweser and will point out sections of the material that Schweser didn't cover. This was probably the most useful thing I did, especially for fixed income. Writing a whole exam is good every once in a while to expose weak spots. Lastly, I wouldn't just sit down and use flash cards to memorize the formulas, but really try to understand why these formulas are useful.

Hope this helps.

As someone who just passed level 3, this is very good advice. The only part I'd disagree with is the flashcards, for me they were helpful in both level 2 & 3.

Feb 4, 2014

First off, you'd better go to analystforum.com to get a comprehensive answer.

Second off, if you only got >70% in 3 subjects, you likely just scraped by and you'll need to put in a lot more effort to pass L2 - this is not to discourage you but to make sure you study and pass the first time ... Think about it this way - the toughest L1 questions are, perhaps, on par with the easiest L2 questions and you are up against the people who passed L1 so the quality of competition is up.

The subjects and weightings aren't much different between L1 and L2. The two things are quite different - first the exam format is basically a 2-3 pg case (=vignette) with 6 questions per case - you need to PRACTICE the format a lot to get comfortable so go over the material once quickly and start practicing the format; second, the level of questions is much higher so you need a much deeper understanding; moreover the questions require longer to solve (i.e a few calculations rather than 1 or 2) and the answer may depend on previous questions in the vignette.

You have a lot of time but I would start studying now. The best IMHO is CFAI materials (and I used them). In any case you must do BB and EOC a few times and track what was easy /hard and what you missed so you'll be able to prep and review intelligently. If you need videos/prep materials I'd say the best IMHO were Elan Guides (even before they got Peter Olinto, now they are golden with him), but I've heard good things about Arif Irfanullah videos as well.

Good luck!

Feb 4, 2014

Passed I in 2014, II in 2015. Focus on the CFAI books, and focus on the large topics (Derivatives, Equity, Fixed Income, FRA). Schweser was sort of a waste of time to be honest IMO. Went through them once, but never looked at them again. Make sure you can answer all the 'blue box' questions. I would definitely give yourself a ton of time...I did L1 in 5 months (>70 in all but 2), and Level 2 in 6 months (>70 in all but Ethics).

Feb 4, 2014
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Feb 4, 2014