CFA Level 2 Exam – 21 Week Study Plan, Part 1 of 6

This study plan is based on notes taken from my 2009 journey through the CFA Level 2 exam.  There may be some curriculum differences in the next test (CFAI likes to make adjustments from year to year), so be sure to compare this material with the official CFAI books for your exam.  I used the Stalla program in 2009 and recommend purchasing Stalla or Schweser, if you have the means.  If you do not, then I still believe this plan can be implemented with the CFAI Program official materials.  Based on my score report, I was above 70% in five subject areas and above 50% in four, with only one below 50%.  In total, I correctly answered between 68% and 86% of the questions.

General Guidelines:

This study plan is designed to apply 17 weeks of subject study and 4 weeks of review.  Assuming the next exam is Saturday, June 4, 2011; you could begin this plan on Monday, January 10, 2011 and complete it just before the test.

This plan assumes you will be studying a minimum of 12 – 14 hours per week initially, and more during the final four weeks.

Purchase two (2) 100 page notebooks.  One is for notes; the other for practice problems and tests.

Make flash cards for key formulas and lists.  I made about 250.  They are easy to carry around and allow you to study while waiting in lines, riding the bus, etc.

Make a one page calendar to help with planning and progress tracking.

Be prepared to do lots of practice questions and several practice exams.  There is no substitute for logging hundreds of practice questions and 4 – 6 practice exams.

Week 1 – Ethics

Ethics is a mandatory 70%+ score section.  Risking Ethics is akin to risking the entire test, so take it seriously.  Two items sets is a reasonable expectation.

Your friend the Code and Standards appears again.  Be prepared to apply the seven Standards to professional situations.  Note that the most conservative answer choice is not always the correct one and when there is a conflict between CFAI and local laws, members and candidates must abide by the stricter of the two.

New material on Level 2 could be Soft Dollars and Research Objectivity Standards (ROS).

Given the importance of Ethics, continuously review it throughout the first 17 weeks of the 21 week plan (this is where notes and flash cards help you).  In the final days leading up to the test, make extra time to review the CFAI Ethics readings.  In the demented world of CFA testing, correctly solving some obscure ROS situation could be the difference between a pass and a fail.