How Not to Fail CFA Level II Exam

There are two reasons why you must be reading this article. One, you’ve just got the news that you have passed CFA Level I exam and are ready for level II, and two, you wrote CFA Level II exam but failed. In either case, this article will provide you some help and tips on how you can avoid failing the next time you write Level II exam, or to say have higher chances of passing the exam.

Do Not Panic

The first thing to realize is that it’s normal to fail. It’s not a simple exam or a college test where 90% of the students will pass. For the last year the pass rate for CFA Level II exam was just 42%. So, don’t beat yourself up if you fail even after putting in the best of efforts.

Recommended Study Hours

A lot of material in level II sounds the same as in level I, which may give an impression that you need lesser hours to prepare for the exam. However, note that even though the topics are the same you are now being tested in a more advanced way. For example, for derivatives, you won’t be tested on fundamentals, but pricing of derivative contracts. So, don’t underestimate the number of hours you need to prepare for the exam. Atleast plan for the 300+ hours study schedule recommended by CFA Institute.

Focus on All Sections

One common mistake many students make is to ignore the sections that don’t interest them. They get bored with these and focus more on other interesting sections. For example, ethics, portfolio management, or bonds. Remember that you may be bored with these sections, but the exam is impartial to all sections and you will get questions on all these areas. So, you need to be equally prepared and not leave any section unattended.

Difficulty Level of the Exam

While studying and practicing with mock exams, you also need to pay attention to detail. The exam is going to test you in-depth on the CFA curriculum and most likely the questions will be presented in much more confusing manner than you would think about. Sometimes, you may even know the correct answer but confusing wordings may mislead you to opting for another choice.

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