A Reflection on CFA Level 2 preparation.

It sure gives a big relief to get the Congratulations email. I wanted to share the path and the hard work it took me to accomplish that with the recent June 2016 exam.

Started studying in November . To start with, it was a warm up phase spending no more than 6 hours a week and gradually increasing to around 12 hrs per week. I used CFA provided material for 100% of my preparation to start with. It took me till end of December to complete the Equity chapter and 50% of FRA.  During my workout at the gym atleast 3 days a week for an hour , I listened to the free youtube videos to get a feel for other topics.

With the start of the new year and reading through the forums, the fear factor kicked in me to expedite my study pace and also increase the daily study time. I had put together a study plan to complete the remaining readings by end of April, so the last month can be completely for mock exams , topic tests by CFA and revisions.

I quickly realized that just reading through  CFA material wouldn’t get me enough time. While different providers have their own merits, the youtube from fintree fit my style and understanding. I signed up for fintree to take advantage of videos and it paid off. I was able to listen to those videos as I simultaneously connected it with the CFA provided material. I did take time to complete the EOC questions as and when I finished a chapter. This was very useful as it solidified the concepts, gave confidence and let me revisit my weak areas.

The priority of my study sequence was based on the high weightage areas and for those that were equal weights, it was based on the complexity and my strength areas. At any point, I had asked myself a question if there was an emergency personal situation and I end up missing a month, how can I still increase my probability of success.

Fast forwarding… it is end of April and I still had few unvisited LOS  from portfolio management, Alternate investments, Quants and Economics. It almost came to a point for me to compromise and make up the mind on just 2 and only skim the other 2. I took a chance and skimmed portfolio management and Quants and met my April goal only by mid May. While the forums could be daunting for many, it gave me that extra fear and seriousness. For the last 2 weeks in May, I was fully into mockup exams, topic tests and EOC questions and revising my notes.

Entering into June, I had a pretty good feeling that i nailed down the high weightage sections and the left overs in a few areas didn’t make me lose my sleep. The exam was reasonably easy and there were less than 5 questions that i had no clue on due to my lack of study. The wait until the result day was even more painful, but hearing the good news now feels like worth the wait !!

On the hind sight, i would suggest that one start laying down a weekly calendar and try the best to stick to it and also give a week or two buffer time in case the actual progress lags the plan. Prioritize the sequence to focus on high weightage areas first to boost the confidence level ( though all sections are important). Do as many problems as soon as you finish theory since that really proves the knowledge level and gives clarity. Also good to remember the shortcuts or mnemonics for those equations or ethics topics for effective time management on the exam. Last of  all, pray for the luck factor to be with you :))